In her debut novel, Veronika Carnaby picks up where the Beat Generation left off. Set in 1960,
chronicles a group of twenty-somethings who defy the "ideals" of a
mid-twentieth century society to seek creative fulfillment. In the process,
they spotlight the creative path that artists of all mediums tread, all the
while depicting the challenges faced by youth in the decade that changed the
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Welcome Veronika! Thanks for this opportunity to learn a little more about you. Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?
Yes. I admit that this is somewhat of a semi-fictional account of circumstances I’ve encountered in real life. Some of the characters are based on people I’ve known. Most of the scenes in the book do, in fact, stem from personal experience. Valerie Freed is somewhat of a reflection of myself and of the ups and downs I’ve faced on my creative journey. Her battle with finding her niche, chiseling her literary craft, and knocking down doors to get noticed is a good summary of the whirlwind road I’ve traveled up to this point. What excites me most, however, is that the relatability of the characters. Ideally, everyone who reads this book will be able to see a little bit of themselves in Valerie, Roxford, Emm, or any other character for that matter.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
The fact that I can embark on a mental journey that transports to a magical place through the writing. That’s my definition of freedom, anyway. The only other feeling I can compare it to is listening to a beloved song. I’m convinced that the arts could be something of a higher power.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
By this point, I’ve had my share of criticism and rejection. Fortunately, I’ve realized that it comes with the job description and that you can’t take it personally, because it’s business. You also can’t escape negativity, and that goes for any avenue in life. Everyone has their critics. Why should some foul word-slinging curb my ambitions? Besides, it’s all subjective, anyway. Just because one person doesn’t take a liking to the end product, doesn’t mean that nobody else will. At the end of the day, it’s about the reader’s take.
Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?
I used to conduct interviews with artists in the start of my career and I once asked someone, whose name I’ll conceal for privacy reasons, the same question. Her answer struck me and has stayed with me to this day. She said, don’t be afraid to reach for the impossible. You never know who’ll open that door you’re knocking on. That mindset has carried me through to this day.
Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
Difficult, fulfilling, introspective.
Beatles or Monkees? Why?
Ha! While I admire both bands immensely, I’d have to give this one to The Beatles. They’ve influenced my life and career probably more than anyone else has in music and in literature.
What books have most influenced your life?
If we’re talking about one writer’s catalog of work, that’d most certainly be Jack Kerouac’s. On the Road, Maggie Cassidy, The Dharma Bums, even just the letters he exchanged with Ginsberg, each and every work of his helps me grow as an author. That being said, I can’t narrow his work as my sole influence, since I’ve pinched a bit from many, many more that I couldn’t begin to list. And just when I think I’ve read it all, I discover something new to grow from. It’s a constant eye-opening experience.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
When the world turns its back on you, for God’s sake, don’t get discouraged.
American author and poet, Veronika Carnaby, possesses a vintage charm that transcends well into her written works. Over the years, her Beat-style prose pieces have gained international recognition after appearing in such publications and functions as The Ed Sullivan Show, Empty Mirror Magazine, SESAC Magazine, SXSW, and the SESAC New York Music Awards, among others. Today, Carnaby continues to infuse her writing with a poignancy and passion for 20th century culture, music and literature. Find out more and stay updated at her official website and official Twitter account, @VeronikaCarnaby.