Submitted by former Antelope Valley resident Stephanie Carroll
Debuting author Stephanie Carroll says the Antelope Valley is where her love for writing all began.
“I remember my teachers at Rancho Vista Elementary always gushing over my writing,” Carroll said. “They were the first ones to tell me that there was something special about it, and the first ones to give me the confidence to continue writing.”
Carroll grew up in Palmdale as Stephanie Puder with her father working out of Northrop Grumman and eventually Lockheed Martin. She attended Rancho Vista Elementary, Hillview Middle School, and Quartz Hill High School where she graduated early in 2003. She attended two semesters at Antelope Valley College where her love of writing really started to develop.
“My English teacher would not give me an A, and it was driving me insane, especially because she met with every student and edited their papers before they were turned in. When I asked, she informed me that I didn’t have to stop at one edit. For my final paper, I must have met with her 16 times. I got my A-plus, and that was when I realized this was what I wanted to do with my life.”
Shortly thereafter she met her husband, Jonathan Carroll, who was stationed with the U.S. Navy in the Central Valley of California. After the two wed, Carroll continued college and discovered her love for history.
“The primary skills you learn as a historian are to research and to write, and I loved it,” Carroll said. “I didn’t know what to do with it as a career, but I loved it.”
It wasn’t until her first move with the military that Carroll finally connected her two passions to create fiction.
“After I graduated from Fresno State, we were stationed in a small town in Nevada. At the time, I felt lost, overwhelmed and trapped,” Carroll said. “To deal with these emotions I did a free write about a woman who was experiencing something similar. It turns out writing about my character’s pursuit of purpose was how I found my own.”
Carroll’s novel, “A White Room,” explores America’s “Gilded Age” – post Civil War to turn of the 20th Century – through the eyes of Emeline Evans, a young woman who dreams of becoming a nurse. However, those dreams are extinguished when her father’s sudden death renders her family destitute. To help provide for her mother and siblings, Emeline sacrifices her ambitions to marry lawyer John Dorr, a man she barely knows.
John immediately moves his new bride away from her family in St. Louis to the remote Missouri town of Labellum, where he has purchased a foreboding house that taunts and haunts the sorrowful Emeline. Finding no comfort from her workaholic husband or purpose in domestic life, Emeline edges toward madness; the furniture twists and turns, people stare out from empty rooms, and a wild beast lurks outside. Diagnosed with hysteria, prescribed bed rest, and relegated to seclusion in her white bedroom, Emeline further succumbs to the terrors of the house.
In a moment of desperation, Emeline flees the house and stumbles upon an opportunity to serve the poor as an unlicensed nurse. Although acts of disobedience would seal her fate as a psychologically defective woman, she finds great solace in this secret act of defiance – despite the added danger of John’s employer, who viciously hunts down and prosecutes unlicensed medical practitioners.
Carroll and her husband returned to the Central Valley in 2011 where she finished her novel and went on to publish it.
“I couldn’t be happier to celebrate ‘A White Room’ in California where I got so much of the experience that gave me the ability to become a published author,” Carroll said.
A White Room is available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Visit www.stephaniecarroll.net for more information.
Stephanie Carroll holds degrees in history and social science and graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University, Fresno. As a reporter and community editor, she earned first place awards from the National Newspaper Association and the Nevada Press Association. Carroll blogs and writes fiction in California’s Central Valley where her husband is stationed with the U.S. Navy.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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