Inspire Member Spotlight: Carol Lerner

How long have you been a member of Inspire Christian Writers?

It’s been almost exactly a year. Spring 2011. I first showed up for the program at Carmichael Library.


What prompted you to join Inspire?

I knew a writers’ group like this would give me the extra push to continue to write and see projects through to completion. I came for the discipline and fell in love with the people.


When did you first know you were a writer?

I still don’t know I’m a writer. I haven’t had all the typical markers—always writing, always reading, journaling, etc.—that I hear others talk about. But I know I can write, and there has always been a desire—not for the writer’s life, but for the process of writing.

However, I suppose the way I fell in love with my first typewriter, a portable manual, should have been a dead giveaway.


Describe your writing career high point and low point.

I have yet to encounter either of those. Oddly, I’m looking forward to my first real rejection, as an indicator that I’ve actually sent something out.


Which of your stories is closest to your heart?

What I’m working on now—a historical fiction based in ancient Israel—is always on my mind. But a short story I wrote several years ago, called “Driving with the Brakes On,” may be closer to my heart. It was written in second person, which was fun to work with, and it had a lot of family symbolism.


Describe receiving your first book contract.

Hmmm. I’ll get back to you on that—maybe in a couple of years . . .


What project of yours is gathering dust?

My current project gathers dust weekly, as I struggle to get the seat time to get it done. I have scattered notes for some short stories, but they are definitely on hold. And when I look back at the notes for these stories to capture the original inspiration, I have no idea what I was thinking! Maybe it’s the dust getting in the way.


What’s next for you?

I can’t think beyond finishing the novel I’m working on. It’s my current assignment, and I think my head would explode if I knew there was another one like it immediately coming up behind it.


What does it mean to you to be a writer?

Writing for me is about communicating truth in an experiential way. I want my writing to be a form of outreach, creating a story-world that encourages recognition of universal experiences, emotional response, and maybe even personal application. My experiences as a storyteller (oral!) taught me the power of story, and I’m hoping to bring that into my writing.


Was there a book that changed your life?

There were 66 books, actually (But that applies to all of us!) The one book that opened my eyes to understand the message of those 66 was Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.


Describe your writing environment. Or better yet, include a photo.

My husband took over the garage and filled it with woodworking tools: big, scary machines that make aggressive noises. So I took over one of the bedrooms and filled it with color and all my favorite toys:  yarn, music, art supplies, etc. That seemed fair.

The black box under the desk is an accordion case. I’m still trying to convince everybody that accordion music is the wave of the future.


What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

It is difficult to choose; there is so much of it out there. I’m going to say, it was something like, “Take pride in your rejection slips; their accumulation shows that you are working.”

You can connect with Carol via email at: