Author Interview: Carolyn Geduld
Welcome to Tuesday's author interview. Today we are talking with Carolyn Geduld of Black Rose Writing. I think you will really enjoy our conversation as we talk about age and writing.
JMR- Hi Carolyn, welcome to the Book’s Delight, tell us about yourself. Where do you live? What do you do for fun? What does the perfect day look like?
CG-Although I was raised in New York City, I left to go to college at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and wound up staying my whole adult life. Like many writers, I am an introvert who has always lived as if there were a pandemic: writing, reading, navel-gazing. A perfect day for me is spent on the beach in the middle of winter, walking and bird-watching. I actually do this every February in a beach house on Dauphin Island, below the southern tip of Alabama.
JMR- Congratulations on your new book, which will be published on 27 August 2020. When did you know you wanted to write a book? And why did you wait so long!?
CG-Thank you! My husband died of an illness called Frontotemporal Dementia. There were few books about that disease to guide me through my care-taking years, so I thought I’d write a memoir. But it wouldn’t have been flattering about my husband, and he couldn’t consent, so I decided to pour my emotions into a novel instead. I was 76 when I began, and it was the first time I attempted fiction. But it wasn’t my first published book. Fifty years earlier, when I was in my twenties, I wrote three books on the arts as well as lots of articles and reviews. One of the books, “A Filmguide to 2001,” is still for sale on Amazon. I stopped writing all those years ago to get a degree, pursue my career as a psychotherapist, raise my children, take care of my parents and in-laws in their waning years, and then care for my husband.
JMR- I imagine the world of publishing has changed in ways no one could foresee. Welcome back to publishing!
JMR- You are 78 years old, a first-time author. I think that the fact that this is a ‘thing’ shows an implied bias against people of a certain age and what they are capable of. Agree or disagree? Why.
CG-I think the bias exists against first-time senior authors unless they write memoirs. But the real bias is against senior characters in many novels. Anyone between the ages of 65 and 105 may be glommed together, as if they were all the same, and depicted as bent with arthritis and speaking in amusingly out-dated ways. Or, they are framing devices, used to “contain” fiction set in the past. King Lear is an example of a senior character who is also a unique individual, with agency, and still capable of growth at an advanced age. There are not many King Lears out there.
JMR- Another bias reveal here, she’s a sweet old lady whose writing about kittens and grandchildren, right? Wrong, she’s written about shooting up an old folk’s home! Carolyn tell us about your book and why you choose to write it.
CG-”Take Me Out The Back” is about a mass shooting in a nursing home in a small university town in Indiana and about the ripple effects in the community in the hours, days, weeks, and months after. When I began to write it in 2018, mass shootings in schools and other venues were in the news all too often. I did not set the crime in a school because, frankly, I couldn’t bear to. Instead, I set it in the hospice section of a nursing home. Nevertheless, it’s a grim thriller with some dark comic elements. No kittens.
JMR- How has your life experience shaped you as a writer? What do you bring to the table that a younger author does not?
CG-I had a forty year career as a psychotherapist, marvelling at the courageous things ordinary people do in the face of tragedy. My fiction, which includes nearly thirty published short stories as well as the novel, does the opposite--marvels at the irrational, awful things ordinary people do in the face of common stress. In “Take Me Out The Back,” for example, normal work-related and family stress turns an ordinary man into a psychotic killer. What I bring to the (writer’s) table is a well-developed craft--psychotherapy--that transfers well to fiction.
JMR- What advice do you have for others who view their age as an impediment to writing?
CG-Let me be an example of someone who did not let age get in the way.
JMR- What’s next. Do you have a second book up your sleeve?
CG-I do. The title of my almost completed work-in-progress is “Who Shall Live.” A four-year-old girl and her grandmother disappear from a Jewish community in a small university town in Indiana. Perhaps they are hiding in the strange forest that surrounds the town, where mystical things are said to happen.
JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media.
CG-My website: https://carolyngeduld.com/
My Facebook Author’s page: https://www.facebook.com/Carolyn-Geduld-Author-112047537150330
JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?
CG-I have a psychotherapist’s theory about writer’s block--that it is caused by an author’s internal conflict about writing or about what the author wants to write. I blocked the memoir of my husband’s illness because I was conflicted about the ethics of revealing anything unseemly about him. Ask me next time, and I’ll elaborate.
JMR- Well thanks Carolyn for stopping buy and chatting with us today. You have an amazing story and the Book's Delight wishes you the best of luck with your books. Please let us know when Who Shall Live comes out!
Readers, I've included an Amazon button for Carolyn's book. Click for more details.