Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Soul Mate author Carole Ann Moleti sharing her first and second acts and new release, Breakwater Beach.
Briefly describe your first act.
I decided I wanted to be a nurse the day I turned seven, and though I fantasized like most young children about being a rock star, equestrian, or a ballerina, that resolved never wavered. I doctored up injured creatures I came across, was always fascinated by biology and devoured Cherry Ames books along with Nancy Drew mysteries, Whitman Westerns, and seminal science fiction works like The Andromeda Strain and Arm of the Starfish.
There were horses the Bronx, NYC at that time (believe it or not) but my parents didn’t have the funds for that hobby. I learned enough at Ms. Tessie’s School of Ballet to be in end of the year performances and school, and Girl Scout productions attended by devoted grandparents and parents, but as my father tactfully pointed out, I didn’t have the body of a ballerina (or the talent).
Pragmatism was a trait in my family—and I went with the original plan. I followed the prescribed course of action winning science awards and honors, and studying nursing in college, graduate school, and even obtained a doctorate in nursing practice. I’ve specialized in family health and midwifery, and for twenty of my twenty-eight year career, followed the logical progression of promotions to achieve exactly what I wanted-to take care of people and make a difference in their lives.
What triggered the need for change?
In the early 1980s, health became a business with terms like ‘throughputs’ and ‘outputs’ replacing ‘patients’ and ‘getting better.’ Getting them in and out fast became a measure of ‘provider productivity,’ and ‘outcomes’ became buzzwords prefaced by ‘favorable’ and ‘unfavorable.’ Most doctors and nurses revile this approach to what should be an art and science not a business, but our voices have been drowned out. Spending on actual patient care competes with funds for departments devoted to compliance with laws and regulations, billing and coding, and quality management—all euphemisms for not losing reimbursement because you didn’t follow the rules, maximizing the amount you get for each visit or hospital stay, and tweaking the system when there are too many complications or adverse outcomes occurring.
This transformed my profession into a punching bag. I felt like a wishbone being pulled apart by the resolve to do the best I could for patients while not violating rules, regulations, policies and procedures that do not always make sense at 2 am on Sunday, when a critical situation occurred and I was in charge of taking an action, the consequences of which I’d have to live with for the rest of my life.
Where are you now?
In 2005, I started to explore what I really wanted to do now that I was all grown up. After watching a Star Wars movie, I realized how popular culture insidiously glorifies violence against women. I decided to write a novel that addressed that—and did. It’s still in a trunk and may never be published, but that began my second career writing fantasy and science fiction and creative nonfiction (including two memoirs) that focus on environmental, political and women’s issues. My influences are feminist literature from the 1970s, classic science fiction and fantasy, my grandmother’s hand me down romance novels, and literary classics. I still read (and write) academic papers and research articles but my several part time jobs pay the bills while giving me more flexibility to spend time writing.
In 2006, I started a very cross genre paranormal romance story that turned into the Unfinished Business series. It is not autobiographical, but was strongly influenced by my childhood, living on the waterfront, vacations on Cape Cod, and the perspective a midwife who did her residency on the North Shore of Massachusetts-near Salem. Breakwater Beach was just published, the sequel is out, and the third book is in revision.
My next project is a gritty urban fantasy series Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams, which is set in the Bronx, where I grew up and now work. It’s like Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities with a paranormal twist. Excerpts of my memoirs have been published in a variety of literary journals and I won the Oasis Journal award for creative nonfiction in 2009.
In 2007, I started taking ballet classes again and now study at a studio in Manhattan under dancers who have performed with major ballet companies. Those journeys, along with many of my health care related experiences, have been incorporated into my memoirs.
Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?
Listen to your inner voice. Be open to making a major change even if it involves going back to school to learn new skills. With the advent of the Internet, I was able to take creative writing classes that developed my skills and are now helping to advance my second career. It is never easy, but don’t listen to those who might discourage you–even if it’s sideways glances or eyes rolling, or giving your work little credence. I have made the most steadfast writing friends over the last eleven years.
Any affirmations or quotations you wish to share?
“Administrators are people who do things the right way, but leaders are those we depend upon to do the right thing.”
– Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, 1985
Doing the right thing is not always the right thing to do. Always follow your heart, and your conscience, and your dreams.
Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?
Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.
Books One and Two in the Unfinished Business series, Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal romance novels, Breakwater Beach and The Widow’s Walk, were published by Soulmate. Book Three, Storm Watch, is expected in 2017. Urban fantasies set in the world of Carole’s novels have been featured in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires.
Carole also writes non fiction that ranges from sweet and sentimental in This Path and Thanksgiving to Christmas to edgy and irreverent in the Not Your Mother’s Books: On Being a Mother and On Being a Parent.
Where to find Carole…
Carole, thanks for sharing your inspiring journey and excellent advice. Best of luck with Breakwater Beach.