Welcome, Carol. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
A little less with each book! In my first book, Midnight Shadows, my heroine was basically a fictionalized version of me. I even made her a court reporter (my former career). Each of my subsequent characters has had fewer of my own traits. In Trust My Heart, my latest release, Jami is much more like my artistic, dreamer daughter than like me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t think of myself as a quirky person, so I had to ask for my sister’s help on this one. She assured me my obsession with lists is not normal, which might put it in the “quirky” category. I always have two or three to-do lists going at any given time. I love marking things off, so if I do something that’s not on the list, I add it so I can have the pleasure of crossing it off. I even have an Excel spreadsheet in my computer titled “Where I Put Things.” It’s those rarely used items that always get me. This list tells me which shelf of which closet holds the item I’m looking for.
That spreadsheet sounds like a good idea to me. I may have to borrow it. I do have a file with where I put the Christmas presents I acquire early. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I discovered I had a natural bent for writing in my late elementary school years. I was one of those weird kids who actually enjoyed doing book reports. In high school, I got to do research papers and had even more fun. I never considered writing for publication, though, until the early to mid-1990s. My husband and I were working with Marriage Encounter at the time, and the leader would edit the talks we wrote. After submitting two or three of them, I received a note back that in 25 years of leading Marriage Encounter weekends, mine was the first talk she’d received that didn’t require edits. For the first time, I questioned whether I might be able to sell what I wrote. Although I got to see several magazine articles go to print, it would be almost twenty years before I got my first novel published.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I actually enjoy a wide range of genres, as long as the books are clean. I read books written in any time frame (historical, contemporary, or futuristic), and the genres I enjoy include young adult, suspense, romance, mystery, and fantasy. If the characters are relatable and the story is compelling, I’ll probably like the book.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
The short answer? I don’t!
Actually, I do have some things that help keep me sane. First, I always like to start my day with prayer and Bible reading. It helps to center me and keep my focus in the right place. Another thing that helps is regular exercise. Nothing energizes me and clears my mind like an hour of Zumba. Lastly, my lists help keep me sane. No matter how crazy my schedule is, just having everything down on paper seems to make it so much more manageable.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes, I hear a name and think, “Ooo, that would be a great character name.” Other times, I find those lists with the 100 most popular baby names for whatever decade my character was born. For last names, I use an online surname generator. I type in a character’s first name, then click “Generate Last Names.” Sometimes it gives me names like Lefkopoulou and Abderrazzaq. (Yes, those are actual names the program recommended to me.) I’m glad, though, that it also spits out plenty of less complicated ones, since I’m pretty sure readers want to be able to pronounce the names we give our characters.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Being nominated for a RITA® award this year was a pretty cool experience. (For anyone not familiar with this particular award, it’s like the Oscars of romance writing.) The one accomplishment that thrilled me the most, though, was selling my first book. It had been such a long time coming (about fifteen years since crafting my first novel-length story). After years of rejection, discouragement, and long periods where I just stopped writing, getting “the call” was a dream come true.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I think I’d be a cat. But it would have to be one of the Post cats, because we spoil them rotten. We’re down to one right now, since our older two passed away. Midnight travels with us, sleeps with us, and hangs out with me as I write. He doesn’t like to drink after the dog, so he hops up on one of the dining room chairs and demands that I give him his water in a bottle. And I do!
What is your favorite food?
It really depends on my mood. I’m a really healthy eater, so those are the types of foods I usually crave. I’m probably the only person on the planet whose mouth waters while looking at a salad. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so desserts are no temptation for me. Instead, I crave salty snacks. So if I have a weakness, it would have to be potato chips. I try to leave them at the store and eliminate the temptation.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest roadblock for me was discouragement. I still sometimes have to fight it. Writing is a solitary activity, and lots of rejection goes with the territory. Having a support system is so important. Although my family was always supportive, it wasn’t until 2010, when I joined Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, Tampa Area Romance Authors, that I gained what I needed to keep forging ahead.
Tell us about the featured book.
Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy,
with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible.
The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the
dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should
be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and
After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.
The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the
there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned
detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home… Smoky Mountains
Please give us the first page of the book.
Decision making’s a bear.
Well, not all decisions, just ones that had the potential to ruin her life.
Jami Carlisle tilted her face upward and expelled a frustrated sigh. “Okay, Lord, I need some advice. Robert’s getting tired of waiting, and frankly, I can’t blame him.”
She stepped onto an outcropping of rock that jutted over a small creek. Early morning sunlight filtered through the canopy overhead, painting the flora varying shades of green. Somewhere nearby, a cardinal whistled its cheery song. The McAllister woods were her refuge, her place to gather her thoughts and regroup. It didn’t matter that they weren’t hers. They adjoined her property, and she’d been coming there as long as she could remember.
She released a sigh. “Robert’s expecting me to say yes.” Actually, everyone was expecting her to say yes. The whole town had the two of them engaged and all but married the moment he’d taken her hand at the harvest party hayride in eighth grade. They’d each dated others through the years, but last summer it had turned more serious, and in the eyes of the people of Murphy,
North Carolina, that was enough to cement
it—she was marrying Robert.
With another sigh, Jami dropped to the cool surface of the rock and let her sneakered feet dangle over the edge. Just below, water trickled over a downed limb and around protruding rocks on its lazy path to lower ground. A breeze rustled the trees above, harmonizing with the soothing sound of the creek. But the peace she usually found there eluded her.
“This shouldn’t be so difficult.” She lifted her eyes skyward. “Robert’s a good man. He’s kind and responsible, and he’s a Christian.” There weren’t many people she felt as close to as Robert.
So what was she waiting for? A sign? She snickered at the image that popped into her head, one of those black billboards with bold white letters:
Jami. Marry the
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Website – www.caroljpost.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/caroljpost.author
Twitter – www.twitter.com/caroljpost
I love to connect with my readers!
Lena, for inviting me to participate on your blog. I had
a great time being here!
Join Carol in celebrating the release of Trust My Heart by entering to win her $75 Cozy Cash Giveaway.
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A copy of Trust My Heart
- A $75 Visa cash card
- A basket full of goodies made in North Carolina to keep you cozy in the cooler fall weather
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on November 23. The winner will be announced November 28 on Carol's blog.
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Trust My Heart - Christianbook.com
Trust My Heart - Amazon paperback
Trust My Heart - Kindle
Trust My Heart - Audio
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