Heather Chastain is a CityMom and the author of Caroline Girls. She took a few minutes out of her whirlwind schedule and book promotion to chat with us!
Question: What inspired you to write Caroline Girls?
Answer: Writing Caroline Girls is something that came to me organically. Once my little Caroline turned about 2 – 2 1/2, I realized her personality was emerging in a comical way. I don’t know what it was about her particular age … maybe the fact she was starting to express herself in a way I could actually understand or the fact she was simply developing into a toddler … but her antics were proving to provide me with entertaining Facebook posts. If even just for my friends and family.
After many, many looooonnng days of toddler parenting, I decided to try to take my frustration out in a positive way. I’d heard it a million times: “The days are long, but the years are short.” So I knew despite my aggravation, I needed to try and cherish these moments. Mentally, I started forming these stories. But I just didn’t see how it was going to come together.
Well, little Caroline LOVED wearing dresses. Every. Single. Day. Even in the winter, we had to pair leggings with them. One day, wearing a new dress I had purchased at Target, she looked down at the skirted part and said, “Look mom, there are Caroline Girls on my dress!” That’s when the light bulb went off! I decided to call the story “Caroline Girls.”
Question: You have a background in journalism and media, but was making the transition to children's author difficult? What made you decide to take this journey?
Answer: Writing a book was never on my list of goals. My senior year of college, I decided I wanted to be a news producer. I was so excited to travel. I love journalism — interviewing, talking to people. Telling people what’s going on in their world is super important to me. I worked as a news producer after college, first in South Bend and later in Indianapolis, where I earned an Emmy award for my journalism. However, the late-night schedule was difficult and when my contract ended, my husband and I decided we were ready for a family and this schedule wasn’t working for me. I knew there was no I way I could raise a child on that schedule, but I still had a desire to tell stories. I started writing short novels. I even went to some conferences and worked with some publishers, but I never thought it was the right project or the right time.
After my daughter Caroline was born, I began writing stories based on my daughter’s personality and antics.
I didn’t do anything with the stories until about a year and a half ago. My husband said, ‘This is what you should do,’ and I thought, ‘Yeah, this is what I should do!’”
Question: What has been the most rewarding aspect of publishing this book?
Answer: Seeing the lives I’ve touched. What really sent me over the edge to publish this book, besides my husband’s encouragement and insistence, was my passionate desire to change the world. I want to make a lasting impact and to do that, you really have to focus on children because they are the ones who you can most help shape. We need a world full of kindness and inclusivity and that’s what you learn in the Caroline Girls book.
Question: What has been the most challenging part of publishing this book?
Answer: Selling the book! I’m self-published and so everything falls on me. It’s exciting, exhilarating and downright exhausting! I recognized early on there was no way I could sell and market my book well without help. Honestly, the overwhelming task of getting the word out about Caroline Girls and trying to get it sold was so much it made me consider not doing it all. But, fellow theCityMom Courtney Rice offered her marketing assistance (she’s a former marketing professional), and it has made ALL the difference! She’s able to focus on marketing efforts – what’s working, what’s not; I’m networking, trying to find venues to sell the book and plan events. The selling piece is so intense. It’s so refreshing to hear Courtney’s perspective and have a clear idea of what is successful in getting the word out!
Question: How long have you been involved with theCityMoms? What are your favorite activities to do with the group?
Answer: I’m a new CityMom! In fact, Courtney is the one who encouraged me to join! She has had so much fun with this group and told me I would enjoy it, too! I’ve done a few different events – a reading at Urban Chalkboard and a networking event. I absolutely adore these women! I love how incredibly inclusive they are and excited to meet new people! It’s exactly the message I’m sharing with Caroline Girls!
Question: What's the next chapter for Heather Chastain and Caroline Girls?
Answer: To find an agent and publish more books! I have written 5 different Caroline Girls stories and I would love to publish them! I’ve also started formulating ideas for Baby Kate stories, my other daughter! I would also love to see Caroline Girls become an entire brand – merchandise and all! I’m also super excited to get more involved with theCityMoms because you ladies ROCK!
Creative Media Editor
A recent transplant to the Midwest, Megan still gets excited by the first snow flurries of the season. Although her husband’s job as a private school administrator brought them to the area, Megan feels more at home in Indy every day. While she isn’t chasing after her two children or working her day job as a social worker, Megan enjoys drinking craft beer, photography, playing soccer, and fantasizing about all of the Pinterest projects she will one day complete