Thursday, September 15, 2022

Welcome Gretchen Carlson!

Welcome Gretchen Carlson!

LM: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your debut novel More Than Grit. For those people who haven’t visited your website, please share your inspiration for the story.

Gretchen: Thank you for inviting me! My book was inspired by true events from my grandmother’s life, in rural Kansas during the Great Depression, and how her farm family got electricity. Through her story, I want others to be encouraged to never give up.

LM: How do you develop your characters? (e.g. decide on their vocation, names, etc.)?

Gretchen: I create characters who aren’t perfect, and I know what motivates them to act as they do. I don’t just develop personalities, but I flesh out each character’s unique strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes I use nicknames. The main character is Sissy because she is not a weak-kneed sissy. The gnarly, eccentric Great War veteran is Old Man. Many readers have told me they “know” this man whose tough shell hides a soft heart. I also use names from the era such as Homer, Arvid, and Verl.

LM: Why did you decide to tell the story as a YA book rather than adult fiction?

Gretchen: From middle grade, through my teen years I devoured books and many had a big impact on
Pixabay/Jill Wellington
me. My main character is a spunky twelve-year-old girl, and through her, I want to inspire teens that their lives have an impact. They can make a difference in their homes, school, and their community. On a different note, I’ve been concerned with content trends in middle grade and YA. Many parents had asked me for book recommendations that have Christian values. More Than Grit is not preachy, but it is a fast-paced book that readers enjoy and see the power of friendship and forgiveness.

LM: You’ve been a journalist. How was the process of writing fiction different than reporting? The same? Do you find one easier than the other?

Gretchen: My journalism background taught me how to cover the facts and make every word count. I’m the queen of chop-chop-chop in critique groups with wordy writers. Writing fiction challenges me to write beyond the plot or facts and to show, not tell, characters’ emotions and feelings. Writing dialogue is easy for me because as a reporter I learned to select the most interesting statements for direct quotes.

LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do?

Gretchen: I want to give back. Other writers have given me time and counsel, and I would like to engage with teens and create fun writing clubs. I respond to readers with encouragement and hope.

LM: What is your advice to fledgling writers?

Gretchen: Join a writing or critique group. Interact on a regular basis with other writers.

Pixabay/Gisela Merkuur

LM: What is your next project?

Gretchen: I’m halfway through a sequel called I Be Brave. This coming-of-age novel centers around guilt and forgiveness in a mother-daughter relationship.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

More Than Grit:

When do secrets become lies? When is grit not enough?

A story of broken lives and deep friendship, inspired by true events from1939, when the shadows of World War II lengthened.

Scarred by burns from a kerosene lantern, twelve-year old Sissy knows electricity is more than her farm family’s dream. It’s vital. She also knows they can’t afford the required deposit to be connected to electric lines, so she wrangles a secret deal to help her parents. As she faces danger and sacrifices to support her family, Sissy’s best efforts fail. She’s blind to what she needs most, and when she tells her secrets, she fears it’s too late.

Set in Kansas farmland, More than Grit is an unforgettable story of determination to succeed against all odds that will appeal to middle-grade and teen readers, their parents, and anyone who roots for the underdog.

Award-winning author Gretchen Carlson fills her characters with grit and grace as she shares the story her grandmother kept secret.

Purchase Link:  

1 comment:

  1. Great book, well written. My 11 year old granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed it and asked "Is there a sequel?" We are anxiously awaiting I Be Brave!