The Writing Life with Mystery Author Tom Carter

Bestselling author Tom Carter is a longtime Nashville who lives with his wife, Janie, a few miles from Nashville’s legendary Music Row. 

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What got you into writing?

Necessity.  In November, 1970 I was a college student and
construction worker in Tulsa, Oklahoma where my job was
ending for the year due to cold and wintery weather.  I went to my college counselor seeking employment leads.  I was told The Tulsa
World, the morning newspaper, needed someone to write
obituaries.  I took the job.  For two and one-half years I wrote
formula stories about dead people.  Eventually I became a general
assignment reporter, and ultimately became a human interest
columnist.  Seventeen years later, I moved to Nashville,
Tennessee where I collaborated to write the autobiography of
blind singer, Ronnie Milsap.  since then, I’ve written eighteen
more books.

What do you like best about being an author?

I like the freedom inherent from ideas through free association. 
I like the fulfillment when my writing is my best, and hope
people will like it.  I like working on my own.

When do you hate it?

When I have writer's block.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

If it involves non-fiction, I digest all of the facts I intend to
weave into sentences that day.  If it involves fiction, I read
what I wrote the previous day, then kick my imagination into
creative overdrive.

Do you think authors have big egos?

Yes, especially if they're commercially successful.

How do you handle negative reviews.

I note that the reviewer has comprised a short and disposable small
notice.  I, on the other hand, have written an entire book that
will last throughout the ages.  And if my work is so bad, why did
he or she even bother profess their opinion?  Then I remember that Ernest
Hemingway wrote wordy sentences that sometimes consumed entire
paragraphs.  He also had difficulty spelling four-letter words.

How do you handle positive reviews.

In the words of Billy Crystal, “I've tricked the critics once

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance
that you're an author?

"My, your life must be so interesting," they usually say.

What do you do on those days when you don't feel like
writing?  Do you force it or take a break.

I force it.  Soon, I'm right back in a creative groove.

What would you do if people around you didn't take your
writing seriously or see it as a hobby.

Most everyone does that now.  Many think that professional
writing is a lazy person's way to avoid work.  Others see it as a
lark where the author is luckily paid for simply letting his
fingers tickle a typing keyboard.  Only dedicated writers know
how truly demanding writing can be.  If writing were easy, most
people would be doing it.  If for no other reason, they'd escape
driving to and from an office where their anonymity is beaten
inside cubicles beneath hot and harsh fluorescent lights.

What's on the horizon for you?

The writing of my 20th book.

Leave us with some words of wisdom about the writing process
or about being a writer.

Find your creative versus commercial groove, and ignore

assessments like mine or anyone else's.
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