# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Caroline Topperman and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I actually have a degree in screenwriting. For many years now I’ve mainly been writing for online publications, various websites as well as my blog Style On The Side. I’m currently working on a family memoir but I’ve published a fitness book called FitWise as well as a Visual Writing Prompts journal called Tell Me What You See.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Well there are a few. I spent years owning my own Pilates studio where I trained celebrities, professional athletes and everyone in between. That was a huge inspiration for FitWise. That book is a culmination of years of working with every type of individual possible. Tell Me What You See came from a point in my life when I was struggling quite a bit. I had just moved to a small town where I knew no one and I felt like all of my creativity had disappeared overnight. My current book was inspired by my move to Poland. I made a spontaneous move where I was able to reconnect with family and trace some of the steps many of them took when they lived there.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I realized that I am a very visual person and staring at a blank page never works for me. It’s one of the reasons I wrote Tell Me What You See. I love to look at photographs and use them as inspiration. I also enjoy going to galleries and traveling (even if it’s around my place) so that I can translate what I see and turn it into words on the page.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Not editing it enough and not working with a professional editor. I know way too many writers who edit their own work but getting a second or even third pair of eyes on your work is an absolute must. So much of your work as a writer is solitary and at some point you stop being critical of your work.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
A bad review is never fun but then again often it’s not about you. I think it’s a good moment to reach out to the reviewer with a nice response. It’s not necessarily easy to do this, but it shows off your good character and that’s what people will remember.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
As I transitioned from mainly writing articles and blog posts to books I found myself reading creative nonfiction even more. I started studying different ways of writing which helped me find my voice.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers?
Do you balance the two and how? I always start writing for myself first. It’s the only way I can get all of my thoughts out onto the page. As I work through a piece I start looking at it from different angles and from the point of view of a reader. I ask myself what they are thinking, how they might be interpreting what I’ve written.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
I think they play a huge role. I know that when I’m feeling exceptionally tired or I’m very stressed, being creative is extremely difficult. In those cases I like to do something completely different like going out into the country and removing all the outside noise. Or I’ll lose myself in a great movie.
# What are your plans for future books?
Right now I’m focusing on my family memoir and I’m very excited to start querying it to agents but I hope it doesn’t end there and I’m constantly taking notes. Who knows what will come out of them!
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
A few years ago I sold (almost) everything and moved to Warsaw Poland. I was on Sesame Street. I’ve used to dance ballet, modern and ballroom. I used to own a Pilates studio where I trained A-List celebrities and professional athletes (yes you’ve heard of them).
On social media I’m @styleontheside everywhere