Author Spotlight: Caroline A. DeJong

Who is Caroline A. DeJong?

Caroline A. DeJong grew up in Kent, Washington. Determined to get out of the rainy weather, she moved to Los Angeles for college, attended Loyola Marymount University, and graduated with a BA in Screenwriting. There, she was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and the Women’s Film Society. She is currently an MFA student at Lindenwood University. DeJong also writes screenplays and short stories. Her first screenplay was made into a TV movie on PixL channel in 2017, “Woman of the House.” DeJong currently lives in Los Angeles.

What motivated you to write your first novel?

I decided to write my first novel in college. I wanted more prose in my life. I was writing screenplay after screenplay for classes, and I missed prose. I drew on my experiences in college and just took it from there.

What strange things do you do when you write? Do you listen to music? Watch television? Eat Cheetos?

I listen to the Titanic soundtrack over and over! I sometimes hum.

What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge was writing freely. I worried at the beginning what other people would think of me writing about topics like sex, abortion, and drinking. Would they be ashamed that I wrote such words? But honestly, at the end of the day, this was my story. I had to keep it authentic to the college experience. This stuff happens in college. This stuff happens to my characters. And there is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the story I wanted to tell, and I was surely going to tell it.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters in this book, who would you choose and what would you do?

I would choose Stacy! She is wild and carefree and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. I think she would get me out of my introverted shell. I would say that we’d do something crazy… something totally original.

What’s next for you and your writing career?

Book 2 in the “These Four Years” series, focusing on Sophomore year, will be released later this year! Look out for it!

Also, I am hoping to write a few more screenplays. That was my first love, after all.

What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?

I am inspired by those around me. I have a notebook in my purse that I use to write down ideas. I love to observe people. I would say that most of my ideas come from everyday life. I observe, listen, and write. Well, I eavesdrop!

What is something you are not good at doing?

What am I not good at doing? I do not love proofreading! It is tedious and boring… yet very necessary. I force myself to do. I usually reward myself with a glass of wine.

What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?

I wouldn’t say there is an explicit message in my books. I just hope that readers enjoy themselves while reading my books. These books are supposed to be fun. I would suggest “A Lovestruck Freshman” as this summer’s beach read!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love Zumba and yoga. I also enjoy cooking and eating my fiancé’s baked goods. I am excited for summer, as this is the time of year I take sunset walks. That is one of the most enjoyable things for me this time of year.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write what you notice. An instructor told me this at the Creative Writers’ Workshop at Duke in summer 2007. What poignant advice it turned out to be! I watch and observe everything now. You never know what will make good fodder.

What are your favorite characters that you have created?

Stacy is one of my favorite characters, as she is so bold, so different from me. I also enjoyed writing Ryan. Ryan is the ultimate jock and pretty boy, yet he is sensitive and sweet. You don’t meet a lot of those kinds of boys in college. But I promise you—they exist!

What is one piece of advice you would give to your teenage self?

I would tell my teenage self to stress less. Work hard, write often, and do every homework assignment. It all matters. And at the end of the day, wipe that stress away and go to sleep with a full heart. I wish I had been more carefree in high school and college. I was also very focused, and sometimes that focus interfered with fun. Work hard and also have fun! You deserve it.

Purchase  A Lovestruck Freshman – These Four Years series

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Connect with Caroline A. DeJong

Check out her short stories and daily thoughts!

Twitter: @carolineadejong

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