Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ute Carbone - How I Became A Writer

I'm very pleased to welcome author Ute Carbone, who I had the pleasure of meeting a year ago while visiting New Hampshire. Ute talks about how writing chose her.

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The Accidental Writer

            I didn’t choose writing so much as writing chose me.

            When I was a kid, I wanted to be everything— anthropologist, psychologist, actress, trapeze artist, zoo keeper. The list went on for a miles. One thing not on the list was writer. I couldn’t spell and Mrs. McCormick, my third grade teacher, was forever telling me how awful my handwriting was.

            I had a huge imagination (see the long list above) and I loved making up stories—in them I’d usually be in the starring role, the tragic and wonderful heroine of adventure after adventure. Once, playing Candy Land with my mother (I think I was seven), I told her a story about the princess who lived in the candy castle—she was lost in the  gum swamp, a gloomy place where sunlight didn’t reach the ground and all the gum trees were exactly the same. She sat down and began to cry and a little bluebird flew down and sang her home. My mother listened and said “I think you’ll be a writer when you grow up.”  “No,” I thought. “I can’t be a writer. I can’t spell. And my handwriting is terrible.”

            Forward a lot of years. I got to try out some of the things on my list. I studied biology in college and figured out the sciences weren’t my life’s calling. I switched to special education and taught school for about six years. Then I had my sons, and for a while I was a stay-at-home mom.
          My kids grew and I began writing poetry. I think it was just something inside of me, this overflow of words that wanted to get out. I spilled words all over myself. I joined a poetry group and was surprised (and maybe a little pleased) that the other poets in the group were impressed with what I wrote. I started sending work out to small poetry magazines. The response was positive. I surged forward. And hit a wall.

           A poet friend of mine suggested we attend a workshop called ‘writing from the inner voice’ that was run by an award-winning poet in our area. The classes met weekly, and in them we would write out our first drafts and then read them aloud to one another. Daunting, at first, but this process worked magic. I sharpened my poetic skill and then something else happened. I found I wanted to go back to the stories I’d loved as a kid.  There were stories I wanted to tell.

          And so I began writing prose. Flash fiction at first, which grew into short stories, which grew until one day I had to own up—I was writing a novel. I never finished that first book, but no matter. It opened a door. Determined, I stepped through it. I started another novel. This time I finished it and that opened yet another door.

         That’s my story. After the first book I wrote another and another and another. I taught workshops much like the one that had ignited in me that first magical spark. It hasn’t been an overnight success. In fact, becoming a published author was a long time in coming. I’m still learning the art of story making. I imagine I will be learning it always. That’s what I love best about what I do—the challenge of making a new story, a better story.

         Looking back at it, I’ve come full circle. In writing stories, I can be all those things I wanted to be when I grew up. 

The Lilac Hour

Three Stories.
Three generations of women.
Three loves meant to last forever.

The Lilac Hour: Sara has been widowed longer than she was married. Now in her eighties, she discovers that anything is possible in the lilac hour.

Love Letters: Maggie rediscovers the letters that her husband Jake wrote long ago. Can she rekindle the passion that was once theirs?

The Road Not Taken: JoAnne meets an old love at Target. Has she made the right choice in choosing her husband David?

Ute Carbone Biography

Ute (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is a multipublished author of women’s fiction and romance. She lives with her husband New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.

Books and Stories  by Ute Carbone:

For more about Ute and her books, Please Visit:


Unknown said...

Thanks for having me guest today, Linda!

Unknown said...

Ute, I love your realization that with being a writer you can be, or at least be a part of, all the careers you thought about as a child.

Unknown said...

It is, in a way, like playing make-believe, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by, Victoria!

linda_rettstatt said...

Hey, that's why I write romance in addition to women's fiction. I live vicariously through my characters. :)

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me how writers got started. There are so many similarities in how we all began.
Great blog.