I am thankful for my writer friends. If you are one of my regular readers, you know that for the month of November I decided to interview four Ohio writers from my ACFW writing group. They have been strong encouragers to me over this past year. We have laughed together, shared meals together, and served as “sounding boards” for each other. This is the perfect time to order a special book for someone you love for Christmas, so I bring to you, four very different books from four very different authors. I know you will learn a little something from each of them….Enjoy!
Today’s special guest: Carole Brown. I first met Carole at a local event for ACFW in Cincinnati. We got to know each other better through the Ohio chapter meetings and at a writing retreat in Hocking Hills. She is fun and we accuse her of having a delightfully devious mind! I know you will learn from her and find her interesting.
Rebecca: Okay, Carole, you’ve read the interviews I did with Rosanna Huffman and Cindy Thomson so you know what’s coming. How did you come up with the title for your newest release, Bat Crazy?
Carole: Actually I’ve been asked this before! It’s the second book in my Denton and Alex Davies mystery series. I’d originally written Hog Insane, the first book, as a fun short story about a woman who always wanted to ride a Harley bike. Her overly cautious husband hung back.
Later, after I decided it would make a great first book of a series, by playing on the “crazy” words, I could keep to a theme and provide fun and entertaining books which have an underlying thread of relationships. Bat Crazy is set in New Mexico where a famous cavern is found. I created a new cavern, added bats, and a mysterious problem, and voila--had a second book!
Special note: Book three of this series should be out late 2016 and the title is: Daffy’s Duck. Now, can anyone imagine what that’s about? ☺
Rebecca: I’ll leave that to my readers! Many of my readers are also writers. One question I often field is this: How do you stay focused and keep disciplined in writing?
Carole: Two things I think help:
First, I’m an author who can work on more than one novel at a time. When I reach a roadblock (writing block!), I move to my second novel and type away for however long I can. This method keeps me writing.
Second, and this is more of a short term action, I take a lot of short breaks when I’m working. I might type out a scene, jump up to do a 15 minute kitchen cleanup, or make a phone call, or whatever. When I return, I’ve rested my eyes and my mind, and am ready to tackle a bit more writing.
These methods may not work for everyone, but sometimes you have to use trial and error to find out what works to keep you motivated. One thing I know is, you have to keep writing. Expand your thinking. Have a list of “possibles” that could happen, handy where you can read over them and use if needed.
No matter how blocked you feel, write. If you’re really having a tough time, brainstorm (by phone or person) with a critique partner, research, edit, relax. You’ll come back inspired and refreshed.
Rebecca: Great tips. The dialogue in you books feels natural. Tell us how you developed that skill of writing good, believable dialogue?
Carole: I’m an emotional, sympathetic (and empathetic) person. So when I’m writing I do my very best to actually place myself into the story. If I can feel the hurt, the embarrassment, the romance, then I’ve succeeded in creating dialogue that will place my readers right in the mood. I don’t want to be detached, watching from afar. I want to be that character (as hard as it may be to infiltrate an antagonist!) and live through whatever he is enduring or enjoying.
Rebecca: Sure. I think empathy –putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is valuable in many walks of life, but yes, I see how it can help get in the heads of my characters. I think that’s what I do as well. My next question is about the setting. How do you approach describing a setting to your readers?
Carole: Long, descriptive scenes won’t work anymore for the average reader. BUT an author can include touches. As in Bat Crazy, describing a cavern: mentions of stalagmites and stalactites, dampness, cool atmosphere. In the sparse woods, I mentioned the gray trunks of trees that inhabit New Mexico. Little touches here and there settle the reader firmly into the atmosphere. As one of my reviewers said of another book of mine: “I opened the book and heard the music coming from it.” Now that’s a wonderful bit of praise. ☺
Rebecca: A great quote! What is your favorite quotation?
Carole: “Shoot for the stars and you may hit the moon.” That’s only one of them, and since I collect quotes like Kelloggs collects corn flakes, I have a lot of quotes I love.
This one though, encourages the us to aim high because when you do your best, you’ll be hitting higher than you would have if you’d kept your gun pointed at the ground. Kind of simple, but true.
Rebecca: I love it! I need to tweet that one! So, tell us a little about your latest book.
Carole: I love this crazy, fun book for a lot of reasons, but I suppose one of the best--to me--is that hubby and I went through five deaths in five months at the first of this year. It was a difficult time for me, and I could barely write. BUT nothing lasts forever, and eventually inspiration hit. I finished the book, and it was much stronger because of it.
We’ve traveled a lot in our life and visited New Mexico several times. We fell in love with the Native Americans living there, enjoyed the scenery and the privilege of working there for different periods of our life.
I also realize many people do NOT care for bats. I didn’t either, but after research, I learned how beneficial they are to the environment, and how mostly harmless they are to humans. My fear has lessened and my respect has grown for them.
Here’s a blurb and a link:
Red-eyed Monster Bats that attack humans?
Denton doesn’t think so and Alex hopes not, but who are they to quibble with the local gossip?
Transmission problems and a blown tire land Denton and Alex Davies right in the middle of a dilapidated, unfriendly town that’s welcoming no strangers, least of all nosy ones with a bent toward solving mysteries.
But with support from the town detective--an admirer of the Davies--and their own tenacious personalities, Denton and Alex aren’t easily scared off. Not when warnings in the form of painted bats show up on the porch of their rented cabin, not when the mayor threatens to run them out of town and not even when Denton finds the bones . .
An ancient story, a bit of a map, a lost jewel and even a bat clan serve to provide the Davies and their sidekick, Taffy, the dog, their hardest case so far.
Buy the book here:
Rebecca: Thank you! So, you’ve already shared that you keep a number of books in the mill at once. Tell us a bit about your current project.
Carole: [Laughing] Besides edits? And marketing? My newest series will focus on the mystery, yes, but the romance will also play a huge part of the story. Here’s the blurb for Sabotaged Christmas, Book 1 of the The Appleton, WV Romantic Mysteries that releases late this month (November, 2015):
Toni DeLuca, the Italian owner of DeLuca Construction, finds herself confronted with doubts about her father and his possible deceptions--all because of the mysterious pink notes she’s been receiving.
Relations with Perrin Douglas who has a troubled history--but the first man in years who’s interested her--is building to a peak. Yet Perrin’s own personal problems and his doubts about women and God, keep getting in the way.
Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business may ruin Christmas for Toni’s employees as well as her happiness.
Will a mysterious person succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen? And will this culprit destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams?
Do keep in touch. I frequently offer deals and freebie promotions on my books.
If all goes well, three new novel releases should happen in 2016!
Rebecca: Thank you, Carole. I love your energy, quick wit, and incredible imagination! I really appreciate you appearing on my blog today. One day we’ll have to do this as a vlog so everyone can see you and hear you, too.
Readers, be sure to leave your comments for Carole below. I know she would love to hear from you.