We recently interviewed author Carol Gee about her work as a writer and most recent book “Random Notes.” A Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Review, called “Random Notes” a quirky book for women that gives maxims, inspiration, and anecdotes to help women feel more connected and to be stronger in their lives.”
Q: Where did you get the idea to do a collection of essays instead of a full-length novel?
A: I’m a busy woman, love to read, but wanted to write books with little stories that were challenging enough in their own right, and that would give women little short bursts of empowerment and laughter.
Q: Did you set any goals for this collection when you wrote it — to get published, or just to finish, etc.?
A: I definitely wanted to get it finished as I had fans from my earlier books, The Venus Chronicles and Diary Of A ‘Flygirl’ Wannabe who daily asked me when I was going to write a new book, as they were waiting.
Q: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
A: I used to make up little stories and wrote them down as a young girl to entertain my younger sister who used to love my stories. I also longed to write stories that resonated with me like some of the books I read as a girl.
However, the women in my ‘village’ my mom’s beauty shops and other places) thought I should be a teacher “because you speak so well” they said. Eventually, I did became an educator (administration and teaching).
Q: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
A: Growing up, I enjoyed The Bobbsey Twins books. While their adventures where they took trips to the seashore, their family’s farms taking their cook, pets etc. was very different from mine, an inner city little brown skinned girl with two long braids, I adored them none the less.. However my catalyst was the late Erma Bombeck. I loved how she wrote about her everyday life. Her “If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, Why Am I Standing In the Pits? spoke to me, as it characterized much of my life.
Most recently, I discovered David Sedaris. I love his sense of humor (I believe it is similar to mine. I wouldn’t mind having him mentor me, and wish I had his audience.
Q: Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?
A: As Random Notes is about daily life, I write my essays on my computer where I keep a file. Depending on the situation, I will sit down and write an entire 500 or 600 word piece. Other times I will jot down the theme of a piece and go back later to finish. Doing this I was surprised I had as many essays as I had when I was ready to release my book. So what I did as this was a ‘coming of age’ book I selected pieces that fit that theme.
Q: Do you write every single day?
A: Yes, even if it is to work on the above thought or complete it. Other times I may hear something on TV or the radio or something in a conversation, and say I need to write a piece on this. Other times friends will tell me that I need to write about something they heard or did.
Q: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events?
A: Yes, not only do I do reading/signing events, frequently I am an invited speaker where I share my work as part of my talk For instance, I was invited to speak to a sister chapter of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) of which I am a long-time member. Where they asked me where my pieces come from or where do I get ideas for my books.
I mentioned they come from life. And shared what had happened earlier that day. Employed at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health at the time (I was employed at Emory for close to 22 years). As such my department had an affiliation with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and we had a mail box there. A lovely day out, I decided to walk to the CDC and check the mail.
On my way back to my office, I felt this movement beneath my dress. Had I not been walking, I would have considered it to be foreplay. What was happening? It appears the waist band of the cheap panty hose I had put on that morning was now rolling over and over like some crazy mesh stockings as I walked down a busy road where cars were rushing by. “Oh God, Oh God, I prayed, please don’t let my stockings fall down in the middle of this street.” And shared what followed. In Random Notes, that essay was called “Wardrobe Malfunctions Do Happen.”
With my first books, I also appeared at unconventional places such as at a woman’s dress shop (where she closed the store and invited select customers to eat and shop without a lot of folks in their way. Other time a florist that I used personally and on my job, also carried copies of my books and promoted them.
Q: What’s the worst job you’ve had?
A: My first job out of high school was working at a shoe factory in a small factory town. The work was dirty as well as dangerous. It led me to enter the Air Force to escape it. I served close to 22 years in the military. My worst job, was a telemarketer for Diner’s Club cards. For one day, I became the person I hated—that called at dinner, when you were in the shower, or other inconvenient times. I only lasted one day.
Q: Tell us some more about your book(s).
A: Random Notes is the third in a series that women have fondly coined ‘girlfriend books, due to their fun female-centric essays. Before becoming an educator, I did a short stint as a mental health counselor where I counseled couples, and young children about issues in their lives. In Random Notes, I share my own past hurts, and other ‘stuff’ and how they made me feel, etc.,. Because of this, I look at my essays as ‘therapy without the couch.” Likewise, this book is proof positive that what does not kill you makes you stronger.
While Gilded Pearls shares my love of ‘upcycling and finding new uses for everyday items to save time and money. This was born of a mother who survived the Great Depression where the motto was re-use, repurpose or make do. Using my imagination was also encouraged, so I love finding new uses for things.
Q: Any last thoughts for our readers?
A: I also write for magazines, specializing in inspiration, home and garden and other issues. My goal in writing is entertaining, educating and empowering others in everything I write. An added bonus, women buy my books for women going through something in their lives like a separation, illness and divorce in hopes that my books will make them feel better for a short while. I love that.
About Author Carol Gee
Carol Gee, M.A. a retired military (AF) veteran, also enjoyed a short stint as a mental health counselor, before becoming a long time, former educator and, yes, that included teaching. An author, columnist and motivational speaker, she encourages girls, women and men to celebrate and embrace their thoughts, their feelings, the silly things they do: yes, their very humanity.
Author of the newly released books, Random Notes (About Life, “Stuff” And Finally Learning To Exhale) and Gilded Pearls (Vibrant Thoughts, Tips and Tidbits For A Full Life), Gee’s other books include her debut book, The Venus Chronicles and Diary Of A ‘Flygirl’ Wannabe. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines.
Most recently, her writings have appeared in such magazines as Diabetes Forecast, Diabetes Health, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, Woman’s World Magazine and numerous others. She and her husband were featured in the Feb 2017 issue of Essence Magazine article, “Standing Up For His Health”. Gee and her husband of 44 years, live in an Atlanta, GA suburb.