The Tapestry Baby – author interview – Carole Waterhouse

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Carole Waterhouse Virtual Book Tour

About The Tapestry Baby

Karin lives in terror that her child will be born a multi-colored version of the mysterious tattooed man she met one night. When Anna is born normal instead, she becomes convinced her daughter is meant to fulfill some special destiny that she herself can’t provide. A believer of signs and premonitions, she takes off on a journey with Vonnie, a writer friend who can’t complete any stories because the peacefulness of her own life leaves her without inspiration hoping she can make a decision along the way. The choice, however, may not fully be her own. Their lives are randomly connected with six other people. There’s Ward, a cross-dresser who chooses his lovers based on their ability to make him look good, and Daria, a photographer who wants to feel emotion with the same level of intensity she can show it in her work. Mrs. Brown is a librarian with a sordid past who masquerades in her own dowdiness and her secret admirer Ned, a music teacher experiencing a nervous breakdown who finds that his images of make-believe women are deteriorating as notes break on his piano. Pivotal are Reggie, a massive tattooed man who despite his best efforts lives in fear of destroying women the same way he once accidentally crushed a bird he held in his hand and Clarissa, a fake fortune-teller who is responsible for bringing them all together. The Tapestry Baby raises the question of whether any of us really has control over our own destinies.

About Carole Waterhouse

A creative writing professor at California University of Pennsylvania, Carole Waterhouse is the author of two novels, The Tapestry Baby and Without Wings, and a collection of short stories, The Paradise Ranch.

Her fiction has appeared in Arnazella, Artful Dodge, Baybury Review, Ceilidh, Eureka Literary Magazine, Forum, Half Tones to Jubilee, Massachusetts Review, Minnetonka Review, Oracle: The Brewton-Parker College Review, Parting Gifts, Pointed Circle, Potpourri, Seems, Spout, The Armchair Aesthete, The Griffin, The Styles, Tucumari Literary Review, Turnrow, and X-Connect.

A previous newspaper reporter, she has published essays in an anthology, Horse Crazy: Women and the Horses They Love, and Equus Spirit Magazine. Her book reviews have appeared in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Pittsburgh Press, and The New York Times Book Review.

Her latest novel is The Tapestry Baby, a novel depicting a mother who believes her child is born to fulfill some special destiny and discovers her life is intertwined with six other people, raising the question of whether any of us really control our own decisions, and through the process learns that greatness can be defined in the simplest of gestures.

You can visit Carole’s website at




Q:  Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper? 


A:  I always write with pen and paper.  My thoughts come very quickly and freely when I write and I can’t type quickly enough to keep up with them.  Sometimes I even put notes in the margins as I write because I think of changes that I may want to make while I’m still just putting down the first words of an initial draft, but don’t want to interrupt the flow of my work.  While I am writing, my whole life ends up getting transferred into my notebooks because I spend so much time there.  In the margins, I’ll have figures where I’ve been balancing my checking account and lists of bills I have to pay and names of hotels where I’m making reservations for my next vacation.  My notebooks end up being a complete catalog of my life at that time.


Q:  Biggest Career Surprise


A:  How well everything worked together.  I wanted to teach when I was young, English specifically, but was afraid to major in education because I was shy about standing in front of people and talking.  All through college, everyone laughed when I said I was a creative writing major.  Several people made comments like I must be going to college to meet a husband because I’d never find a job in that field.  In my senior year, I asked one of my professors about possible careers and he suggested an MFA program.  I’ve been teaching in universities ever since.


Q:  Do you have a writer’s studio? Describe it for us and what is the view you see from the window?


A:  I wouldn’t call it a studio, exactly, but I do have a spare room where I do most of my writing.  My desk is positioned in front of a large window where I can look outside and watch my horses grazing in their pasture.  I have a musical instrument, a hammered dulcimer, and occasionally I’ll tale a break and play a song or two as a way of getting my thoughts together.


Q:  Time Frame: From start to finish


A:  That can vary.  The Tapestry Baby, the novel I just released, was written in a year.  I felt a tremendous sense of energy from the moment I started working on it, and it just seemed to write itself.  Without Wings, my first novel, took ten years, in part because of the extensive amount of revision I ended up doing and possibly because I was young then and didn’t really believe in myself.  While I was publishing extensively in literary magazines at that time, I had doubts about my ability to get a book published.  The novel I’m working on now is also taking a long time–I’m in my fifth year–but for a different reason.  It’s based on the life of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, and while not a historical novel in the strict sense of the word, writing it has involved extensive travel and research.


Q:  Have you ever abandoned any books/novels in progress?


A:  Quite often.  A novel is something you have to truly believe in, another life you create for yourself while you’re working on it.  When I’m writing well, everything I hear and see seems to be an influence, and this world I’m creating is something I live day and night.  My life with my characters ends up being like any relationship.  Sometimes everything starts out nice and positive, then takes a sudden turn. When my interaction with my characters and their lives just starts to not feel right, I’ve found it’s best to say good-bye and move on.


Q:  Who or what was your greatest influence that made you want to be a writer/author?


A:  Writing is something I’ve always done.  Even when I was too young to read or write, I used to copy words out of books.  I began writing stories in elementary school, usually about my pets, and just never stopped. My subjects, obviously, have become more sophisticated, but animals still make their way into my writing quite often.  Some people who know my work well tell me that every time they pick up something new I’ve written, they keep waiting for the place where a horse will show up.





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