Ask the Author: Carrie Highley
What would you like readers to know about you?
I decided in sixth grade I was going to be a writer, but little did I know then, that my first book would be my memoir of coming out. I hope my book will help others with the struggles they may encounter when coming out. My writing has appeared online in Women’s Health, Bicycling, SheKnows, and Popsugar. Blue Apple Switchback is a winner of USA Best Book Awards Gay and Lesbian non-fiction and winner in two categories with Beverly Hills Book Awards– LGBTQ Non-Fiction and Regional Non-Fiction: Southeast. Ben Franklin Awards – Silver for LGBT. Foreword Indies Finalist – Non-Fiction LGBT.
Beyond my writing, I’m either riding my bicycle or hiking with my dog Hattie in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
Follow Carrie Highley through four years of e-mails to Charlie, an older and wiser friend, as she chronicles her transformation from an ideal housewife and mother into an avid road cyclist with a hidden life as a lesbian. Set in both West Virginia and North Carolina, the story details her healing bicycle trips as she grapples with the challenges of a clandestine love affair, a divorce, a new career, and parenting her two young sons.
As much as Highley fears the consequences of revealing her secret to her family and friends, she also comes to understand that her long-term happiness depends upon exposing her true self. Finally, with Charlie’s support, she gets the courage to do what she’s been waiting her whole life to do: go down the mountain with her hands off the brakes.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
My first inspiration for writing my memoir dates back to shortly after turning sixteen, when I was wishing I was dancing with the girls instead of the boys at the cotillion dances.
Another big inspiration for writing my memoir was to thank a friend for helping carry my heavy load. I met Charlie when I moved to North Carolina and we became fast cycling buddies. He listened with an open ear and no judgment which was exactly what I needed at that time.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
It would be the first chapter because it was putting in words my honest initial steps toward coming out. I also knew I wanted to thank Charlie for his kind email exchange in that chapter, which helped me get the courage to start the process.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
The first author to inspire me to write would be James Herriot, the British veterinarian who brought voices to animals…two of my favorite things: writing and animals. As the years passed…Mitch Albom, Ruthie Bolton, Jeannette Walls, Pat Conroy, and last but not least one of my favorites, Ron McLarty’s book…The Memory of Running.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Cliché as it may sound…Never give up and keep writing!
Purchase Blue Apple Switchback: Amazon