Carolyn Riker is a local poet, writer, and counselor. Her newest book The Colors I Hear is a collection of poetry and prose that honors and explores nature, aging, sensitivity, and imagination.
The Colors I Hear is her fourth book, and has recently been awarded the PenCraft 2023 Seasonal Award for Best in Poetry / Music!
Carolyn will join us in the shop Saturday November 18 from 12–2p for a meet-the-author book signing event. We're honored to have her here and can't wait for you to meet her too.
We caught up with her to ask a few questions and get to know a little about her writing process and her favorite place to work on final edits (hint: it's very close to CITRINE!).
At what point did you realize writing was the path you were meant to take?
As a highly sensitive and empathic person, the writer's path has often surfaced throughout my lifetime. Writing gives me time to think and process and then to express myself. There was a significant period where I barely wrote. However, in 2012, that changed when I decided to submit an essay to an online journal followed by a poem to another. Shortly after that, both were published. I was overjoyed and simultaneously stunned. Those two publications restored my courage to share my writing and led me to where I am now.
What was your intention in writing “The Colors I Hear”?
"The Colors I Hear" is a collection of poems written over several years. I had no idea how this book would look until it was scattered on the floor in little piles. It felt like a constellation being born. Each section holds a piece of me: Nature, midlife, being a highly sensitive person, and about creativity. I wanted to share that with others in hopes that it would inspire them too.
After your readers finish "The Colors I Hear,' what do you hope their takeaways will be?
What a delicious question! I love creativity and encouraging others to find theirs. My hope is when people read my book, it'll feel like a real conversation with a good friend. My second wish is there will be a bit of magic and inspiration born in the reader. And this will lead to their imagination. As a side note, since this book has been out, I've received messages from dancers, writers, painters, and photographers, all sharing how this book has inspired them.
What does your perfect writing setup look like?
There's little perfect about my writing setup. It is more like sitting at my kitchen table with copious coffee cups. There are lots and lots of sticky notes, pens, pencils, and my laptop. Add in a splash of daydreaming and an array of procrastination. That's my imperfectly perfect writing setup.
Is there a fun fact about you that others are often surprised to hear?
I was born and raised in New Jersey. People are often surprised. Until I slip into a little Jersey accent.
Can you describe a moment from your writing career that gives you pride?
When my first book, Blue Clouds, was published in 2016. I've worked with the same publisher, Golden Dragonfly Press, for over seven years. I'll never forget the inordinate, incredible, and overwhelming emotions that billowed up back then. It still happens now.
What do you love most about Gilman Village?
Gilman Village has been like a steadfast friend. Eclectic, local, and cozy. I've been shopping here since 1996. If I need a special gift, I know I will find it.
Do you have a writing process, and what does it look like?
There's one thing I do nearly every day. I write my three morning pages. This comes from Julia Cameron's classic book, The Artists Way. Once I've done that, more clarity seeps in. I can hear the colors I write.
Do you have a favorite Issaquah restaurant?
That is a tricky question! But since I'm a writer, the Issaquah Coffee Company is where I did the final edits before submitting it to my publisher. It's also where I've edited my other books. The sound of people and espressos being made brings me clarity. The café feels like an extension of home, plus the pastries, coffees, and sandwiches are delicious!