Carol Weston @ Politics and Prose :: May 12, 2015


Carol Weston writes fiction and nonfiction; for adults and children; the "Dear Carol" advice column in Girls' Life magazine (since 1994!); and speaks Spanish, French & a bit of Italian (she studied Spanish and French lit at Yale).

Her first book (Girltalk) came out 30 years ago and is still in print (in many languages)!

She comes from a family of writers: her mom was the garden editor of House and Garden magazine, and her dad wrote for radio, TV, and newspapers. She learned not to say "like" and "you know" from her dad; it taught her to care about words. 


Carol started writing by keeping a diary. She didn't finish that first diary, but she didn't see herself as a failed writer. She just started up another one! Diaries are a safe place to keep your secrets and thoughts. It won't tell you you've already written that and it won't tell on you.

She even wrote a Dear Carol letter to herself and wrote advice for herself when she wanted to write a novel (after many years of writing nonfiction). She went to therapy to understand why she hadn't challenged herself to write fiction. Took writing classes at the Y in NYC and then finally write her first Melanie Martin book. It was rejected at first, but she kept at it until Knopff accepted it and published the series. She used what she knew (languages and art) in the plot line to differentiate her book from other books. 


Carol's new series is Ava and Pip, about two sisters. She uses lots of palindromes in the books. The next book comes out in February 2016: Ava XOX. If she keeps up the series, she might run out of palindromes. How about Ava Nun? No!

The Speed of Life (for 7th and 8th graders) is coming out next fall (most likely it'll remain a standalone book).


Carol uses different colored paper for different drafts of her books so she can look at it with fresh eyes. Her husband is a great -- and critical -- reader. Her mother-in-law is an encouraging draft-reader, which motivates Carol to keep writing.

Why does she use so much word play in her books? When she confided in Elizabeth Winthrop (another author) that her character kept going back to words when she wanted her to think about other things, Winthrop said that Carol should let her character go ahead and be herself (she could edit later).

She can't pick a favorite character, but her favorite book to write was her 'momoir' about being pregnant, which she wrote when she was pregnant.

When she hears kids say that they don't like reading or writing, she likes to add "yet" to the end of the statement. She believes they will find the right genre, and with some extra work, reading and writing will eventually come to them.

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