INtroducing . . . Carol Adrienne and Tom Townsend
By Penelope Jensen and Steve Neubauer
Every issue, IN presents INside Authors, a look at authors from around the world who have significantly caught our attention and deserve a little space and recognition. The following two authors are this month's choices, based on the heat arising from their corners. Our hope is to provide a glimpse, a snapshot, an overview of some of the finest writers of our time making waves both tidal and ripple.
Carol Adrienne,Nonfiction Self-Help Author
Background INfo:It turns out I am a writer of nonfiction self-help books, and my main topic is the purpose of one's life. I say, it turns out, because I never had writing as a goal. I started out in life (at the immensely insecure period of my twenties) thinking of myself as an artist. Why, I'm not sure, but I do have an eye for color and composition--and when I go to a museum and am moved by some piece of art, I have this raging desire to go home and make something like what I see. Hubris, of course.
I inadvertently wrote my first book, The Numerology Kit, because of what someone said to me when I was sitting under an oak tree at the Renaissance Faire in the mid 1980s. This man (who I later learned was some kind of strange Texas astronomer/genius) told me, "Oh, numerology. You can put that on a computer." I set out to put down all my ideas on this topic (I became fascinated with numerology after changing my name in the early 1970s following a divorce.) I think I was born to be a numerologist--and maybe a writer, too. After finishing this crude manuscript, I happened to be working part-time as a go-fer assistant for Candice Fuhrman who was then in PR. She had a desire to become a literary agent in those days, and asked me for my manuscript on numerology (it was languishing on the dusty top shelf of my bedroom closet) to see if she might sell it. She did, and I got a little advance of $1,000 – more than thrilled, of course. However, when this book was published by Penguin in 1988, it was a time when I was also grappling with chemotherapy, divorce, and financial ruin. So I kind of got off on the wrong foot with thinking of myself as an author, so distracted by life's pitfalls.
Years went by. One day in 1994, I casually mentioned to Candice (now a successful literary agent) how impressed I was with James Redfield's new book, The Celestine Prophecy. I was working as an intuitive counsellor (using numerology) and had been incorporating the Celestine's 6th Insight – about how our evolution as an individual emerges out of reconciling the two paths of our parents – into a new one for ourselves. It was Candice's idea to contact Redfield to see if he needed an agent (he had been turned down by 26 publishers and then self-published.) Right about that time, he was selling 10,000 copies out of his garage, and was about to sign with Time Warner. She suggested he write a study guide, but he said he was too busy. She called me back and suggested I do it. After about thirty seconds of "Oh, no, I couldn't do that." I agreed.
I went out and bought Michael Larsen's book How To Write A Book Proposal, and wrote up my ideas for a study guide. Redfield liked my ideas, and agreed to co-author with me. This book put my writing career on the map. I went on to publish four more books on my own.
INfluences: Candice Fuhrman, my literary agent and friend, certainly has to be the top influence as to getting my career started and supporting my progress. Also, I credit JoAnn Davis, who was an editor at Time Warner, and then moved to William Morrow. She's brilliant and a fantastic marketer, and now an agent.
I have to thank my high school English teacher, Mr. Grossman (I can still remember his name even though my memory is going the way of Gregg's Shorthand, the electric typewriter, and black and white TV's.) Just before I graduated high school, he told my parents, "Carol could become a professional writer." Who knew? Typically, I didn't listen, and instead I studied art history in undergraduate years at the University of California at Berkeley. Getting my master's degree I was heavily influenced by James Hillman (Revisioning Psychology and later The Soul's Code) and metaphysical writers such as Madame Blavatsky, Carl Jung, and Lawrence Van der Post. My most adored fiction writers are Margaret Drabble (she's so good, I underline her sentences – and this is fiction!!), Anita Brookner – I've read all twenty-three or so novels, and I also love Elizabeth George. I have almost memorized the style and characterization/dialogue of crime novelist Jonathan Kellerman (maybe someday I'll write snappy crime novels.)
Advice: I find that writing a monthly Internet column has been really good practice, and keeps me producing, and learning how to edit and distil. I highly recommend this discipline because it creates the motivation of a deadline (let's say the first of each month) and the thrill of an immediate audience. If you post your writing on the Internet, someone will read it, and any feedback can help you think of yourself as a "real" writer even without going through the arduous process of getting published.
I also turned the corner on blogging as another writing outlet. I like it now. However, the danger there is that blogging is by nature casual and unedited. With many of us choosing to surf and read things on the Internet – as fun and rewarding as this activity can be – I'm also afraid that we are spending too much time reading unedited amateur stuff that doesn't stretch our minds – or astonish, educate, or illuminate us as the literary masters do. I advise not giving up your day job too quickly – or ever, and try to create some other income streams, like teaching, or developing relevant products. I do one-on-on counselling on finding life direction in career, job change, relationships, as well as overcoming limiting beliefs. I also teach seminars internationally, and sell numerology charts online.
Internet Presence: My website, www.CarolAdrienne.com, is the queen pin of my career, right after my published books. In each book I have contact info for the website, so people can contact me about private consultations, and order their own numerology life charts, read my blog and column, or check my calendar of events. I recently started writing weekly numerology forecasts, and post them on my site for free to increase presence and traffic. It's also fun! I just revamped my website using the freeware program Joomla! and really love that I can add content myself any time I want to.
The Future: My books are published in over fifteen languages, and I've taught in the UK, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Germany, and Holland. Interestingly, I have found a great audience recently for my work in Japan. I've made four trips so far to Japan to do seminars and consultations. I have a new book coming out there in October, and will be promoting it there. It just feels right to follow the energy and develop new business projects there. I've made friends with Fumiko Takatsu who translated my last book, and works with me on the numerology consultations. We are a great team, and I couldn't do all this without her help. I also have a terrific forward-thinking editor, Sadaaki Hayashi. Next year, I'll have another book on numerology that will be coming out. My little book, The Numerology Kit, which has been in print since 1988 just came out in Japan last year. I guess you could say, it's come full circle.
The Numerology Kit, Penguin, 1988 The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide, Time-Warner 1995 Your Child's Destiny Plume 1995 The Tenth Insight: An Experiential Guide, Time-Warner 1996 The Purpose of Your Life, William Morrow (HarperCollins) 1999 Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life, William Morrow (HarperCollins) 2000 When Life Changes, Or You Wish It Would, HarperCollins 2001 Searching for Your Life's Purpose, Shufunotomo, 2006
Tom Townsend, Novelist, Screenwriter, Producer, Songwriter
Background INfo: I became a full time writer in 1975. At that time, I was driving a dump truck in Houston, Texas. It was an easy transition, I parked the truck, walked away and said, "I'm a writer." Thirty-plus years, twenty-seven books, three hundred magazine articles, a half dozen screenplays, three original pieces of music, a couple of documentary videos, and a television pilot later, I’m still trying to make as much money as I did driving that stupid dump truck. I am, however, much happier. My father was a career army officer so I grew up on army bases everywhere from Colorado to West Germany. It was a good childhood for a writer, exposing me to a variety of places, cultures and people. Their influences on my writing are obvious, to me at least. Two weeks out of high school I joined the U.S. Army and got out seven years later with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. I never got around to going to college and have never found time to regret it.
INfluences: I am of that first generation who grew up in front of the television set and this is not entirely a bad thing. The old movie serial cliff-hanger format in which characters get into trouble at the end of each chapter has served me well, especially when writing for juveniles, young adults, and movie producers, none of whom have a very long attention span. I can easily see the influence of a whole lot of old war movies in my writing , as well as the works of Mark Twain, J.R.R. Tolkien and books such as Black Beauty, Lassie Come Home, and my all time favourite, Wind in the Willows.
Advice: Marry someone rich. Then write, finish, and submit. Do not believe in rules, there are none in the writing business. The only thing you have to do is make your story work. In every writer’s career there will be a certain number of breaks. Exploit them to the fullest and squeeze every last drop of publicity, sales, and fame from each and every one. Bad publicity can be as good, and sometimes better, than good publicity. Anything is better than no publicity. If you write something that offends no one, it’s probably because no one is reading it.
Internet Presence: I've had a website for over ten years www.tomtownsend-toyland.com. My books and video projects can be ordered online either from me directly or from links to my publishers. The Internet is an incredible tool for both marketing and research. I don’t remember how I ever got along without it, but then, I don’t remember how I managed to write my first novel on a mechanical typewriter.
The Future: I'm currently spending most of my time promoting my newest book, The Ballad Of Ol' Hook, in conjunction with the screenplay based on it and the song, which I wrote as an integral part of the book. Beyond that, I will soon start another novel.
Juvenile & Young Adult Novels:
The Ballad Of Ol' Hook, Word Wright, 2006 Gypsy Prince, War Horse, Royal Fireworks Press, 2005 Shadow Kiss, Royal Fireworks Press, 2001 The Dragon Trader, Royal Fireworks Press, 2000 Never Trust A One-eyed Wizard, Royal Fireworks Press, 2000 The Ghost Flyers, Eakin Press, 2000 The Trouble With An Elf, Royal Fireworks Press, 1999 Nadia Of The Night Witches, Royal Fireworks Press, 1998 Fair Wind To Glory, Eakin Press, 1994 Bubba’s Truck, Eakin Press, 1992 Trader Wooly & The Ghost In The Colonel’s Jeep, Eakin Press, 1991 The Hooligans, Eakin Press, 1990 Trader Wooly & The Terrorist, Eakin Press, 1988 Powderhorn Passage, Eakin Press, 1988 Queen Of The Wind, Eakin Press, 1989 The Battle Of Galveston, Eakin Press, 1989 Davy Crockett An American Hero, Eakin Press, 1987 Trader Wooly & The Secret Of The Lost Nazi Treasure, Eakin Press, 1987 The Dark Ships, Eakin Press, 1986 Where The Pirates Are, Eakin Press, 1985 Texas Treasure Coast, Eakin Press, 1979 The Last Grey Wolf, Larksdale Press, 1982
Reichbahn Six-Nine, JoNa Books, 2003 Panzer Spirit, Pageant Books, 1988 Texas Wildflower, (as Tammie Lee) Zebra Books, 1983 The Last Grey Wolf, Larksdale Press, 1982
Davy Crockett and American Hero, Eakin Press, 1987 Texas Treasure Coast, Eakin press, 1979
Penelope Jensen considers herself a citizen of the world, aligning herself at this moment with the purposes of IN, where you'll find her writing articles and interviewing authors, among other things. You can reach Penny at:PenJen@inorbit.com.
Steve Neubauer is a co-founder of the publishing firm WordWright.biz, Inc. The company serves as an incubator for new authors and works with professional speakers and consultants to create books about their specialty areas. Steve focuses on helping new writers establish themselves and fulfill their publication dreams.http://www.wordwright.biz/index.html