Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to my first Q and A of the year with today’s feature, French- Canadian author, Carol Balawyder and her new #Thriller release – Warnings Signs. I’m a big fan of Carol’s writing and have read all her books from her heartfelt memoir – Mourning Has Broken to her Mr. Right series, and now her newest release – a psychological thriller, which I’ve recently finished reading and will be thrilled to share my review soon. Carol is one of my oldest blogging friends I connected with soon after I first began blogging. So with no further ado, I’m delighted to introduce you to Carol.
I was born and brought up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada but have lived most of my life in Montreal. As a child, learning to speak, I had the good fortune of acquiring English and French simultaneously. My early outside world was a French neighborhood while my inside world (home) was the language and culture of my Slavic roots – a mixture of Russian and Polish though because of the wars it is hard to tell
I taught English for years at different colleges and universities, including Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology in Vietnam. Because I was unable to find suitable material for the Business English course I was teaching, using my then married name Carol Ann Fournier, I created Open for Business a student workbook, along with a teacher’s guide and tape.
After completing a Master’s Degree in Criminology from The University of Montreal, I taught criminology in the Police Technology and Corrections Programs at Ahuntsic College in Montreal. In the midst of my divorce and my sister and mother’s
deaths, I wrote my comedy-romantic Getting to Mr. Right series and Mourning has Broken, a collection of vignettes on grief and loss.
My short stories have appeared in Room Magazine, Mindful.org, The Anthology of Canadian Writers.
I manage a blog www.carolbalawyder.com where I post on various categories: Famous Writers’ Desks, Female Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature, Review of books written by fellow bloggers, Femme Fatales, and my dog, Bau. Check it out!
Warning Signs is my debut novel in the crime genre.
Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?
Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.
Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.
Time to get to know more about Carol:
Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?
There I am, age twenty-seven, writing on a Smith Corona typewriter. I was working on a novel which I never finished but I still have it somewhere along with a stack of other
first drafts. At times, when I come across them, I tell myself that I’ll get back to them when I’m old and don’t know what to do with my time. Well, I’m old now and have plenty to do with my time. Writing has come in waves with me. There were times that I thought of giving it up completely and did so for a few months, even years, but it crept back up on me. The photo was taken in a cabin up in the Quebec Laurentians along Riviere Rouge. Both the cabin and Riviere Rouge are part of the setting for my latest novel Warning Signs.
D.G. – Fantastic backstory Carol. And you are from from old!
Who is your favorite author and why?
Julian Barnes. Hands down. He not only is a terrific writer but I love what he writes about, especially his latest novel The Only Story. Having said this, there are so many other authors that I love. Some of them write about romance, some memoirs or biographies and of course crime novels, in particular domestic crime novels such as Leila Slimani (The Perfect Nanny), Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train) and
Shari Lapena (The Couple Next Door).
With my dog, Bau, we volunteer at a school in Point St. Charles (one of Canada’s poorest neighborhoods) for children with special needs. Wanting to do a bit of research on The Point in order to use as setting for a future novel, I googled and came
across the writer Kathy Dobson’s memoir of growing up there. I was expecting a serious book – after all nothing funny about poverty, right? But Kathy Dobson is hilarious as she questions the differences between social classes and presents a candid and provoking voice as first hand witness to being brought up in poverty all in a style reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye.
Having a favorite author is like having a favorite song. The song is number one for a few weeks or even months on the charts and then there’s another number one to replace it. These days Kathy Dobson is one of my favorite authors. It was a great
discovery for me, especially her being practically from my doorsteps.
Do your books have messages in them?
In writing a post on Olga Tokarczuk – the latest Nobel Prize Laureate for literature – I came across this quote of hers: “… just writing a book to know who is the killer is wasting paper and time, so I decided to put into it animal rights and a story of dissenting citizens who realize that the law is immoral and see how far can they can go with saying no to it.”
This made me think about the messages I am interested in exploring through my writing. Messages about loneliness, poverty, homelessness and social injustice. In my Getting to Mr. Right series I touch upon such subjects as Multiple Sclerosis, Down Syndrome and the Prince Charming Myth. I love the research part of writing and therefore try to tackle a subject which I have little knowledge about. I know…write what you know but sometimes I find that boring.
In my latest novel, I took a risk in writing about a serial killer whereby I wanted to give the message that although his actions were monstrous, there was also a lot of hurt and rage inside of him because of childhood abuses. As a criminologist, my goal was to try to understand his abhorrent behavior in the hopes that a “cure” may be possible for these lost and evil inhabited souls and to put forth the hypothesis that one is not
necessarily born evil but a product of many other factors, such as upbringing, social inequalities and environmental dynamics and personality disorders. I was also interested in the betrayal theme and obsession.
D.G. – Fascinating insights Carol. And I think ‘write what you know’ is a good starting point layered with always learning.
How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing and social media overwhelming?
Forget about how I promote my work. I’m really weak at that and am grateful for my blogging community to invite me for reviews. Thank you, Debby, for your generosity and interest in my writing. What I really want to talk about is blogging. Do I find social media overwhelming? Yes. Double yes. Triple yes. Now, understand that I manage only a blog. I am on no other social media and wonder how those who are on Facebook,
Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest and so forth do it. It’s not that I don’t find these platforms interesting. On the contrary, but I can hardly keep up to blogging even once a week, let alone updating my website and keeping up with my fellow bloggers.
D.G. – I feel your pain Carol. I am one of those ‘all over the map’ when it comes to trying to be everywhere and still churn out some writing. It’s overwhelming to say the least!
Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit that helps you with your writing?
It’s not so much a quirk or habit but rather a belief and has to do with co-creating with the Universe. I am a firm believer in being guided and connected to spirit energy to assist me in my writing and to open my mind to write with clarity, sensitivity and joy. Hopefully.
Before I begin to write, I usually start off by listening to an inspirational message. For example, before writing my answers to these questions I listened to Pura Rasa (Receiving Messages & Blessings from Spirit Guides). While writing I mostly always listen to background music which inspires creativity, concentration and focus. Two channels I like are Brainwave Power Music and The Brainwave Hub but there are
many more such as Denzel Washington’s video on the importance of gratitude.
Drop expectations and try to keep positive.
D.G. – I love your ritual Carol; I can definitely see how becoming one with yourself and thoughts can help quiet the mind and help with creativity. Thank you for sharing this video and for being with us here today. I enjoyed learning more about you.
Visit Carol on Social Links:
WEB SITE: www.carolbalawyder.com
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/carolbalawyder
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/cbala