Featured Interview With Carol Smith
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Carol Christina Smith was born in Grass Valley, CA in 1948. This small historical gold mining town is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her maternal grandfather, Sylvester Nugent, worked in the Empire Mine in the early 1930’s and 40’s when gold was still busting. One of her fondest childhood memories was going with her maternal grandmother to drop her grandfather off at the mine during the wee hours of the morning. He would ride a cart into the mountain and disappear. Her grandmother would explain that he was far down under the earth digging for gold.
As a young girl, she romped through the woods with her two brothers. They enjoyed play on a fallen tree which they named the “monkey tree”. The woods created the setting for her children’s fiction “Tales of Wonder Woods”. A deep love and appreciation for the wonder and beauty of nature began to grow deep in her spirit.
At the age of ten, her father found employment in Rocklin, CA, a small town not far from California’s state capitol, Sacramento. With tears and a broken heart she left her childhood paradise and began a new life.
After graduation from high school, she attended a local community college for one year. The first month of college found her dancing in the arms of a young man, Ken Smith, who she married 10 months later. There were four children born in her marriage and later, eight grandchildren. Her marriage ended in divorce.
She loves travel and adventure. She has enjoyed a hike into the Grand Canyon camping at an Indian reservation. The hike up and out of the canyon was endured on a wild mustang trained by the Indians. In 1989 she ventured into a back packing trip in a dormant volcano “Haleakala”, “House of the Sun”. She enjoyed the 10,000 foot descent to the bottom only to come face-to-face with the tail-end of a hurricane. A few years back she enjoyed a camping trip into the wilds of Alaska, and a tour of Alberta Canada along the journey to Banf, Jasper, and the fascinating Waterton Lakes National Peace Park.
In 2005, her five-year old grandson Val, was in her care. He enjoyed listening to a story about an adventure in the woods with a talking tree and other fantasies. He was so enthralled with the story, he would add his own ideas.
In 2009, she began to write “Tales of Wonder Woods”. The book was completed in 2019. Now that she is retired, she is writing another children’s fiction based upon historical facts involving a family living during the Antellebum period and the Civil War.
I feel strongly that my book is good reading for kids in this particular era of time. So many families are separated, and this story offers hope. It is based on fact, Val’s mother and father were separated for a few years and then reunited.
This story wraps knowledge and education into the real world and the fantasy world. It teaches family values, friendship, knowledge, the value of education, and so much more.
Music was her first love. On a trip to San Francisco in Golden Gate Park, she enjoyed the opportunity to listen to an orchestra playing “Stars and Stripes Forever”. She asked her father, “what is that beautiful horn” playing that music. He answered, “it is a trumpet”. She replied with the promise, “someday I am going to play the trumpet”.
In Rocklin she joined the school band playing trumpet. Her love for piano developed while visiting her maternal grandparent’s home in Grass Valley. At the age of three she would sit on the bench of the Baldwin player piano and push the keys. She learned to play piano by practicing on an imaginary keyboard on the kitchen table. After the death of her maternal grandfather, the Baldwin player was gifted to her, and she began to play on a “real” piano.
Her life was filled with making friends with the “Rocklin kids”. Together, they romped the hillsides enjoying the natural beauty surrounding them.
In school she was an active cheerleader, Vice-President of Health, a choir member, active in Campfire Girls. In high school her interests wrapped around modern dance, choir, and aquatic arts.
Her love for style and design emerged into a fashion career at the age of 16. Her most aggressive hobby involved designing and sewing her own clothes. Proudly, she walked the halls of high school wearing beautiful outfits. Design and sewing continued through most of her adult life.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
The opportunity to write fantasy always seemed to be available in school projects. I enjoyed it and always received an “A” grade. In high school it was fantasy combined with analytical writing. In college I wrote poems in my creative writing class, English A, and received another “A” grade.
During my years working as a single mother I expressed interest in writing children’s fiction by exploring the possibility of signing up for a correspondence course through a known school located in the east. My schedule just would not allow it.
I began to write a children’s fiction under the inspiration of a story I told to my second grandchild. After I retired, I completed the book and published. I am currently writing another children’s fiction. It is a story about a family living on a southern plantation during the Antebellum period through the Civil War.
I was always fascinated by the plantation life. I had a great-great grandfather who fought in the Civil War in the Union Army. In my heart a story is unfolding about the Cooper family and their journey through the luxurious life of wealth and leisure which leads into the fury and destruction of the Civil War. My book “Magnolia Fury” is in the making and I am excited about it.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I liked Stephen R. Covey. His book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” inspired me tremendously. I was encouraged by the fact that I had many of these habits. I began to reminisce about the times in my life when I needed to be highly effective and I was successful. His quote, “To Touch the Human Soul is to Walk on Holy Ground”, sent a powerful message to me. It told me that he understands how important it is to treat people with dignity and respect and to reach inside the human spirit to understand what is really there.
As a child I loved the “Classics”. “Little Women” won my heart just as Heidi and Ann of Green Gables. I was enthralled with Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn”. These characters were as real as standing right beside me. I loved them. Robert Louis Stephenson’s “Treasure Island” sent a powerful message about greed and its consequence.
I found a new hero in our justice system when I read “Just Mercy” by Brian Stephenson. A man who dedicated his life to helping who fell injustly into the pitfalls of our American justice system.
I have always found it difficult to read a novel. If it is based upon historical fiction, it will captivate me. I am a very selective reader. Can’t read just anything!
I have read numerous biographies. I am almost obsessed with studying the lives of leaders and people who make a positive difference in America and the lives of other people.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
I have published my first book, “Tales of Wonder Woods” in September 2019. This began as a story I told to my youngest grandson Val at the age of six. He would add his own ideas to the story. It was encouraging to see such a young child take such an active interest in a story. During my working years I began to write this story into a children’s fiction whenever I had time. There were long intervals between my writing periods because of my busy life. Eight delightful grandchildren were born into my life, and I did not hesitate to enjoy them in my company as often as possible.
My book has a multi-faceted message and I want young readers to enjoy it.
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