Talkshow Thursday: Meet Carol James
Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your novel Season of Hope. What was your inspiration for the story and why did you choose this particular era to set your story?
Carol: Linda, thanks so much for letting me visit and share about Hope and Josh’s story.
Season of Hope has been ten years in the making. It was the first manuscript I wrote. The plot was born out of the strife, rebellion, and uncertainty of the late nineteen-sixties and early nineteen-seventies (my high school and college years). While, to me, it seemed like a natural era in which to set the story, as I began to pitch the novel to agents and publishers, I quickly learned the Vietnam era was considered no-mans-land. It was not long ago enough to be nostalgic nor recent enough to be contemporary. A wise author friend told me to pack the novel away for a few years and work on other manuscripts while I waited. So, ten years later, I brushed it off, tweaked it, and here it is. Just like Hope, I had to wait for the right season.
LM: The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “pantster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process?
Carol: That’s a great question. I consider myself a hybrid…a Plantser. I do minimal planning prior to writing. I always choose a Bible verse (or two) and a song as my inspiration. For Season of Hope I chose Song of Songs 2:11-12:
11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is hear in our land;
And Aaron Keyes’ song Not Guilty Any More for my inspiration.
Once I’ve done that, I design three to four major plot points (usually the beginning, ending, point of commitment, and the black moment). As I write from point to point, I often let the characters lead. And that is my favorite part—being surprised in the direction we go. Sometimes my characters amaze me!
LM: How do you prepare yourself for writing?
Carol: I feel I am always writing—although I might not be putting any words down on paper. I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration. One of my favorite habits is my daily walk with my dog. Our small town park has a lovely walking trail surrounded by trees, flowers, birds, and a flowing stream. As Zoe ambles along and sniffs every inch, it’s the perfect time for me to slow down, too, and think. I can pray over my work. Maybe the surroundings will call up a song I’ve just heard, or a Bible verse I’ve just read. For me, being still mentally in creation stimulates my creativity. Oftentimes I’ll come home from our walks filled with inspiration for my current work or for a future story.
LM: You have several books out. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
Carol: I would be honored to share. I consider writing my ministry. The idea of writing came into my life in a season of big changes. I knew God was doing a new work in my life, but it took me a while to find out what it was. I never had a desire to be a writer until I read some of Karen Kingsbury’s novels. Her work showed me that Christian authors can, and should, tackle the big issues today’s readers are facing. For Mother’s Day, my oldest daughter took me to one of Karen’s book signings. I remember standing in line thinking about what to say in the few seconds while she signed my book. When it was our turn, I blurted out, “I just love your books. In fact, your work has encouraged me to start writing. But I’m sure everyone tells you that.”
She shook her head and smiled. “No one’s ever told me that before.”
She was kind and warm and asked me questions about my work and my professional affiliations. Then she wrote a phone number on one of her cards and said, “Tell them Karen told you to call.” It was through her connections, my first novel, Rescuing Faith, was published. And that’s how it all started. An amazing story. Sometimes I still can’t believe it really happened.
LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite childhood book: Little House on the Prairie
Favorite food: Anything Mexican, or chocolate
Favorite vacation place: the English Lake Country
LM: What is your next project?
Carol: I have a Christmas novella entitled Redeeming Christmas releasing later this year, a new novel releasing in the next year entitled No Longer a Captive, and I am currently writing a novel with the working title of A Time for Singing. It’s the story of a man and woman who are both recovering from heart-breaking rejections and learning to trust and love (themselves and God) again. The two write secret, anonymous letters back and forth, and leave them in the drawers of an old inn. The idea is based on the Secret Drawer Society at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. My husband and I stayed there a few years ago. When we discovered the drawers filled with letters, I knew I’d include that idea in a novel one day.
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
Social media links:
About Season of Hope:
Hope Stockton’s life is dead, frozen in a winter of guilt, deceit, and fear. When handsome young pastor, Josh Lewis, comes to serve in her church, she wonders if she can trust him with her past. Will he be able to help her answer the questions that have been buried in her heart for years? Or will his own secrets drive them apart and prevent him from helping Hope find her spring of forgiveness?
Set in small town Texas in the years during and following the Vietnam war, Season of Hope is a story of forgiveness and restoration.
Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3bxisuc
Linda, thanks so much for letting me visit today.ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your new release! Sounds like a wonderful read😄ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for stopping by.Delete
Thanks for the interesting interview. It's nice to learn more about Carol and her writing. I've read and enjoyed some of her work and send congratulations on the new book.ReplyDelete
Hi,Gail. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.Delete
Hi Linda and Carol! I loved your new book, Carol. Wonderful interview, too.ReplyDelete
Barbara, thanks for your kind words. I appreciate your stopping by.Delete
Hi Carol, the secret drawer society is such a cool idea to include in a novel.ReplyDelete
Hi, Kelly. I fell in love with the idea, but it's taken me several years to figure out exactly how I wanted it to play out in the novel. Thanks so much for stopping by.Delete
So nice to learn more about Carol. I have to agree on the food - Mexican and chocolate - yes! This was a great interview - lots of nice stories. Looking forward to reading more of Carol's books!ReplyDelete
Karen, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the interview.Delete
LOVELY interview ladies!ReplyDelete
Good luck and God's blessings with your new book, Carol!
Hi, Pam! Thanks so much, and thanks for visiting.ReplyDelete