Author interview with Carole Brody Fleet
I am the award-winning author of “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”, (New Horizon Press); as well as the author and executive producer of my CD, entitled, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?”. I am the founder of Widows Wear Stilettos and http://www.WidowsWearStilettos.com, the first website of its kind; allowing actual interactivity between its visitors, as well as a place where widows of all ages find support, education and numerous resources. I am currently working on my second book, “Widows Wear Stilettos: The ‘Answer’ Book – The ULTIMATE Question, Answer and Reference Guide for Widows”.
1. Tell us about your latest book.
Widows Wear Stilettos is a self-help book for widows; particularly those widowed at a younger age. Unlike other books of its ilk, Widows Wear Stilettos offers both practical and emotional guidance and includes advice relating to financial and emotional transition; raising children who have lost a parent; how to cope with the opinions and observations of those surrounding the widow; re-entering the world of dating and love after loss; beauty, fashion, diet and exercise and most importantly, returning to a fulfilling and abundant life after loss – and does so with compassion and where appropriate, a wry sense of humor.
2. How did you get started as a writer?
Although I have always nurtured a passion and an aptitude for writing, and even though my previous career as a paralegal allowed me to write extensively (in the legal world anyway), it was not until 2005 that I began writing in earnest. I wrote Widows Wear Stilettos in four months and was fortunate enough to have been signed by a literary agency forty-five days after I began the query process.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Is there such a thing as a “typical day” for a writer?
Kidding aside, I will usually check email first thing; particularly because emails from the East Coast will have been sitting there for awhile. This is also the time that I will respond to any urgent press queries, interview requests and so forth. After emails have been sorted and prioritized, I take care of “office work” for the day, i.e., following up with media, returning phone calls, sending out thank you notes and so forth. I generally do most of my “serious” writing in the late night and overnight hours. Of course, when there is a last minute interview or I’m on deadline to respond to a journalist, ALL of this goes right out the window!
4. Describe your desk/workspace.
My office is in constant and complete disarray to the “untrained eye” – and by “untrained eye”, I mean any eyes that aren’t mine. I have two calendars; one for all things book-related and the other for “personal business / time”; both of which are generally buried under paperwork, to-do lists and various legal pads. I have a bulletin board that resembles a deranged multicolored porcupine because of all of the things stuck to and on it. I surround myself with pictures of family, friends and other “creature comforts” – and there is ALWAYS music playing. In other words, I have the typical “writer’s office”. I was once told that if a writer’s office was neat and clean, it means that the writer isn’t working. Whether that axiom is true or not, it makes me feel a little better.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)
Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers. Editors and Literary Agents (aka, a writer’s Bible)
Guide to Literary Agents (another writer’s Bible)
In an Instant (Random House), Lee and Bob Woodruff (beautifully written and a #1 New York Times bestseller)
6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you
- For reasons that would take too long to detail here, my “mascot” of sorts has become a skull or skeleton (not “scary”; rather on the “kitschy” side). I have since amassed quite a collection and my house looks like my last name should be Addams – but in a funny way.
- I am a classically trained musician (cello) who is an out-loud headbanging heavy metal fan who was also totally and completely into the “disco scene” (I came of age in the 1970’s after all).
7. Favorite quote
I have two:
“When you do what you’re taught to do by people who have gone before you and have already achieved what you are trying to achieve, your own chances of success increase tremendously – because they are doing something that you’re not doing…yet!
“We will remain the same until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change”.
8. Best and worst part of being a writer
Best part: SO many “best parts” but certainly having the opportunity to effect positive change, shift paradigms and create a “dialogue” would be my favorite aspects. Another “best part” is receiving positive reviews; be they from professionals or the public-at-large. It is a wonderful reinforcement of the work.
Worst part: Mean-spirited critics. They are everywhere and it takes awhile to grow the “skin” that it requires to stomach petty criticism that has nothing whatsoever to do with your work.
9. Advice for other writers
- One of the wisest things that I learned early on is that agents and publishers want to represent “careers” not simply “books”. Do you have an idea for your next book? How about the one after that? Could your book / idea be turned into a movie (theatrical or made-for-TV), a miniseries or a television series? What about a CD or DVD series? You will be asked about subsequent books and multimedia possibilities – have answers ready when the question is asked.
- My agent once told me that, “You are never finished until you quit writing”. Choose never to be “finished”.
10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.
Prior to being signed, I had queried a literary agent who reviewed my proposal and thereafter informed me that, “Death is a hard sell”. Resisting the urge to tell her that my name was not Dr. Kervorkian and that I was not “selling death”, but in fact, offering advice, education and most importantly, hope, I quietly informed her that she clearly did not understand the message that the book conveys. I love to share this story with new and aspiring writers as it obviously demonstrates that not everyone is going to understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish – but in no way does that mean that you should ever stop trying!
Where can people buy your book?
Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow (New Horizon Press) is available at all major booksellers and retailers; as well as online at all major bookselling websites. The CD, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?” is available exclusively at www.widowswearstilettos.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @WidowsStilettos