“I threw my manuscript at the wall too many times to count. But after each hurl and the passage of time, I would pick up the manuscript again and begin another rewrite. Why? I would have loved to discover the book I was writing in a bookstore or library.”
A member of the Writers’ League of Texas for 15 years, C.C. Rising is a former Austinite and still considers herself one at heart.
C.C. Rising: The Camel and the Scorpion, my first novel, is hard to typify; it encompasses elements of a thriller, a psychological and political drama, and women’s fiction.
Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?
CCR: It’s a tie between Herman Hesse and Gloria Steinem. I would ask Herman Hesse, “Did you achieve enlightenment in your lifetime?” I would ask Gloria Steinem, “You’re an author, a feminist, and a social and political activist who has been interviewed by hundreds in your lifetime: What’s the one question you wish a reporter or interviewer would have asked, but never did, and how would you have responded?”
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
CCR: Again this is a tie. Shakti Gawain’s Reflections in the Light, Daily Thoughts and Affirmations gives me great hope and renewal when I feel down or on edge. But my favorite childhood novel Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White also renews my spirit, sense of fun and sanity. It tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a spider named Charlotte, who saves him from death. Their unusual and unexpected friendship illustrates to me that anything is possible—such as getting off the deserted island!
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
CCR: I have learned to believe in one’s writing, no matter what others think. It took me 20 years to write The Camel and the Scorpion, which is inspired by actual events. The rejection letters from literary agents filled rooms. I threw my manuscript at the wall too many times to count. But after each hurl and the passage of time, I would pick up the manuscript again and begin another rewrite. Why? I would have loved to discover the book I was writing in a bookstore or library.
I also give heartfelt thanks to members of the Austin Writers’ League, which morphed into the Writers’ League of Texas, for helping inspire The Camel and the Scorpion. I joined the the Austin Writers’ League’s “novel in progress” group, or “nippers,” as we called ourselves, in Austin in the late 1990s. We met weekly to critique each other’s work and be each other’s supporters and cheerleaders. Those critiques were invaluable—they were done in a nonjudgmental, nonthreatening manner. What’s more, my writing improved tenfold with the group’s input.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
CCR: I’m not sure. I would love to say my ideas for future novels abound. They don’t. The Camel and Scorpion took so long that it may be my only novel. I am in no way comparing my writing to the genius of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man or Jetta Carleton’s The Moonflower Vine. But each author wrote only one novel.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
CCR: Migratory Animals by Mary Helen Specht, but I couldn’t put it down. It rightly won the 2015 Writers’ League of Texas Book Awards in fiction.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
CCR: Kirkus Reviews says The Camel and the Scorpion is “a nerve-racking, vibrantly dramatic tale …” See if you agree. Please visit my website to learn more and to purchase the book.
If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!