Saturday, September 26, 2015

Savvy Saturday- Interview with Ute Carbone

Ute Carbone is one of our talented authors who likes to write both rom-coms and historical romances. She lives with her husband in Southern New Hampshire, where she spends her days drinking coffee, eating chocolate, walking in the woods, and dreaming up stories. Ute (pronounced Ooh-tah) is with us today to tell us a little about her start in writing and her upcoming book, Sweet Auralie, a historical romance in her Sweet Lenora series.

CBG: When and why did you begin writing?

Ute: I remember playing the game Candy Land with my mother when I was six or seven years old. I used to make up stories about the game—what happened in the gumdrop forest, where the princess got lost and had to be rescued by a fairy who came by on a cloud and brought her home—that kind of thing. My mom said "I think you're going to be a writer when you grow up." And I thought "No! Never!" I couldn't spell to save my life and my handwriting was terrible. How could I possibly ever become a writer? I was going to be either a zoo keeper or the lady on the flying trapeze, depending.

It took a lot of years to come to the realization that writing was more than just spelling, grammar, and printing out the alphabet. I wrote a bit in college, mostly songs and a few short stories, but I honestly never thought of myself as a writer. It wasn't until much later, when my kids were small, that I started writing poetry. I joined a group and was blown away when people actually thought the poems were good. From there, I took up prose. About a dozen years ago I finished my first novel. Now, a dozen novels and a whole bunch of stories and poems later, I can't imagine not being a writer. I guess my mom was right after all.

CBG: Tell us your latest news!

Ute: The final part of the Sweet Lenora historical series featuring Anton and Lenora Boudreauxm, Sweet Auralie, releases in October with Champagne Books. The books are set in mid-nineteenth century America, in and around clipper ships. This is a departure from the other (first) three books, in that is a full length novel, not a novella. The book begins about six months after the third novella (All Things Returned) leaves off and follows Anton and Lenora through the next ten years of their marriage.

CBG: Do you have a specific writing style?

Ute: I write a lot of different types of stories and a lot of different characters, often in first person, so I used to imagine I didn't have a 'voice'. Readers have told me this isn't so, at a poetry reading a while back another poet listened to me read and said of one line "Oh, that is so Ute Carbone". I like to think that all of my books have a style that is uniquely mine, whether serious or funny or romantic .

CBG: How did you come up with the title?

Ute: Sweet Auralie is the name of an imaginary ship in the book. It's a nice correlate to Sweet Lenora, the first novella and name of the series. Sweet Lenora is also the name of a ship—the ship named after the heroine, Lenora Brewer Boudreaux. Sweet Lenora was built by Lenora's father. Years later, Anton and Lenora have a daughter named Auralie and the ship they build is named for their daughter.

CBG: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Ute: I didn't set out to write a book with a message. I had, as I often do, these characters in my head with a story to tell. What is interesting, to me at least, was the way the character arcs of the two main characters played out. Lenora is in the beginning spunky and a bit headstrong. She remains headstrong throughout, but gains a great deal of maturity over the course of the series. She comes into herself, into her own, as time goes on. Anton is brave and daring and wants nothing more than to protect Lenora, which is admirable, but as an eighteenth century man, he also expects some meekness and obedience from his wife. Over the course of time, he learns not only to live with her headstrong nature, but to celebrate it and to trust her not only with his heart, but with his life. I'm not entirely sure there is a message in this, but it was good to see them grow into their relationship as they each grew in character.

CBG: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Ute: I'm distracted by shiny objects, so I find myself with multiple projects in my WIP file all the time. I have two projects I hope to finish drafts of in the next year or so—One is a romantic comedy with the working title "Second Hand Love". It's a contemporary, set in New York City, and the heroine is a young woman who writes a column about breakups and has her own troubles with romance. The other is a historical/Western called "The Stars All Have Names" about a young woman who goes west to marry a rancher sight unseen. It's set in Colorado in the 1890s. I've also got two finished drafts that I'm revising—a rom com called "Georgette Alden Starts Over" about a soap star who needs to reinvent herself after the character she's played for thirty years is killed off, and a contemporary called "The Fall Line" which is set in the same 'world' as an earlier book, "Dancing in the White Room", about a ski champion at the end of her racing career. There are a few other bits and pieces, but these should keep me busy for a while.

CBG: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Ute: Writing fiction is kind of like making a quilt. Bits and pieces of my own life experience, of stories I've heard, people I've known and places I've been, all get strung together and altered into something new, something that becomes a story. For the comedies, people I know will tell me funny stories they've heard or experienced and these often find their way into the narrative. The whale blowing up in The P-Town Queen is based on a real event that happened back in the seventies (you can find it under 'blown up whale' on youtube), the single shoes in Afterglow come from a story told me by a friend, and the theater in Searching for Superman is based on the history of a real theater near where I live. Sweet Auralie, too, has some basis in reality, as Anton and Lenora race from Boston to San Francisco down around the horn of South America to set the world record for fastest clipper ship. An actual ship of that era, the Flying Cloud, set a record that stood for over a hundred years. And, interestingly, had a woman navigator.

Ute: Note—my new book, Sweet Auralie, comes to Champagne Books on October 5. It's the final part of the Sweet Lenora Series, which includes Sweet Lenora, To the Wind, and All Things Returned.

Here's a blurb:

The unforgettable love story that began with three novellas is completed in the final, full length novel of the Sweet Lenora series. Sweet Auralie follows Anton and Lenora through the trials and tribulations that mark the next part of their journey. Over the course of ten years, they travel to Shanghai as they search for a long lost child, to New England where they confront Lenora's scheming relatives to gain a fair share of Brewer Brothers, and finally aboard the Sweet Auralie on an adventure filled voyage where they hope to break the speed record and make the ship they've build the fastest ever to sail from New England around the horn of South America to San Francisco.

As Anton and Lenora strengthen and thrive as individuals, the love they share becomes the cornerstone of a great family and a legacy that will be long remembered.


  1. Thanks, Kylee. It was lovely chatting with you.

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