It’s Meet the Author Monday! Each week we meet a new author and get to know a little about them, their writing process, publishing experience, and tips for other writers. Today we’re talking to Carolyn Dismuke, author of Drink Your Words: Discovering California’s Other Wine Regions.
About Carolyn Dismuke:
Carolyn Dismuke is a California native raised in a family that spent most summers road tripping from their home in Silicon Valley. After earning a WSET Level 3 Award in Wines, Carolyn explored the Golden State’s hidden gems, a journey that transformed her into a California travel aficionado and was recognized by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Drink Your Words is full of her appellation adventures and the life lessons of a solo traveler.
A fulfilling career in the big city and an active social life had convinced California native Carolyn Dismuke that she was living the dream, but her life changed when she discovered her passion for wine. Curiosity drove her to a world-renowned wine studies program, where she mastered the classic regions. Eight chapters on France and seven on Italy had her salivating for more. Yet only one chapter on California compelled her to pack her wanderlust and set out to live in a different region every month to soak in all the juicy details overlooked by the program.
Drink Your Words chronicles her journey through the Golden State’s appellations, highlighting fascinating vineyard details and California travel tips. As she encounters a growing number of creative winemaking characters who coax the velvet nectar into its richest potential, she sees reflected in them her own creativity, bubbling up inside her, struggling to be heard. It’s an inspirational memoir for anyone afraid to follow their passion. It’s a helpful guide through California wine country for those who want to road-trip vicariously. It’s for anyone who thinks a girl needs more than four pairs of shoes. Let Carolyn tell you how it’s done.
Author Interview with Carolyn Dismuke:
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- What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Putting aside the writing to learn how to sell books can be a trap. While it is your baby and it deserves a parent that gives it what it needs to thrive–be out there in the world, you also need to keep writing a priority.
- Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Egos may hurt a writer. But writing fiction is a terrific way to introduce the world to your Alter Ego. It may be bubbling up inside you screaming to be heard.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Follow your passion despite all costs. Don’t be afraid to take jobs to pay the bills as long as they allow you to keep dreaming.
- What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I was a kid I bought everyone in my family a candy bar. My dad was too sick to eat his so I left the Big Hunk bar on his nightstand. Later that day, he told me he ate the candy bar and felt better. I felt compelled to write a letter to the candy bar company, exclaiming that their candy bars had the power to heal. They must’ve loved it because they wrote me back saying that they were sending a box of 36 Big Hunk candy bars! The written word endures. It is the most magnificent way to be heard.
- Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Of course! Writing is a path to awakening the voice inside you that gets lost in thoughts. Sometimes it doesn’t speak in words. But writing has become a way of listening and loving it.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
Character names have to reflect a bit about their prowess or a tiny descriptor that gives the reader a hint yet sets their imagination wild. For example, Kimbo was a bit of a Rambo strategist in a male dominated industry.
- Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes, I take them as an opportunity to improve. The tough ones are the low number reviews with no text. I guess some people don’t believe in giving full points to anything. Perhaps it’s a way of saying nothing’s perfect.
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Sure, that’s the fun part!
- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. No joke, when I was a kid, I wrote that down. As an adult, I look at that as a promise to myself.
- Describe your writing space.
Small studio with tall ceilings and walls littered with inspiration. Not only images that inspire but framed photographs of my heroes, plaques that adorn favorite quotes, and books, many many books.
- What time of the day do you usually write?
Most authors write early in the morning because they are closest to their subconscious self right after a dream session. And I agree. But I often get inspired mid afternoon or evening and go with the energy until the wee hours. I know I’m really in the zone when I look up at the clock and it takes a moment to remember that it’s 3 AM instead of PM. Then I’m no good in the morning but grateful for the time spent being so focused in that zone.
- Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I love book clubs and hear from them frequently with tales of their travels. Wanderlust wins the hearts and minds of lots of us.
- Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
YES, I’m very active on 6 social media platforms and I’m getting better at them all the time. It really is like working out; the more you do it the better you get. I have to limit myself because I enjoy writing so much. But I’m on there at least an hour a day.
- How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
Feel however it makes you feel. Surrender to those feelings thoroughly. Savor them and be glad your body is telling you how much something matters to you.
To learn more about Carolyn Dismuke, here’s where you can find her:
Author Website: carolyndismuke.com