Authors, teachers, business-women, and so much more…
Our own Joan O’Callaghan presents a series of interviews with each of our Mesdames.
Caro Soles wrote an opera when she was 10. It was short. In the ‘60’s she wrote two musicals and a few other stage pieces. She took part in protest marches and gave up Paarl sherry and California grapes. With several degrees under her belt, she taught French and Spanish in universities, community colleges, a few private schools and collegiates. Her only regret is that she didn’t have much time for free love.
Joan: What have you written?
Caro: I have published 12 novels and many short stories in genres as varied as mystery, sf, dark fantasy and gay male erotica. Oh yes, and a few articles scattered about in there, one for a date book and one fopr Romantic Times. Don’t ask..
Joan: When did you start writing?
Caro: Like most writers, I started telling stories early on. My mother was a great story teller, as was all her family. Going to pick up milk at the corner store would turn into an exciting saga to hear her tell it!
Joan: Why write mysteries?
Caro: A dead body really gets things stirred up! Can’t beat it for conflict and tension!
Joan: Why do you think people like to read mysteries?
Caro: With mysteries, you have an idea of what to expect, to some extent. There are certain promises made to the reader— the status quo will be ripped apart, our hero or heroin will go through some kind of hell, either psychologically or physically— but at the end, order will be restored, even though things may never be quite the same again. Life can go on.
Joan: Is there a favourite place you like to write or ritual you go through when writing?
Caro: I used to write literally at the kitchen table. Then I had an actual office. Now I hate my office and go to our local Starbucks to write. I have written two whole books at Starbucks. I have a Gold Starbucks card, people!
Joan: How do you balance writing with the demands of a day job and/or family?
Caro: Get some sort of routine. And realize this routine will change. Frequently.
Joan: What awards or other forms of recognition have you received for your writing?
Caro: I won the essay prize in my senior year of high school with a short story. This had never been done before. I was awarded the Derrick Murdoch Award from the Crime Writers of Canada and was short listed for the Lambda Literary Award. I was also the Guest of Honour at a major convention in Chicago. Next year, I will be the MC for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award.
Joan: What are you working on now?
Caro: I am now working on a totally new kind of project for me, a cross-genre anthology I am coediting with writer Nancy Kilpatrick. It is a new concept and we already have 8 New York Times Best Selling authors lined up, as well as a few other very good but less well known writers. And we are keeping back 3 slots for a sort of competition anyone can enter. You will be hearing much more from me about this project in another month!
Joan: As a writer, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Caro: Just let go and write! At the time, I had no idea what this meant! But you will, if you keep writing.
Joan: What do you like about being one of the Mesdames ?
Caro: Being one of a group who consistently support each other’s work. This is invaluable to a writer, especially in these uncertain times. Thank you, Mesdames!
Joan: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Caro: I just want to add that the term mystery is a very large umbrella, sheltering every kind of style from literary to light and funny, to deep psychological studies, set in all sorts of places, even outer space. There is a mystery at the heart of every story!
Joan O’Callaghan is the author of educational books and short stories, including Sugar ‘N’ Spice in the anthology THIRTEEN (Carrick Publishing, 2013). Her short story George is available for e-readers everywhere, including Amazon Kindle.