Ever since reading L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon as a child, Carolyn Huizinga Mills has dreamed of being a writer. She didn’t start writing seriously, though, until she had done practical things like finishing university and finding a job. She began with short stories and in 2013, her story “Without a Soul” won first place in the Canadian Authors Association CanWrite! Short Story Competition. The following year, her story “Be Careful Little Feet Where You Go” won an honourable mention in the same contest and both stories were published in the CAA’s Short Story Contest Anthology. In 2017, another of her stories, “Finders”, placed second in the 2017 Alice Munro Short Story Competition.
Carolyn also spent a bit of time (okay, a REALLY long time) working on a novel. And then another one. Her debut novel, The Good Son, was published in March 2021, and her second novel, Sins of the Daughter, will be released August 2022 . She plans to write many more books and can be found snuggled up in her office at 5am most mornings with her notebook or laptop and a hot mug of tea.
Want to keep up on all things Carolyn, then check out her website or follow her Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
What does your writing space look like?
I mostly write in the office on our main floor, which has a big desk and an oversized comfy chair in the corner. The desk is often covered with non-writing things like mail that needs to be sorted, Wii controllers, craft projects, or other random objects, but really I spend most of my time in the comfy chair with a blanket and a cup of tea. I usually write on my laptop, but I do a lot of "thinking" on paper so there are multiple notepads and collections of post-it notes within easy reach.
If you could spend a day with another popular author (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
I would choose Kate Morton. I absolutely love her books and she has this quality about her of exquisite grace that I find fascinating. I feel fairly confident that if I simply trailed in her wake as she went about her daily business, I'd be suitably enchanted.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I don't know if I really do! Likely because it never actually feels finished. But I celebrate lots of other achievements with chocolate (like hitting word count goals, finishing a round of revisions, or making it to the end of a rough chapter). There's a good chance that after a satisfying larger-scale accomplishment (such as thinking a book is done), I will celebrate with a glass of wine or a rye and coke.
Is there something you do/have while writing that helps your process? (Music, snacks, etc.)
I have a routine in the morning before I start writing that involves making a cup of tea, a quick peek at Twitter and Facebook (just for the length of time it takes for the kettle to boil so that I don't have a chance to get sucked in), checking the news, and doing the Wordle. The Wordle is my cue to get writing. I get up early and those tasks give my brain a chance to wake up before becoming immersed in whatever story I'm working on. I also reward myself with M&Ms when the writing is slow, although not typically in a morning writing session, because even I don't want chocolate at 5:30am.
What book are you currently reading?
Right now I'm reading The Huntress by Kate Quinn, a historical fiction novel set during and just after World War Two.