Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Soul Mate author Carol Roddy sharing insights and advice from her multi-act life.
By my count, I am now in my third—or perhaps fourth act. Let me talk about the move from one to two.
Like many folks, college involved some changes. I was happily majoring in East Asian Studies and dreaming of possible graduate work at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service when I met Beloved. My priorities shifted quickly and I launched into my first act as a stay at home Mom. Initially it was all consuming. Children—bright, interesting, creative little people—came quickly and took all my attention. Parenthood may be a lifetime commitment, but little ones are temporary; they insist on growing up.
Several factors pushed me into the next act.
• As much as I liked having children, I craved intellectual stimulation. I also craved conversation with adults. Graduate school helped with those two.
• Raising a family on one income is tough.
• My youngest started school. Keeping house bores me silly, especially one empty most of the day.
After finishing my Masters in Library Science, I went to work in a public library. I could have stayed there for thirty years. I didn’t. Many factors weren’t working for me including the fact that typical library hours (2 nights a week and every other Sunday) aren’t terribly family-friendly. Leaving a good professional job for a part time clerical position at a small technology company close to home was a huge risk.
However, that risk resulted in an explosion of knowledge. I had walked into a small, creative, innovative company, a place where if you could think it up, you could do it. It was the pre-Internet days, but within two years I had built a database of technology products for disabled children, mounted it on a dial-in platform for public access, and written my first tech manual.
Alas, after a few years, our funding disappeared and I moved on. Over the next thirty years I zigzagged through a time of upheaval in the technology industry, working for companies and divisions that were bought, sold, merged, and disbanded. I was laid off and in a position where I had to lay others off. I helped close a division; I built new organizations from scratch three times. I directed shared library technology at the state, county, and local level.
• Risks pay off. Even when one doesn’t pay off, it moves you closer to your goal.
• To do nothing is a bigger risk than stepping out. You will never achieve a goal if you are afraid to make changes.
• Change forces growth. Sometimes something has to end for something new to take life. Embrace it.
That leads me to my third act. In the middle of work I loved, something in me kept longing to write fiction. I worked on my first novel for several years, but I never told anyone except Beloved. Approaching retirement, I knew I wanted writing to be what filled my need to be creative. I also knew it wouldn’t happen if I kept hiding it.
I took a risk. I sent that first book to a critique service. Was it great? No, but I learned a ton, and began the second book. I took another risk: I began pitching my books, swallowing rejecting and learning more. Why not just publish it myself? It wasn’t ready and wouldn’t earn back what an editor would cost. As luck—or God’s kind providence—would have it, Soul Mate Publishing accepted one of my books within months of my retirement. I’m not on the NY Times bestseller list, but I have awards, top pick reviews, and, above all, readers who like what I do. I’m a happy camper.
My advice? Don’t let fear of failure keep you paralyzed. You learn the most when things don’t go right. Nothing will happen unless you take a risk.
About the Author and Her Books
Caroline Warfield’s passions are faith, family, history and travel and all four drive her stories. She writes historical romance set in the Regency, Late Georgian, and Victorian eras. She is currently working on a Children of Empire, a series set in the 1830s, when the British Empire was approaching its zenith.
Three cousins, who grew up together in the English countryside, are driven apart by deceit and lies. (You may guess a woman is involved!) Though they all escape to the outposts of The British Empire, they all make their way home to England, facing their demons while finding love and the support of women of character and backbone. They are:
• Randolph Baldwin Wheatly who has become a recluse, and lives in isolation in frontier Canada intent on becoming a timber baron, until a desperate woman invades his peace. (Book 1: The Renegade Wife)
• Captain Frederick Arthur Wheatly, an officer in the Bengal army, who enjoys his comfortable life on the fringes until his mistress dies, and he’s forced to choose between honor and the army. (Book 2: The Reluctant Wife)
• Charles, Duke of Murnane, tied to a miserable marriage, throws himself into government work to escape bad memories. He accepts a commission from the Queen that takes him to Canton and Macau, only to face his past there. (Book 3: The Unexpected Wife)
Who are their ladies?
• Meggy Campeau, the daughter of a French trapper and Ojibwe mother who has made mistakes, but is fierce in protecting her children. (Book 1: The Renegade Wife)
• Clare Armbruster, fiercely independent woman of means, who is determined to make her own way in life, but can’t resist helping a foolish captain sort out his responsibilities. (Book 2: The Reluctant Wife)
• Zambak Hayden, eldest child of the Duke of Sudbury, knows she’d make a better heir than her feckless younger brother, but can’t help protecting the boy to the point of following him to China. She may just try to sort out the Empire’s entangled tea trade–and its ugly underpinning, opium, while she’s there. (Book 3: The Unexpected Wife)
Book 3, The Unexpected Wife, will be released on July 25.
Charles Wheatly, Duke of Murnane, doesn’t expect to find his great love when he accepts an unofficial fact finding mission to Canton on behalf of the queen. He certainly doesn’t expect to confront his wreck of a marriage in such an exotic locale. Zambak Hayden follows her brother to China to escape pressure to make a suitable marriage. She finds the brother drawn into the world of greed, smuggling, drugs, and corruption and resolves to both sort out the truth and protect her brother from becoming prey to all of it—if only she could stop yearning for the one man she can’t have.
Here’s a short video about it.
It’s a good time to read Book 1 and begin the series!
For more about Children of Empire and all of Caroline’s books, look here.
A prequel to the series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always ***FREE*** at various retailers. Find out more here.
Stay in touch with Caroline in cyberspace in any of these places:
Carol, I’m in awe of all the risks you have taken. You are an inspiration! Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.