Wednesday, April 23, 2014

VOW UNBROKEN - Caryl McAdoo - One Free Book

My review: Caryl McAdoo is a new voice in historical Christian fiction. This book is her debut novel. I was eager to read it, so it went right to the top of my to-be-read pile when it arrived. Of course, I love reading books set in historical Texas. Her voice is unique, and I fell in love with the characters from the very first page. They pulled me into their lives and kept me there through the whole interesting storyline. I found the setting authentic, and Caryl kept me turning pages. When I turned the last one, the characters stayed with me for awhile. I know you’ll love this book as well as I did.

Welcome, Caryl.
Hello, Lena, Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! I’m honored to be here!

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I find a lot of myself in most every female character I write, but it’s as though different parts of myself in different characters. I know one of the kudos I get is how different and well-developed my women are. I believe we all are so multi-faceted. Now my heroes are all a lot like my husband, and my characters’ girlfriends are very similar to my own dear lady friends!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I went right ahead and just looked quirky up hoping it would give me some ideas, insight into myself. Basically we’re talking about a peculiar personality trait. Synonyms include
idiosyncraticunconventionalunorthodoxunusualstrange,bizarrepeculiaroddout-landishzany. Yes, that helps. I think the quirkiest thing about me, and I’ve done it a lot, is to burst out singing a song in just about any setting. Sometimes something someone said triggers it, but anyone around me is liable to be serenaded!

And ONE thing I did was when I was a teen and at the grocery store with my mother. She was shopping in the produce department at our local Safeway. Back then they had li’l squirt hoses to keep the veggies moist and fresh. I picked one up and squirted her GOOD! J

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a little girl I loved books, and English was my favorite subject. In 1962, at Letot Elementary in Dallas, I was a 7th grader with an essay to write. “What will you be doing in the year 2000?” Well, I wrote of being an intergallactically famous author jetting from planet to planet signing autographs! Though space travel may not have met up to my imaginations, my first book did come out in the year 2000. How fun is that? So long ago, God gave me the desire to write, and then let me remember the homework assignment!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Since I started writing, I do read less, but I pretty much still have a book with me everywhere I go. The older I’ve got and the closer to the Lord I’ve drawn, the more I hate reading novels with foul language because I can’t escape saying the words in my head. Ugh! So these days, that eliminates a LOT. For the last many years, I’ve only read authors I personally know for pleasure, and now that I’m in the Christian genre which thrills me so! I love historical and contemporary romances as well as Biblical fiction. I steer clear of horror and a lot of fantasy (when wizards and witches are characters). My favorite author I don’t know personally is Bodie Thoene. I devoured her Zion series!

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Yes, Miss Lena, and you don’t know the half of it! There’s only one answer to this question and that is : by the mercy and grace of God! In 2002, after one thrilling year of empty nesting with my high school sweetheart, the Lord saw fit to fill our nest right back up with four precious grandsons aged 6, 4, 3, and newborn straight home from the hospital. The oldest is a high school senior this year and will be off to college in the fall. When I read scripture that says He won’t put on us more than we can bear, sometimes I think He has way too high an opinion of this woman J But He is faithful to give me energy to go to one more parent/teacher conference and drive to one more season of baseball practices and games. How does anyone make it without God’s peace continually raining down on them?

That is so true. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Isn’t this one of the most fun parts of writing fiction? I love naming characters or goats or dogs and horses, even chickens J When I hear an interesting name, I try to make a mental note to remember that one. But actually choosing a name is quite random, I use what hits me or comes to me. I like to go and look up what it means after. In a WIP, THE BEDWARMER’S SON, the historical heroine’s name is Jasmine. She’s the bedwarmer. I went and looked up Jasmine to find it’s a flower that blooms in the night and its essential oils have a sedative quality. How awesome is that? I attribute such to Holy Spirit’s inspiration.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I had to think about this one for awhile. My immediate response would have been reeling in my handsome husband, but I can’t take credit for that because I know God created him in his mother’s womb to be my husband and me to be his wife, so I can’t very well be proud of that. Next I thought of being published by Simon and Schuster’s Howard Book division. I suppose that could be the answer since it is a personal accomplishment I never dreamed would come to pass, but without God introducing me to Mary Sue McAdoo Seymour and her suggesting that I write a historical Christian romance … I suppose in the end, as scripture says, ALL good things come from above, so the accomplishment I’m most proud of is accepting Him as my Lord and Savior. Everything else pales in comparison.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’ve always said I would want to be a bird if I wasn’t a human. I love being up high and looking down on creation. Living in trees appeals to me, flight seems absolutely thrilling, and knowing God’s eye was on me … AND, I could still sing and sing!

What is your favorite food?
Mexican. I could eat jalepenos, tortillas, and beans morning noon and night. I enjoy a steak and when we eat out at Clarksville’s excellent little Mexican restaurant Rio Verde, I usually order Steak Mexican. They chop the steak about the size of my little fingernail and grill it with same sized chopped tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and jalapeños. Yum, with pico and sour cream. Is your mouth watering yet? Add the rice and beans J

I love Mexican food, only with a touch of jalapeños. I like my Mexican food mild, but with just a little kick of spice. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Life proved to be the biggest problem in the beginning, rearing my family (four children and work). I first started writing again when the two big ones were married and the two little ones were older. I suppose getting started heated my passion to a slow burn that’s never quit again even when we got the four grandsons, although marketing sure took a hit as travel became practically impossible.

Tell us about the featured book.
VOW UNBROKEN, the story of a spunky and determined young widow hanging onto God for all she was worth, is an anointed novel. Nothing has been easy since leaving her father’s home in rebellion to marry a man he didn’t approve of, and she thinks all her trials are only what she deserves for disobeying God and going against His Word. She’s bound her ownself by her vow, and it looks as though she’ll never know love again, that she’s doomed to live a lonely life rearing her daughter and orphaned nephew.

She misses her neighbors’ wagon train taking their crops to market; there’s no one left to help her. When she realizes she has to take her cotton herself, well, her friend remembers Henry Buckmeyer, but he has an awful reputation for being a drunk and lay-about. The land her husband and her brother left the children is in jeapordy—the very existence of her little family.
But God has other plans and uses all the seemingly bad things to her good, just like He promises. It’s a story I pray will call readers to a self examination of their heart toward God and draw them closer to Him.

Please give us the first page of the book.
He took the pinch of cotton Sue offered and rubbed it between his short, pudgy fingers. “I’m truly sorry, Mis’ess Baylor. Two cents is all I can pay.”

She seethed, but forced at least a show of civility. “Mister Littlejohn.” She spoke in a stiff staccato. “A week ago. Before everyone left. You promised three-and-a-half to four cents a pound! You said depending on the quality. That is the main reason. The biggest reason. That I didn’t go with the others.”

The man smiled. “Oh, I might have said two-and-a-half or maybe even three, but things change. You know that.”

She couldn’t stand being talked down to, especially by such a lying loafer.

“I wish I could help you, but two cents it is. I mean, besides, anyone can see.” He held the sample up. “It’s shoddy lint.” He shook his head. “Pardon me for saying, Mis’ess Baylor, but a granger you are not.”

“Anyone can see its excellent quality, you mean.”

A bit of breeze, a very little bit, stirred the top layer of dust from the street; it cooled her skin, but her insides still steamed.

He stuck out his bottom lip. “I’d advise you to take my offer. I can pay half now, the rest when I return.”

Sue studied his face while a hundred calculations ran through her mind. He certainly didn’t look like the weasel he’d turned out to be. Her cotton was as good, if not better, than any of the loads that left last Thursday. She reached up and massaged her neck, then lifted her braid to let some air dry her sweat.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
AUTHOR’s Pages


I look forward to sending VOW UNBROKEN to your Blog reader who wins the contest and hope they’ll get in touch with me after they read it! Thanks again for having me! I really enjoyed the visit.

Thank you, Caryl, for spending this time with us. And I am eager to be with you on Friday and Saturday at the writing conference in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

Readers, if any of you are interested in checking out the writing conference, here’s the link to it.

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.



Jackie McNutt said...

Lena, Thank you for featuring Caryl. Loved her interview.
I am in the process of reading Vow Unbroken so do not enter me in drawing.
I just wanted to comment on the book so far.
I love the characters and how faith and grace are woven throughout the story. It is a very inspiring story and readers will not be disappointed.
Congratulations to Caryl for a great read !
thank you
mcnuttjem0 (at)gmail(dot)com

Danie Walther said...

Hi Lena,

I live in Escondido, California! And the cover of your book is beautiful. I would love to read your book. It was nice getting to know you more.

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hello Jackie! I remembered your name, sending you a copy of VOW UNBROKEN when you won it! I'm so glad that you're enjoying it and am so BLESSED that Lena gave it such a wonderful review! She's such a role model to aspire to emulate! Her and your kind words bring tears to my eyes! :) Blessings to you in Ohio from Texas.

Caryl McAdoo said...

Danie! I've been to Escondido before :) I was born in Long Beach, but my parents moved me to Texas, got to the Lone Star State in time to celebrate my first birthday here :) I love the cover, too! I'm a true enjoyer of sunrises and sunsets, love to see how God paints the skies. Aren't the colors He uses amazing? Cannot wait to see how beautiful the heavens are when I'm with Him for eternity! Thank you for your comment! I hope you enjoy VOW UNBROKEN and will let me know!

Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Melanie Backus said...

Lena, I love your interview with Caryl. I have the pleasure of knowing her and she is a delight! Thank you both for the blessings that you share.

I already have Vow Unbroken. The winner will be one lucky reader.

Melanie Backus, TX

Caryl McAdoo said...

Melanie, it has been a blessing getting to know you and your lovely daughter. Y'all's support of the authors you love readers is nothing but inspirational! I'm blessed to be apart of the Red River County's Brown Bag Book Club! Thank you for you kind words.

Mary Preston said...

I like the sound of this. I'm curious as to the time period.

Mary P


Judy said...

This book is going on my wish list! Sounds like a great read.

Judy B from Indiana

Elizabeth Dent said...

Love the interview . I would love to win a copy of Vow Unbroken . It sounds so good . I am from Alabama .

Patsy said...

Enjoyed the first page of this book. Looking forward to reading it and see what happens to Sue.
From Mississippi

Patty said...

Thanks for the interview ladies! I love a good historical romance, and this time period is right up my alley.

Patty in SC

Cindi A said...

Loved the interview. This sounds like a really good book. I love it when the main character has spunk. Ü

Cindi Altman from PA

PriviesAndPrims said...

I think I would leave and try to find someone else to buy my cotton!

I live in Lancaster County, PA.


Virginia said...

Loved the interview! This story sounds very interesting. I've always loved reading books set in the western historical times ever since Janette Oke! I would love to read this book!

Virginia in SC

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book!!!
Thanks for the giveaway:)
Sydney GA

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hello Mary! VOW UNBROKEN is set in 1832 Northeast Texas, except it wasn't TEXAS yet :) We moved to the NE corner of the state six years ago in 2008 after 55 years in Dallas area (Irving to be exact). The area is SO rich in history, the research for VOW was so much fun! And Sue lives on the same land we do, so I know it well, and my husband and I drove the trip to Jefferson more than once. MUCH nicer in automobile :) Blessings!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hey Judy in Indiana! I hope you enjoy VOW UNBROKEN! I had the pleasure to visit your state for the first time last year in September! Attended the America Christian Fictions Writers' Conference (ACFW) and OH WOW what an awesome experience! It was my first big conference and God was so THERE! Blessings to you!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hello Elizabeth in Alabama! A good friend of mine - mother of TEN - lives in Mobile :) I'd love to come visit! She and her husband came to Texas when they only had six babies. He pastored at our church for a while and married my oldest son - well, you know - performed the ceremony by the authority vested and all :) I hope you enjoy VOW UNBROKEN! Blessings!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hello Elizabeth in Alabama! A good friend of mine - mother of TEN - lives in Mobile :) I'd love to come visit! She and her husband came to Texas when they only had six babies. He pastored at our church for a while and married my oldest son - well, you know - performed the ceremony by the authority vested and all :) I hope you enjoy VOW UNBROKEN! Blessings!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hello Patsy, Pattie, Cindi, Virginia, and Sharon! As y'all know, this is my first historical Christian romance. I met my new agent and she told me to write one! I've never really had a favorite genre before, but now I do! HEART STOLEN is the next book in the series. It'd be grand if everyone could win it, but I hope those of you who don't will get it to read and be blessed for it! Hugs and Blessings!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Privies and Prims, fun name! :) ME, too, Doreen! I hope you'll enjoy VOW UNBROKEN when you get to read it! I pray that all who do will feel closer to God for having read it! Blessings and Favor!

Susan Johnson said...

I also love books set in historical Texas. This sounds like a great one.
Susan in Texas

sm said...

It's hard to keep vows, I think. Marriage is hard work to keep that vow; vows to friends don't always hold because of location, other people, etc. A VOW UNBROKEN sounds challenging. Love to win it. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hey, Susan, I know TEXAS is such an awesome state. I discovered people all over the world love Texas. Did you know in other countries, they reenact Cowboy and Indian fights like we have Renaissance Festivals? I love it! I do hope you enjoy reading VOW UNBROKEN and that it blesses you!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Indeed, Sharon. All that is true. My heroine's vow is to God that she does keep under great duress. The Lord gives me new songs, and He gave me a beautiful ballad from Sue's Point Of View and the first lines go, "A promise is a promise, and I have made a vow, but I never thought it meant I'd be alone. For ten long years I've worked this land. And only God knows how I've made these little ones and me a home." Did you read above I was born in Long Beach :) Blessings!

kam110476 said...

This sounds so good! Okay I am itching to know if Sue takes the weasle's lowered payment offer of 2 cents per lb! I guess men have been scamming women with "chick treatment" for hundreds of years! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

Vow Unbroken sounds like a wonderful novel. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Caryl McAdoo said...

Good Friday mornin' Kristen! I'll tell you Susannah Baylor would rather BURN her cotton than sell it to the likes of that charlatan! :) I see you're an Okie! We live about twenty minutes south of the Red River in Clarksville, well, we're actually in the woods a little south of the county seat. Hope you enjoy the journey in VOW UNBROKEN. Blessings!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hey, Cindy, thanks for your comment, and you are welcome! I myself have won a novel from a blog and loved it all the better :) I'm grateful to my publisher Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, for providing me with books for this very purpose! God is good! I hope you have fun with all the characters in VOW UNBROKEN, Blessings from Texas!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed listening to Caryls interview with you. I like the sound of her book and would like to win it. Caryl, I hate it when men try to take advantage of
women, thinking they aren't smart enough to not let it happen. I know they are bad about this at mechanic shops. Thanks for the give-away. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com I am from Texas.

Caryl McAdoo said...

Hey fellow Texas Maxie! Yes, that is true and sad that some men would think a woman is weak and easily cheated. Despicable behavior! Susannah Baylor is anything BUT weak :) Some reviewers think she's too strong. I like to think I'm a really strong woman who's soft, kind, loving and gracious in all I do. Like Jesus :)

KayM said...

Caryl, Sue sounds like a character I would like to know better. Thank you for offering a copy of your book.

Caryl McAdoo said...

You are so welcome, Kay. I do hope you'll enjoy reading VOW UNBROKEN. That Sue, she's one strong woman. So strong, sure, confident, hardworking, and yet so tentative, unsure, longing, and tired of shouldering her heavy load. I do love her :) Blessings, Kay!secondary

rubynreba said...

Vow Unbroken looks like a very good book. I look forward to reading it.
Beth from Iowa