This feature was published in an exclusive interview with the The Caribbean Current Magazine Sep 5, 2016

“The mind is very powerful. Your thoughts can either be used to create abundance or doom and gloom, poverty, sickness and even death. Each of us was created with unique talents and skills that no one else on this earth possesses and life is way too short not to put it to good use.

If we discover our innate gifts, it has the potential to shape and change lives, elicit joy, laughter, tears, healing, peace, fulfillment, freedom and abundance.”  

– Carolyn Correia in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

Carolyn Correia is the author of Thinking Out Loud (2011), How To Find Yourself & Claim What’s Yours (2015) and She Missed the Boat on Love. She hails from the picturesque twin-island of steelpan and calypso known as Trinidad and Tobago and has lived and worked on both islands.

When asked about her heritage, she affirms that she is Caribbean, however attributes her ethnicity to being Portuguese and Afro-Caribbean. “Like most Caribbean people I am what you call a callaloo (of races), but I don’t identify with any one ethnicity over the other. I am Caribbean.

In an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current, the author opens up about writing and many other things.

I have always had a ‘love affair’ with words (my friends always poke fun at my long emails and texts!). English was my favourite subject at school but due to the saturated field, I did not enter the field of Journalism right away, despite being told that I had a superior grasp of the English language!

But everything in God’s timing. Today I am living my dream and making a difference with my articles having been published in multiple newspapers and magazines including a contribution to the very prestigious Huffington Post.”

Book launch of How To Find Yourself & Claim What’s Yours – June 2015

Grounding her experience and talent in a theoretical framework

With a Bachelor of Arts in Literatures in English and Communications from the University of the West Indies and a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from the United Kingdom’s University of Leicester, Correia has the qualifications behind her passion.

The author also has over 10 years experience and training in the fields of Human Resource Management, Corporate Communications and Journalism in the hospitality and tourism, media, trade/commerce and microfinance industries.

Her Dad, recently deceased is to this day her biggest influence,“His peaceful disposition and humility is unmatched in anyone I have ever met (thus far).

He would go beyond the call of duty to ensure his family is well taken care of in many ways. He believed in me and understood me the most in my family and always supported my writing and all my pursuits. In fact, he encouraged me to write books.

Before he passed, he listened to my audio book with eager and joyful admiration. It is a beautiful memory which I documented in my second book to his memory.” 

Visit to Trinidad’s main library in Port-of-Spain May-2015

Her decision to embark on entrepreneurship

In 2014 Carolyn took a hiatus from the corporate world to pursue entrepreneurship after several years of encouragement from colleagues and friends.

It was the profound experiences she had while living on the island of Tobago in 2013 that acted as the catalyst to pursue her passion full time.

She is now touching even more lives, not only as a writer, but also as a speaker and communications consultant.

As with every writer and entrepreneur, challenges arise amidst the successes, and Correia has faced her fair share. She found that she had to shut out the non-constructive criticism and admits that attempting to penetrate the field, especially as a non-fiction writer, also proved somewhat challenging if you don’t have the right connections.

That time Carolyn did an interview for an article on calypsonian the Mighty Chalkdust published in Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsday newspaper.

Notwithstanding this, Carolyn continues to network and diversify her mode of delivery, she has found that there are people who appreciate the value she brings.

One such way is through her Book Talk & Jazz initiative, the aim of which is to bring her books to life for her audiences through storytelling.

This is an event that she plans to take regional and international as she is able to connect with attendees in a real and emotional way.

The biggest reward was reading the testimonials, looking at the poignant photos and having persons ask for more Book Talks which I did not anticipate! I knew it was real when a young woman shared the lengths she went to attend my event, taking notes and photos and having to fight back tears!” 

Correia has had the opportunity to learn from the experiences she has encountered in her life’s journey, and she attributes one of the best (formal) learning experiences to a Broadcasting course in 2010 with Eddison Carr, a veteran journalist, where she was able to learn more than she expected:

“It was an amazing, hands-on and fun experience and I got to meet some cool people! I found that learning can be fun and although at first you may not be the best at something; over time with enough passion and conditioning, you will reap the rewards.”  

Her worst learning experience however, was waking up to the reality and getting used to the fact that not everyone saw the world the same way she did. Carolyn also realized that not everyone was going to accept, understand and value her work in the same way and have the same work ethic.

Her first book, Thinking out Loud is a collection of motivational articles previously published in the press. The second book, How To Find Yourself & Claim What’s Yours (both available on Amazon) is a memoir of her professional journey over the last six years of her life and her transition from being a dreamer to a do-er.

Carolyn’s third book She missed the boat on love, is a short collection of poems intended to provide empathy, catharsis and strength to overcome those painful experiences to heal our hearts so we can find and believe in love again.

In her memoir the author gave an insight into how she risked it all twice, leaving her comfort zone and permanent job in Trinidad to move to the beautiful sister-isle of Tobago to pursue her passion more fully (when most people told her not to risk it, but in fact eventually changed the direction of her life forever).

Carolyn separates her second book into two parts where she traverses the tough topic of the reversal of circumstances that led to her father’s decline in health and moving back to spend with him what would be the last year of his life.

She vividly tackles the very real and universal topic of leaving full time (corporate) employment with a secured monthly income to take the huge risk to follow her true passion and purpose in a practical world (especially in the creative arts sector in a landscape that is not necessarily ready to embrace such).

She writes about her decision to embrace another risk and leap to entrepreneurship with no road map or safety net and knowing what to expect.

While she admits to having a busy life fueled by her insatiable desire for creative expression, she still finds time to do leisurely activities. She enjoys hanging with friends, enjoying nature, visiting the seaside, meeting new people and just living a meaningful life.

Carolyn’s deepest wish is to be valued and remembered for the results her work and passion has produced and to be compensated commensurate with this.

So while she likes her downtime, she still finds herself being productive most of the time engaging in meaningful work (on her terms) in order to live a comfortable and rewarding life.

The author intends to continue sharing the messages of her books to the world via her social media presence and going out and connecting with her target audience in real time who are seeking change. She plans to further market her communications consultancy aspect of her business as well as her workshops and book talks.

She ends our interview with her signature quote from her first book:

“Life is a marvelous adventure. Hold on tight to the handlebars with all you have and enjoy the ride, for it is only once we pass by this way. Live to leave a mark on the world so that people would remember you for the good you’re brought to the world and to their life, even if it was only for a brief moment. For it is then that you would know that you have truly lived.”

– Carolyn K. Correia, excerpt from her book Thinking Out Loud (2011)

Photo credit: IIEYE photography @Neville B. Alexander 2015-6.