Caroline George, author of Dearest Josephine, talks about her writing process, her favorite coffee shops, and her favorite spots to watch a sunrise. She also shares the reasons she decided write a book. You will be inspired to write one of your own!
Lauren — Travel and Write Today: You published your first book when you were fifteen years old — so inspiring for other young writers. When did you decide you wanted to write a book?
Caroline George: Before I could hold a pencil, I knew I was meant to write books. I told stories to my mom who wrote them down for me. In middle school, I wrote fanfiction and posted it on a teen writing website. The stories garnered a large following, which gave me confidence. At the time, I knew little about publishing and thought I could build a career off fanfic. My middle and high school literature teacher encouraged me to write an original novel. What a saint! Because of her guidance, I wrote my first book, then another and another. I self-published two books in high school, landed an agent, and had my first traditional publication as a college student. Now I write full-time for HarperCollins.
TWT: What is your writing process? Do you prefer a paper & pen or a laptop? Do you write with music on or do you prefer to write in silence?
CG: Great question! My writing process changes each time I start a new project. The stories often seem to have minds of their own. I’m merely their hands.
I write on my laptop, but I outline and brainstorm on paper. One of my favorite things to do is take my notebook, go to a coffeeshop, and write quotes, thoughts, random words. Allowing myself to write purely for the sake of writing helps my creativity and often leads to passages used in my books.
I do write with music! Spotify is a dear friend. I make playlists for all my books. However, with Dearest Josephine, I found myself writing in silence because I mumbled the words as I wrote them. I wanted to get the right voices in my book, so I whispered in a British accent for months. Yes, my family thought I went bonkers.
TWT: Do you write in the morning, at night, or whenever you find the time? Where are your favorite spots to write?
CG: Starting in the morning tends to work best for me! I write most days, so getting my brain in “writer mode” early on helps me stay focused. When I’m on deadline, I write between 8-12 hours a day. Goodbye social life!
I write at my dining room table. Same chair. Coffee mug to my right. Phone and blue light glasses to my left. The routine minimizes distractions. One day, I hope to purchase a big desk, comfy office chair, and bookshelves for my growing collection. Until then, I’ll be at my dining room table.
TWT: I know you love coffee as much as I do, and as you say “Coffee first. Save the world later”. What is your go-to coffee order? Favorite coffee shops?
Yay for coffee! I love oat milk lattes, especially iced oat milk lavender lattes. When I lived in Nashville, I spent a crazy amount of time in various coffeeshops, The Well, Three Brothers, and Frothy Monkey in particular. Unique lattes are my favorite drinks to order. Other beloved coffee shops: The Village Grind in Greenville, SC and The Dripolator in Black Mountain, NC.
TWT: Did you always live in Georgia? What are some of your favorite local spots to visit?
CG: I grew up in the Atlanta area and moved to Nashville, Tennessee for college. I also lived in Sydney, Australia for a few months. Now I reside in northern Georgia, only an hour from mountains and the best hiking trails.
Traveling is important to me. I’ve visited over 11 countries so far and plan to visit more.
Favorite “local-ish” spots: The mountains! I love to hike near Clayton, GA and Asheville, NC. I also drive to the beach a lot, Fernandina Beach and 30A my go-to spots.
TWT: What are some of your favorite books (besides Dearest Josephine, The Summer We Forgot, The Vestige, and The Prime Way Program Trilogy?)
CG: Too many to list! Some of my favorite authors are Anthony Horowitz, Isaac Marion, C.S. Lewis, and more. Recent favorite books include The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and Splinters of Scarlet. Growing up, I fell madly in love with Peter Pan, The Nancy Drew series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Inkheart Series.
TWT: Any hints you can share with the readers about Dearest Josephine? I am so excited to read this book — the countdown is on!
CG: Dearest Josephine came from a love for books and the people within them. It explores the romance we fantasize about and the romance worth having, the belonging found within literature, and the power of living now, in the present, with adoration for our own stories. (Hints . . . a novel, a stack of letters, and a young couple separated by two hundred years. Can they fight against time to find each other?)
This epistolary YA novel is told via letters, emails, texts, and a novel I wrote to mirror Regency era romances. Such a fun challenge! If you’ve ever wanted Mr. Darcy to write letters to you, then Dearest Josephine is for you.
TWT: What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?
CG: From my dock! I currently live on the lake, and the sunrises/sunsets are phenomenal. I also love watching the sun rise from Mt. Yonah, the sun set from a beach somewhere, anywhere. What a fun question!
TWT: What advice would you give to other writers?
CG: Read as much as you can (in your genre). Write a book, then write another. Learn about the industry and grow your audience. To succeed in modern publishing, a writer needs more than a good book. They need platform, savviness, and grit.
Keep trying! Don’t give up too soon.
Follow Caroline George at the links below:
Facebook: Caroline George | Facebook
Purchase Dearest Josephine here:
TNZ Fiction: Dearest Josephine (tnzfiction.com)
Sassafras on Sutton (COMING SOON)