NAW Interview with Katherine Carlson

Katherine Carlson

Katherine Carlson is the author of the acclaimed memoir, Arrows Across Eons: Becoming Tina Turner, and the newly released, Story Girl.

She went to school at the University of Victoria and graduated with distinction, attaining a degree in English and Sociology.  She then moved to Los Angeles to study film and theatre, and quickly became a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild after landing bit roles on television.

After much experience in Hollywood, she moved to Vancouver to take in the rich alchemy of British Columbia’s west coast.  Visit her here.

NAW- Tell us about your book, Story Girl. How did you get the idea for it? What is it about?

I lived in Los Angeles for nearly ten years and was very eager to learn as much as I could about the entertainment industry.  I was ambitious but didn’t have much of a clue – especially given that I grew up in a small Canadian town that had nothing to do with Hollywood.  So I had no connections or experience but I was determined to learn something and then create something.

And I think my protagonist in Story Girl shares that same sense of determination.  She is struggling with her identity and is therefore having a hard time turning 30.  Some part of her truly believes that she has to have her life direction picked out by now.  A bigger part of her understands that life is a PROCESS which is always far from perfect.

Ultimately, Story Girl is about choices and perspective – it explores such themes in the context of what womanhood means in the 21st century.  It is also a rousing reminder that we must learn to trust ourselves and our own sense of what we must do in this life.

NAW- Tell us about the character of Tracy Johnston. How did you develop the character?

She is 50 percent me.  She is more outrageous, more sullen – and probably more hilarious.  She is anchored by the expectations of others but can’t seem to shake off her massive ambitions.

I love how she sees the world, and the biting humour with which she gauges and navigates her reality.  She has tremendous heart and perseverance.  And at bottom, she is a true optimist.  No amount of rejection ever seems to derail her and that’s because she is smart enough to realize that she does have something valuable to offer.

NAW- How long did you take to finish the book? How did you decide the title?

It took me a year to write Story Girl – on and off.  And the title seemed an obvious choice.

Story Girl Book Cover

NAW- What can a novice reader expect from Story Girl?

The reader can expect to laugh and to think – and maybe even to relate a little.  Rejection is a huge theme – does it make us stronger or does it break our will to continue.

Readers can check out samples of Story Girl at

NAW- Tell us about the research you carried out for Story Girl. How did you go about it?

In so many ways, I drew upon my own life experience to write the book.

Tracy Johnston is unique and funny and ambitious.  She has a huge heart and her story really is the universal story of “the Artist”.  I understood so many of her frustrations.

NAW- What drew you to writing?

I was always interesting in storytelling.  I understood the profundity inherent in a tale well told.  I was a little god creating worlds for my characters to live and breathe in.  It really is sheer fun all the time – even though it’s hard work.

NAW- Tell us about your publishing journey.

I attained a couple of agents but we parted ways.  So I created Shadow Valley Press in order to tell stories that are true to my vision.  Even though the publishing world is being de-constructed much like the record industry was, I would still love to work with the right agent – I think they are truly valuable.  And so are editors.

NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?

I am always working on some creation.  I love travel and food and MUSIC.  Others have told me that I am an Indigo child environmentalist.  That description is cool although I may be too old to be an Indigo.

NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any who you’d like to name as an inspiration?

I love Orwell and Steinbeck.  Certainly Stephen King has written a couple of modern gems; I really love James Frey.  More recently, I would give a nod to Lawrence Hill, Diablo Cody and Reyna Grande.

NAW-What are you currently reading?

I love the spiritual genre – Neale Donald Walsch and Esther Hicks.

NAW- What will you be working on next?

I’m working on a psychological thriller slated for next year.  It’s about finding oneself in horrible circumstances and the instincts that kick in (or not) as a result.  So much fun to write about the truly scary landscape of the mind.

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