Name: Carol Ekarius
Contact: Via a link on the website
(Originally published in my old website, Writester.net in 2005)
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: New Jersey
Q: Can you tell us your latest book news?
A: My 4th book, Hobby Farm, is being released May 25th.
Q: How old were you when you first started writing?
A: I have always written, but when I started selling my writing was in the mid-90s, and I was in my late 30s.
Q: When did you first realize you had the potential to be a writer?
A: Like most avid readers, I always wanted to write. When my husband and I moved to a farm, I made a commitment to myself that I would seriously pursue my dream. The first thing I did was to sit down at night and work through several English books to beef up my grammar, usage, and style, and to read everything I could get my hands on about writing and publishing. The English book I think helped the most was The Portable English Handbook by William Herman, which is out of print now, but readily available from used book sources.
Q: What was your inspiration to write your first novel?
A: Actually, I write nonfiction. I love fiction, but I have learned that there is a far greater market for nonfiction, and I have now established myself with a strong platform for my books. In the nonfiction world, a platform is crucial to success.
Q: Is there anyone or anything that inspired you to write?
A: My mom was an avid reader and took us to the library regularly when I was growing up.
Q: How has your environment and/or upbringing colored your writing?
A: I grew up with a strong love of nature and animals, which led to my life of farming. This has definitely colored my writing.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
A: My writing is down-to-earth and practical. I think of myself as a service provider for my readers -someone they can count on to give them important and accurate information about farming, livestock, gardening, cooking, and country living, that is presented in a highly readable style.
Q: How do you come up with the title(s) for your book(s)?
A: Although I don’t write fiction, this is still an interesting question. Titles need to convey content in only a few words, so it is always thought stimulating. In my case, my editors and I go back and forth until we get one or two titles we like, and then the marketing people select the final title.
Q: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?
A: My books are totally connected to my life experiences.
Q: What books have most influenced your life?
A: There are probably too many to list. In fiction, I think On the Beach, by Nevil Shute, should be required reading for everyone in the world.
Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A: I think in my “genre” of small farm and environmental writing, Gene Logsdon is probably the writer who most inspired me. I love Barbara Kingsolver’s writing-both her fiction and her nonfiction; I am a big fan of Wallace Stegner.
Q: What are you reading now?
A: I just started The New Economy of Nature by Gretchen Daily and Katherine Ellison. For fiction, I am reading J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello.
Q: What new author has grasped your interest?
A: I am thrilled with what writers like Susan Orleans is doing for narrative nonfiction. Combining storytelling techniques with nonfiction takes us into real worlds we wouldn’t know any other way, but does so in a way that captures our hearts and minds.
Q: Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?
A: Don’t be afraid to follow your dream, whatever that may be. Putting off your dream ‘until I retire’ is basically putting it off forever; I think my husband and I are proof that you don’t have to do that.