Author Interview: Barbara Carter

Today is launch day for Barbara Carter’s 5th memoir Joined – a memoir of marriage. It’s part of the Barbara by the Bay series. Shortly after I read the book, I interviewed her about the book, her memoir series and writing memoirs.

Joined – a memoir of marriage by Barbara Carter

1. This is the 5th book in your memoir series, now called Barbara by the Bay. Has your perspective on how to write a memoir changed since sitting down to write that first book? In other words, do you feel more liberated to write the truth without sugar coating it? Or is there still a voice inside that says, “That’s harsh. Let’s soften it a little bit?”

My perspective has changed a lot since writing my first book. That book took sixteen years to write and was a major learning curve!  One learning curve was to slow down and learn how to tell a good story.  To learn all the techniques of fiction writing, especially dialogue.

It has become easier to not sugar coat the truth. Each book has come with things I’ve had a hard time revealing. But that’s the point of memoir — laying yourself bare — letting others know there are things the younger version of you did that the older version cringes at. But also, to realize you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. To accept and forgive that younger part of yourself.

2. Looking back at the personal history you’ve recorded in your many books, what words of wisdom would you share with young Barbara in Joined?

The words of wisdom I would share with my younger self is: stop doing what you think you need to do in order to be loved.

3. What is one piece of advice you’d give to people who want to write a memoir about their life but don’t know where to start?

A piece of advice I’d give someone who’s not sure where to start writing a memoir is to remember that memoir is not an autobiography. Memoir is not your entire life. You are going to focus on a period of time or a theme in your life.

At first, it’s important to just start writing and don’t worry about how good it is. Just spew it all out. Start with a situation that’s had an impact on you, changed you in some way.

Then learn all the techniques of fiction writing. Look for the deeper part of the story. I found this useful to ask myself in looking for that deeper truth: I used to think this story was about… but now I think it’s about.

4. Joined – a memoir of marriage takes place in the 80s. While you’ve lived a lot since those turbulence years, what do you miss about that era?

Looking back the only thing I miss about those years is the experience as a young mother. I don’t miss the lack oftechnology. It’s hard to believe cell phones were huge and rare. No computers in our homes. And getting cable TV was a big deal. I don’t miss that disconnect.

5. From learning how to drive to raising three kids so close in age, it feels like you overcame a lot of fear in Joined. Do you believe facing your fears and overcoming them played a major role in why you were able to create a better life for yourself and your family?

Yes, I believe that facing my fears and overcoming them played a major role in creating a better life for myself and my family. Becoming a mother was a major catalyst to change my life and care about more than just myself.

6. Where do you go from here? Is there another memoir planned? If so, what stage of your life will it cover?

Yes, there is another memoir planned. Whether this plan goes as planned, that’s a whole other story. The 5th book originally was planned as two. But as I worked on it, I condensed it into one book, focusing on the main storyline of marriage. Since I cut numerous stories from those two books, I want to someday publish them, along with others in a collection titled, “Things I Never Told You”.

Another book I’m working on is “Where Predators Sleep”. It’s focused on the 1990s and the topic of various forms of abuse.

I have also been exploring essay writing.

7. Where can readers buy your books?

Readers can buy the book at Amazon…

or contact me directly if they’d like to purchase a signed copy with a special bookmark.

8. Where can readers connect with you online?

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