Can you believe it's 2016 already? It seems like we were just flipping the calendar over to 2015 and now another year has flown by. Does that mean I'm getting old? LOL. Don't answer that.
On a more serious note, today I'd like to welcome author, Carol McClain. How did you develop a 'love of story'?
I used to love The Little Rascals (I’m dating myself, I know), and I daydreamed all day long. One
day, I made up a story based on those TV munchkins with me included. A whole new world developed in my brain.
I decided to write the story. My writing inspired much of my fourth grade class to write their own stories, which, of course, were infinitely lamer than my ingenious, brilliant narrative.
I turned to poetry and journals.
I am slightly dyslexic, so not until the advent of the computer did I start to record stories in detail. I hate to handwrite anything, and if you read my scratching, slanted, illegible scrawl you’ll see both why I despise it.
Now I dream again. Only this time, my stories appear in print.
LOL. I love it. I grew up loving Snoopy and wrote poems about him. That was my first intro to writing in second grade. Can you tell us what is your favorite Bible verse and why?
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” Jude 24-5.
Early in my walk, I was certain God could not love me nor redeem me, that my journey with Him was doomed to failure. Because of that, I scoured the Bible for proof that I would meet Jesus and heaven would be my home.
Using my concordance, I came across this verse in Jude. It promised me that first, I would be blameless. That promised me that no sin I ever committed or would commit would be held against me.
It then said, not only would I be blameless, but Jesus would present me with great joy. I would never have to stand before the Father with Jesus begrudgingly saying, “I tried my best. Hope you like her.” He’ll be jumping up and down saying, “Look at the wonderful gift I got for you, Father.” (Kind of like my grandchildren this past Christmas).
And finally, the praise at the end of the verse sends my spirit soaring.
The “amen” underscores it all.
That's beautiful Carol, thanks for sharing that. Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book?
I’m an advocate for global, economic parity. Our businesses are shipped overseas because the virtual slavery in the sweatshops cannot be seen by the consumer. People in third-world nations work under conditions for pittances no one would tolerate in the United States.
And... “I am Carol, and I am a chocoholic.” Fair trade chocolate is expensive and hard to come by. Thus I decided to write about child slavery in the cacao fields.
About the time I planned Waters of Separation, a woman killed herself in the Boquet River in upstate New York. She tried to kill her child with her, but the child survived. I wondered how someone overcame that type of trauma and betrayal. Thus my heroine’s story began.
Although the circumstances in this novel are hard, it is a story of redemption and God’s freedom. Waters of Separation is my favorite work to date.
Sounds interesting. Tell us a little about yourself.
Eclectic and versatile. I love different things. Of course I love to write—and more than the story, I love the language and themes and finding redemption in my characters’ struggles.
Beyond that—give me a mountain, I’ll hike it; a road, and I’ll run it. I have a glass studio and am obsessed with creating stained glass.
I’ve volunteered forever with Habitat for Humanity, and currently am training to work with Celebrate Recovery, a program much like AA for anyone battling any sort of addiction or dependency.
I’m married. We just moved to East Tennessee to a town I love and a church that nurtures me. I have one daughter and three wonderful grandchildren.
Life is good.
Wow! Sounds like you are involved in a lot. :) Do you have a favorite scene in your newest release?
In the following scene from Waters of Separation, the protagonist’s father has just returned from the morgue and the police station. He’d identified one of his children his estranged wife drowned when she committed suicide. Harry has no idea one child, the protagonist, survived.
He contemplates his failure as a father and a husband—now living at his mother’s only underscores his despair. The scene picks up with his ex-mistress, Diane, comforting him.
..."At least let me get someone to cover your rounds."
Harry's eyes locked on hers. Her tears glittered, and forced his own eyes to tear again. He nodded. His voice caught in his throat, and no words emerged.
She stretched on tip-toes and kissed his cheek. "It's not your fault," she whispered.
He yanked open the door without answering her and dragged himself into his house. Mommy's house.
The smells of the police station and the morgue clung to his clothes. The stench flowed in his blood. A shower would wash it away.
He turned on the hot water and watched the steam drift from behind the pink, ruffled shower curtain. He stripped off his jeans and flannel shirt and his skivvies, dropped them in a pile in the corner. Naked, he stood in front of the mirror and wiped the fog away. Harry stared at his reflection. An incompetent nothing with stubble and rumpled hair stared back at him. Not a man.
He stepped into the shower.
Thousands of iron needles pierced his skin. He used no cold water -- hoped to sear his flesh, burn in hell. Still he shivered, even before the water cooled and ran cold.
He dried himself with a pink, fluffy towel, threw his soiled clothes into the hamper, and wrapped the towel around his waist, a frivolous gesture. He didn't need this modesty. He was alone. In the dark, exhaustion assailed him. His eyes ached, and sleep cried out to him, but his heart throbbed and broke into shards. He should have taken the sedatives Diane offered.
They're all gone.
Grief and fatigue dropped him to his bed. He came home to Mommy and slept on his own little boy bed -- pushed against the wall, so he could turn toward it, curl up like a cat and disappear into endless sleep.
As he lay down, a paper crinkled beneath him. He sat up, switched on a light. Concentrated brilliance burned his eyes, and he squinted at the paper, now damp and wrinkled. A note.
In her hurried hand, his mother addressed him. "Sweetie." Sweetie. What a mamma's boy. "The girls and I went to Atlantic City. Home maybe Wednesday. Be a Sweetie-Pie and water the African violets. I love you bunches. XXOO"
She left no number. No casino name. It was a note from someone who wanted a holiday and knew no problem would arise her son couldn't handle. He would tend to the house, collect the mail and the daily copy of Newsday, and with no definite timetable for her return, would keep everything clean.
He sat on the edge of his bed, held the damp paper, and folded his head into his hands and sobbed.
Sounds gripping. How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing?
My faith matters intensely, so all my work deals with themes dear to me. My first novel, DWF: Divorced White Female, outwardly deals with the humorous attempts of a ditched housewife to find love online to prove to her ex that she, too, can get a hot number. Ultimately it deals with her redemption and the plight of her family.
My fourth novel (Waters is novel number two. Number three will never see the light of day) deals with the necessity for people to help each other, that no person can solve her problems alone.
If you are traveling to a deserted island for a month, what two items would you take along?
A computer and a camera (and if I could cheat, some batteries for these two items. If I can write and take photographs, I’ll never be bored.
LOL. I'll allow you to cheat and bring batteries. :) What advice would you give to new authors?
Find a good critique group and develop a thick skin. No matter how good you are, you can always improve and iron sharpens iron. Work at it. Once it’s printed, it’s too late to fix it.
:) Where can readers connect with you?
My blog is Character Counts, and it focuses on the Bible and stories of how passages can help an individual, build her character. Currently, I’m exploring the book of James. It’s at http://carol-mcclain.blogspot.com
My facebook author page is: on.fb.me/1kq9DpL
On twitter: @carol-mcclain
Thank you for stopping by today, Carol. It's been great getting to know more about you. Remember to leave a comment for your chance to win this month's giveaway. It's a book hot off the press. :)