AUTHOR INTERVIEW: SEPTEMBER DAWN's Carole Whang Schutter

It's not everyday you meet someone whose book is also a movie, now is it? I am pleased and thrilled to death to have Carole Whang Schutter, author of the bestselling book, September Dawn, here as a guest today at The Writer's Life.

Carole was born and raised in the beautiful state of Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Hawaii and is an evangelical Christian. Carole has been a motivational speaker to live audiences, and on TV and radio shows. She now occupies her time writing, skiing and hiking in Aspen. Her enduring interest in religion and passion for history led her to write “September Dawn,” her first screenplay written in collaboration with Director/Producer Christopher Cain which inspired the novel “September Dawn.” Currently, she is working on several screenplays, and a historical novel about her home state Hawaii.You can visit her website at http://www.cwschutter.com/ or the movie's website at http://www.septemberdawn.com/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Carole! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I feel like I’ve been writing all my life. I “wrote” my first story when I was 5. Completely misspelled gobbledygook with illustrations, but a valiant try. After that I dabbled in it, writing my first “novel” at thirteen. But life got in the way. I had quite a life, good and bad, in Honolulu and Aspen. Because of it I didn’t get serious until the age when a lot of people are retiring. As I was “unemployed” for most of my life, it was a good time to start.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

One day, I got this idea from God about a girl going to the California Gold Rush. I imagined a band of Mormons, dressed as Indians, attacking the wagon train and killing almost everyone. The girl was the daughter of a pastor who fell in love with the son of a Mormon Bishop. The idea wouldn’t leave me. I researched the Internet and found the story of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. I was astounded. I felt it was supposed to be a screenplay but I didn’t know how to write a screenplay. How many of you know that when God wants you to do something, He opens the doors? Not knowing how to write a screenplay was a technicality. Years before, the Lord made sure I became friends with Christopher and Sharon Cain. He was a movie producer/director and screenwriter. And in a flash, my dream of becoming a writer was restored.

What kind of research was involved in writing “September Dawn”?

Two years, thousands of pages downloaded off the internet, over 50 resources from the sermons preserved by the Mormon Church to confessions, congressional hearings, depositions, history books, autobiographies, the list was extensive.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I just told the graphic designers to use the poster for the front and my favorite shot in the movie in back.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Very bumpy. I wrote and rewrote the book after the movie was made. My first attempt was too much information, not enough fiction. I had a wonderful editor, Kathi Macias, who really taught me to write. I got a great agent right away, Greg Johnson, but selling a controversial book like this was hard. And, I wanted it to come out with the movie which was scheduled a long time before it was actually released and no one could or would get the book out with the movie. Kathi and Greg both suggested I go to Authorhouse and self-publish, so that is what I did.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

As I went to Authorhouse, I could fast track it.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

Greg Johnson was or is my agent. I don’t have a screenwriter’s agent. It hasn’t seemed to matter. I sold my first two screenplays, one of them became a movie and the other is going into production next year. But, I’m unusual.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. I really like doing screenplays but I wrote a book when I was in my twenties and have redone it maybe ten times (compared with 40-50 rewrites on a script). It is a historical family saga that takes place in Hawaii starting at the turn of the century, going into modern times. I have to update it. Maybe add a fourth generation. And, I like writing Inspirational books. I’m working on a rewrite of one now. All that, and a third screenplay too.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Definitely a night owl. When Chris Cain and I wrote the screenplay it was funny. I would send him emails at 3AM and he would respond when he woke up at 6 AM.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A good publicist.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I have found it is terribly important. God sent me an angel, a young lady named Tracy B Evans who wrote “Fatal Kidnapping,” she has helped this old lady navigate the Internet. One of my best friends is a very successful entrepreneur in several businesses and she told me, you have to promote yourself. That’s how she started when she had nothing. Now, she’s wildly successful and thinking of being a entrepreneur’s coach. Business is business, whether it’s a book you’re selling or cosmetics.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

It’s a tedious process. I don’t know if I’m the right one to advise as everything I’ve done is outside of the norm. But I think getting a great editor like Kathi Macias is very important. One has to send in a clean manuscript. If you really believe in yourself and have the money, and the time to promote yourself, go to Authorhouse.

Thank you for coming, Carole! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

http://www.cwschutter.com/

You can buy my book online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books a million and in Borders bookstores and other bookstores in your neighborhood.


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SEPTEMBER DAWN VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on Jan. 2, 2008 and continue all month.If you would like to follow Carole's tour, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/.

ATTENTION!!! Buy one of Carole's books at AMAZON, send US an online copy of the receipt before January 31 and she will send you an autographed bookmark, a downloadable e-copy of the screenplay from the movie, SEPTEMBER DAWN, which played in theatres around the country AND a free downloadable e-copy of the shooting schedule! PLUS other incentives including free ebooks from Pump Up Your Book Promotion! Click HERE to find out what other incentives you can receive!

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Carole's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours at http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com/ and choreographed by Cheryl Malandrinos.

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