Wednesday, March 25, 2015

AGNES HOPPER SHAKES UP SWEETBRIAR - Carol Guthrie Heilman - One Free Book

Welcome, Carol. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I have always been drawn to the vulnerable, especially children and the elderly who often have no one to speak for them. In my writings a character may become that voice.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t know about quirky, but the scariest was riding a camel along the edge of Mt. Sinai in the dark in order to reach the summit by sunrise. Everyone in our group survived and the reward was stunning.

When did you first discover that you were a writer
While attending a business convention with my husband I bought a book on creativity and completed a ten-minute “free-writing” exercise. At that moment I was hooked. This was twenty years ago when I was nearly fifty years old.

We are in the same age range. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Historical fiction, Biographies, Bible studies, and Children’s Picture Books are at the top of my long list.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
By reading Scripture each morning and praying—a lot.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Some come from newspapers, especially the obituaries. I love to visit old cemeteries. And some characters have names from my childhood.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Helping to raise two awesome children.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would love to be the Carolina Wren because even though it is a small bird, it can belt out the sweetest melody with total self-confidence.

I love songbirds. What is your favorite food?
That’s easy. Vanilla ice cream covered with hot caramel sauce.

I love vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce, but I haven’t tried it hot. I’ll have to now. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Fear of never being good enough. I don’t know that I’ve completely conquered that monster, but I keep trying.

Tell us about the featured book.
Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar is about a widow who moves in with her daughter after a kitchen fire destroys her farmhouse. After several months, the two women agree they cannot live together, and Agnes moves to a nearby retirement home. She soon decides she must find another place to live. But after she runs into her best friend from high school, and begins to make other friends as well, she realizes Miss Johnson, the administrator, rules with a heavy hand for sinister reasons. Agnes must eventually choose between her feisty self-reliance and the self-sacrifice that comes from caring for others.  

Sounds interesting. I know what book I’m going to read next. Please give us the first page of the book.
After the fire and smoke cleared, leaving my house in a pile of ashes, I reluctantly moved in with my daughter, Betty Jo—along with my pet pig, Miss Margaret. I was grateful to have a place to lay my head but soon found myself testy with my daughter, treating her like the child she is, even though she’s pushing fifty. “Are you going out?” I’d say. “What time will you be home? Take a wrap. Air’s got a nip to it.”

Betty Jo, when she spoke to me at all, used her normal, snippy tone. “I’m roasting in this house. Did you turn the heat up? Again?” And then she might add for good measure, “Stay out of the kitchen, Mother.”

Three months later we came to an understanding, and though it was a gradual, unspoken thing, it was a fact. Neither of us could tolerate living with the other. I needed my own place and she needed … well, to be rid of me and there was no use trying to beat around any bush.

So on a sultry August morning a week after my seventy-first birthday, Betty Jo loaded my few belongings into her shiny, black Buick and carried me to Sweetbriar Manor, Sweetbriar’s senior-care alternative that, according to the brochure, offered a rewarding, enriching lifestyle.

“If you ask me, there’s nothing sweet about it,” I grumbled under my breath. But of course she didn’t ask me. Only dropped me off, wished me well, and sped away. Well, maybe I’m stretching the truth a little, but that’s how it felt.

Ten minutes into my stay at this place I knew two things. No, three. One, senior-care alternative was code for, “We don’t care what you do in your tiny room as long as you don’t ring the bell and bother the help.” Two, Sweetbriar Manor would own all my assets in six months if I stayed. And three … oh, fiddle, I can’t remember the third thing, but if you’ll hang around for the rest of the story I’m sure it will come to me.

I love that opening. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Carol, for sharing some of your life and this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar (The Adventures of Agnes Series) (Volume 1) - paperback
Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar: A Senior Cozy Mystery Novel (The Adventures of Agnes Series) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. 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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, 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...

I am intrigued and very interested in this book. Thank you for the great interview, Lena!

Melanie Backus, TX

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a terrific story. I'd love to read more.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

KayM said...

Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar sounds delightful. I would love to win a copy.

apple blossom said...

Sounds like a wonderful book thanks for the chance to win a copy

live in ND

Cindy W. said...

Carol's book sounds interesting and I love the cover. Would love to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

I live in Indiana.

Angela Holland said...

This sounds like a cute book. I live in St. Cloud, FL -

Cynthia said...

Nice to see a different type of story out there...please do enter my name. From upstate NY...

Deanna Stevens said...

This sounds like such a fun read. I use to paint in senior care facilities and would meet such delightful people. I'd love to read your book!
dee from NE

Library Lady said...

The ladies at the church library will be lining up for this book but I hope to get it first.
Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
Janet E.

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you, Melanie, for your kind words. Many blessings to you. Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you, Linda. I appreciate your response. Blessings.
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you, Kay! This book was delightful to write!
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you Apple Blossom of ND! Hope you get a chance to read it.
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you, Cindy! The cover is just as I imagined it. The illustrator was awesome! Many blessings.
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you, Angela! I love Agnes because she has the same kind of spunky spirit of my mother. Blessings,
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you from upstate NY! Agnes continues to surprise me. Working on book 2!
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you, Dee! I have volunteered for years in assisted-living homes & have always loved listening to the elderly. Many blessings,
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you! I hope Agnes will get to travel to your library one day!
Carol Heilman

Mama Cat said...

This book sounds awesome! I would love to read it; as a Caregiver for seniors in their homes, and as one who is speeding closer to "retirement" - and as one who loves mysteries! - it has much appeal. Thank you for the opportunity to win! Jeanie, Phoenix AZ

Melissa M. said...

This sounds good!

-Melissa M. in TN

Carol Heilman said...

Mama Cat,
Love your name! My husband calls me "Big Mama" & I'm 5ft 2in soaking wet! Love the senior group & now I'm a part of it. Hope you enjoy Agnes.
Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman said...

Thank you for entering the drawing. Many blessings,
Carol heilman

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

sm said...

I like the summary of your book and would love to win and read it. You are a new author to me. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great book to read!
Rita from Wisconsin
rita dot navarre at yahoo dot com

Pam Graber said...

Sounds like you're writing about the stage of life I'm getting to, Carol Heilman! Would love to win. Looks like a fun book!

Pam in Ohio

rubynreba said...

This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win it.
Beth from IA