Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Carol Lynch Williams

Utah Book Month Author Interview

I got the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Carol Lynch Williams for UBM!!  I've been a HUGE fan of this Utah author for a few years now!  Her stories are very touching, emotional, and sometimes hard to swallow.  She is the proud author of over 20 books for YA readers and middle grade readers.  She was one of the first authors to kick start our amazing literature community here in Utah!

Here are some of her amazing stories:

The Chosen OneGlimpseMiles from OrdinaryWaitingPretty Like UsKelly and Me

Now without further ado, my interview with Carol Lynch Williams!

or what I like to call...

My Questions - Her Answers

(I know it looks long, but it is worth reading!  Carol has some awesome things to say!)

1.    Your books are usually about sad/dark events.  Does this reflect events in your own life?

I think any writer would tell you bits and pieces of herself is on the page and that is no different for me.  I always write from some truth that's inside me.  Even my historical fiction has something from my life on the page.

Past that, yes I am kind of a sad and depressed person.  I always write about family.  And I always write about death, dying, and that kind of thing because that topic is always on my mind.  When I speak with kids, I tell them my best writing tip is for them to put someone dead or naked (said nekkid) in all their stories.  My novels always have one or the other and sometimes both.

2.    From your dedications and acknowledgements, I gather that your daughters are very special and close to you.  If you could describe each daughter in one word, what would they be?

Elise - tender-hearted
Laura - tough
Kyra - creative
Caitlynne - compassionate
Carolina - athletic

The truth is, my girls are all pretty darn great.  I love them.  It was my daughters who kept me going to school for my MFA from Vermont College.  They wouldn't let me quit.  They have ALWAYS supported me.  And I've lucked out that some are following in my footsteps.  I get to work with Kyra and Laura at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, Kyra is a writer, Laura and I are working on a book together even as we speak, Elise wants to be a teacher (something else I do), Caitlynne loves to dance - just like me, Carolina loves illustration and I want her to try her hand at some illustration in a book I'm writing - PLUS all the girls love to read.

3.    Your latest book, Waiting, has a unique style to it.  It is like poetry but not.  How did you come up with this style of writing, and why did you choose to use this particular style?

My first stylistically different novel, GLIMPSE, was written in a short, choppy line.  My editor wanted another like it, but GLIMPSE is the only book that may ever be written that way.  The main character, Hope, demanded the story be told in that manner - in glimpses.  And when I started WAITING, a book of grief and loss, the line just needed to be shorter, the scenes shorter, the telling different.  I'm starting another book for this publisher (Simon and Schuster - Paula Wiseman Imprint), another dark story of family, and I think the set up will be different yet again.

Amazing writer, Ann Dee Ellis (who shares a blog with me and Kyra) says to play and have fun while you write and I think that's good advice.  Play with the line, the sentence, the structure - enjoy what you can of the writing process.

4.    You are brilliant at getting inside a teenage girl's head.  I've never been in any of your character's situations, but I can relate to a lot of the emotions they go through.  Is it emotional for you to write these stories?  Is it hard to get the perfect emotion from a character on paper?

Thank you for the compliment. :) I have to admit that I am about 12 in my head.

For me, good writing is emotional writing.  Emotion, I think, connects the reader to the main character.  Emotion makes the story feel real.

When I started really writing WAITING, some horrible things had happened.  I lost a lot of friends and family to death, my girls had friends die - and this followed other deep grief.  I was so sad.  In one part of the novel, London wonders if God believes in her.  That was a real part of what I went through, knowing that I believed in God, but wondering had He forgotten about me and mine.

5.    What is your favorite book that you've written and why?

I don't have any favorites.  I move on pretty quickly from one book to the next.  Some people say choosing a favorite book is like picking a favorite kid.  The truth is, I like my kids way better than I like my books.

Now, there are books I have written that have been easier to write than others.  That's a question I can answer!  CAROLINA AUTUMN was a book that almost wrote itself.  So did WAITING.

6.    What is your least favorite book you've written and why?

My novel that comes out from St. Martin's Press THE HAVEN was a killer to get on the page!  In fact, I wrote two novels after I signed a contract for THE HAVEN.  I had the hardest time writing that one. It nearly killed me.  And THE CHOSEN ONE almost broke my heart.  So each book is different, each takes me down a different path.

7.    There are a lot of great authors in Utah.  Do you enjoy being a Utah author?  What are some of the perks and downsides?

I love being a UT author.  I remember before there were so many pubbed authors - way back in the olden days.  It's cool to be named among so many fabulous people.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, and thank you so much for being a fabulous Utah author!!  It was a real pleasure to interview you!  


  1. Great interview!! I need to read something by Ms. Williams ASAP.

  2. Awesome interview, Kami. I've never read any of Ms. Williams's books, but they sound interesting and I'll definitely be giving them a go.

    And, it doesn't hurt that one of her daughter's name is Elise, very close to my middle name Elyse. :)

    1. I didn't even notice that. It's a good name.

      You should definitely read one of her books. They are good. I suggest Waiting or The Chosen One first.

  3. Wow! I didn't know she had so many books out! I have some catchin' up to do! Great interview! Thanks to you both for participating! :)

  4. I can't believe that I haven't read anything by Ms. Williams! I've heard fabulous things about Waiting, which I think I will pick up soon. =) I love how her daughters play such a big role in her writing, and how they love to read! Her family definitely sounds close-knit. Lovely interview!

    1. Thanks! I love the relationship she has with her daughters. It is a beautiful thing.

  5. Always put a dead or naked person in your story has got to be the strangest writing advice I've ever heard.

    1. ha ha! It kind of is, but her stories always have something like that in it, and it makes for an emotional and interesting read.

  6. Great interview, Kami! I love the way Carol talks about her daughters; sounds like they are true inspirations to her.

    And I second Hwa Sun on the advice to always but a dead or nekkid person in your stories...strange advice, but so, so, smart! Definitely makes for emotional topics, which are the ones I like best. :)

  7. Lovely, powerful interview!! I haven't read all of Carol's books, but I'm going to make it a point to, her gift of realism is incredible and I especially cannot wait to read Waiting (no pun intended lol) :)

    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.