Friday, February 22, 2013

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Ute Carbone

Today I am interviewing author Ute Carbone. Her book, Afterglow, was released January 7th.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.  
Afterglow is the story of India Othmar, a woman of a certain age who has left her philandering husband after thirty years of marriage. India’s best friend, Eva, wants to fix her up with every odd ball in their small Massachusetts town. Her grown children have moved home. And her only romance these days is with Cherry Garcia. India’s more resilient than she gives herself credit for being, though. It takes a broken arm, some creative uses for shoes, a lawn littered with engine parts and an affair with much younger man to help her realize that her life hasn’t ended with her marriage.
Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
This book is a romantic comedy. I love writing rom coms, but in a broader sense I write women’s fiction. I have a more serious literary women’s fiction, Blueberry Truth, on my backlist as well as a time travel romance novella. Upcoming are both a new rom com and another women’s fiction title, as well as a historical romance novella—which is a departure for me, but I loved the challenge.  
When did you start writing toward publication?
I started writing seriously about fifteen years ago. I got some poems and short pieces published. Books came a bit later, I finished a first novel about eight years ago. For a long time, I was more invested in writing and learning fiction than in publication. Eventually, though, I did try and get things pubbed. My first book came out in August of 2011.
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
Yes. I still have a few collecting dust. Blueberry Truth, my debut novel, was actually the fourth novel I’d written. Years ago, small pubs weren’t a viable option. I like having a publishing house behind my work. I like knowing someone thought enough of it to pick it up and I like having a professional editor to help me polish the book.
Why have you become a published author?   
I wanted to share the stories I’d written. Writing a book you don’t plan to share with readers is like baking a cake just for yourself. It can be done, of course, but some things are better if you share them.
Do you have any rejection stories to share?
I’ve gotten lots and lots of rejection over the years. It’s kind of writer’s badge of honor to have them. The best was an agent who read the manuscript on my very first novel. I was pretty green then and really didn’t know what I was doing in terms of submissions. He wrote me a very sweet letter that said, basically, it’s me not you. It felt a little like he was breaking up with me.
What is your writing routine like?
If I manage a thousand words a day I consider it a success. I am persistent, though. I try to write something every day.
Wow! I love days when nothing interrupts me and I get lots of pages written or edited. After publication, what sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
I don’t have help. I could use help, though. Any volunteers?? J  I have a website that I try to keep current and a blog. I’m also on facebook and twitter. Lately, I’ve done a few bookstore readings—I really like meeting readers in person.
Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?  
When a reader contacts me to say how much they enjoyed my book. Blueberry Truth is about fostering a child and I’ve had a few readers share their own experiences of fostering with me. That’s very gratifying.   
Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
I don’t belong to any large organizations at present. More locally, I belong to the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, which has lots of workshops and resources for writers. Other authors in the publishing houses I work with also offer up a wealth of experience and information.
My first writer's workshop was held in New Hampshire. It was awesome! Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 
Keep trying. Rejection sucks and everybody hates it. But if you really want it, you need to keep at it. Work on making your writing the best it can be. Keep perfecting. Be stubborn, don’t let no stop you from working towards the yes that you want. 
Stubborn? My husband has called me inflexible and mulish, but I think those are necessary traits for a writer.What’s next for you?
I’ve got several projects in the works, including another romantic comedy and a full length women’s fiction with a strong love story. I’m also doing a lot of editing at present. I’ve got another rom com, Searching for Superman, coming out this summer, along with a historical romance novella, Sweet Lenora, and a trilogy of short love stories, I’ll be seeing you.
India Othmar isn’t having a great year. Her husband of thirty-one years has left her for their son’s ex-girlfriend. Her grown children have moved home. Her best friend Eva seems determined to set her up with every oddball in their small Massachusetts town. And her most significant relationship these days is with Cherry Garcia.

But India is more resilient than she thinks. And though it will take a broken arm, a lawn littered with engine parts, some creative uses for shoes, and a scandalous love affair of her own, she learns, much to her surprise, that her life hasn’t ended with her marriage.
My first affair with Cherry Garcia lasted nearly three weeks. It ended when my best friend, Eva, threw a shoe at my head. My Reebok sneaker to be exact. “Enough,” said Eva from the bedroom door. “You cannot wallow forever. Besides which, I am getting very
tired of walking alone. I’ve started talking to myself, for God's sake. I’ve started talking to the dogs along the way.” She raised her arms like a conductor ready to strike up the band. “Get your hiney downstairs in five minutes or I will dress you myself.” She turned with runway model flourish and sauntered away. I do mean sauntered. Eva was nothing if not dramatic.
I should never have given Eva a key to my house. But I had, and she repaid my trust by yelling up the stairs, “Five minutes, India,” as though it were a curtain call.
    Knowing that there was not the slightest chance that she’d give up and go away, I got up, dug my oldest sweats from the bottom of the hamper, and put on both sneakers.
    “You look like misery’s leftovers,” Eva said when I came down the stairs. I gave her what I thought was a smoldering look, though in truth I don’t smolder well.
    “Let’s just get on with it,” I said.
    We walked the same route we’d walked nearly every day for twenty-five years, discounting my cha cha with Cherry Garcia. It was about two miles long, this walk, down Queen’s Boulevard, along Park Street to Third Avenue, down McKinley past the elementary
 school, and back around to Easterly Street, where Eva and I resided in side by side Dutch colonials, mine with a maple in front, hers with a willow to the side, at numbers 140 and 142.
    “You know what you need?” Eva said as we rounded the corner on McKinley. “You need a night out.”
    “I don’t need a night out. I can barely handle in.”
    We’d just passed the gold brick of McKinley Elementary where I had taught kindergarten for twenty years, ever since my daughter, Allie, had started school. We’d trekked out together, Allie and I, all those years ago. Up until my unfortunate fall in with Ben and Jerry’s, I’d kept trekking along, as trusting as those kids in my class.
    “Mrs. Othmar!” Jenny cute-as-a-bunny Mantillo came bounding down off her porch as we walked by. “You’re feeling better! Mrs. Langtree said you’d feel better and then you’d come back to school.” Jenny started walking with us, backward, “Guess what? We got a new puppy. His name is Delmar and maybe, can I bring him in for show and tell?”
    “Of course, Jenny. As long as someone’s there to take him home.”
    “Oh, Mommy will. I know she will. And Mrs. Othmar? We made you a big card that says welcome back when you come back.”
    “Are you going back?” Eva asked after Jenny bounded back up to her porch.
    “Yes. Probably. I think so.”
    “You know, I don’t envy you your job. God only knows how you deal with a roomful of snot-nosed carpet rats all day long. But you love that job.”
    We walked past the tennis courts, where the Saturday morning enthusiasts were out enjoying the first of the warm weather. Where my husband, Tom, had played tennis on Saturday mornings with our son, Patch. My soon-to-be ex-husband, Tom. And my dear, soon-to-be-if-not-already devastated son, Patch. I walked a little faster, trying to outrace these last thoughts. Eva kept pace. I was glad she wasn’t a mind reader. In fact, she was on a different wavelength all together. “What exactly did you tell Lila Stroud as far as your little absence is concerned?” She marked absence with imaginary quotation marks.
    “I told her I had tuberculosis.”
    “You didn’t, not that old Lila couldn’t use a little shaking up. But India. Well, it’s brilliant, I’ll give you that.”
    Actually, I’d told Lila, the principal at McKinley, that I wasn’t well and needed some time. Since Tamsett is a small town, where gossip travels faster than electricity, it’s not much of stretch to imagine she knew exactly why I needed time.
    “Looking at you, though, I might think tuberculosis myself,” Eva said
    “I’m just taking some time. I’m allowed to take some time.”
    “So? What? You’re going to lie in bed scarfing saturated fat until you die? You have got to get yourself out of this funk. I can’t be dragging you out of bed every day.”
    “I came, didn’t I?” I pointed to my feet. “See? Sneakers. I’m walking.” I did a couple of exaggerated marching steps to illustrate my point.
    “Its a star,” Eva said.
More About the Author
Ute, who pronounces her name oohtah, was born in Germany and grew up in upstate New York. She and her husband reside in Nashua, NH. They have two grown sons. Ute enjoys hiking, skiing, and generally anything that involves being outside. She loves chocolate, wine, and, of course, books.
Books by Ute Carbone:
For more about Ute and her books, Please Visit:

WEBSITE   BLOG   Facebook  
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