An interview with Carol Costa

Today, I’m talking with Carol Costa. I’ve only just been introduced to her work recently, but am intrigued both with her writing and herself. I hope you enjoy what she has to say!


PJ: How long have you been writing?


Carol: I tell people I was the Lone Ranger’s daughter, writing adventures with him in my head  before I could put them down on paper. Professionally, I’ve been writing since 1980 when I sold my first story to a Canadian magazine.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

Carol: In the early 80’s, I realized that my business background in accounting and taxes could be marketable. I began selling nonfiction articles and became a weekly contributor to the Phoenix Business Journal as the Tucson correspondent.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Carol: Nonfiction was an easy sell for me, but I wanted to write fiction.  That was unexpectedly much more difficult to sell.  However, I kept writing a variety of things, stage plays, romance novels, mystery novels and more.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

Carol: I have a lot of books in print now so people think I’m wealthy. I’m not, but I do make a fair amount on my nonfiction financial titles and that allows me to keep writing the fun stuff, stage plays and novels.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

Carol: My goals have just gotten bigger. Now I want a bestseller and/or a Tony Award for one of my plays.

PJ: You go, girl! You’ll never hit a target you can’t see. How long did it take you to get published the first time?

Carol: I sold my first short story almost immediately and became a published journalist the same year and had some short stories published in magazines and anthologies.  However, it took six years to get my first play produced and ten years for my first book, Teach Yourself Accounting in 24 Hours to be published. Once that book came out I started selling my fiction, too.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Carol: Probably not…It was all a learning experience and has made me the writer I am today. It’s actually the joy I find in creating rather than the money or sales that keep me going.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

Carol: The actual writing and the editing process for an accepted ms come first. I’m very disciplined and have never missed a deadline. Everything else waits until I have some free time. I have found that promotion is best left to the experts like Break Through Promotions.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer? 

Carol: I’ve had some good book sales, but getting my first play produced in NYC was the biggest thrill.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?  

Carol: One of my plays was supposed to on its way to Broadway because a famous composer had written a musical score for it. Then, the producer who was from England had a health problem, closed down the show before it even previewed to return to England for treatment without letting me or the composer know.

PJ: Oh wow! I’m sure that was a letdown. But at least it got that far. What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work? 

Carol: An excerpt from a book I wrote on bankruptcy was supposed to be published in Family Circle magazine. I had a telephone conference scheduled with the editor, but when I called she wasn’t there. I was annoyed until I turned on the TV and saw  that she was probably running for her life becasue of 911.  We did talk the following week and the excerpt was printed.

PJ: With more books being released each  month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Carol: I’m told I create excellent characters and plots that keep a reader intrigued.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Carol: I have a sign on my desk that says, “You never fail unless you stop trying.” Don’t give up on anything you write…I’ve sold books twenty years after I first wrote them.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work? 

Carol: Turning the job over to a good publicist.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Carol: Social Media.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Mostly Books in Tucson AZ

Mostly Books in Tucson, AZ

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Books by Carol Costa include:

The Secret of Eastman Springs, YA Ghost/Mystery, Open Books Press\

Lost in the Shadows, romantic/suspense, Champagne Books

The Seventh Messenger,  a historical novel, Anaphora Literary Press

When Nothing Else Was Right, a Dana Sloan Mystery, Open Books Press

 Ask Aunt Emma Again, paranormal mystery,Champagne Books

Happiness Awaits You! Inspiration, co-editor/author, Open Books Press

Ask Aunt Emma, paranormal mystery,Champagne Books

Invisible Force, paranormal mystery, Champagne Books

The Master Plan, A Dana Sloan Mystery,Avalon Books

A Deadly Hand, A Dana Sloan Mystery, Avalon Books

Love Steals the Scene, Avalon Books

Labor of Love, Avalon Books

Teach Yourself Accounting in 24 Hours, (1st & 2nd Editions) Penguin USA

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Bankruptcy, Penguin USA

Teach Yourself Bookkeeping in 24 Hours, Penguin USA

Video Poker: Play Longer with Less Risk, ECW Press

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting and Running a Thrift Store, Penguin USA

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title: 

The Seventh Messenger is about a man as charming and cunning as the snake that got Eve to bite that apple.

Where can we buy it?

Anaphora Literary Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

I was a writer in a past life.

Well, there you have it, folks. Thanks for sharing with us, Carol. That’s an amazing list of work you’ve got there. Does anyone have any other questions for Carol?