September 29, 2012

Interview with Caroline Burau and an Excerpt from SUGARFIEND

Today I am happy to welcome Caroline Burau, author of Answering 911 and Sugarfiend, to Psychotic State Book Reviews.  Welcome, Caroline!

I’ve just read Sugarfiend and laughed all the way through.  What led you to the idea?

CB:  The idea to write Sugarfiend came mostly from my own ups and downs with dieting, food and weight issues. As I started developing the story, I realized it was also a great platform from which to throw eggs at the diet industry, which gave me all the fuel I needed to finish it.

How much of yourself did you write into the character of Estelle? 
CB:  Estelle is based on me in my twenties, but crazier, and with a higher credit limit. Other characters in the book are based on real people, but only very loosely, and most of those people are still talking to me, which is fortunate. I keep trying to tell my mom I didn't do even half the things Estelle does in Sugarfiend, but she still won't finish the last half.

As you self-published Sugarfiend, would you care to share with us your decision to do so and your experience with self-publishing?

CB:  Sugarfiend is my only self-published book. My memoir, Answering 911, was published by Borealis Books in 2006. I chose to self-publish Sugarfiend because I know that novels are much harder to place than non-fiction. It felt good to stop chasing agents and just take matters into my own hands, but self-publishing is a lot of work if you want to see results. I'm learning as I go.
You have also written a memoir (Answering 911).  Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?
CB:  I don't have a preference between writing fiction and non-fiction, but I am definitely leaning toward non-fiction for my next project because I like variety. And when I'm done with that, I'll probably be thinking about another novel. Honestly, the book ideas never end. It's so annoying.

Did you always want to be a writer?

CB:   I've always just been a writer whether I've wanted to be one or not. Writing used to get me in trouble during science class in high school. Teachers frequently gave me in-school suspension, which was funny, since that just took me out of my regular class, giving me more time to write. 

I once tried writing for a living (as a reporter) and didn't really enjoy it. When writing became how I paid my bills, it became a chore. I prefer to think of writing more as a bad habit that I just don't intend to give up, like ... say ... making cookies just so I can eat the dough.

What do you consider the best part of being a writer?  The worst part?
CB:  The best part of being a writer is creating something that someone relates to, then hearing from that someone. Writers are generally kind of lonely and socially handicapped. One good compliment can have us floating for weeks.

The worst part of being a writer is that we are generally lonely and socially handicapped. Also, the pay is terrible, unless you're J.K. Rowling, or that 50 Shades person whose name shall not be mentioned. Oh, the humanity.  

What is the single best piece of advice you think an aspiring writer should hear?

CB:  Every aspiring writer should be advised that it is a terrible way to make a living, but none of them ever seem to listen.

And a few random questions . . .

If I was a dessert I would be . . . Anything that looks really sweet, but will break your tooth if you're not careful. Peanut brittle, maybe? Chocolate-covered agates?

The strangest item on my desk is . . .  a pair of platform ruby red Dorothy shoes. Super uncomfortable.

If I could switch places with any person for one day it would be . . . my cat. I know that's not a person, but I just really want to sleep for 21 hours straight.

The book currently on my nightstand is . . .  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo  

If I had a Super Power it would be . . .   "Super-Procrastinator!"

Why should readers buy your books?
CB:  Because they are not about vampires, bondage, or vampire bondage.

Lastly, what one word would you say best describes Sugarfiend? 
CB:  Shiny!
Thank you, Caroline for taking the time to chat with me and my readers.  Best of luck with Sugarfiend!  (And I'm dying to know more about your Dorothy ruby red slippers!)

Readers, be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of Sugarfiend.

And let's take a poll . . . if YOU could change places with any one person for the day, who would it be and why? 

Me, I would change places with Jane Austen, back when she was alive and writing of course.  I would love to have twenty-four hours of insight into her mind, her wit and humor and know once and for all - - where she got her ideas and if Mr. Darcy was based on an actual person!


January something, somewhere in the Caribbean.
It’s karaoke night here on the SS Sugar Shock and I’m absolutely killing. I’m a star, a queen! A legend in my own mind.
Loretta Lynn never struck me as someone who would know exactly how many calories there are in one M&M; (seven the in plain, twelve or so in the peanut), but if this song I’m singing at top volume is any indication, the woman does know heartbreak. Heartbreak and lyin’ and cheatin’. Therefore, I could absolutely be wrong about the M&Ms.
I’ve been wrong before.
Like when I thought James was something more than just a thirteenth-stepping chubby-chaser. Or like when I thought Bill was worthy of even touching the hem of my size-14 potato sack. Or like when I thought I could ever, for even one minute, abstain from sugar without eventually going batshit crazy.
As I round the corner from the verse to the chorus, I try to get a read on my audience. Suddenly, I experience one of those moments where one’s initial feeling of triumph gives way to the possibility that I actually have toilet paper stuck to my shoe or asparagus in my teeth, if I ever ate asparagus. Or that everyone in this place is completely on to the fact that I am in the middle of batshit crazy.
Women like you are a dime a dozen, you can buy ‘em anywhere.
For you to get to him, I’d have to move over, and I’m gonna stand right here.
The waitress with the pretzel-stick thighs looks pensive. My twin bunkmates Rhonda and Roxanne look bored and worried, respectively. But, that’s how they always look. There’s nothing much to read in Rhonda’s face that couldn’t be found in ten minutes of any given episode of The Jersey Shore, but Roxanne’s face is really saying something. It’s saying, I think, that this journey I’m on was doomed from the start. It’s saying that whatever I boarded this ship to do I’ve long since overdone and that what’s needed now is a little restraint. What’s needed here is better judgment. Moderation, for crying out loud!

But I don’t do moderation. I’m an all-or-nothing girl.


Samantha said...

Thanks for featuring Caroline and Sugarfiend!

Lori Johnston said...

Thank you for including me on the tour, Samantha!