Today I’m pleased to bring you this interview with Carol Van Den Hende, author of Goodbye Orchid.
1) What is your author name?
Hi, I’m Carol Van Den Hende, which seems like a mouthful but is pronounced just the way it looks. Fun fact: if you meet me in person, you wouldn’t necessarily associate me with a Dutch last name (hint, I married into it!)
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
I’ve written a contemporary novel with romantic elements evocatively titled “Goodbye, Orchid.” True story: my editor and I brainstormed the name over cocktails and Zoom.
3) What is the book about?
Just as successful entrepreneur Phoenix Walker is falling for beautiful half-Asian marketer Orchid Paige, he suffers a traumatic accident. When he wakes in the hospital, Phoenix longs for Orchid. Then, he remembers how much she’s already suffered. Alone, broken, he’s faced with the hardest decision of his life…whether loving her means saying…Goodbye, Orchid.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I was inspired by combat-wounded veterans. These soldiers leave for duty at the top of their game, then some come back from military tours with life-changing injuries. But Goodbye, Orchid isn’t a story of pity. Like many of these vets’ lives, my book is about human optimism and resilience.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I penned the story during an intense, caffeine-fueled nine to twelve months. …And then the editing, marketing and publishing? Well, that took several times longer than the writing!
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
I learned so much from writing and researching Goodbye, Orchid. I learned about empathy and the capacity to love no matter what. I can’t thank my sensitivity readers enough. Like Purple Heart-decorated Sgt Bryan Anderson who gave my writing high praise when he said “she gets my experience.” And Boston Marathon bombing survivor Heather Abbott, who raises money for people injured by trauma, and loved Goodbye, Orchid.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
Come hang out with me at www.carolvandenhende.com. There, you can sign up for my newsletter and learn that besides being a writer, I’m also a speaker and marketer (in chocolate, sweet!) You can see me in action through video clips of speaking engagements at writers’ conferences. For up-to-date author info, you can also follow me at fb.me/CarolVanDenHendeAuthor
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
After twenty years in marketing, strategy and insights, I do have tips for authors. At the highest level, I always recommend starting with what you stand for (your personal brand), how that translates into your visual identity (design), and planning your objectives before jumping into tactics. If you’re hungry for more, check out the blog on my website, and note that I do take on select clients.
As far as professional recommendations, I’ve loved working with Ellie Davis at Pressque (she’s fun even without cocktails or zoom!), and the adorable husband-wife team at Chykalophia for my website design. Before I signed my publishing contract, I thought I might hire my own cover designer and fell in love with Lauren Harm’s work. Of course, always undertake your own due diligence, as each author’s needs and work style can differ.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
When I was a kid, I treasured my stacks of library books. Nowadays, I sneak time for fiction and business non-fiction, but my time’s fairly spoken for.
I feel lucky that life is so full, with work I love, my twins and humorous hubby, and serving on a non-profit Board. That means, though, while I’d love to read more new authors’ work, I simply won’t be able to. For now, I pay my good fortune forward to new authors in other ways, like sharing my knowledge at conferences and workshops.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
The answer is so temporal. In my experience, a certain book is right for a certain time. When I was a child, “A Secret Garden” spirited me away to a lovely hidden place. As an edgy teen, Ayn Rand’s hyper-independence appealed to me. Now as an adult, I’m moved by a book’s truth. I recently recommended Mary Louise Parker’s book of essays entitled “Dear Mr. You,” but I could easily name dozens of others that have likewise touched me, expanded my world, and filled my heart.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
Our family dotes on our Siberian rescue cat. She alternates between skittish and lovey, which has trained us to coax sweetness from her with Shrimpy Shrimp Temptations. Note to self: buy more treats.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I read books on my iphone late into the night. Take it from me, don’t try this at home. The blue light will screw up your circadian rhythm.
…Unless you’re using your iphone to sign up for my newsletter. In that case, hey, it’s always great to live a little!
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