Author Carol Golembiewski:
Carol Golembiewski was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; she earned her art education degree from Mt. Mary College. She is a high school and middle school art teacher with a background in computer graphics, ceramics, painting/drawing, and art history who has taught in both Wisconsin and Florida. Carol currently resides in Wisconsin with her Siamese cat – Simon, and her Morgan mare named Echo.
What got you into writing?
I actually wrote a stage play in fourth grade. It was based on the Aesop’s Fable, “The Boy who cried Wolf,” except it was about a group of children that cried “UFO.” They ended up being abducted and disappearing when aliens finally did come. We were assigned to write a play and perform it. That’s when I also learned I wasn’t an actress because I kept laughing during our entire performance, but the writing process was something I enjoyed.
After that, I attempted to write Star Trek fanfic. I even wrote a Star Trek novel, but never attempted to get it published. And when Yahoo 360 opened, I felt compelled to write blogs at least two to four times a week. I’ve even developed of few of those blogs into screenplays.
What’s your favourite book and why?
This might be considered strange, but I find a lot of ideas and inspiration from the Bible. If you read my Projection Room books, you’ll see certain themes between the lines that are Biblical, even though my series is considered by some a sci-fi/paranormal thriller. I’ve been deeply inspired by Stephen King as well. Loved “The Green Mile,” and “Shawshank Redemption,” which is one of his short stories. I actually prefer his non-horror works. And I loved “Fade,” by Robert Cormier as well. However, I think one of my favourite authors was Ray Bradbury.
And I love the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. I went through a period where I couldn’t get enough of his comedy novels. Perhaps that’s why I always try to incorporate some humour into my books as well.
What’s your writing routine?
I usually take my laptop with me when I substitute teach. I find being in the educational setting invigorating, so when I get a prep (that’s when teacher do their lesson planning or grading), I pop open my laptop and write sometimes. Keep in mind that substitutes don’t have the responsibility of lesson plans or grading.
And I try to write when I’m home in the evenings. I set my egg timer and try to get in an hour of writing or writing related business during that time.
Tea or Coffee?
I drink tea at home, and I drink coffee when I’m outside of my house. I rarely make coffee for myself at home for some reason.
What got you into your particular genre of writing?
As a kid I loved the Twilight Zone and Star Trek (the original) series. While I find myself less and less interested in the outer space, alien and other planet type sci-fi, I love the idea that I can create a story simply based on “What if ….” And I think the sci-fi, paranormal thrillers are more likely to do that. They’re more likely to ask the deeper questions we ask as humans sometimes.
Why do you love writing it?
While I love to draw and paint, but I find writing a little more fulfilling in that I’m not just capturing just a moment on canvas. Instead, I’m able to capture whole people, lives, and worlds and events. That’s far more than just a moment in time. It’s incredibly gratifying to start a drawing and watch it form, but it’s even more satisfying to having a story told from beginning to end. It’s satisfying to create characters that people tell me that they like, care about and can relate.
As a first time author, how are you finding the publishing process?
My publisher walked me through the self-publishing process pretty well. But I learned I needed to be more proactive with the editing process with the second book. I think that is what’s making me a better writing ultimately.
How many books have you written and what are they?
I’m currently editing and doing the cover art for book 3 of the Projection Room series (The Projection Room: Our Brother‘s Keeper.” I started outlining and drafting the final book of the series right now. In addition, I’ve been writing several screenplays. I have “Zombie Day Care Apocalypse” listed on Talentville.com. It’s a romantic comedy about a B minus filmmaker who is trying to reconcile with his wife. And I have another screenplay titled “Feeling for Home,” also a rom/com that was inspired by a blog I wrote a few years ago. I’m considering whether to convert those two novels at the moment.
In addition, I’m working on a book (possibly a series of two books, not sure yet) about a conspiracy theory radio host that goes by the name of Deuteronomy Jones. It is sort of a prequel to another book I have started with the working title of “The Enoch Chronicles.”
Originally, The Projection Room was a screenplay. I had a gentleman that was attempting to serve as my agent at the time that recommended I rewrite the script as a novel, and the rest is history. That’s my process. A screenplay is an extensive outline; each scene easily becomes a chapter.
As a series author, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh?
Not really. While I was working on the first book, (spoiler alerts!!) I had intended to kill off Bruce Mallory, but then I got an idea for another book and realized that to tell that story, he needed to live. Ultimately, I think I got a much better story with The Projection Room: Two from the Cubist Mist as a result. Once the ideas started to crystallize while working on the first book, the course of the series was set. I knew by the time Book 1 was completed where the series would go.
What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series?
When an idea comes to you, write it down RIGHT AWAY, or as soon as possible. I remember reading an interview with Ray Bradbury. He said that when he gets an idea he would put it on an index card and file it into a box with the rest of his idea index cards. He claimed he never suffered from writer’s block because when he was at a loss as to what to write, he’d just go through index cards and something would jump out at him. Doesn’t matter if its index cards or files you create on your desktop, I think if you want to write and continue to write, it’s a great habit to develop. I think this applies to a standalone book or a series.
Is there anything controversial or different about your writing?
I think my Projection Room series is different in that I’ve been able to marry my interest in art and art history with the science fiction/paranormal genre. I know that’s not necessarily controversial, but I’ve been told it is different. Perhaps that’s why I made the Kirkus Reviews “Best Indie Books 2013 that we Found Difficult to Categorize in a good Way.”
How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life?
Yes. That’s something I still struggle with. Time management is admittedly not one of my strengths.
Are you self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice?
I’m decided to go the self-publish route. I figured life is short, and I’ve heard too many successful writers tell tales of having enough rejection letters to wall paper their living rooms, and having yet some to spare, including top sellers. I just wanted to get my work out there, and not spend the majority of my time crafting the perfect query letter.
But now I find I have to spend several hours a week on marketing myself, so it’s a trade off in many respects, still … it’s gratifying just having my books out there nonetheless.
Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like!
Yes. I sit in front of my coffee table, and have my laptop in front of me while I’m on the sofa. And I confess that coffee table is not always neat and tidy. Otherwise, I write during free time at work. Since I substitute teach, I don’t have a network of colleagues and friends to socialize with in the staff lounge, so I find that time often (but not always) to continue writing as well.
How do you keep motivated?
I’m not sure how or what you’d call it. I just know that the characters that show up in my head have a story they want told. They seem to bug me until I do that. And once I give them a name, I know I’m sort of committed, much like having a pet. You know they’re staying once you name them.
What did you struggle with the most when writing your new book?
Do you have any hints for my readers about writing?
I heard about two other writers say this, and it’s true about me as well. I always cast my characters with actors. I see my stories as movies long before I see them as a book. For instance, I see Jeremy Piven as Bruce Mallory, Jim Caveziel as Agent Baker.
Piven is so able to do comedy and drama and the character of Bruce so needs that, so he’s who I imagine that character as. However, I see describe Baker as having that expression that people are keeping him from a life changing nap. He keeps his emotions in check and plays his cards close to the vest, so Caveziel is the actor I’d love to see playing Baker. I think the vibes or energy of both those actors are a good juxtaposition and it helps me write those characters.
It helps me so much to be able to clearly see my characters as I’m writing them.
You’ve got a new book out! What’s it about?
Book 2 – The Projection Room: Green Eye Beneath continues about a year after book 1 ends. People had been asking me what happens with Bruce and Noelle. We know that Baker was able to get Bruce a gig in Chicago (where Noelle accepts a job after the Milwaukee debacle).
I got the idea when I had students on a field trip at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was listening to a docent talk about the Picasso painting “Old Guitarist,” and they pointed out that if you look closely, you can see the hint or whisper of another painting that lies under that painting. Immediately I knew there was a kernel of an idea for a cold case murder, and I was able to build the situation for the next book, “The Projection Room: Our Brother’s Keeper,” which deals more with the villain, Casper Layton and his quest of developing a brain/machine interface that would be incorporated into the projection room. Book 2 builds that path for the reader.
How did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?
It’s all me so far. I’m an art teacher and used to teach Adobe Photoshop at the high school level, so it made sense to make my own covers.
Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit?
The Projection Room series Facebook page.
The Projection Room: Two from the Cubist Mist amazon.com page
The Projection Room: Green Eye Beneath amazon.com page
And my WordPress blog site.