About the Author
Carol Fragale Brill’s fiction received recognition from Poets and Writers and was a reader’s favorite for The Best of Philadelphia Stories. Her works have also appeared in Wide Array, New York Journal of Books, the Press of Atlantic City, and numerous online e-zines and business journals. The author of two novels, PEACE BY PIECE and CAPE MAYBE, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
She is a happily married beach and book lover, living her dream in Cape May, NJ. In her “day job” as a Leadership Coach and educator she frequently uses stories in training.
Find her book reviews for New York Journal of Books at http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/carol-brill
And her blog at http://4broadminds.blogspot.com/search/label/Carol
What inspires you to write romance books?
I have loved stories ever since my parents read me Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Black Beauty at bedtime when I was five or six. I know Grimm’s may not seem like the stuff sweet dreams are made of, but mostly they read the ones about princesses being rescued by the prince. I started dreaming about writing a book when I was 20-something. It took me another 20 years to join a creative writing critique group and get started. And, I’m still a sucker for happily-ever-after love stories.
I had more specific inspirations for writing PEACE BY PIECE. Unshakeable first love, eating disorders, the joys and heartaches of step-parenting, infertility—these are real issues that touch the lives of so many women. I thought readers were ready for and would relate to a contemporary character dealing with the same everyday issues that so many of us face.
Tell us about how you write:
I am a blend of both panster and plotter. Before starting a new piece, I spend a lot of time in my head, envisioning the beginning and end of the story. For longer pieces, I write character bibles and what I call a lifeline with important plot points. Once I start writing, the characters reveal the middle to me, sometimes scene by scene. Other times, huge chucks of the character’s motivation emerge and it takes many pages for me and the writing to catch up.
Like many writers, I have to fit my writing time in around a non-writing day job. Morning is my best writing time. On weekends and days off, I try to write for at least four or five hours a day. I am an early riser—often at my computer in the dark hours before the sun is up. Most days, you will find me there pre-dawn, rereading and editing what I most recently wrote before getting ready for my “day job.”
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Absolutely. I love the E.L. Doctorow quote, “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
My best writing is when I am in that zone where I hear and channel my characters voices. Doesn’t happen all of the time. What a gift when it does.
What advice would you give other writers?
Put in the time to study craft—characterization, plotting, show don’t tell, creating a sense of time and place. When I started writing creatively, I had no idea there were so many elements to writing craft. Once you start to understand craft, grab a few books in your genre and read them like a writer, dissecting how the author uses craft to create emotion and drama. Also, the support of other writers is so valuable. Find critique partners, join a writing group, and open yourself up to feedback. Perhaps the most important lesson is learning that writing is just the beginning, rewriting and working with a professional editor is where the story becomes what it is meant to be.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
For several years, I tried the traditional route, queried many agents, and was offered representation twice. The first agent just didn’t work out. The second one retired a few months after taking me on–with my unsold manuscript still on her desk.
By then, I had started following a few self-pub blogs. I never thought I would self-publish, but I believed in both of my novels and wanted to get them in reader’s hands.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think in a lot of ways the future is here. I’m one of those people who believe ebooks will continue to grow and that in spite of that, there will also be a need for real books, to hold that paper magic in your hands.
What genres do you write?
Women’s fiction, contemporary romance,
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print