Some of the world’s most famous authors did not get started until later in life and Carol Daems-Townsend is proof that it is never too late to start writing. She hit her literary stride in her 50s and it has been uphill ever since.
Carol’s inspiring story…
Carol was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Nellis Air Force Base on December 26,1952. When her father died in a plane crash on the base when she was 2 ½ years old, her mother took Carol and her sister, Cathy, and packed what little they had and moved them to Bozeman, Montana. That’s where their family was. Her mother, Donna Mae, knew she was going to need a lot of support from her family since she was also one month pregnant. No one knew except the base doctor.
Donna proceeded to raise the girls in Bozeman with a side journey to Frankfurt, Germany, when Cathy was 7, Carol 5, and Jean was 2 ½. Their uncle was in Germany helping with the rebuilding of the country after the war and invited Donna to bring the girls for a visit.
When they returned in 1961, Carol’s small world had changed. The earthquake in Yellowstone Park the previous year had rearranged the fishing holes she and her grandfather frequented. They had to redesign their regular roots, which her grandfather enjoyed, but meant more chaos for a child who liked the status quo.
Carol excelled in school. Her grades were high and as a result, she was given the opportunity to start dancing and skiing. She could also cut classes from time to time and spend the day fishing with her grandpa. She needed the male companionship she was missing since her daddy’s death.
High school had its ups and downs for Carol, which was quite typical for any teenager. She survived the trials and tribulations and graduated with full ride scholarships from several colleges. Loving tennis, she immediately turned down the University of Missoula (her family’s historic choice) and the University of Reno in Nevada. If she was going to play in snow, she could just stay home and attend Montana State.
After one year of that, she packed up for a summer in the sun in Las Vegas where she had an aunt and uncle and a married cousin she could stay with. Carol fell in love with Vegas. The heat, which should have burned her red-headed skin to a crisp, called to her frozen soul. Vegas was where she needed to be.
She returned to Bozeman to finish her sophomore year at Moo U then packed up all her worldly belongings and headed south. She was a walk-on in tennis at UNLV, learned a lot from the coach who was an escapee from the Soviet Republic of Russia, and met her sweetheart, Gregg Townsend. In the 45 years that she and Gregg have been together, they have lived in Las Vegas, Anchorage, AK; Santa Rosa, CA; and San Antonio, TX; but they always return to Vegas. Why Vegas so many people asked? Because that is ‘my rock’ she replies. Every time they have moved away, both she and Gregg could not wait until they returned.
Carol has gathered so many stories from her family background, which is deeply rooted in Montana history, and her many moves and world travels. She and Gregg love cruising and have enjoyed more than 40 so far. Now after releasing her 8th book on Amazon/Kindle, Carol is retired in Sun City Summerlin and is looking forward to the next book she will write. As the family storyteller, she never knows for sure where the next character will lead but she knows she will enjoy the journey.
NSAEN: How did you get into writing?
Carol: Early on it was just reports for school in which I explored the Amazon and the Sahara Desert through the Encyclopedia for school. I tied in stories of my adventures with my grandfather as we followed the road less traveled in Montana where I was raised. Then in the process of a 40-year sales career, it was honed into me by many teachers and mentors that a great salesperson explained the facts but sold on the story. This worked very well for me in my remodeling of hotels in a highly competitive arena.
While I was working on the hotel properties, I was teaching occasional goal and career training classes for the California higher education institutes as a guest lecturer. Two young men out of Colorado somehow got hold of a training tape from one of my classes and called me out of the blue. They told me that after pulling themselves back together after laughing themselves onto the floor (evidently, I am a born stand-up comedian in the lecture hall), they had learned two (2) things:
First: I needed to come to work for them in their Career Training Business. Because of my storytelling, I sold more books and tapes in my lectures than their current full-time instructors sold throughout the year. I gratefully and gracefully declined the opportunity since I was neck deep in my design career.
Second: I needed to write a book. I thanked them for their feedback and added a new life goal of publishing a book by the time I reached 50. Since I was 35 at the time that gave me 15 years to get ‘unbusy’.
When I was 49 ½ and recovering from cervical surgery, my loving husband reminded me that 50 was fast approaching and I had not written my book yet so I dusted off two ideas and propped myself up in bed to begin my new career.
The names of my books and a hopefully brief description of same:
- Franny’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame
Character garnered after a family trip to my niece’s high school graduation. It encompasses the feelings we had that as newly minted graduates we were invincible adults about to go out and correct what the world had gotten wrong before then.
Comment from a friend and reader: Carol! Way to go. Congrats on your first book, it is awesome. Your personality shines through every part of the book. We never saw the ending coming, which was fabulous. And now we watch every news report on a plane which has crashed in the ocean, hoping for a survivor just like your hero. It amazes me that there have been survivors…way to go.
- *Finally Love, A Many Faceted Love and Last Woman Standing
These have evolved into four stories recently published under the new titles of, Triumph Through Tragedy I and II. (I have moved over to Amazon Kindle with these new releases). The stories revolve around four women, at different ages, who have encountered a tragedy that changed the projection of their lives. In recovery they found a new life and new love which released them from their past.
Comment from reader: I loved how you tied in history with the present, a belief that the dead can come forward and guide you to a new path, and that there can be happily ever afters. I can’t wait to read more of your books.
- The Lost Series: Lost Found/Lost Stolen/Lost Recovered/Lost Betrayed
This is a compelling set of books where a young woman, who was herself a victim of abduction, becomes a detective with a passion for finding the lost children around the world. The stories are ripped from the headlines of today’s newspapers and she goes to work solving them with a computer with a sense of what the bad guys are thinking.
Comment from a reader: This was a good read, Carol. I know we haven’t seen or talked to each other since the day we graduated from high school (Gosh, I guess I’ll see you at our 50th reunion!) but I wanted to tell you that your personality shines through vividly in every page. Way to go. I always knew you would be a great writer.
- A Rare Vintage
This book revolved around the devastating fires of Northern California that swept through Napa and the famous wine country. The original character was from a short story I had written 20 years before but put aside because a friend of mine said the little girl in the burning car was her. It sent shivers down my spine to know that the character who wouldn’t let me sleep until I had her story written was in fact my friend.
Comment from a reader: Carol, I have gotten used to you ending your harrowing story of love and loss with a miracle in the end. I like that you have the book end on a high note but, the evil man in this book was truly a S**of a B****. I’m glad he was just fiction.
- Glitz Glamour and Murder / Follow the Money
These two are my latest offerings and another tale where the heroine actually told me where we were going in this. Because of all the foreign money that finds its way into our American systems, and how it shades the work being accomplished, this book needed to be grounded in someplace I was familiar with – thus, it winds its way into the UNLV Medical School which has recently been initiated in Las Vegas. I apologize to my alumni that I end up destroying the School of Medicine in this telling. Good thing it’s fiction!
Comment from reader: I can certainly see how the events being played out in our news everyday can shade into what you are writing. Another great story. Keep it up.
NSAEN: Typically, long does it take you to write a book?
Carol: The characters can people my thoughts and dreams for as long as seven years before they actually coalesce into a book. Once they say they are ready to go, I normally write non-stop for a month. Then, it takes two or three months to edit, rearrange, and polish before I send them out into the world.
My sister is very helpful in her critiques, and sometimes a year or two later the characters and the book evolve into a fuller interpretation of the original. Thus, they are rewritten and offered as Vol 2.
“Franny’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame” was my first book and I sold it as a movie. The screenplay has been submitted and if the movie makers ever get around to it, I have retained all the rights for the story and characters so even if they rename it, I will have input in the outcome.
I have been approached for a TV Series for the Lost Series, and a publisher of a well-known writer has reached out to me as well. Nothing has happened yet, but it is definitely thanks to the Internet that I have reached a much wider audience than I ever dreamed seventeen years ago.
NSAEN: What types of books do you read?
Carol: My husband would say anything that weighs more than a pound. I love reading and always have. I like Fiction, Nonfiction, Adventure, Romance, Thrillers, and now because I’m working simultaneously on our family story from the 1800s and a fiction placed during the Korean Conflict and Cold War, I am devouring historic novels. I can tell already that these will take more than a year for me to complete. Fun Fun Fun!
NSAEN: Where do your ideas for your books come from?
Carol: Real life, the news, stories someone has told me, or the characters who won’t leave me alone until I write their story. My sister-in-law gave me a T-Shirt that reads, Writer’s Block is when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you. Let me say on an average night, I get 3 hours of REM sleep and the rest is peopled with my imaginary friends. The other T-shirt says: Be careful what you say to me, you may be in my next book!
I can tell you from my offerings in writing in high school, I was told by my English teacher that I would never be a good writer because I was too overly dramatic. I think this was long before Steven King offered the world his first book.
NSAEN: Are you saying that the characters in your books and your “imaginary friends” come to you so that you can tell their story?
Carol: Pretty much. The characters from the Triumph Through Tragedy Series are very loosely based on my family. We have deep Irish roots so it was fun tying them into Ireland. The lead character in the Lost Series came out of nowhere but has tied-in real life stories from the news. The main character in “Rare Vintage”, unbeknownst to me until I showed her the short version, was a good friend from my networking group.
NSAEN: Do you consider yourself an intuitive person?
Carol: Yes, but right now I wish it was working better for my current book.
NSAEN: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Carol: I love to travel—especially on cruise ships where you can get out and see the world but return safely to a bed on board at night. I love the water; the sound of the sea is so relaxing to me.
NSAEN: What does your family think about you being a published author?
Carol: They take everything I do in stride. First it was all our travel and living in different places, when they pretty much like to stay in one place. When I published my first book, my mother lamented that I beat her to it. I am working on her life story as we speak and know why she never got it published. It is a rambling diatribe which I’m having to sort out.
NSAEN: What have you learned about yourself from your writing?
Carol: That I enjoy people. A phenomenon which most people take for granted. Like my younger sister I love to cocoon myself away, enjoying my own company as it were, but in my writing, I see that many people have left their mark on my brain and I bring them to light in my stories.
NSAEN: What advice would you give a new writer?
Carol: Don’t harbor perfection. Write the story, then find someone like my sister who can read it and give you some sound advice. Publish it and then some months later go back and make it better. The thing is to get it out of your computer and let other people read it. I have actually run into people on my cruises that have read my books, which seems amazing to me.
NSAEN: Describe your perfect hero or heroine.
Carol: Strong character with morals. A head for business and enjoys life; doesn’t let tragedy get in the way of their life’s purpose.
NSAEN: What do you hope your readers take away from your books?
Carol: I like what my neighbor said, “Carol, I love the twists and turns in your storyline, I never know where you’re taking me until we get there. I also love that you usually have a miracle in the end. This world needs miracles”.
NSAEN: Who are the celebrities you would like to see as the characters in your books?
Carol: That’s a good question. I love Nicole Kidman and I understand she has a daughter who is getting into acting, perhaps they would be great. I like Ryan Gosling and would love to see John Legend take on a character. Emma Stone is also a great chameleon who might do well in my books.
NSAEN: Who is your favorite author and why?
Carol: Sandra Brown. I love her writing and have enjoyed her evolution into such a great mystery writer. My twists and turns are very much a thank you to her genius mindset.
NSAEN: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
Carol: There are no limits to our future, if we do not put limits on our people. Jack Kemp
NSAEN: Can you share any snippets on what your next book is about?
Carol: It’s Prodigal Soldier and follows a life choice he makes when he is involved in the Korean War that will affect his family forever.
On behalf of No Strings Attached E News, we thank you, Carol, for taking the time to talk with us and answer our questions about your personal and professional life. We look forward to reading your next book!