Welcome back, Carol. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
As a writer, I always hope my work will be a success. I pray the truths of my themes will encourage my readers. If I move my readers into another world and help them escape for a few hours, and if my themes resonate, I'll be happy.
Tell us a little about your family.
I've lived in
for 18 months, and it's the best move my hubby, Neil, and I have made in the
twelve years we've been married. The only drawback is it's far from our
families in New York and Massachusetts.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Sadly, it has. I'm not reading as much for pleasure any longer. I do reviews and critiques and read to support author friends. Between that and my stained glass interests, books read for the pure joy of reading have slipped in the hierarchy.
When I pick up a book for pleasure, I'm still reading more as a reviewer asking myself how I can grow from what I'm reading. It is a drawback in being an author.
When I try to read for pleasure, if I’m able to turn off my internal editor, I know it’s a very good story. What are you working on right now?
I've returned to my first love—humor. My brother recently entered his second marriage with a widow. They have the craziest family—most of whom live with them. Therefore, my newest book, The Honeymoon's Over is exploring the wacky world of late-in-life second marriages. Boy, do we bring baggage into each other's lives. With the Lord—it's all good.
What outside interests do you have?
Outside interests, how do I love thee? My husband constantly tells me to not take on too much—but there's so much to do and life is short.
Taking his advice, three things other than writing dominate my life. I walk and run. God has blessed me physically that in my dotage, I can still run and win races in my age category.
Weekly, three friends and I hike in the Smokies or the
Cumberland Plateau. What an amazing world our Lord and
Savior has created. My buddies and I move slowly because the tiniest of
wildflowers or the grandest of waterfalls leaves us spellbound.
Finally, I love all things glass and create stained glass. Every evening, you'll find me in my studio cutting my fingers and burning my favorite sweater as I cut and solder my creations. The first day of creation in Genesis is my favorite. When God said, "Let there be light" He knew glass was coming. The play of light through glass mesmerizes me more than diamonds.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Setting is about the only thing, aside from theme, where I employ that writer's rule "write what you know." Most of my settings are upstate
New York or Long
Island where I've lived most of my life.
Recently, I moved to
My next novel will be A New York Yankee
in Stinking Creek. I want to play up the contrast of the liberal NYC
stained glass artist with the slower, more cordial Tennessean. A town near
where I live is named Stinking Creek—one of the coolest names I know.
It'll be a take on Twain's famous Connecticut Yankee. However, my hillbilly Southerners will show miss modern city gal what life is really all about.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
The judge Deborah. Living in a patriarchal society and being a leader of her people, Deborah demonstrated that women can take leadership roles. They can teach men. They can have lives beyond the home. I love her spunk and intelligence and ability to fight for right.
Most of my life I'd been a single mother. I had to take on roles not typically given women. Furthermore, God gave me the gift of teaching. Because of that, I love Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth. It's especially intriguing to me that the husband, here, is only an aside (not that my darling hubby of a dozen years is an aside).
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How to write.
Seriously. That's my answer.
I blithely began writing my poems, plays, short stories believing I was the next Sue Monk Kidd. Then I found good critique partners, began meeting with agents and editors and learned the sorry truth: I needed to figure out this writing thing.
With each novel, I've grown. I read in my free time, mostly studying what the author has done right and what she's done that annoys me. In my own writing, I try for the former and hope to ignore the latter.
Perhaps someday I'll earn the Pulitzer. Until then, I'll study.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
He's teaching me that I'm redeemed without having to earn it. Sounds basic, doesn't it? Somewhere deep in my psyche, I have a hard time believing this.
To help myself and others, my blog is devoted to what I've learned in overcoming my perfectionism and in understanding the pure, simple, unadulterated truth of the gospel: I am redeemed—no strings attached.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
First: Get a good critique partner—someone who is honest and kind and unafraid of telling you the truth. You may need to move around to several people, but the partner must be honest. That honesty must be tempered with respect.
Second: Understand no matter how good you are or what awards you may garner, you must constantly strive to improve. You don't have it all together, don't know it all. Have a thick skin, take criticism and grow from it. Criticism more than praise is your best friend.
Finally: Understand in this competitive and shrinking market, authors will be asked to do more than write. Unless you become like Ted Dekker or Nora Roberts, your name is not going to sell the book. You will have to promote it, set up book signings, find promotional sites online, and shell out your meager income to advertise. These venues will be your responsibility—not your agent's or your publisher's.
And Fourth: (Yes, we were only supposed to have three—but this is a freeby) Have fun. Do what you love and the three pieces of advice will be enjoyable.
Tell us about the featured book.
Freedom comes only by forgiving the unforgiveable.
Twenty-four-year-old hairdresser Torie Sullivan has given up on life. When her boyfriend betrays her, she careens her car into a ditch in a drunken fury.
After paramedic Adam Benedict rescues Torie from her mangled car, he learns she's the middle school bully who brutalized him. A week later, he discovers she lives in a lean-to in Hookskill Nature Preserve. Despite his hatred, his innate compassion won't allow him to leave Torie in the wilds. He offers her a room in his miniscule cabin.
After Torie's first night at Adam's, tragedy strikes his life, and he can no longer house her. His girlfriend, Maya Vitale takes Torie in. Though first-grade teacher Maya's past isn't as sinister as Torie's, she, too, hides a shameful secret.
In The Poison We Drink, the lives of three disparate friends collide and reveal the toxic pasts that threaten to poison their lives.
Only by forgiving the unpardonable can they be set free.
This book is available wherever books are sold online.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2hE0mNh
Please give us the first page of the book.
(Unsaved Torie has broken up with her boyfriend, and is drunk. The barkeep tries to keep her from driving but she refuses to listen. This is where this excerpt picks up).
She snatched the keys from the blacktop as Collin exited The Stadium. He loped down the steps and banged at her passenger window.
"If you drive away, I'm calling the cops."
The glow from the streetlight haloed Collin, like an angel. If angels existed.
"Torie, no man is worth it. Consider AA. You don't have to be like your mother."
She bit her lip. Mumbled. "I'm not like Jean."
Tears threatened, but she wouldn't be a cry baby. Hadn't cried since middle school when... She clenched her teeth and inhaled, let the air fill her lungs. Her mother thrived on self-pity and man-lust. Not her.
With an exhale, Torie pulled away from the curb. Behind her, brakes squealed, and a horn blared. She stepped on the gas, peered into the rearview mirror, and let the black SUV eat her dust.
"I don't need no cab," she told Collin as though he sat beside her. "I'm cool and in control..."
...Speed, and anger at Collin, lost their magic. Collin had been a friend – sometimes stern, but always fair. Her eyes watered.
The real culprits resurrected – Selene and Trey. The imprint of Trey's hand on her wrist, inviting her into his bed still burned like a brand. Lying next to him, Selene smirked. Her friend knew Torie loved Trey – the first man she dared to not simply date, but to love.
It did no good. He preferred her fat friend. Her stunning, voluptuous, charismatic, sarcastic best friend. Torie's fingers dug into the steering wheel.
Her stomach tossed. She had scruples. Unlike Jean. Unlike everyone else. Still, the treachery of the two people she trusted most rushed back and blinded her. Collin's rot-gut booze failed her. Her memories remained raw.
Collin was right. She ruined every one of her friendships. Maybe she was—
Her eyes blurred, and her nose ran. Her thought would stay unspoken. Torie fished through her Kate Spade purse for tissues then tossed it to the back seat. Her iPhone fell to the floor. Contorting her arm behind the console, Torie attempted to retrieve the phone.
The car hurled itself to the right. The crunch of the shoulder gave way to the bumpy grass. It caught the tires and yanked her down a steep slope. The headlights illuminated tree branches as they grabbed the car, rasped their fingers along its sides as though shoving her down the slope until spider webs of pain showered over her. The Rabbit slammed into a stone wall.
Wow! I can hardly wait to see what happens next. How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me on my blog which explores overcoming perfectionism and the freedom of redemption.
Thank you, Carol, for sharing this book with me and my readers. I know they are as eager as I am to read the rest of the story.
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