Lisa leaves home the day of her high school graduation without ever intending to return. She struggles on her own but eventually finds a purpose and a goal that she throws herself behind with single-minded determination. Everything is going according to plan until she learns that her abusive father is in the hospital. When he dies, she must choose whether to continue with her own dreams or go back to the place she thought she was done with forever.
Will Lisa return to the place she thought she had left in the past? Carmen Klassen, will help us explore this question about Lisa’s fate as while we chat about her novel ‘The Cost of Caring: Can a Fresh Start Erase the Past?’. Carmen, what inspired you to write a story where the main character is placed in a situation where they must choose between their dreams and their past?
This book is part of a series featuring smart, feisty women who figure out how to create great lives. Lisa was already in my mind when I wrote book one, but she took on a life of her own! I’m often inspired by true come-from-behind stories of successful women, and many parts of those stores make up Lisa’s character.
Were any of the stories that make up Lisa’s character or surroundings drawn from your own life?
Absolutely. Without giving too much away, Lisa and I share experiences as caregivers for parents at a time when we were both just beginning to figure out our own adult lives.
As you’d both been in similar situations, what did you learn from taking Lisa’s story and putting it down onto paper?
I was really impressed with Lisa’s ability to shift plans when she needed to, and then follow through. It’s something I’m working on in my own life now.
It’s great to hear that you’re taking the lead from Lisa and making changes in your own life. Now that we know what you’ve taken away, what do you hope readers take away from Lisa’s ability to adapt and shift plans?
The past does not determine your future.
Do you feel that this message is really important for readers of today, or do you think it will become more relevant in the future?
I hope it continues to have an impact. The themes of survival, determination, and transformation are timeless.
Those are really strong themes. What steps did you take to prepare to become a writer that could tackle them?
I did not see the whole ‘fiction author’ thing coming! I worked as a freelance writer, primarily writing blogs, brochures, and web content. It wasn’t terribly exciting, but it paid the bills and I got to write. But when the idea came for Book 1 in this series, it was so powerful I had to sit down and start writing. Until that point, I didn’t think I had the imagination to write fiction. Turns out there are a lot of characters in my mind waiting for their story to be told…
I’m so happy to hear that you’ve proved yourself wrong! You can write fiction! How have you taken this turn into fiction? What has been the general feedback from readers so far, and what negative and positive comments have stuck in your head?
That I don’t put enough conflict and suspense in my stories. Best compliment? Someone I’m close to came to me in tears after reading part of one of the books. It was a lightbulb moment for her that helped her move on from a very sad past. That was overwhelming as an author.
Wow, that’s amazing feedback! How has this feedback, along with your desire to keep writing helped your author voice progress?
I have a fantastic editor who challenges me with every manuscript. Whether it’s a grammar error I’ve made for years or specific strategies to use that add to the story, I try to take her advice every time.
A good editor is worth so much to the writing process, so I’m glad to hear that you’re taking on the challenge to answer her feedback and improve your skillset. And the best way to improve your skillset is to keep on writing. Have you started to plan your next adventure into fiction writing? What can you tell us about it?
There are at least six books in the series. I’m working on the sixth right now, and book five is at the editors. Then I’ll be starting a young adult series.
All of those stories, that must be hugely exciting for an author who wasn’t sure they could turn their pen towards fiction. Carmen, thank you for sharing your journey into fiction so far with us, and I’d love to hear about what’s next to come very soon.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Cost of Caring: Can a Fresh Start Erase the Past? ( ASIN: B07P18L7WM )‘.
Want to find out more about Carmen Klassen? Connect here!