In A Novel You Can Not Put Down, Robin Michele Carroll Opens Up About Her Book Two Faced and Advice for Future Writers
Something strange happens when you read a book that is not a typical choice of yours and yet, you’re captured by every word - you almost feel like you are in the story. Perhaps that’s the whole point of it all. We had the honor of interviewing Robin Michele Carroll, author of Two Faced, and as true to thought, we were mesmerized. Her suspenseful novel and potent advice made getting to know her even more fascinating.
Entire Magazine: How did you writing career start? How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Robin Michele Carroll: I was a quiet, introverted child who didn’t find joy in many things until my 3rd grade teacher gave me a copy of the book, Little Women, which sparked my love for reading. Within books, I was able to live vicariously through different characters. They took me to unknown places, introduced me to unique people, facilitated my experiences on unforgettable adventures, and helped me to understand that I’m not alone in the world. For years, I felt isolated and silent. But as I grew older, I realized that I could find my voice and power through writing. I relished the challenge of communicating what we each encounter in our everyday lives and bringing those inimitable moments to life through words and sentences. I was fascinated with the idea of creating my own form of literature, which is why I decided to write a book. I didn’t know what or who it was going to be about; all I knew was that it was going to be about people who often feel defenseless against life’s trials and tribulations. My book is suspense however the focus is on the women who fight the various people and circumstances that try to destroy them. Like me, I want readers to find strength in these resilient characters and recognize that they too are not alone in the world.
EM: This book is a real thriller and suspense novel! Where did the inspiration come from for this book?
Robin: This is going to sound strange, but most of my ideas come from dreams. I believe that’s one of the ways that my characters speak to me. With Two Faced, that character was Missy Melendez. I was asleep one night, and I had a dream about a woman who simply stood in front of a mirror staring at herself. Her face was wrapped in bandages, and I could tell by her body language that she was crying. I was startled awake when I heard her whisper, “I’m afraid of the dark.” It sounded like she was right there in the room with me, and I immediately turned on the light because I didn’t want her to be frightened. I pulled out a pen and my notebook and wrote, “I’m afraid of the dark. It exists merely to torment me as my unconscious mind becomes a barren wasteland inhabited by the lives of strangers.” That was my initial introduction to Missy. And when she’s presented in the book, those are the first words you read as she writes in her journal. That night, with Missy’s help, I came up with the premise of Two Faced. I felt like she came to me in a vision, which is why I gave her character psychic abilities.
EM: What is your creative process when writing? How long does it typically take to finalize a book?
Robin: Honestly, I don’t have a process. I merely go with the flow and allow the characters and the words to lead me. Sometimes, I’m even surprised by the direction, but I allow myself to trust the progression and development of the story. I’ve been called a “fly by the seat of my pants” writer, which I guess in a way is true. I remember, a few years ago, I told a friend an impromptu account of long lost lovers that has since become my most popular short piece. We were at work, and she asked me to tell her a romantic story to cheer her up. I typically don’t write about love, so I took that as a challenge. I talked about Joe and Marley, which would later be titled Now and Forever, like they were a real couple. The conversation lasted about 15 minutes, but when I was done, she pleaded with me to put it on paper. When I said I couldn’t because I was too busy working on my book, she enlisted other people to convince me. It took me three days to finish that story. But with Two Faced, it took me over a year to complete, not counting the hundreds of rewrites I did.
EM: For our future writers out there, what advice can you give future writers?
Robin: Don’t give up…keep writing. When you feel like everything you compose is not good enough…keep writing. When someone tells you that you can never make a living as a writer…keep writing. If all you have is an idea…keep writing. If you feel like you’re too old to follow your dream…keep writing. If someone reads your work and hates it…keep writing. When fear and doubt darken your doorstep…keep writing.
In the movie Sister Act 2, Whoopi Goldberg shares a quote with Lauryn Hill’s character, Rita, from the book Letters to A Young Poet, which says, “Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning and you can think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer.” That was true for me, and if that’s true for any future writers out there, then my advice is to simply keep writing.