Carole Whang Schutter was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Hawaii and is an evangelical Christian. Carole has been a motivational speaker to live audiences, and on TV and radio shows. She now occupies her time writing, skiing and hiking in Aspen.
Her enduring interest in religion and passion for history led her to write “September Dawn,” her first screenplay written in collaboration with Director/Producer Christopher Cain which inspired the novel “September Dawn.” Currently, she is working on several screenplays, and a historical novel about her home state Hawaii.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Carole! Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
Published for the first time. If one doesn’t count my first book which I did for myself and friends that I’m now redoing called Miracles Happen.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
My very first book was something I wrote when I was a 13. The second when I was a senior in college. I don’t even remember the names. They were destroyed in a fire in the days before computers. The first book that I actually have is called “The Ohana,” which I am reworking. I was 29, didn’t know anything about publishing, sent a thousand page unsolicited ms. to Scott Meredith because I read he was the top agent in the US. He actually wrote back to me. Told me no one would publish a 1000 pages from an unknown writer but that he liked the books so much he encouraged me to write a 250 page book and become established, and then he felt with credibility behind me, he could get it published. In those days, it didn’t take much to discourage me, and I was a newly wed with a baby. So, I gave up writing for a long time.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
Maybe a dozen or more rejections. Then my agent suggested I self publish because no one could get the book out in time for the movie.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
I was very disappointed. But I just encouraged myself in the Lord and didn’t let myself get too down.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
Authorhouse. My editor, Kathi Macias suggested them. They had done a good job for her and she made money on her books.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I felt wonderful when I saw the final copy. No celebration though.
What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I hired a publicist that Kathi recommended.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
I’m not sure. It’s easier to self-publish and the % is greater. But if I were offered a huge advance, it would be hard to turn down.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
No, but I’ve sold another screenplay which hopefully will go into production next year.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
I would have read Kathi’s book Train of Thought before my first edit. I don’t know what I would have done differently except for that. I think one has to polish one’s book and write the way publishers want you to write. I think I’m more of a screenplay writer, put the important things in, make the story move quickly without leaving out the important stuff and pay a lot of attention to dialogue and script the action in an interesting way.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
Getting great reviews. Except for one review by someone of a certain religious persuasion, my reviews have been great. It is satisfying.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
Nothing. I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. Maybe I prefer screenplays, but not necessarily. It depends on the story. For me, everything is the story. My characters become very real to me. I laugh and cry with them. But it is the story that moves me to write.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
I think I answered the question.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
Still writing movies and books.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Never give up. Persist in all that you do. And although only 1.1% of all screenwriters actually have a movie made, many screenwriters make a living selling scripts that are never made. You could consider screenwriting. There are far less people you have to convince. Everything is the story, unless you are writing non-fiction. But whatever you do, write with passion. Be completely involved in what you write. Sometimes even great writers sometimes fall into a conundrum of formula writing and it shows. Be honest and real. But most of all, be persistent.
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