Friday, March 26, 2021

BORROWED LIVES - Carol McClain - One Free Book

Welcome back, Carol. Tell us about your salvation experience. Odd as this may sound, my three-year-old daughter was the reason I accepted Jesus. During her early years, my life was “unpleasant.” I existed dismally in a chaotic marriage. Despite our marital problems, my child was always happy.

Even not knowing God, I knew He was raising her. Essentially, I dedicated her life to Him.

During this time, my brother had become a Christian. He opened my eyes to faith, and I decided to go to church because of my child. If I wanted to go to hell, that was my decision, but I couldn’t condemn my daughter to it. I needed to find out if Christianity was true.

Church attendance made life more difficult. My ex-husband liked every faith but Christianity. I quit going, but every time we passed our former church, my daughter would point and say, “There’s our church, Mommy.”

I’d slink down in the driver’s seat (of course, keeping my eyes on the road), and say nothing.

Eventually, my marriage ended (again because I couldn’t justify rearing a daughter in an environment that would wound her). I found a new place of worship. The people there befriended me and taught me, and the rest is history.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?

Lisa Wingate—I buy almost any book of hers I find without reading the first pages. I love her work. I use her style and development as teaching tools for my own writing. I, in no way, resemble her voice or style, but they influence me. Have I said I love her work?

Ane Mulligan—I believe, and BIG disclaimer, Ane more than likely doesn’t agree—we have a similar style, and our voice contains humor. I’d love to learn from her.

Barbara Delinski—not on the level of Wingate, but I love her style. I do read her cover blurbs and first pages because I don’t like all her books. I do enjoy her style and, like Wingate, read her novels to figure out how to make mine work.

Annie Dillard—I made my AP English Language class read Dillard (and when you read my most embarrassing moment answer a few questions down, you won’t believe I taught AP English). During that time period I devoured her work. Loved the spirituality it evoked. And seeing as it’s not an authoritative theology, I mostly loved the poetry of her prose. Evocative and beautiful. Every time I reread Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I found new ideas and images.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.

I have a teaching ministry, not necessarily speaking. I have taught a couple of online courses for ACFW. In addition to this, I will be speaking for the San Gabriel’s Writers on April 1. I will also be teaching a course on dialog at the Mt. Zion Ridge Conference in May. Once a month, I teach local writers at the Postmark LaFollette Writers’ Group.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it? How can we talk about the most embarrassing without humiliating ourselves again?

Lena asked—so here goes: I taught high school journalism. The students didn’t work overly hard for the course, and one girl wrote a horrific article about school lunches. She filled the article with misinformation and clichéd jabs. So, I made her correct the article. Meanwhile, everyone else created rewrites.

To say my eyes glazed over and my mind anesthetized itself is not a hyperbole.

The semester neared the end. We had to get our final project out. Layout (I forget the program name) was complicated. Hours and hours I spent on it and then I needed to proof final result.

I thought (Note the word thought) I proofed every article, so I sent the paper to the printer.

Done. Now, I could fly to the Bahamas, drink a virgin mojito and watch the surf. (Or sit in my gazebo in Malone, New York and read—what I really planned to do).

When the paper returned, we bundled the copies for each homeroom for distribution.

My negligent reporter blanched. “Mrs. D’Avanzo (my erstwhile name), you printed the wrong article.”

I read. And indeed, every one of her uncorrected grammatical mistake—not to mention the unfounded, sophomoric rants about cafeteria food—was printed in the paper. (Writers, attention here, ALWAYS have someone else do a final read-through).

What to do? I had twenty diligent students whose work I had uploaded correctly. This was the last day of the semester. School was closing for the year.

Fortunately, or not, the article perfectly backed a filler photograph, so we cut it out.

Yikes. If only I had time, and money, to redo the mess.

Yep. We sent out the paper with a hole in it.

I’d hoped the world would forget, but here I am, sharing the embarrassing moment on one of the most popular blogs on the internet.

Thank you for the compliment. People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?

I tell them I’m available to help. I’m willing to teach them, but first they have to write something—even if what they write is awful. Nora Roberts said, “I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank page.”

To this date, no one has taken me up on my offer to help. (Maybe they heard about my newspaper escapade?)

I had a similar event when I was the managing editor for a regional Christian newspaper over 10 years ago, and mine went to print, on the front page. I didn’t catch the fact that the l was left out of Six Flags Over Texas. I still have copies of that paper in my filing cabinet. One of the salesmen brought it to my attention in a dramatic way. Tell us about your featured book. Distraught from recent tragedy, Meredith Jaynes takes pity on a young girl who steals from her. Meredith discovers “Bean” lives in a hovel mothering her two younger sisters. The three appear to have been abandoned. With no other homes available, Social Services will separate the siblings. To keep them together, Meredith agrees to foster them on a temporary basis.

Balancing life as a soap maker raising goats in rural Tennessee proved difficult enough before the siblings came into her care. Without Bean’s help, she’d never be able to nurture these children warped by drugs and neglect—let alone manage her goats that possess the talents of Houdini. Harder still is keeping her eccentric family at bay.

Social worker Parker Snow struggles to overcome the breakup with his fiancée. Burdened by his inability to find stable homes for so many children who need love, he believes placing the abandoned girls with Meredith Jaynes is the right decision. Though his world doesn’t promise tomorrow, he hopes Meredith’s does.

But she knows she’s too broken.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Something crashed downstairs.

Meredith Jaynes bolted up in bed. John? Rosemary?

She shook sleep from her head and listened for another sound.


Just a dream.

Then porcelain shattered.

Not a dream.

She tossed off her covers. Out of habit, not onto John’s side. While her heart hammered, she slid open the bedside table to grab her Walther .22. Meredith strained to hear. She prayed for silence. She slipped in the cartridge then ratcheted a shell into the chamber and released the safety.

Once more, something clattered like a tipping chair or a marionette tap dancing on the hardwood floor.

She tiptoed into the hallway.

Below her, the distinct bleating of goats wafted up the stairwell.

Goats? Inside?

She reengaged the safety on her .22 as she scurried down the stairwell.

In the kitchen, Oreo, her black and white Nubian who looked like her cookie namesake, eyeballed her with cocked head and slit pupils. With a bleat from her perch on the table, she dug into the loaf of bread Meredith had brought home from the farmers’ market.

Meredith leaned against the doorjamb and breathed again. The metal of the gun she held chilled her through John’s shirt—one she hadn’t washed …

You can purchase this book on Amazon:

How can readers find you on the Internet?

You can connect with me at:

On Facebook at:

On twitter and Instagram: @carol_mcclain



Thank you, Carol, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it (hopefully soon).

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (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.

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Jean Thrasher said...

I live in Aurora, Illinois. Thank you for your teaching ministry.

Kay Garrett said...

Thank you for both introducing me to a new to me author (already following on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Bookbub) and for bringing "BORROWED LIVES" to my attention. Enjoyed getting to know Carol McClain and her book through your interview. Sounds like a totally amazing book which is now definitely on my TBR list. Can't wait for the opportunity to read it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy! Shared and hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
Kay Garrett from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Carol McClain said...

You are so kind. The feedback on this book has been amazing--so I'm sure you'd love it. Thank you for the follows. That helps a lot.

Carol McClain said...

I love getting to know people in other parts of the country. I've only been to Illinois once--loved what I saw.

CRYSTAL said...

Carol it's good to meet you. Your books sound and look like great reads. Would love to read and review your books in print format.
I enjoyed reading your interview and getting to know you a little as well as your books.
It's funny, After one of my college professors took the class to hear Maya Angelou speak we had the opportunity to meet her if wanted. So I was thrilled to meet her. The one thing I remember her saying to us is Never give up on your dreams. After that I started writing poems, short stories for fun on and off and in the last 3 years I've written 5 1/2 books for fun. Although I'm a unpublished author now, I hope to be a published author someday. I'm halfway through my 6th book right now.
Love book cover. It's so touching and perfect and goes with the title of book perfectly.
Look forward to getting to know you and your books.
Hope I Win
Crystal from Bruin, PA in the USA

Cyn Taylor said...

Loved Carol McClain's book Borrowed Lives. As always with this author, the book was well-written and thought-provoking. Highly recommend.

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Lucy Reynolds said...

Would love to read. Thank you for sharing. Blessings from WV

Melanie Backus said...

You book sounds like a great read!
Melanie Backus, TX

Carol McClain said...

Crystal, I’m looking forward to connecting with you. I’d be willing to answer writing questions for you.

Carol McClain said...

Thanks, Cyn. You’ve been a blessing in this journey.

Carol McClain said...

You are entered.

Carol McClain said...

The feedback on this has been awesome.

Carol McClain said...

That’s what my readers have been telling me. Thanks.

traveler said...

What a fascinating novel which is a real treasure. I enjoyed learning about the author and her life and writing. Anne in NM.

petite said...

Borrowed lives sounds captivating and unforgettable A book that would be meaningful and cherished. Thanks. Pearl - NM.

Melissa M. said...

Please enter me in the giveaway--thanks!

-Melissa M. from TN

Carol McClain said...

Thank you. The feedback on this has been great.

Carol McClain said...

Reviews have been good.

Carol McClain said...

You are entered.

Carol McClain said...

Thank you, everyone for stopping by. I think I responded to all--although my "thinking" doesn't mean doing. I did, however, read every post. It delights me that you stopped b y.