“One If” is the incredible science fiction story about “...three teens battling destiny on a planet ravaged by climate change...” Written by Carol Allen. In the book you will find, “...alliances are betrayed, innocents are murdered, friendships are forged and young love flourishes in a race against impossible odds….”
We love that in the story, the protagonist named Parker grows from someone who was seen as being "too smart" and not having a lot of friends, to a confident girl who finally realizes her own potential. This concept is especially true in today’s society where girls are seen as being “too smart”, but like Parker in “One If”, smart girls can save the world!
We were able to have a chat with Carol and talk about all things “One If”, supporting women in STEM and much more!
We asked Carol about her relationship and background in STEM and surprisingly enough, she went to school for English and creative writing. Although she doesn't have a background in STEM, her parents and siblings are in STEM. She considered and still considers herself the “dreamer” of the family. Although she is the only one in her family who doesn't have a STEM career, she went on to say that she is glad that nobody in her family judged her and allowed her to pursue her dreams.
Why is it important to advance women in STEM?
Carol - “We are moving forward in a technologically advanced world that is evolving as we speak, and we would be remiss to underestimate the job market that awaits those with degrees in STEM...Women are vastly underrepresented.”
Carol wants to bring young girls in and get them excited about careers in STEM and she uses the book “One If” to do just that!
How did you discover your passion for writing?
Carol - “I’ve always loved words.”
She further explains that she considers herself a storyteller. As a child she loved to read books and would compete with her cousins to see who could read a book the fastest . While her siblings were into math and science, she was captivated by words.
She went to University of Michigan, majored in English and creative writing, and her first job out of college was as a writer at Vogue. “My first job was writing at Vogue and now I’m writing fantasies and science fiction, I’ve kind of come full circle.”
What are your thoughts on representation of women in STEM?
Carol - “I know how critical this is''. Gina Davis’ organization said the media should put women in roles so that others can see the possibilities, their motto is: if she can see it, she can be it. I think the media is stepping up, but where I think we really need to do work is in the schools, because that's where the roles are being formed. Interests in these subjects (STEM subjects) needs to be reinforced so that women will be open to STEM fields because that's where the future is going to be.”
Where does your writing inspiration come from?
Carol - “I’m a good storyteller. I love creating stories, looking into the future and thinking about the possibilities…” “Writing fantasies are ways to think about the possibilities.” “ I want my books to inspire young girls to believe in themselves and know that nothing is impossible”
Her book, “One If” really focuses on that. She went on to talk about how rewarding it is to hear from her readers and know that they gained valuable life lessons from the story.
What can readers expect in "One If"?
Carol - “In the book you can find science, magic, along with some young love and unlikely friendships.
What we especially liked about the book is that she chose to include a diversity aspect to the plot, with the three main characters having different ethnicities and backgrounds. She wants to show young teens that: “science is fun and when you remove all the barriers of prejudice, bigotry and racism, you can work together to make the world better”
What is your creative process like?
Carol - “When I’m formatting a book, I think about what message is really important to me…”
Once she knows how she wants a story to go the ideas tend to just flow.
Carol - “When I go to sleep sometimes in my dreams the ideas come to me….”
She then said it actually keeps her up at night sometimes. For Carol, she doesn’t force ideas and she must wait for the ideas to come naturally.
Tell us about Parker, the protagonist of the story.
Carol - “Parker is the kind of girl I wish I was.” “Parker went from the insecure and isolated girl to being a leader. Parker is for all the teen girls who struggle with who they are and what they look like to everyone else. Parker was having a rough time at the beginning of the book because people saw her as being too smart, and she was often left out. Towards the end of the book, Parker finally comes into herself and realizes her potential.”
Carol also mentioned that Parker coming into herself and realizing her potential essentially is her favorite part of the book
What is one thing you want everyone who reads your book to take away from it?
Carol - “I would want anybody that reads it to believe in themselves and believe that they can do anything and nothing is impossible. You can achieve anything you want to do and you have to believe in yourself to make it happen”
You can find Carol on instagram @carol.b.allen