Carol Colbert Interview Published on: 09, Nov 2017

Have you lived in Michigan your entire life? If you could relocate to anywhere in the world, and money was no issue, where would you like to live and why?

Yes, born, raised, educated and married in Detroit and downriver area of Michigan. We did move to Las Vegas for a couple of years, but came back to Michigan as all my family was here. I don't think I would permanently relocate out of Michigan honestly. I would travel more and I do love Boston and the rich history there and I did love living in Las Vegas.

What were some aspirations you had as a child? If your 12-year-old self were to see you today, do you think she would be satisfied with who she would become?

As a child - so many years ago lol. I have always loved to write and even as a child I thought about being a lawyer and going to Harvard Law School, which, of course, never happened but I have visited the campus there. I wish I would have started earlier trying to publish my writings, but there were no book agents that I knew of around here. They were in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and you have to work closely with one if you were lucky for them to want to promote your books. Amazon self publishing has been a wonderful tool for me. I was widowed at 27 and had two sons and so writing had to take a backseat for a great deal of my life. My 12 year old self would probably be giving me the eye roll, lol.

How do you maintain a balance between all the different genres you write in? Which genre do you find most fun to write?

I love writing with humor and all of my books have that element to it except At The End of the Creek which is a scary story set in Oscoda, and in Woodhaven, Michigan. Even when I didn't mean them to be funny I would find myself writing with a smile. I love my Ghost series, which are more witch than ghost, but don't tell anyone. The new books I am writing now, Mysterious Milly and Marvelous Milly have already started out with a ghostly element and that was not planned. 84 year old Milly Moneypenny lives in Woodhaven and is six foot tall which lends itself to a chuckle right off the bat - and she has a best friend who is a ghost - but don't tell anyone. Those books should be published by early 2018.

What are some of your favourite crime shows?

Crime shows - I have degrees in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security and so a lot of crime shows were me picking them apart and that is not good. I used to watch The First 48, because they were real, but these days I have mellowed so much that I prefer comedy shows. I have watched several crime series over the years, but can't think of any particular ones that I most enjoyed except for How to Get Away with Murder which is my favorite at the moment.

What made you switch from studying Criminal Justice- Law Enforcement and Homeland Security to writing about it?

I haven't yet utilized my Homeland Security knowledge in my stories, although there are a couple of Criminal Justice inserts. Again, the humor keeps sneaking in and the two are not a good fit for a true crime/murder story. Maybe one day. Real life is scary enough.

When did you start writing the "Suzanne" series? What are some things you really like about this series?

The Suzanne series - I wrote those about a year ago and the three friends in the stories are very loosely based on myself (my middle name is Suzanne) and two friends of mine. Their backstory about Delray, Michigan mainly. I like that it is set in the downriver area of Michigan, mostly Wyandotte. The detective in the books who is Suzanne's cousin Brent was written with a friend of mine in mind, and he was the one who named the bar in the book. I doubt I will ask him for more input since he named it The Beer Hole. He is a police officer.

Do you ever get creeped out by your own thriller or horror stories? What's the scariest scene you wrote in "At the End of the Creek"?

Oh yes, I do get creeped out and since I tend to write all day and night many of my books are completed in the wee hours of the morning with me sitting in the darkness with only the light of the computer screen. At the End of the Creek has scary moments that gave me chills, but the real moment, for me, is the very end of the book. You will have to read it to understand.

You have a few stories written from a cat's perspective ("Andy" and "The Ghost Cat"). What struck you with this idea? If you were a cat, what kind of cat do you think you would be (breed, mannerism, etc)?

Cats - my sister had a cat that she loved so much and ANDY was written with him in mind. He was so funny and loving and a rescue. Sadly, Andy died while I was writing this book. I asked my sister what I should do, because it was so hard writing for him after that. She said to finish the book although she didn't think she could ever read it, and to date she has not. My daughter in law Jessica works with the Wyandotte Animal Shelter and she has barred my son from going there since he wants to take all of them home. Thelma in my Ghost Cat series turns into a white cat and loves being able to run around in feline form. If I were a cat I would be a pure white Persian with blue eyes and act very regal, i.e. wanting to be pampered. Don't we all?

Are any of your stories inspired by true events or are they all pure imagination?

Ghost House is 90% true. My sons and I rented a house in Southgate, Michigan and the events in that book are mostly real. We also had a dog named Cooper who could say Mama, just not on command. The ending is not true life although the very last sentence is a wink to anyone who knows us. What fun would be - we moved - the end - be? I lost my precious son Jason almost four years ago and it was he who asked me to write about our experiences there. He died before I finished it and the family in the book has two girls instead of boys, just too hard to write that for me. My 6'5 son Michael I made into a 5 year old girl named Suzanne, the only name repeated in my books. My first book, Jennifer's Journey has a bit too much of me in it, but aren't all writers like that at first? All my other works are fiction or a combination of events and people who passed through my lifetime. Although, The Temp Zoo is 100% true and accurate. Its a collection of weird/funny/mean things that I endured as a contract/temporary worker for years. I did not name names, but I wanted too. I started writing as a way to keep my sanity after loosing my son and still write three books at a time. It helps and when I don't write I find myself slipping into the sadness which he would not want.

Why did you choose to write the book "The Temp Zoo: Recognize Anyone?"? Which story here is your favourite?

The Temp Zoo - every time something happened out of the norm I would tell people and they would say you should write about that so I finally did. My favorite is how generous my co-workers were at Ford helping me and my boys over the years. When my son Michael wanted to get into golf, the guys at work brought in their old golf bags, clubs, balls, etc. They were a great bunch of guys! Most of the stories are about people I would rather forget.

What were some common marketing and promotion mistakes you made when you were a newbie author? How did you correct them?

I have no marketing experience with my books, not much anyway. I have my business cards and pens and am very fortunate to be associated with AllAuthor, but I am still chasing the elusive reviews which are the lifeline for writers. I am doing a book signing at the Trenton Veterans Memorial Library in Trenton, Michigan on Sunday November 12th. This is my first and I am excited about it and hope people show up!

What is the best vacation you ever had?

Best vacations - I have been to Europe and have been in every state except four. I go to Canada, (which is just over the Detroit River here in Michigan) and have been to Mexico and Martinique. But my favorite times were my son Michael's and I times together. Jason was already established and working full time, but my younger son Michael and I would go on 'walk-about' and those were my favorite times. I would say WALK-ABOUT TEN and that meant that we were leaving in ten minutes. Flying or driving did not matter, we would just take off and go to parts unknown or two days or two weeks, whatever. At the time I was working contract and had free time in-between assignments if I wished to and I did, often. He now has three kids and a full life so our travel times together have changed greatly. They did take me to Florida with them a couple of years ago and that was fun, but its different traveling with kids and others, you have to have more of a plan.

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