Today I have the privilege of interviewing dairy farmer and writer Carla Wardin. After previously publishing two non-fiction books, Every Other Twin Book is Wrong and Where the Filed Things Are, she has now released her first work of fiction, Sawyer In The Woods. A mom, farmer, and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers ambassador, and still has time to write!
1.You were not always a dairy farmer. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up with cows to milk?
Sure! My husband Kris and I graduated from Michigan State University and moved around the country for our jobs in marketing. I also taught as an adjunct instructor at a couple of universities. My parents were thinking about selling the cows, and Kris suggested that we buy their farm. (He is also from a dairy farm.) This had never even entered my mind as a possibility, but we quit our jobs, moved from Connecticut to Michigan, bought the farm – and so far, it’s been a great nine years! I’m the sixth generation on my family’s land and we’re raising the seventh.
2. Your first two books were nonfiction. What led you to do a young adult book?
I have three sons – Cole (8), Ty (8), and Max (5). Last year, my boys asked me to write them a book. I thought about it, then wrote it a chapter at a time. I’d read them a chapter before bed and they’d say, “Keep going!” So then I’d write another one and read it to them the next night. It was so fun writing and reading it! A local fourth grade teacher asked me to come in and read it to her class, and I was a little worried – I knew my own sons liked it, but would other kids? They had me read the whole book and they really enjoyed it – and I did too!
3. Tell us a little bit about Sawyer in the Woods. Did you outline the story and then write it, or did you write as it came to you?
I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen next. Reading it out loud to people definitely made me keep it action-packed to hold their interest.
4. Have you always been a writer or is this a pursuit you’ve taken up as an adult?
I’ve always written. When I was in third grade I won a young author’s award for a book I wrote, and I still read that book to my kids today. (It’s funny to them. Third-grade me has the same sense of humor as my third-grade sons.) I then wrote non-fiction, lots of English papers, a thesis I think four people in the world read, then moved on to writing about funny things that happened to me to send to my far-flung friends and family. Of course, for work I wrote marketing material, and I love writing about farming on Truth or Dairy.
5. You are a successful self-published author. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Why not do it? It’s so easy. I wrote my first one in 2011 and it’s even easier now than it was then. I’m continually amazed by how fantastic of a system it is.
6. I love the Percy Jackson books that my children read and often try to read them before they do. Do you have any books that you’d refer to as your guilty pleasures?
My son LOVES Percy Jackson! He will love hearing that. Despite getting my MA in English Literature, there are classic novels that I never seemed to hit. I consider it an item on my to-do list to read some of whatever I’m working on at night. It’s a guilty pleasure because I figure in time to do that … instead of other things I really should be doing!