Why do you write the kind of books you do?
My books are inspirational historical romance. I write from a Christian point of view because my faith is part of who I am. It would seep through my writing whatever I wrote. I like reading romance, so that’s why I chose to write the genre. And historical because I really enjoy reading and researching and writing about other time periods and long gone cultures. I usually add a touch of mystery to my stories too since I love reading mysteries and suspense, contemporary and historical.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My wedding day! It’s hard to believe I got married 34 years ago. Another great day was the day I sold my first book, nearly two years ago. But I think I was in the state of shock and probably enjoyed the day after more than the actual day I got ‘the call’!
My wonderful wedding day was almost 47 years ago. How has being published changed your life?
I have to be disciplined now. Sometimes it’s difficult to force myself to be creative and write when I’d rather curl up with a book and read. It’s so easy to procrastinate and promise myself I’ll take today off and work doubly hard tomorrow. I’ll admit I sometimes succumb to the temptation, but I try not to very often.
Like a lot of writers, I’m an introvert. Promoting my books doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m perfectly content to sit on my sun porch and write. Also, friends who once thought of my writing as a quaint little hobby now give me ‘respect.’ They don’t seem to understand I was a serious writer way before I was published!
I learned I can’t do everything I did before, including housework. I sure didn’t mind giving that up! But I like my house to look neat and clean. My husband and daughter help, but they have different standards than I do. So I had to adjust and not worry about a little dust—or a lot of dust. As long as we have food on the table and clean laundry, we’re doing fine. I’ve learned to close my eyes and keep my eyes on my deadline.
What are you reading right now?
The Last Illusion by Rhys Bowen. It’s a historical mystery with a bit of a romance set in
during the turn-of-the-century. New York City
What is your current work in progress?
I’m writing a historical romance set in the
Adirondacks at what is now called a “great camp.” The story is about millionaires and their guests who go rustic and enjoy “roughing it,” but really don’t give up any of their luxuries. The widowed daughter of the family returns home determined to keep a secret—she’s flat broke and afraid her parents will learn of her disastrous marriage. But the past has a way of following her home and intruding upon her present and future. A handsome childhood friend does his best to help her through the bad times. Against their wishes and better judgment, they fall in love. New York
What would be your dream vacation?
When I lived in
Vermont I would’ve chosen a Caribbean cruise. But now that I live in Florida where it’s never really cold and sometimes scorching hot, I’d say my dream vacation would be a trip to Great Britain and . I’ve travelled through the rest of Ireland Europe, but now I’m ready to tour English speaking countries I haven’t seen before. Actually any vacation sounds great!
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I always wanted to write about
during the Gilded Age. My mother came from there and we always spent a lot of time visiting. It’s a beautiful and fascinating place. Over the years I read a dozen or so books about the town and the society, so it seemed natural to use it as a setting. After I finished the Ladies of Summerhill series, my editor asked me to choose another northeast resort setting for my next book. I picked the Adirondack Mountains in northern Newport, Rhode Island New York state because it’s so different from the seaside setting of , and has spectacular scenery. I lived in neighboring Newport for twenty years, so I was familiar with the area. Vermont
After this maybe I’ll move my stories to
or a small town in the south where I lived now. Since I’m a New Englander it’ll be more of a challenge to write about southern culture etc. but since my husband is from north Florida (very southern!) and we now live in northwest Florida, I think I can manage. Friends will set me straight. I also lived three years in Texas and five years in Virginia. New York City
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My favorite author, Maeve Binchy. She’s an Irish women’s fiction writer. I love her easy, conversational style and how she draws her characters with all their quirks, foibles and virtues. They jump right off the page. She seems so chatty and friendly—someone I could learn a lot from.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I don’t think of writing as a hobby anymore because I have deadlines and I get paid periodically for the work I submit. Now it’s ‘work.’ Before I sold writing was a fun hobby I indulged in when the muse came calling. It’s still enjoyable. If it weren’t, I’d find something else to do ASAP. My work hours are flexible, but still I have to follow a schedule so I can finish by my deadline.
When my daughter was young I used to sew dresses for her. I quilted and crocheted too, but I’ve given up those hobbies. I don’t need another afghan in Florida.
Except for reading and writing I don’t have much time for hobbies anymore.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
That’s easy! A retired husband, a daughter, and a four-year-old grandson all living with me and home for most of the day. It’s great having people around (I’m never lonely), but I have to shoo them away when I’m writing. I’m sure to them it must seem as if I’m writing all the time. Sometimes it seems that way to me, too.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write every day and finish your book. Don’t start one, get bored and start another. Do let go of chapter one. My tendency was to re-write it again and again and not move on until it was perfect. Join ACFW or RWA and their local chapters. Get a critique partner, enter contests, submit your manuscripts, listen to the advice of authors who have already experienced what you’re going through, study the craft and keep at it when you get discouraged. Writing is a very challenging profession, but worth it when you finally sell. Don’t expect to get rich and famous because you probably won’t. But of course it’s possible…
Tell us about the featured book.
Love by the Book is a historical romance—a marriage of convenience. This is a love story set in a lavish seaside mansion in 1901 Rhode Island.Melinda Hollister is a society lady, intent on finding a rich husband before her peers discover her quickly diminishing wealth. Nick Bryson is all business, focused on making a name for himself in his father’s steamship line. Despite the marriage of their siblings, they rarely gave each other a second glance—until a tragic accident results in Melinda and Nick being appointed as co-guardians of their three-year-old niece Nell.
In order to get better acquainted with Nell and one another, Melinda and Nick agree to spend the summer in their own private quarters of the Bryson family vacation home, Summerhill. As their love for Nell grows, so does their attraction to each other. And for the first time in their lives, they sense that God has a bigger plan in motion.
Yet old habits die hard – and Melinda and Nick each find it difficult to resist the pull of their former worlds.
When the unthinkable happens, they find themselves faced with seemingly impossible choices and a new understanding of God’s true love.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Melinda’s sharp intake of breath shattered the silence. All eyes turned toward her, but Melinda could do nothing but stare at the attorney. Had she misheard her sister’s will? Or had he misread it? How could Cora leave her daughter to Melinda’s care—as well as Nick’s? She couldn’t imagine.
Cora had never mentioned such an odd arrangement, but then again her sister normally avoided unpleasant subjects. A wave of panic swept through Melinda. No one loved Nell more than she. No one. But being a mother was far different than being the doting aunt...
Attention shifted from her to Nick. Seated at the other end of the semicircle of family members, Nick’s blue-gray eyes were still wide with shock.
The minutes dragged by until finally, mercifully, Mr. Ricker concluded the reading and dismissed the others. Nick immediately rose and walked over to join them.
Mr. Ricker cleared his throat and spoke in a hushed tone. “You both seem surprised by the custody situation. But let me assure you Mrs. Parker Bryson insisted you two share guardianship—for reasons of her own.” He looked from Melinda to Nick, frowning. “I understand that arrangement might be somewhat unconventional but she knew you two would see it through. It is what Cora and Parker desired for Nell.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is www.caralynnjames.com . I also have a facebook page. Last, but not least, I’m a Seeker at www.seekerville.blogspot.com
Thank you for dropping by, Cara Lynn. I just love your book covers.
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