My guest today is Carol Balawyder. Carol holds degrees in both criminology and literature. It is this mixture that brings her to want to write crime novels, but it was her divorce that led her to write fiction about being single in mid-life.

Carol’s short stories have appeared in The Anthology of Canadian Authors Association, Room Magazine, Entre Les Lignes, and Carte Blanche. She also manages a blog where she posts series on: Female Nobel Prize Laureates, Famous Writers’ Desks, The Femme Fatale, Interviews with crime writers on How They Got Published, Ten Great First Dates and posts on writing.

Judy: Tell us a bit about your latest novel, Cafe Paradise

Carol: The protagonist in Cafe Paradise is Suzy Paradise (who also was one of the four main characters in Getting To Mr. Right). At fifty-two she’s finally fulfilling a long cherished dream of owning her own café when a giant chain opens across the street. As she fights to save her business she learns to re-define the meaning of work, family and romance so she can find her own formula for happiness.

Cafe Paradise takes place in  two two up-and-coming boroughs in Montreal. Griffintown or The Grif, was quickly becoming a vibrant neighborhood. As part of a revitalization project, the city was building parks, playgrounds and bicycle paths in the area and attracting artists and hi-tech enterprises. It seemed like the perfect place to open a cafe .

The second setting is in The Plateau, specifically Prince Arthur Street. The street had been Montreal’s hippie haven and the home of its counterculture movement in the ‘60s. A number of artists and playwrights still lived around the square.

What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?

There’s so much good writing advice out there. My library is filled with books on writing and I’ve been to many writers’ workshops, writing retreats, conferences and taken several creative writing courses. A great piece of advice I got was at one of Nathalie Goldberg’s workshops: Say what you want to say not what you should say. I learned that if you want to be a writer, look over your shoulder: nobody cares whether you write or not.

For those who might be interested in further reading you can go to my post on

Judy: What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?

Carol: It’s been said so many times before but it’s worth repeating. Write the book you’d love to read.

Judy: What’s next?

Carol: I have two crime novels which are at different stages of editing and I hope to add at least two books to my contemporary fiction series. I also want to continue my blog series on How I Got Published where I interview crime writers. If you’re a crime writer and would like to be featured as a guest, contact me via my website.

Thank you, Carol. 

Thank you so much, Judy, for this opportunity to be on your blog and I wish you all the best in your writing career.









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