Posted on 05/31/2017 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Before she could call herself USA Today best-selling author, Caroline Fardig described herself a number of ways: schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom.

And even today, she’s not “just” a mystery writer — you’ll find singles that Fardig wrote and performed available for download on her website. Turns out she has a degree in music!  

We had a chance to chat with Fardig before she wraps up her popular Java Jive books and heads to Savannah, Georgia, to do on-site research for the next series.

SADYE: You’ve got quite the varied resume, but funeral parlor associate really pops out. How did you end up there, and what did you think of the job?

CAROLINE: I’ve known the owners of the funeral home since I was a kid. It’s a great hometown business, and I’ve always been impressed with their level of empathy and service to the community. 

I already worked there as a funeral service musician on an as-needed basis, so when one of the other employees told me she was switching jobs and that her position was open, I marched into the office and asked for the job. 

I very much enjoyed working there. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to be empathetic in a sorrowful situation and yet be in enough control of your own emotions to be able to do your job. I found out I had that trait, and I loved being able to help people when they needed it the most.

I also wasn’t squeamish or fearful (as many people are) around the dead, so that worked out as well.  The only reason I quit the job was to become a full-time writer.

SADYE: What was your publishing journey like?

CAROLINE: When I wrote my first book, I was so self-conscious about it, I only told one person (my friend and proofreader Karen). It took me months to even tell my husband about it. 

Then I didn’t know what to do with the book. I tried for about six months to get an agent, but as a new author with one unpublished book to my name, no one wanted to take me on.

So, I self-published through Amazon and happened to get a bit of traction.  Sales were going decently, so I got myself a publicist, who helped my book rocket up the Amazon charts. After I’d had a little success, I sent out another batch of queries to agents and got one. 

My agent sent my original book (which I’d had time to turn into a series) to publishers, but we didn’t have any luck. ... He helped me come up with a new series, and when he shopped it around, Random House snapped it up. Needless to say, I was thrilled.

SADYE: What inspired you to record and release singles that accompany your books?

CAROLINE: I wanted to have something new and interesting to offer readers of my Java Jive series.

Lots of writers include recipes or quilt patterns along with their books, so I decided to think outside the box and include sheet music, since my characters are singer/songwriters.

Last summer, my daughter and I met a local musical duo, The Honey Vines, who teach songwriting lessons and offer use of their recording studio, so we jumped at the chance to do something new.

SADYE: When you start a series, do you write with an overall end in mind, or has the time to close just sort of dawned on you?

CAROLINE: I think I know in the back of my mind how much I want my main character to grow and what I want her to accomplish, in both her professional and personal life. 

I’m big on the journey, and I tend to put my characters through a lot from the beginning to the end of the series. 

SADYE: You’ve mentioned before that marketing is the hardest part of being an author. What advice would you give to someone else who feels the same way?

CAROLINE: Get someone to help you who knows what she’s doing! I feel like I might still be floundering if it weren’t for the guidance of my original publicist.

And if paying someone isn’t in your author budget, join some author groups. Your fellow authors are a fantastic resource on everything from marketing to the craft of writing to even emotional support. ...

I have author friends all around the world I can go to for anything.  Authors are some of the greatest people you’ll ever meet.

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Learn more about Caroline Fardig on her website, where her books can also be purchased; like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email sadye (at) thefussylibrarian.com with a recommendation!

Categories: Author Interview

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