After sailing for the USA in the 2004 Olympics, Carol Newman Cronin shifted gears and became a writer, penning four novels (and counting…) with themes tied closely to the sea and coastal life. Her latest, Ferry to Cooperation Island, releases on June 16.
Like most authors this year, Carol had no idea what the whims of Mother Nature had in store as she looked ahead to her launch date. The date had been carefully planned to fall right before the now-postponed 2020 Olympics. Carol had a series of launch readings in appropriately coastal settings scheduled for the summer. And then…
But as a sailor, Carol knows a thing or two about adjusting to Mother Nature’s whims. She’s inspired on both water and land by the motto, “When you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.” Her wisdom has far-reaching implications for all of us, whether we’re currently launching books or in the trenches with a WIP.
I’m happy to share this inspiring interview with Carol.
Q: How did you react when you realized that Coronavirus was going to profoundly change your plans to launch Ferry to Cooperation Island?
CNC: At first, there was denial: surely it will all be over by June! Once reality set in that this was going to change, well, EVERYTHING, I started to research how other authors were handling online book launches. Then I freaked out, because the possibilities are so limitless right now—and there are so many authors launching their own books into the same “space.” Fortunately, one author-friend reminded me to focus on what was really important to me and to FERRY, and let go of the rest. That was a reminder that this book isn’t going to change the world—though I like to think it will make a small dent in our global negativity.
A few weeks ago, I finally shifted all my launch-party energy from “maybe we’ll be able to meet in person” to “we’re going virtual.” The date remains the same, June 18, and you’re all invited!
Q: So far, what has changed for you? What hasn’t?
CNC: First of all, all the regattas I planned to sail have been pushed back until 2021 (just like the Olympics), so my schedule’s wide open for book signings! As far as the launch party, I was really looking forward to physically associating FERRY with my own town’s actual ferry service, which runs from Jamestown to Newport in the summer and was part of the book’s inspiration. That will have to wait until it starts running again.
The best change of all is that more people are finding or making time to read again. I chat more with neighbors walking by, and a surprising number are actually interested in reading my latest piece of #coastalfiction!
What hasn’t changed is the incredible support I’ve received all along this journey from other writers, many of whom I met at the UnConference last November.
Q: Aside from major disasters like Coronavirus, what other writing-life “storms” have you sailed through?
CNC: My early fiction writing could be compared to a series of squalls. I’m self-taught, and every time I shared what I thought was a finished draft, an editor or agent or fellow author would rip it apart—kindly for the most part, but it still stung. Thanks to all that push-back, I learned how to tell a story that others (not just me and my mom and my husband) could enjoy and get lost in. In hindsight, it was well worth working through all those editing “squalls”!
Q: Sailors are trained to adapt to a constant barrage of uncertainty. What did that training look like, and how has it helped you as a writer–both now and in the past?
CNC: I learned seamanship along with my ABCs, so I don’t remember the process. (I do remember the first time I sailed on my own, and that incredible sense of independence and being in charge.)
But even as a little kid it’s pretty obvious that when the wind shifts, there’s no point in getting mad at it; all we can do is react in a way that helps keep our boat safe and happy—trimming that sail, again! That has definitely helped me maintain perspective through the past few months and years, as expectations of authors and “what works” in book publishing and marketing shifts and evolves.
Q: What about when things spin out of control? What has your experience at sea taught you as a writer? [Read more…]