Published author and publishing consultant Carol Hoenig has come a long way from her days of dreaming of being a writer in the small hamlet of Churubusco.
LONG ISLAND — Carol Hoenig is hundreds of miles away from the place she called home as a child, but it’s a place that lives on in her memories and in her published works.
Hoenig, a native of Churubusco, is an accomplished author who was most recently nominated for the Best Long Island Author for 2012 by Long Island Press.
“I just found out,” said Hoenig, in an interview over the phone from her Long Island home.
The award is something Hoenig said she is honored to even be nominated for, though she is no stranger to receiving accolades for her work. Hoenig’s first published novel, “Without Grace,” was awarded the Silver Medal for Book of the Year 2005 by ForeWord Magazine and First Place for Fiction by the DIY Book Festival.
Without Grace, which Hoenig considers her crowning achievement to date, is the story of a small-town girl set in the quiet, rural setting of Churubusco, albeit a different version of her hometown.
“I romanticized the area a bit, putting Chateaugay Lake in Churubusco and certain things like that,” said Hoenig, adding characters in her book bare striking similar names to those found in Churubusco to this day.
The book centers on a character named Vicky Finley, who becomes obsessed with finding her mother, Grace, after the death of her grandmother. Vicky’s older brother, Kevin, does his best to look after Vicky while, at the same time, fighting to prevent their community from being taken over by a commercial developer.
It’s a book that still gets people picking it up to this day, said Hoenig.
“It’s been years since it was published and I still get e-mails from people who’ve read it or hear from my siblings who say so-and-so was reading a book about Churubusco and they found out it was yours,” said Hoenig, who graduated from what is now Northern Adirondack Central. “I never get tired of hearing of that.”
Hoenig worked for several years as a national events specialist for Borders and, as fate would have it, the day a very positive review came out comparing her book to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” her position at Borders was eliminated.
“I had to decided then to start pounding the pavement for another job or start my own business,” she said.
Hoenig started her own career as a publishing consultant, covering various aspects of the publishing industry, from handling book proposals to answering questions by authors breaking into the business. And, if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, she continues to work as a freelance writer, most notably as a blogger for The Huffington Post.
Did Hoenig ever think she’d come this far as a writer?
“I would fantasize about it, but actually, I wanted more to be an actress,” said Hoenig. “But, as I got older, I found I liked hiding behind the words and creating these characters instead of being on the stage.”
When she hears herself being called a “writer,” she still stops to question if she deserves being put into the same category as Anne Tyler or Charles Dickens.
“I’m just a kid from Churubusco,” she said, laughing.
Editor’s Note: Check out Carol Hoenig’s works on her website, www.carolhoenig.com. Her blog for The Huffington Post may also be found on-line at www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-hoenig.