Art & Soul

Carolyn Par­sons talks about luck

The Central Voice - - Front Page - Carolyn R. Par­sons Carolyn R. Par­sons is an au­thor who lives in cen­tral New­found­land and Labrador and she can be reached at car­olyn­r­par­

In Fe­bru­ary I won a trip for two to Toronto to see my favourite singer, Jim Cuddy, at Massey Hall on Valen­tine’s Day, as well as $500 spend­ing money. Wasn’t that lucky?

I was so ex­cited and, yes, we went to Toronto and had a blast. When I won, con­grat­u­la­tions came from ev­ery di­rec­tion. Many ad­vised me to buy lot­tery tick­ets be­cause of my in­cred­i­ble good luck!

The dic­tionary de­scribes luck as “events or cir­cum­stances that op­er­ate for or against an in­di­vid­ual.” Surely that ap­plied to win­ning this trip right? I was on the good side of lucky and it felt great.

When Can­dace Os­mond said, “I’m very lucky,” as she set­tled in to tell me about her full-time writ­ing ca­reer how­ever, it didn’t quite mesh with what I un­der­stood about the con­cept.

The pro­lific Fogo Is­landraised au­thor started her first book in her late teens. Af­ter years of “pick­ing away at it,” she com­pleted and pub­lished it at 25 and now at 32, book num­ber 12 will be re­leased on Sept. 24.

Dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion she de­scribed her jam-packed work­load, which is di­vided be­tween writ­ing her nov­els, con­tribut­ing to sev­eral mag­a­zines and on­line pub­li­ca­tions, and as an in­de­pen­dent au­thor she is also fully re­spon­si­ble for ad­ver­tis­ing and pub­lish­ing her books.

“Para­nor­mal fan­tasy ro­mance is the genre I like to hang around in,” she says, though she has dab­bled in the thriller genre. She mainly writes se­ries, with her first be­ing the tril­ogy “Iron and Wine” and her most re­cent, “The Dark Tides” se­ries.

Hang­ing around sounds so easy, but writ­ing books that start as a tril­ogy, and grow into a se­ries of four books, as her lat­est project did, is no sim­ple task.

“There is a point that writ­ers reach when writ­ing where the story just starts writ­ing it­self,” she ex­plains.

Aside from the hours of work re­quired to cre­ate a book and pub­lish it, there is a strat­egy to her suc­cess that in­cludes tar­geted mar­ket­ing, par­tic­i­pat­ing in col­lec­tions that in­volves mul­ti­ple authors do­ing joint mar­ket­ing in order to qual­ify for the New York Times and USA To­day best­seller lists (she is core­leas­ing an ebook col­lec­tion called “Rite to Reign” along with other authors in De­cem­ber that is specif­i­cally de­signed to tar­get the best­seller lists).

Back to the idea of luck. The dic­tionary def­i­ni­tion im­plies it’s a mys­te­ri­ous force, some­thing be­yond our in­flu­ence. Yet even the trip that I won, against huge odds, was de­pen­dent upon my de­ci­sion, im­pul­sive as it was, to en­ter the con­test.

Ernest Hem­ing­way said, “For a true writer, each book should be a new be­gin­ning where he tries again for some­thing that is be­yond at­tain­ment. He should al­ways try for some­thing that has never been done or that oth­ers have tried and failed. Then some­times, with great luck, he will suc­ceed.”

What? Se­ri­ously Ernie? Not great tal­ent but rather with great luck? I beg to dif­fer.

“The Old Man and the Sea” per­co­lated in Hem­ing­way’s brain for well over a decade be­fore he bril­liantly crafted it into what has long been con­sid­ered his great­est work. I don’t think luck had a sin­gle thing to do with it.

Be proud Can­dace, as you com­plete (lucky?) year seven of your writ­ing ca­reer. You work hard and de­serve your suc­cess.

Mean­while, I con­fess that I think the con­cept of luck is noth­ing more than a use­ful fal­lacy to hide be­hind. If things go wrong, blame it on bad luck. The prob­lem is that this pre­vents an artist from ever hav­ing to delve into the re­al­ity of why some­thing failed, in order to learn from it. Con­versely, if some­one is for­tu­nate they can claim they were sim­ply lucky and hide from the dis­com­fort of im­mod­esty and again, learn noth­ing from their suc­cess.

There is an adage that luck is prepa­ra­tion meet­ing op­por­tu­nity. No magic there, just roll up your sleeves, cre­ate your art and share it. That’s the only way suc­cess­ful peo­ple get lucky.

Find out more about Can­dace Os­mond at­thor­can­

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