Interview time again folks and this is an interview first published back in 2013 with a writer I’ve featured previously on RockPaperSpirit. I’ve invited author Carol Ann Kauffman along to have a glass of something fizzy and some canapes at the VIP area of a Grand Prix as we chat about her books, past career as a teacher and, as always, biscuits! Her novel, The Baslicato is actually set partly in southern Italy and features a racing driver. A novel featuring one of my favourite parts of the world and motorsport? That sounds right up my street!
Hi Carol, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Firstly, can you tell us in your own words what The Baslicato is about?
It’s a pleasure to be with you again, Lacey. THE BASLICATO is a full-length novel in the Time After Time series and follows a pair of quintessential lovers, Richard and Nicole, through their lives together, in different places, in different times, with different names, and sometimes on different planets. This follows the alternative theory that the relationships we forge in this lifetime, both the good and the bad, are continued into the future, and are rooted in our past. What we do, whom we love, and the good and evil deeds we do today follow us into the future. Unsettled issues will present themselves again and again, until they are ultimately resolved. Those people who have had a profound effect on us in this lifetime will find us again in the future. This particular story, THE BASLICATO, is set in the 1960s in Utah, Ohio, and the southern Italian town of Tursi in Basilicata province. It’s about a doctor who agrees to help an Italian racecar driver with a head injury and an identity problem, oh, and crazy exes.
It sounds fabulous! What inspired you to write a book with a racing driver as one of the main characters?
This book is dedicated to my father, who was born in the Basilicata province in southern Italy. He was the best man I ever knew. He was fearless, had a “lead foot”, and loved to race. He taught me how to drive. I got many speeding tickets, but he never got upset about it.
I love the cover for the book. Who designed the cover?
I did! Thank you for very much. I took the cover photo on a trip to southern Italy in 2006.
As you mentioned, the book is part of the Time After Time series, isn’t it? Can you tell us a bit about Time After Time and the other books in the series?
Although every one of the Time After Time books follows the same couple, they are all very different and some are in completely different genres. BELTERRA (my bestseller and #1 on the kindle action romantic adventure list) and LORD OF BLAKELEY are more sci-fi/fantasy, but all of them are slice of life/comedic love stories. They are not sexually explicit or graphically violent, though my heroes tend to get roughed up a bit, but never the heroine.
BLUE LAKE is the story of an older woman and her love of a younger, British actor. It follows them across two continents and an island or two and spans thirteen years of their lives.
BENTLEY SQUARE finds our lovers stalked by an international death squad because our hero is not quite who he seems to be.
Madison’s Christmas is short story about mistaken identity.
Waiting for Richard is about finding love late in life. It involved a children’s author and a reclusive elephant veterinarian in Australia.
Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life, is cookbook written in the form of a letter from a seriously ill mother to her unborn daughter, describing the circumstances of her birth.
Waiting For Richard sounds interesting! Brook Wilson from the book travels to southern Italy, doesn’t she? Tell us about your trip to Italy. Did it inspire you to write this story?
Yes, I have travelled extensively in Italy. I LOVE it. Everybody needs to go to Italy at least once. Rome is a trip of a lifetime. Venice is absolutely fantastic. Tuscany is gorgeous. And I’m partial to the beautiful southern countryside. I did not attend any racing events during my trips in Italy, but have in the US. I remember seeing Paul Newman race here in northeast Ohio.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on MACKALVEY HOUSE, which is the story of an older man’s fascination with a young woman trying to find herself. (This girl is the baby from Echo of Heartbreak.) Also, I have been working on the sequel to BELTERRA, called DARK RETURN, where the indigenous race appears to take their planet back, causing much grief for our hero, who is heading the planetary defense and his peacemaker wife. And then there’s SEA WITCH, where the head of the extraterrestrial institute is missing, and her handsome infatuated assistant works relentlessly to find her.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a writer?
It is FUN! I find character development, plot twists, and storylines such fun. I also like to edit. Formatting for the Kindle can be a hair-pulling experience, because your manuscript can be perfect, but once you push that PUBLISH button, it’s a crap-shoot! Kindle does not recognize space bar or tab, for instance. Luckily, they don’t care how many times you go back and fix it, and there’s a little button on the Kindle that allows my readers to update the latest version of a book they purchased. I can’t tell you why I love it, but it is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life. It also gives me an opportunity to impart some of the things I’ve learned along the way to younger women, so they don’t have to make ALL the same mistakes. They can make some NEW ones! Much of my fiction is based on situations and experiences I have had. Well, not the alien stuff, of course!
Before you were a writer, you were a teacher. Is that right? What aspects of teaching, if any, would you say have been useful in your career as a writer?
Yes, I taught in the same public school system for thirty-five years. I loved it. I had wonderful students (many of whom I still keep in touch), great parents to work with, and the years flew by. I thought I would be chasing the school bus down the street when I retired, sobbing and clutching onto mailboxes as I ran down the street. But it didn’t happen.
Teachers have to be able to plan and then see that plan through to fruition on their own. They are given very little help and even less material. The ability to organize and work on my own were helpful. Teaching is a create career.
And now, I like to lighten the mood a little with a few random and silly questions!
If you were a flavour of pizza, what one would you be and why?
HA! I ‘ve never thought of it before, hmm. I think I would be plain thin crust pizza with green peppers and extra mozzarella cheese, served piping hot, tugging my cheese with your teeth and twirling it around your tongue. Yep.
If you were offered a million dollars every year for life on the condition that you could never write again, what would you do?
Wow, I don’t know if that’s a possiblity. I would have to decline. I like to do things my way and don’t like restrictions. I have learned a simple life is a happier life. I don’t want more stuff. If you have less stuff, you an find it. Travelling is my only expensive habit!
And now the question I ask everyone, that has nothing to do with anything… what’s your favourite biscuit?
Walkers shortbread cookies, the little scottie dog ones. Did you know they come in chocolate now? I hide them in the cupboard behind the couscous and quinoa and I rarely share them.
Thanks again for joining me Carol. I am loving The Baslicato! Italy and a racing driver in one book? Heaven!