Interview: Carol Lynch Williams


Carol Lynch Williams is the backbone of WIFYR. This conference is only one way she has reached out to help other writers improve their craft. The work she does to create WIFYR helps writers achieve their goals as they attend. Carol is one of the reasons we have such a rich writing culture in Utah.

Q: Carol, What is your favorite line that you have ever written or read that someone else wrote and why?

A: I think each of my novels has a favorite line in it. The one that kicked off The Chosen One, a book I had in my head for at least five years was, “If I was going to kill the prophet, I’d do it in Africa.”

The amazing Richard Peck says we writers are no better than our first lines–and I think he’s right. I try to make each line the best it can be. They aren’t perfect the first time through. I work hard at my writing. I want each line to count. And I have friends who read my work and editors and an agent who helps, too. Plus, my daughters.

Still, I love it when I get a line that makes the story unfold for me.

Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?

A: I can’t believe people don’t already know the answer to this question–well, people who know me! I’d be a singer. I think I could be a pretty good Country and Western star, but dang it if I haven’t lived in UT for so long my accent is gone. I can only blame myself, of course. For being accentless AND living in Utah! I try to make up for the not singing part of things once a year at the WIFYR conference. So far we have sung our own take on Bohemian Rhapsody, Bad Romance and Hit Me Baby One More Time (is that the name?), just to name a few. The first song? Paperback Writer. 😀

Always fun.

*Q: What does your typical day look like?

A: If it’s a day I can actually write, after I have had a chance for some individual morning study, I go right in to my computer. I try and spend about an hour or two working on the story I am writing. If I am behaving, I don’t do anything but write during that time–but the truth is, I check my email, blog, wonder why am I a writer, complain, stretch, stand up and walk around, get breakfast, complain some more, and think about cleaning.

Once though, I wrote 2500 + words in an hour. And that is pretty darn good for me because I don’t know how to type (and I use 6 fingers to write my books).

There are other things that take me from my writing. I’m a mom, I care for my own mother, I teach classes and grade papers and talk to my friends on the phone.

One of these days I’m thinking about being super dedicated. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Q: When you are stuck in a particular place in a book that you can’t seem to get through, what do you do?

A: I don’t believe in The Muse or in Writer’s Block. Something has gone wrong with my story if I am completely out of ideas as to what to do with a novel. However, when I write, I kind of figure things out as I go: what’s going to happen as the story unwinds, and does it unwind as it should. Does this mean writing is easy for me? No, it’s not. I spend a good amount of time complaining and whining and worrying thinking I will never write another book again in my life, that the first 25 were all a fluke. Does this mean that I don’t get stumped? Believe me, I get tangled up in the storyline. But I am pretty good at picking out knots–and if worst comes to worst, if I let things sit a bit, I can usually figure out what I need to do to get a draft on the page.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. beccabirkin

    Yay, Carol! Isn’t she incredible?

    She is good at picking the knots out of a story. It’s why she’s a great teacher as well.

  2. Michelle Hubbard

    I LOVE the first line of “The Chosen One”–one of the best.

  3. Alison

    I love that first line, too. I also love the one about the baby being as sweet as new butter. That’s yummy writing, that is.

  4. Pingback: Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers 2013 « Bookscoops

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