Sunday, October 9, 2016

Carol Ann Kauffman

Collaboration in Motion

WADIFTS- It is with great anticipation that we welcome seasoned author, Carol Ann Kauffman to this project of “Collaboration in Motion-Women Doing It for Themselves!

The former educator of 35 years was the reading teacher to second and third graders during the last three years of her career; retiring only to care for her convalescing mother. Since then she has penned numerous titles, created a blog to host, promote, and support authors and artists, of diverse experiences. We greet her with open arms as a contributor to our upcoming release- “Through The Darkness-Stories of Hope.” 

Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope
"If you are reading this, I can only assume Stephen and I are dead." 

Mrs. Kauffman believes with strong conviction that, “There is NO difference between someone who can’t read and someone who won’t. Reading is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. And if you have children, they need to see you read many different types of reading material. They need to see you read for enjoyment and stress control as well as general knowledge.” 

 I usually read about 20 books a month. On this month’s list are:

* The Angler and the Owl by Viv Drewa,
*In a Heartbeat by Josie Cara,
*The Bounder Redeemed by Alison Jean Ash,
*Not Young, Still Restless by Jeanne Cooper,
*A Corpse in the Chapel by J.B. Hawker, and
*Powerful Proofreading by Debra Smith to name a few.

With such strong convictions, we asked Carol just what was it that inspired her to become a writer?

Carol Ann Kauffman-I do not know!” she responds emphatically. “I have always written. I don’t ever remember making a conscious choice… I also had my students write to me in a journal. From experience I know that sometimes it’s easier for them to write about something that scares them than to say it.”

WADIFTS- It’s one thing to write recreationally, but quite another to share your gifts with an audience. What made you want to become a writer?

Carol Ann Kauffman- I used to write little stories using the week’s spellings words for my first grade class. Following would be a list of comprehension questions. This activity whet my skills to pen a few children's stories about a talking elephant named Captain Packy. But I didn't know what to do with them when they were done, so the manuscripts sat in a white bankers box in my office. A relative who needed a home moved in with me and used my office as a bedroom, so the box of Captain Packy stories went to the basement. The basement flooded. The box was soaked. Back then, there were no digital back-ups. The visual image of that box of floating manuscripts in the basement stuck with me. (Don’t feel bad, they weren’t that great.) I vowed the next time I would DO something with them. Many years later, after retirement, after my mother passed away, I started to write down a few scenes for a book for grown-ups. After I had a few substantial scenes, I began to weave them into a story. Soon I had a full-length novel written.

WADIFTS- quid pro quo: Are you a pantser or outliner?

Carol Ann Kauffman-  Both! I outline the big picture, sometimes only five sentences before I begin to write, and they I just fly with it.

WADIFTS- I bet you took the industry by storm!

Carol Ann Kauffman- Not exactly. I began the query letter process to the big publishers and was surprised how long it took to get an "I loved it but..." letter back in the mail. Six to eight weeks for comments like too long, too clean, or too convoluted. I thought “I’m too old for this!” So in 2011 I decided to do it myself through Kindle Direct Publishing. I have never regretted the decision.

Carol Ann Kauffman

WADIFTS- With just under twenty titles to your credit what genres do you write, and is there one that you've been wanting to experiment with?

Carol Ann Kauffman-  I write romantic contemporary women’s fiction (I don’t dare say “romance” because of what that’s come to stand for lately) and I write mysteries. I have a few that are classified as sci-fi. …As far as experimenting with genres, I have pretty much been experimenting all over the place! For instance, one bizarre storyline entitled, Lord of Blakeley, developed into a time travel novel about a simple farm boy who marries a woman who turns out to be an alien princess, and a jealous man with a mobile transport device who separates them to many different places: a rock planet, a slave ship, 1960’s Chicago, etc. Then our hero gets arrested for the murder of his wife when she disappears into thin air and nobody believes his story about mobile transport devices. And Shakespeare’s in the story, too. Bizarre enough? It’s out now on Amazon in kindle and paperback.

WADIFTS- I can see that you’ve found a confident voice in this industry, one that behooves you to branch out-take chances. But, if you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Carol Ann Kauffman-   I would choose M.C. Beaton, the wonderfully talented and prolific British writer of the Agatha Raisin series and the Hamish MacBeth series. I love her writing style. She is a joy to read.

 WADIFTS- From your list of reviews we know that you have a large and loyal fan base, but have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

Carol Ann Kauffman- Yes! I have a horrible review on Amazon for MacKalvey House. It is a brutal, nasty collection of barbs. Of course, I felt bad. But I do know my writing won’t appeal to everyone. And no matter how great something is, someone somewhere isn’t going to like it, and that’s okay with me. When this happens, you examine the critique, take what’s constructive and learn from it, and gently step over the hot, steamy mess that’s left and keep on going.

WADIFTS- What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author? The one that makes it all worth going through?

Carol Ann Kauffman “You made me laugh.” “You made me cry.” “I want to be best friends with your main character.”

WADIFTS- quid pro quo: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

Carol Ann Kauffman- 

a.       *Through the Darkness ~ Stories of Hope
b.      * Angels Unaware – Dale Evans Rogers
c.       *The Passers – Loretta Laird
d.       *The Davinci Code –Dan Brown
e.       *The Testament – John Grisham

 WADIFTS- quid pro quo: What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

Carol Ann Kauffman- 

Hamish MacBeth by M.C. BeatonAgatha Raisin by M.C. BeatonThe Stephanie Plum series by Janet EvanovichSue Grafton’s Alphabet Mysteries, A is for Alibi, etc., particularly appealing to a first grade teacher.

 WADIFTS- What are you working on now?

Carol Ann Kauffman-  The Cat Collier Winter Mystery Series (January Black Ice, February White Lies, and March Blues) is out now and doing well. Cat is a small town detective with a big city lawyer boyfriend, Carter. I'm working on the Spring Series opener, April Yellow Moon. In this one, Cat's old high school friend Stephanie is missing and Cat and her friend Jean get into all kinds of trouble looking for her. In the meantime, Woolstein, the bad guy, is still on the loose and has found a new way to threaten Carter, and one of Cat's parents ends up in the hospital.

I'm also working on the sequel to my sci-fi bestselling novel, Belterra, called Dark Return, where the indigenous race of bat like creatures crawls out of the sea and wants their land back. Neeka is still patching up soldiers and sending them back into battle, and Braedon is once again attempting to save the world by himself.
WADIFTS- It sounds so exciting! Do you have any advice for other authors?

Carol Ann Kauffman-  Write. Write every day. Write a book. When you’re done, write another. You can write one really, really bad book. But the next one will be better. Learn not to fall apart when someone says something negative. If you can do something else for a living, then do that, because this job is not a moneymaker. If you cannot keep away from writing, no matter how hard you try to crochet and mountain-climb instead, then you are a writer and you should write. Ignore the rules. Write from your heart, your soul, not so much your head. Enjoy yourself. If you don’t enjoy writing it, no one will enjoy reading it.

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OUR INSPIRATION Collaboration In Motion (#CIM) was established in 2016 by a group of women inspired by HOPE. 

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