The Author Spotlight Series shines a light on writers creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their books and why they do what they do.
Carol Rose GoldenEagle
“Author, Poet, and former Journalist Carol Rose GoldenEagle has just been named Saskatchewan’s ninth poet laureate. Carol’s latest novel The Narrows of Fear, was also recently awarded the Indigenous Peoples’ Writing Award at the Saskatchewan Book Awards”
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have been a storyteller ever since I can remember. I recall from the age of 4, reading through my Dad’s National Geographic magazines, and then pretending that I would travel to the places I saw in the magazine. My best friend, Kathy, and I went for regular “safari’s” in the wheat fields. We would pretend that – gophers we saw, or rabbits, were the wild animals of the Serengeti. Later, in high school, my favourite subject was English, writing stories, and poetry. I wanted to pursue writing, full time, at that time in my life but was talked out of it by (parents, teachers, adults in general). So, journalism was my Plan B. I enjoyed my time in the media but my love of writing continued to beckon. I am known as a fiction writer and a poet, although, I also write children’s stories, and am hoping to have those titles published at some point, as well.
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?
The first story I ever came up with was me as a young child, pretending to be travelling in Africa, a place I had never visited, just saw in a magazine. I have written so many stories or poems over the years, and it is a shame that I didn’t save that writing (the days before a computer).
How did you develop your skills?
I have taken creative writing classes throughout my adult life, and happily attended Writers Festivals as a participant. I continue to strive towards becoming more descriptive, in what I write, it is a labour of love.
Who are some of your biggest literary influences? Do you have a favourite book/author?
I adore Richard Van Camp, and playwright Kenneth T. Williams, I consider both to be my mentors. Although, as for a favourite book, I have always loved – The Alchemist – which has a message, that looking within, enjoy the blessings that already surround.
How would you describe your work?
I didn’t realize this but I do write Indigenous Feminist stories and poetry. My main characters in my novels are always strong Indigenous women who work towards strengthening culture, family and community. My work also honours Spirit. I feel compelled to pull in stories, which some may think are told as fables, not realizing that there is spirit on the Land, always. Canadian history, with Residential Schools as an example, has done so much damage in suggesting that our spiritual beliefs were wrong. It is time to resurrect those beliefs.
What’s your writing process like?
There are no set rules for writing. Some writers will say that you “must” write (example, at least 500 to 1000 words per day). If you are a writer, who has a full time job and small children, that advice is not reasonable. My own process involves allowing the words, storyline and character development to emerge – when they are ready. I give thanks to Arts organizations like the Canada Council for the Arts and the Saskatchewan Arts Board for approving grants for me, to assist in completing my work. It takes time, and that funding allows me to take the time needed, to finish a manuscript, without worry of other living expenses. I will often go months without actually sitting down to write, although when I get ideas, I write them down as notes immediately, and save them to include those ideas at a later date. Then, one day, creativity just strikes me and I am compelled to write, each and every day and night until the first draft is complete. It means, I do nothing but write (and walk my dog). I often will get up in the middle of the night to write, let’s say 4 am and write till 9 am, then go back to bed for a bit – get up again at noon and write till 5 pm, go back for a nap, and write again from (example 7 pm to midnight). This is my process. I do take breaks to walk my dog during these times, but often my friends and neighbours worry about me because they don’t see or hear from me, when I am writing. Essentially I am like a hermit. I like solitude and quiet when I write. Now that my 3 children are grown and living their own lives, I have that capability. Also, I never self edit my first draft. I just write it as the words wish to flow. Once it is complete – I leave the manuscript for a short time, and re-enter the world doing things I enjoy, like skating, canoeing, hiking and cooking, and of course reading the titles of other authors. Thereafter, I go back to my work and begin editing. I re-read the manuscript in its entirety, making notes, then go back again making more significant edits. I generally re-write at least 5 times, maybe more depending on the work.
Tell us about your most recent book.
Wapawikoscikanik – The Narrows of Fear is the name of my new novel which was officially released Oct 30, 2020. It is my fifth title on the market. At its heart, The Narrows of Fear is a celebration of Indigenous feminism. There are many, many wonderful and supportive Indigenous men in our First Nations communities, but, there are also many other of our men who continually dictate to our women, about things we can or cannot do, simply because we are women. This lateral violence has to come to an end. So, I have introduced four strong female characters who support and encourage each other to reclaim culture, identity and our rightful place as spiritual or knowledge keepers, within our own communities. Many women are gifted, and the time to dissuade women from sharing these gifts has come to an end. The women in my novel range in age from about 27 to 77, as well of course, there is an antagonist who does his best to “put these women in their place” so to speak. It is a novel, so there are other storylines as well. You will have to read the book to find out!
What are you working on now/next?
My next title is a manuscript of poetry, published by Inanna Publications, which will be released in 2021. It is entitled Essential Ingredients, and is basically a collection of memories about how much I truly have loved being a Mom to my 3 children. [I’m also working] on another poetry collection, about historical injustices within my culture, with comparisons to The Bible. I have also started work on another novel, working title The Deepest Hue of Blue, which introduces readers to the stories about The Star People, which is a Creation story told within Indigenous culture. It will examine elements of humanity and how we can move forward, building community.