A Conversation with Jamaican Young Adult Author, Carol Dunn

Carol Dunn was born in the garden parish of St. Ann, where she spent her early childhood amidst a lush and textured landscape that gave wings to her imagination. Having been brought up on adventure books, bedtime stories and fairy tales, she used to envision buried treasure in hollowed out tree trunks, and goblins hiding amongst the leaves. Carol’s educational path took her to St. Andrew High School, the University of the West Indies, the Mico College and Mount Saint Vincent University (Canada), and along the way she picked up a bachelor’s degree, a diploma in teaching and a master’s degree in adult education. She writes narratives, feature articles and educational materials of varying kinds. Carols says “In essence, I am a writer who educates, and an educator who writes.”

How long i have been writing?
Even before I learnt to put pencil to paper and form letters, I would ‘write’ stories in my head. When I actually grasped the concept at age five or six, I began putting my thoughts into words.

What inspires me to write?
I love a good story, and by that same token, I love to tell my own, too. Somewhere in my mind there is always a character begging for his or her story to be told.

What do you enjoy writing most?
I definitely prefer writing fiction over non-fiction. With fiction, I get to create my own world. It’s a powerful feeling.

What is your latest book?
My latest book is called ‘The Tender Season’, and it tells the story of a couple who had been separated for a number of years after their marriage went on the rocks as a result of the fallout from an unregulated investment scheme. The time has come for them to officially bring their relationship to a close, but a series of unexpected events propel them into each other’s company, and leaves them wondering if what they once shared isn’t worth salvaging it after all.

What are the most frequent comments from your readers?
Readers often comment on the realism of my characters and their situations. They also ask me where I get my ideas from, if there will be a sequel to my first novel, and when my next book will be published.

Your two favourite books are…
Narrowing down my all-time favourite books is a tough call, as I’ve had different ‘favourites’ at different stages of my life. Two that readily come to mind, however, are ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde and ‘The Lunatic’ by Anthony Winkler.

Your favourite authors…
I have read and loved so many books over the years, that selecting my favourite authors feels a bit like choosing among my friends. Currently I’m hooked on Nicky Charles and Elizabeth Hoyt.

What advice would you give new writers?
Write because you have a passion for it; because you are driven. That way, if you never become famous, if you never earn a penny from your work, it won’t matter, for in the end you would have followed your heart and satisfied your soul.

Your dream vacation is…
I’ve already seen the marvels of Europe. If I could go anywhere tomorrow, it would be to the Serengeti in Africa. I’m in love with the wildlife there, and being able to see all those beautiful animals in their native habitat would be such a thrill for me. I would also love to experience the mass migration of mammals across the vast plains, which is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of Africa.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m a romantic at heart, and so I’m a sucker for romance novels of any kind – and I do mean any kind. If it’s ‘happily ever after’, then sign me up for it!

Any final thoughts?
Even if you never get to travel anywhere, it doesn’t cost anything to take your mind on a tour around the world . Don’t be afraid to to try a new author, another style of writing, a different genre. If you love to read, then your motto should be, “So many books, so little time!”.