Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

In case you’ve missed my 1,000 tweets, FB posts, videos, and Instagram updates this month, my novel Grace Group was released by eLectio Publishing mid June. Rewriting, talking about, thinking about, and posting about this book has consumed me in the last month, to the exclusion of many of my other endeavors (fortunately not the feeding and caring of my children, although poor Dreamy is another matter). Because I’ve become a little concerned about my non-human babies (i.e. my businesses), I did what I’ve learned to do in the last decade, which is to ask for help from people who know more than me.

That led to a meeting with Mindy, an amazing mentor, coach, and fellow writer last week to talk about my book and how it fits in with my writing goals in general. She gently (well, not that gently…that’s neither her nor my style) pointed out that my brand is confusing. If you look at my blog, it’s all about the trials and tribulations of parenting a very precocious preschooler and her twin brothers, and trying to balance that with two startup businesses and maintain anything resembling work life balance, peace of mind, and serenity. I love writing about this, (just like I loved writing about work life balance and corporate misery when I was doing that). I am working on a non-fiction book and even a website called Twin Life Hacks, to share the pain/love with other twin mamas about this crazy journey we’re all on.

So in the midst of ALL this, out pops Grace Group. In case you’re wondering, there are no twins in Grace Group. Yes, the main character Holly shares some characteristics with me, okay, maybe a lot, but all the other characters are made up. Not only are there are no twins in this book, there is only one kid, and he’s not related to my main character, who is not a mom. So what the heck, one might ask (or did, if one were a book coach) is the relation between my fiction and my blogs, who am I as an author, and WHAT am I trying to do with my writing anyway?

How should I know? I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in five years!

Actually, she helped me immensely in defining what exactly I AM trying to do with my writing. I’ve been writing for free and for fun ever since I was a kid (much like Bisky, but that’s probably a story for another day). Even though my books and blogs are not on the same topic, they are absolutely related to my mission as a writer, which is to encourage, inspire, make people laugh, and let you know that you’re not alone. So big picture, it all relates.

But small picture..does Grace Group have ANYTHING to do with twins? Only this. I wrote Grace Group when I was pregnant with the boys. At first I called it Grief, Inc., then Grief Group, then Hope, Unlimited and finally Grace Group. This was over a period of three years, from before they were born until just after their third birthday. The title changes very much reflect my emotional state through the transition! Grace Group is not my first novel, it’s my fifth and I’ve realized that I’ve written a book through every major upheaval in my life (and through bad choices and above average anxiety and mood fluctuations, there have been a lot).

When I found out I was having twins, my first emotion was not joy. I have not always wanted twins…I haven’t always even wanted children! My reaction was shock, fear, horror, fear, extreme grief, fear, grudging acceptance, fear, joy, fear, joy, fear, joy, fear etc. Grace Group starts with Holly finding out she’s going to die in six months. It’s no coincidence that I was three month’s pregnant when I started this book (6 months…get it). I felt very much like life as I knew it was over (and it was, but not in a bad way after all). As Holly grew in acceptance and even excitement about what was to come in the next stage of her journey, so did I.

It turns out Grace Group has a lot to do with twins, after all. And coping. And dealing with major transitions in life. I find it impossible to pick and stick with just one way of doing anything, so I’m still working on fiction AND non-fiction. It makes it hard to categorize me as an author. As I’ve told Dreamy before…I’m an enigma wrapped in a mystery (like a burrito, he says). And, like a burrito, sometimes I’m a little spicy, and definitely not for everyone. So although I’ll try to have some kind of recognizable thread in my writing, it will be a very broad one of hope and encouragement, taking many different forms. If you’ve stayed along for the ride this far, thank you! Hopefully the best is yet to come!

On the subject of change, I’ve written 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!

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