Probably more than I realise. Because my writing is based on my ancestors I’m always trying to identify with their circumstances and predicaments and imagine how they might react and behave, it’s likely that there’s a part of myself in all my characters. On the other hand I do draw a great deal on my counselling experience with lots of other people, in order to understand and appreciate a range of human behaviours and emotions, so I try to be intentional about making my characters varied.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m smiling to myself as I read this question. I have some friends who are quite adoringly quirky and I sometimes envy their capacity for self abandonment. Generally I’m the more introverted and conservative type. In my younger days I loved to occasionally ride a motor bike – off road – in the dirt and mud. We did that every now and then as a get-away-and-relax thing. More recently my husband and I did the walk to Machu Pichu in
South America, which was wonderful experience but almost killed me. I like to break out and do something that stretches me every now and then but I don’t have a long list of quirky things.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was a young girl of about 10, I loved to write poetry about what was happening in my life. That was my secret place, where I expressed all my thoughts and feelings. So perhaps that’s actually when started being a writer. In my adult life as a psychologist I was writing articles for psychological journals but I thought of myself then as a researcher or psychologist, not a writer. I guess it wasn’t until about twelve years ago, when I decided to write my family history into novels that I began to think of myself as a writer. It’s taken me some time to become comfortable with the idea of calling myself a writer.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love historical novels because I feel I’m learning something important while at the same time enjoying a story. I like biographies for the same reason. I always have a nonfiction book on the go as well, usually something on spirituality or faith. I like to be inspired and challenged in my faith walk by these. I’m also a regular reader of the Bible which is my greatest inspiration and challenge.
Occasionally I love to read a good crime story; a who-done-it, especially if it’s really cleverly written, and has a good twist.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I like to keep a good balance of quiet time, relaxation and busyness. I have an acre of garden to tend at home, so that’s often my escape from the phone, computer and people when I need it.
is also a place to retreat and be quiet and reflective. Reading
I still practice counselling three days a week from home, and while that’s sometimes draining, it also takes me out of myself and focuses my thoughts on the lives of others. This more often than not makes me feel grateful for my life and I believe gratitude one of the greatest antidotes to insanity.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I use the real names of my ancestors and for others who were real in their lives I often change the names slightly so there’s a bit of anonymity. For the fictional characters I choose names that were common in that era.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Raising a daughter and a son who are very beautiful people. I know I didn’t do this alone. My husband helped of course and certainly God was involved, as well as others who were very much part of their lives. However, I’m never more proud than when I look at my children, and appreciate who they’ve become.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
That’s a tough question. If I thought about which animal I find most appealing it would be a Golden Retriever, because I used to raise them and have owned quite a few and I think they’re adorable. They’re loving and cuddly and gentle. I think I’d like to imagine I could be like that; sort of forever childlike. However, I’m too grateful being a human being, with all the capacities and experiences that involves, to ever really contemplate being an animal.
What is your favorite food?
Definitely chocolate! It’s my comfort food and my reward food. I like it rich and dark.
A woman after my own heart. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I think the greatest roadblock for me was overcoming the sense that writing was self indulgent. For a long while I had the feeling that I ought to be doing something else with my time; something more productive or perhaps something that felt more like work. I overcame that with the help of my spiritual director, who led me to a place of accepting my writing as a gift from God and possibly a gift to those who might read what I write.
Tell us about the featured book?
Charlotte’s Angel is the sequel to my previous book, Mary’s Guardian. It continues the story of my ancestors who were transported to
Australia from as convicts in the late 1800s. However, Charlotte’s Angel focuses on the life of a young girl born to a convict mother who was of questionable character. England grows up in a broken home, amidst violence and immorality, from which she needs to be rescued. I think it’s a story of hope and redemption, and one that applies not only to the last century but for today. Charlotte
Please give us the first page of the book.
In the butcher’s shop in
, William Douglass was finding it difficult tocontrol his annoyance. The young woman on the other side of the counter was clearly dragging out her request for a couple of chops while she endeavoured to show off her own assets to William. She couldn’t have been much more than twenty-five years old, he decided, and was definitely looking for trouble. There were any number of men around these parts who’d respond to those flashing blue eyes and silky blonde hair with a lot more than she bargained for. What was really hard for him to ignore was that she had a ring on her finger that indicated she was married. Windsor
‘It’s hard bein’ new in the area.’ She pouted prettily. ‘Quite lonely, really. I’m hopin’ some of the locals will be nice to me. You must know your way around these parts, eh?’ Her face lit up with a cheeky smile.
This was an invitation she’d no doubt made to any man who’d listen to her, William thought. If he hadn’t been in a work situation with his employer at the other end of the counter, he’d have given her a piece of his mind. More than old enough to be her father he was, and the thought of a daughter of his behaving in such a disgraceful manner appalled him. Of course, he had no such worry with his daughter, Elizabeth, who had been married just five months and was, in his mind, the epitome of grace and decorum. This young woman in front of him he’d likely take to with his belt, if he had the opportunity. As it was he just wanted to see her out of the shop before he exploded.
Sounds very interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web-site is www.carolpreston.com.auI’m also on Facebook
Thank you so much, Carol, for dropping by my blog.
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