Tuesday, September 17, 2013

BEFORE THE DAWN - Carolyne Aarsen, writing as Kathleen Bauer - Two Free Books on This Blog, Plus More

Welcome, Carolyne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I think there is always questions I’ve had or struggles I’ve endured that I work into my characters and their journeys. For Charlotte in the first book of Home to Heather Creek, it was the idea that we are allowed to question what has happened and to be angry with God over the sad circumstances of our lives. This was something I have struggled with from time to time. I thought it appropriate that Charlotte, who had to deal with the death of her daughter, deal with this as well. As for the kids - my husband and I have fostered and we have seen first-hand some of the struggles the kids have had making such huge changes in their lives and some of the resentment. So I tried to work that into the story as well.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Won a Moose Calling contest.

What fun! Wish I could have been there. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I have always loved crafting stories, but never did anything with this desire. When I started reading books and thinking of how I would change them, I realized I wanted to write myself.  I made the commitment to take a writing correspondence course. Once I sent out that cheque, I felt as if I had taken a step toward being a true writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m all over the map. Biographies, legal thrillers, young adult, fantasy, travel books, humor, romance, women’s fiction, backs of cereal boxes. If it grips me, I’ll finish it.

I’m like you. If there are words anywhere around me, I’m reading them. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I live out in the country at the intersection of No and Where. I don’t get as easily pulled into the frantic motion of living in the city or even a town. As my writing career has gotten busier, I’ve tried to keep time for my family a priority. Now and again, I get myself a bit too busy with community and church obligations, but I have learned to say no, to guard my devotional time, my family time, and my time just for my writing. Sometimes life events pull me along, and I need to do what I need to do. But I do try to make sure that I don’t over commit. I have chosen my priorities and, from time to time, have to remind myself what is most important in the long run.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I like reading the credits on movies or television shows and have often pulled names from there. Baby books or websites are also a good place to choose names. I like strong names for my male characters and softer names for my female characters.

James and I almost always watch the credits at the end of a movie. Now next year, we’ll see my name there as screenwriter. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Being married and still in love with my husband after 38 years of marriage.

Good for you. James and I will hit 49 in November, and we feel the same way. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I can’t think of any animal that could have a better life than I have. Either they live a short time and don’t get to meet their grandkids or they are always on the hunt for food or staying away from predators. Most of them have to sleep outside all year round or, if they’re domesticated, put up with people feeding them the same old boring food every day and keeping them out of flowerbeds. I live on a farm and close to the bush, so I’ve never had a romantic view of animals. So I’m going to go with homo sapien.

What is your favorite food?
Peanut butter on toast with banana. Sometimes, when my husband is not home for supper, that’s what I’ll make. A close second is Quaker Harvest Crunch with almond milk. Also taco chips. Oh, and scrambled eggs with cheese and toast. Pizza is also good. Fresh potatoes with sour cream and butter and how could I forget African Black Bean Soup or clam chowder and the occasional Mozza Cheese Burger with onion rings from A and W. See, this is why I can’t be any other animal than a human. Purina Cat Chow just doesn’t create the same excitement.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Procrastination. Every day I fight this evil. I have a number of ways of getting past this. Setting a timer, shutting off the internet. Calling my writing friend and setting a challenge. Forcing myself to achieve a certain page or word count goal each day and working until I get there. Knowing that I have a deadline is probably my greatest defense against procrastination. However, I have found again and again if I force myself past the first few words, just get something down on the computer screen, I usually get into the story enough that I can avoid the temptation to see what the purse I’m bidding on at eBay is going for.

Tell us about the featured book.
I loved writing Before the Dawn. I felt very honored to be the one to introduce Sam, Christopher, Emily, Bob, and Charlotte to Guideposts readers. It was a challenge to set up the sorrow of the main characters and their growth yet leave enough for the writers following me to have some space to have Christopher, Sam, and Emily grow and change. As I said before, my husband and I fostered and have seen how difficult it is for children to appreciate what is done for them when all they want is for their life to be back the way it was.

Please give us the first page of the book.
“So this where we’re living?” Sam eased his lanky out of the back seat of the crew cab truck as he stared at the farmhouse silhouetted against the blue Nebraska sky. As he tugged the ear pieces of his music player out of his ear, his face, partially hidden by the hood of his sweatshirt, showed his bewilderment.

Charlotte tried not to let the morose tone in her grandson’s voice disappoint her. She knew that his attitude was part grief, part separation anxiety, and part sixteen-year-old boy.

“Yes, this Heather Creek Farm. Named after the creek we crossed over just a hundred feet back. This is where your grandfather grew up.”

Charlotte kept her voice upbeat, her lips formed in a smile as she tucked her short brown hair back behind her ear. Your mother too, Charlotte silently added. Toby stood beside her, staring up as if wondering where Charlotte had been. Her tail wagged slowly, a brown and black plume, as she licked Charlotte’s hand.

“This looks like a set from an old TV show.” Emily, her fourteen-year-old granddaughter, said. Her long blond hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail that hung askew from sleeping in the truck. Her gray-green eyes blinked as they adjusted to the light.

“Are we finally there?” Christopher’s sleepy voice drifted out from the back of the truck.
Still clinging to the Spider-Man backpack that had been his constant companion for the past week, the ten-year-old boy clambered out of the vehicle and reached for his sister’s hand. His close-cropped hair, also blond, glinted in the afternoon sun as he yawned, looking as bewildered as his siblings sounded.

Emily sighed. “If you want to call being out in the boonies, there, then yes.” Emily’s voice was quiet, but her words carried.

“Hey. They have a dog.” Christopher crouched down and reached out to Toby, but Toby ignored him, her brown eyes still fixed on Charlotte.

Charlotte patted the dog absently, glancing over at her husband. Though she wasn’t that conversant in teen-speak, she was fluent in reading Bob’s body language. The way he was yanking the suitcases out of the back of the vehicle clearly showed how unhappy with his grandchildren’s reactions.

Charlotte wanted to explain, to defend. The children had just endured a long flight from the west coast to America’s heartland, then a tiring drive through the country to get to a farm they had never visited in their life. As well, Bob hadn’t spent a week with the children back in San Diego like she had. He had to return to the farm, after the funeral in San Diego, while Charlotte stayed to deal with the aftermath of their daughter Denise’s death. On top of dealing with guardianship issues, Denise’s will, the insurance, and all the legalities that sidelined her own sorrow, Charlotte also had witnessed, first-hand, the children’s grief in a way Bob, during his brief visit for the funeral, hadn’t. Denise’s children, Sam, Emily, and Christopher, barely knew their own grandparents or their family here in Bedford. Of course they would be confused, bewildered, and disoriented.

Sounds like a very good read. How can readers find you on the Internet?
www.carolyneaarsen.com  From here you can head over to my Twitter feed and my Facebook page.

Thank you, Carolyn Aarsen, for sharing this new book with us.

Guideposts Books is thrilled to announce their brand new series, Home to Heather Creek, by Kathleen Bauer. The first two books, Before the Dawn and Sweet September, launch this month and Guideposts Books is celebrating with a Paperwhite Kindle Giveaway!


One winner will receive:
  • A Paperwhite Kindle
  • Before the Dawn and Sweet September by Kathleen Bauer
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 5th. All winners will be announced October 7th HERE.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 7th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to their blog [enter your email in the blog sidebar] and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Before the Dawn - Christianbook.com
Before the Dawn (Home to Heather Creek, Book 1) - Amazon.com

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book on this blog. The winner will also receive a copy of Sweet September, the first book in the series. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Melanie Backus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melanie Backus said...

Carolyn sounds like a very interesting person and I love her variety of foods that she enjoys. Just by the portion that I read, BEFORE THE DAWN sounds like my kind of book and with the added bonus, this is a great giveaway. Thank you for the chance to win.

Melanie Backus, TX

Britney Adams said...

I so enjoyed this interview and would love to hear Carolyne's moose call!!

Thank you for sharing the excerpt; I certainly didn't want it to end. I look forward to reading more about Sam, Christopher, Emily, Bob, and Charlotte in this touching novel.

Thank you for the opportunity to win two wonderful books!

Britney Adams, TX

Heidi said...

I love how she says she guards her devotional time. That is so essential to staying on track spiritually. Great interview!

Heidi, CA

sm said...

SWEET SEPTEMBER looks very good and I would like to win it. Please include me in the contest for the book. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo)dot)com

Tonja Saylor said...

I enjoyed the interview. Carolyne you have a great sense of humor. I know I would enjoy reading your books!
Tonja S. from Virginia

bonton said...

Hi, Carolyne!

Really enjoyed your interesting interview, & learning more about you & your writing!

I like the storyline of Before the Dawn, & would love to read it!

I was a houseparent at a children's home for abused & neglected children, for a number of years. It was a stressful, emotional, experience, but I was rewarded by seeing the changes in a lot of the children - after they had been with us for a while.

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!


Mary Preston said...

Great to meet you Carolyne. A great interview & excerpt thank you.

Mary P


Anonymous said...

would love to win Angela in ky

Barbara Thompson said...

Oh, I've been wanting to read these books. Fabulous interview. I just know these books are fantastic. Thank you, Carolyne, for sharing your great writing with us. Please enter my name in the giveaway.

Barbara Thompson in Louisiana


Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Carolyne Aarsen said...

Thanks for the lovely comments. I truly loved writing about Charlotte, Bob and the grandkids, but sometimes I had even more fun with the secondary characters. Bonnie, you have a giving heart. Abused and neglected children don't often have advocates so what you have done is amazing. Heidi, yes, I've had to be very careful bout my devotions. Too easy to let that be taken over by other things. Tonja, thanks for your comment. I like to laugh and so does my husband. I just don't like it when he laughs at me. Britney, come on over and I'll demonstrate my moose calling ability. Melanie, I love variety in most areas of my life. But other things I need to stay the same. Barbara, I hope you enjoy the series. It was fun to write. and Mary, all the way from Australia! The internet sure allows us a broad reach.

rubynreba said...

Loved the fact that you won a moose calling contest! Enjoyed the interview. Thanks for the chance to win the books.
Beth from Iowa

Emma said...

great interview! Before the Dawn and Sweet September sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.PA.

Judy said...

I would love to win a copy of Before the Dawn as well as Sweet September.

The moose call would most certainly be entertaining!!

Judy B from Indiana

Merry said...

Before the Dawn sounds touching... I know I'll need a box of Kleenx. :)
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com