I read The Loose Ends List a few weeks ago and I loved it! I decided to ask Carrie if she wanted to do a interview and she would! So we’ll jump right in!
Hi Carrie! So I took my time and I came up with my questions – so here they are!
Thank YOU for the great questions!
So first off: how did you become a writer? And how did it become your job?
I’ve always loved to write. I was a teacher for many years and then a mom, so I didn’t have much time to write until I turned forty and decided to write full time. I worked hard on my craft and went to conferences and learned about the business. I wrote two novels before I queried my agent with The Loose Ends List. She took me on as a client and sold my book to my editor. I think that’s when I considered writing my “job.”
We know you from your first book – The Loost Ends List. How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you to write about this concept?
I’ve had many life experiences that came together in the back of my mind and prepared me for this book. I took a cruise many years ago and spent time talking to the piano player on the ship. I asked him what happened when somebody died in the middle of the ocean. He said, “they put them in a freezer.” That image stayed with me.
How was the process of writing The Loose Ends List? Was it easy or very difficult?
The book poured out of me. I wrote 98,000 words in six weeks. It was easy to get the first draft out. It was as if the characters possessed me and forced me to tell their story. The hard part was tending to my family during that intense period. I didn’t cook, do laundry or talk to anyone. I barely bathed!
A special characteristic of The Loose Ends List is the humor. Was it easy for you to invent the jokes?
The strange part about writing this novel was that I didn’t feel in control of what the characters said or did. I’ve written six novels and this book was the only one that seemed to write itself. So I would write something totally inappropriate and I’d re-read it and be like, “Come on, Gram. Really?”
And how did you find the perfect balance between humor and death?
I’ve always been freaked out by death. So I think I needed to have the outlandish humor to serve as a buffer between me and the notion of death.
If you were Maddie, how would you have reacted?
I would have reacted very much like Maddie did. Maddie’s voice came out of my own high school diaries. And while I didn’t grow up rich or entitled, I did have many of the same neuroses. I would have freaked out and probably acted like a brat. Then I would have looked for a cute guy to distract me. (Maddie has been judged by plenty of Goodreads readers, but sorry…boys are good distractions. And I was ALL about “instalove”)
I’m also very curious how you came up with the snow globe moment phrase, because I think that’s very special!
Thank you! I distinctly remember sitting on a balcony during my mother-in-law’s birthday trip to Bermuda. I was reading Harry Potter to my daughters who were six and eight at the time. We curled up on a comfy sofa and stared out at the gorgeous sea. The way the sky met the sea in a kind of dome shape made me feel like I was inside a snow globe. I never forgot that.
You’re next book is The Unlikelies (which I’ll definitely read), but is it comparable to The Loose Ends List, or is it totally different?
I can’t wait to share The Unlikelies with you! It’s very different, but it’s got a similar flavor. I like to take huge issues and make them relatable and accessible to a range of readers. It’s about a girl who commits a spontaneous act of heroism and is invited to a “homegrown heroes luncheon” where she meets four other do-gooders. They start hanging out and doing all kinds of good samaritan acts online and in real life. The book is about “finding your purpose and your people,” and deals with the theme “no good deed goes unpunished.” I’m really happy with it!
Are you planning on writing any other books?
Yes! I have nine book ideas right now and am trying to figure out which one to do next. Right now, I’m developing workshops on writing/inspiration for schools and libraries.
Do you have any tips for those of us who write?
My biggest tip is live a full life! I feel like all the random stuff that shows up in my books came from living a life of adventure. Don’t get me wrong- most of my life is boring! But I try to travel and talk to as many people as I can and listen to their stories. I keep a notebook of ideas from TV, news, books, friends and family experiences. I say- go out and explore the world. Explore your neighborhood. Observe the big and small things. Then write freely and without worrying that you’ll offend someone. I promise- you WILL offend someone. And good. That means you’re stirring things up! Also, don’t edit the first draft. Just keep on writing until it’s done. And if you have a bunch of book ideas – write them down and get back to the project you’re working on until it’s DONE. Writing, like true love, is not glamorous. As first it’s exciting. But then there’s the hard work and tears and daily tedium. But it’s all worth it in the end.
I also got a few other little questions:
What is your favorite book genre?
The first one that came to mind was Stones From The River by Ursula Hegi
Sleepless in Seattle
Favorite TV show?
Game of Thrones and The Bachelor
Favorite holiday/ holiday destination?
Thanksgiving with my family at my house
Favorite music genre?
Imagine by John Lennon
Dogs or cats?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Autumn in New England
This was so much fun, Wendy! Thank you!!!
Carrie, thank you so much for doing this interview with me! I enjoyed it lots and I hope to hear from you soon!