Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I can’t imagine that a writer can keep herself out of her characters. We all draw on our own experiences and emotions, but it’s a lot of fun to stretch beyond them—to get to know a character so deeply that I can feel what they must have felt in a situation far outside the realm of my own life.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I went diving for turtles a few years back. It took two weeks for me to get from odd compulsion to standing chest-high in the
Guadalupe River in south , water dripping down my face, a turtle grasped in my upraised hands. The four men and teenage boys in my raft were almost as surprised as I was that I actually dove in, scrambled among tree roots at the bank of a snake-infested river, and came up with a turtle. It was a catch-and-release kind of spiritual experience. http://caronguillo.blogspot.com/2007/02/catching-turtles.html Texas
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I suppose I discovered it when I began journaling as a young mother. But I’ve been writing all my life. I can remember penning scripts for play time in first grade. My playmates were not nearly as taken with my creative vision as I’d hoped.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m a very eclectic reader. From non-fiction books on missional living to encyclopedias, from historical fiction to mystery-suspense. I love many classics and strongly dislike a few, too.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
To be honest, I quit running. Some years ago when my husband was on staff at a large church, I found myself involved in more areas of service than I should have been, so I put myself on a six-month sabbatical. By the time it was over, I decided I wasn’t going back to the “say yes to everything” mentality. I need a lot of soul space, so with God’s help I’ve taken concrete steps toward living a life that’s much more balanced—functioning within my gifts and passions, and being careful about my commitments.
Very good idea. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Ah, you had to ask. You see, I’m a synesthete. Synesthesia is a blending of the senses, so in my mind letters and numbers are certain colors and time has a particular shape, among other peculiar things. While for my novels I research names that are appropriate for the time period of the story or ethnic background of my characters, in the end, the names have to be the right color for the character. It’s weird, I tell you.
Actually, I totally understand. I had never heard that name applied to it, but that's how I am. I see time in a particular shape and letters have colors. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Raising three children that delight me to no end, though it’s not really honest of me to take credit for them. Intentional parenting was important, but prayer made up for my many imperfections.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A zedonk—a cross between a zebra and a donkey. They’re for real. We once had neighbors who owned a zedonk. The poor thing was all donkey up front and all zebra from behind. Likewise, I’m quite ordinary at first glance, but a bit undomesticated in the end.
What is your favorite food?
Italian. Which is a good thing, as I’m an international tour manager and lead small group tours to
. I also get along far too well with Tex-Mex. And cheese. And, heaven help me, chocolate. Italy
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Accepting instruction. For a while, that elemental “show, don’t tell” gave me fits. I could have sworn I was showing, but editors and agents alike insisted I wasn’t. A writing mentor took the time to actually get specific with his feedback. At first, I railed against his critique. Then I came across two proverbs: “He who hates correction is stupid” and “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” So I thought and prayed and practiced. It’s become a good habit.
Tell us about the featured book.
In An Uncommon Crusade Elisabeth, Simon, and Hugo join an ill-fated commoner’s crusade to
in search of wealth, glory, and redemption. But their dreams are destroyed when Elisabeth and Simon are sold into slavery and Hugo finds himself adrift at sea. From the dark forests of thirteenth century Jerusalem Germany, through treacherous alpine passes, to a sprawling estate in , three lives become linked in a desperate journey. Egypt
This epic journey takes the characters to three continents and spans ten years. In it, I explore every man and woman’s search for deliverance from his or her own brokenness. And how God is faithful to the task even in our darkest moments. An Amazon Top Reviewer said, “A very powerful story . . . it made me feel a little more human when reading it.”
Please give us the first page of the book.
Mid-March AD 1212, the Black Forest,
Holy Roman Empire
Sixteen-year-old Elisabeth’s lying-in began at dusk, her water spilling in a warm and sudden rush.
Mama’s husband, Ort, cursed and trudged out the warped wooden doorway of their single-room hut beside the cooper’s workshop. Off to the village tavern, more than likely. Elisabeth’s older sister protested before running for the midwife as Mama ordered. Elisabeth hadn’t a clue what she should do other than swallow back the fear that accompanied the birth pangs.
“The midwife won’t come,” Methild said an hour later.
Mama’s head snapped up. “Why not?”
Methild crossed her arms. She didn’t bother to spare Elisabeth’s feelings with a whisper. “The priest has forbidden the old woman to help.”
Mama’s eyes shifted to Elisabeth. “Very well. Get fresh hay from the shed,” she told Methild. “And we’ll need a knife. Bring one of Ort’s sharpest.”
The blood drained from Elisabeth’s head, leaving her dizzy. “Mama?”
“The knife is only to cut the cord.” Mama’s eyes softened. “I’ve given birth to six children, daughter. I know what to do.”
I really must read this. How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://caronguillo.com Please stop by!
Thanks for dropping by today, Caron. And thanks for teaching me something I didn't know.
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