Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Interview with Caryl McAdoo and Book Giveaway

Today is the official release day of Caryl McAdoo's debut novel, Vow Unbroken. We are honored to have her here today and hope to find a little more about her, her writing, and future plans. And to celebrate the book's release, we are offering up a copy of Vow Unbroken to a lucky commenter! 

First a little about Caryl McAdoo:  She and her husband Ron—high school sweethearts—live with four grandsons in the woods south of Clarksville, the county seat of Red River County in Northeast Texas. She enjoys four-wheeling over the 916-acre McAdoo Ranch, horseback riding, and singing the new songs God gives her. For every blessing in her life, including ten children (counting in-loves) and fourteen grandsugars, Caryl credits her relationship with the Lord, and her heart’s desire is to glorify Him.

Now let's dig a little deeper...

You have co-authored many children’s books with your husband. Tell us how you came to write Vow Unbroken.

I didn’t even know of such a genre where you could openly use scripture and Godly principles in your story. Mary Sue Seymour, my agent who Ron and I were driving back the DFW Airport after the conference where we met her, told me the easiest genre for her to sell. She’d seen a sample of our writing and said to write her a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s, she would sell it. So I dropped her off on Sunday and started writing on Monday. Nine weeks later, sent her the complete manuscript, and she sold it in ninety days! You KNOW that all is a God-thing, right. No one could convince me there isn’t DIVINE PLAN written all over it! 

What challenges did you face in changing genres?

I have never paid a lot of attention to genres, I just write stories with Ron. One of our mentors told us at our DFW Writers Workshop, “Ron, Caryl, pick a genre.” But we never could, and wrote romance, mystery, thriller, mid-grade chapter books, military, and non-fiction!
I can’t rightly say challenges existed. Other than finding out what made the story historical – 1800s, check; Christian, Mary Sue set me straight after the first fifty pages that didn’t mean both hero and heroine were saved, so hero lost, check; romance – man and woman fall in love, check. Ta Da! I had me a historical Christian romance!
Still enjoy writing for mid-grade, too, though. I have an end time trilogy The King’s Highway that Mary Sue is shopping book one of now, STARFISH PRRIME. I enjoy mid-grade because I love going to schools to present, and God gives me new songs to go with the books. He gave me one for VOW, too, I call ‘Susannah’s Ballad’. I’ll sing it for you if I get to see you on my March through Texas Tour!

How much research did you do in writing this book?

TONS! I didn’t keep track of the hours I spent researching everything about the 1800s – this area, the Jefferson Trace, the clothes, slang, toys, wagons, how they crossed rivers and creeks, the Indians, the towns settled back then in Northeast Texas – well, in 1832, it wasn’t Texas, but Tejas – still claimed by Mexico. I found it so ironical that President Bustamante was raising a ruckus because he did not want any more white settlers coming into Mexico. He put a ban on any more, but they kept coming and sent his presidios packing. There were many uprisings over it. I never liked history that much in high school, but I LOVED doing the research for VOW UNBROKEN – another ‘God-thing’ far as I’m concerned!

Who was the most challenging character to write in Vow Unbroken?

Hate to say no challenge again like I’m some special character myself, but Sue’s a lot like me, passionate, stubborn, a fierce lover, likes things done her way, snaps to judgment, prone to temper flares, then embarrassed and sorry, dedicated to obedience to God with her whole heart and ready to do anything—ANY thing—He says to, but not always certain it is Him. So, she was easy.
Henry is a lot like my Ron, strong, patient, not a worrier, steady, wise, loyal, take charge, friendly, patient, handsome, always thinks he knows best, able to accomplish anything, generous, did I say patient? J So, he was easy.
I fashioned Rebecca after Shirley Temple. I’d watched all her movies at least twenty-five times each. I could hear her saying the words I put in Rebecca’s mouth and her actions. So, she was easy.
Levi is who I started to answer when I first read this question, but he posed no challenge either. I’m living with 4 teenage boys right now, and their eleven year old brother. O’Pa and I have reared these four grandsons for eleven years now, so I knew just how Levi would act and what he would say.
In the beginning, I had a couple of scenes in Blue Dog’s POV, and he was easy, too, because we’ve always had many. The dog on the cover is actually ours named Franklin Doganor Roosevelt, we call him Roo. When Mary Sue first read the manuscript, she thought it was hysterical and fun to be in the dog’s head – said she never had been before. But my Howard editor didn’t think the readers would like that.

Do you have a favorite line in the book?

Wow, haven’t been asked this. Every favorite scene that popped into my head was with Rebecca. I thought about when she got Mister Henry to sing then burst out laughing, I loved that scene. And when the wolves attack, and Blue Dog gets hurt. Chapter Nineteen is my favorite chapter, and there are several lines in that chapter I love. When Rebecca’s giving her mother the piece of hard candy, then I thought of THE favorite. Sue’s just told Becky that she loves her, and Becky responds: “I love you, too. It just isn’t the end yet. You have to wait for the end to know how everything comes out.” Yep, that sure spoke to me, from God’s throne room straight into my spirit. A Word of comfort and encouragement. I pray it will speak to my readers who are going through hard times. It isn’t over until the end, so keep the faith, be encouraged, don’t give up, hold fast to the vision.
Is your son on meth? It isn’t the end yet! Is your daughter throwing away her marriage? It isn’t the end yet! Is your husband growing distant or saying he needs space? It is not the end yet!

Tell us about your writing day and where do you write?

I write at the CPU in our computer armoire in the master bedroom, sage green walls. To my left is a fireplace of bricks, flagstone, and aged barn wood that my husband built himself. To my right, a window looks out onto the front drive. In July last year, we moved into the new home the Lord provided and live way back in the woods, so lots of trees, and birds, and our dogs to stare at when I need to think – or the flames when there’s a fire.
I usually wake up late compared to Ron as he lays his head down and immediately goes to snoring—usually around nine. I’m talking before I could count to five. I have a terrible time falling to sleep because my brain refuses to be quiet. Therefore, I’m often up at two or three in the morning. So when I awake—usually after the boys have left for school—Ron brings me coffee. I make the pot the night before, so he only has to turn it on. Soon after my feet hit the floor, I make my way to the computer. I write some, then be social a bit on Facebook, check my email, write some more. I take turns on the computer with Ron and write off and on all day, no set time. He’s building a new barn; I’ve got laundry and cooking for six. And I write late into the wee hours of the morning, too.

What are you working on now?

Oh a fun novel! The name of it is THE BEDWARMER’S SON. That title and its opening line came from a contemporary Christian romance I was writing titled THE PITCH which has many writers pitching their work to literary agents. The first line for BEDWARMWR’S SON is: ‘He sold us right before he married that fancy lady from England then bought us back the next summer.’
The story refused to be left alone, so I left THE PITCH at chapter Seventeen and started writing THE BEDWARMER’S SON. I’m on Chapter Seventeen of it now. It’s a historical Christian romance set in two time periods: 1928 when the son of the bedwarmer is in jail fixin’ to be tried for the murder of his half-brother. His attorney, a beautiful white lady and his grandson romance a bit, and in 1857, romance blooms between the bedwarmer and her son’s father, the master at Three Springs Plantation near Dalton, Georgia. The story of his parents’ romance unfolds as he tells the lawyer how he came to murder his half-brother.  

About Vow Unbroken:

Susannah Baylor reluctantly hires Henry Buckmeyer to help her along the Jefferson Trace, the hard stretch of land between her Texas farm and the cotton market, where she's determined to get a fair price for her crop. It's been a long, rough ten years and the widow's in danger of losing the land her husband and his brother left to her and the children, but she needs help to get both her wagons safely to Jefferson. She knows Henry's reputation as a lay-about and is prepared for his insolence, but she never expects his good looks or irresistible, gentle manner. Soon they are entwined in a romantic relationship that only gets more complicated because Henry doesn't know God the way she does. Dangers arise on the trace--but none as difficult as the trial her heart is going through. Will Susannah and Henry's love overcome their differences? And will she get her crop to market and sell it for enough to save her farm? In this heartening and adventurous tale, a young woman's fortitude, faith, and heart are put to the ultimate test. 

You can find more about Caryl around the web:

Website:          http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com
Blog:               http://www.CarylMcAdoo.blogspot.com
Facebook:        http://www.facebook.com/CarylMcAdoo/author
Twitter:           http://www.twitter.com/CarylMcAdoo
Goodreads:     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/181587.Caryl_McAdoo
Pinterest:         http://www.pinterest.com/gramilady/

Caryl, thank you for joining us at The Writer's Alley. It was a pleasure getting to know more about you and your debut novel. 

We are giving away a copy of Vow Unbroken to a lucky commenter. Please leave a comment and your email address in a spam-proof format. ie:  janedoe (at) gmail (dot) com  Winner will be announced on the Weekend Edition. **USA residents only


This post is brought to you by
 Sherrinda Ketchersid

Sherrinda is a minister's wife and mother to three giant sons and one gorgeous daughter. A born and bred Texan, she writes historical romance filled with fun, faith, and forever love.


Lenni said...

Man, I wish I could write all day. And a green office sounds awesome! :D


Beth K. Vogt said...

It's always fun to celebrate a debut novelist! I love the joy that overflows from Carol!! And how fun is it that her dog is on the cover of her book?

Pepper said...

snicker... I think writing from the dog's POV would be fun!

Your story sounds wonderful, Caryl. Dont' you love those gentle heroes?

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oooh yes! Pepper, that would be fun! I bet it would be so interesting to hear a "behind the scenes" from an animal would could be everywhere!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Great interview - thanks Sherrinda and Caryl!

Ashley Clark said...

Oh, you guys know I love when dogs get attention. ;) I often write into the middle of the night too, so I can definitely understand this tendency! In fact, I did it last night! Congratulations, Caryl!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

We are so excited for you, Caryl!!! Book sounds fabulous! Can't wait to read. Glad to have you on the Alley!

Angie Dicken said...

What an amazing journey! Thanks for visiting the Alley today, Caryl!

karenk said...

congratulations on your debut novel, caryl...looking forward to reading it :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Julia M. Reffner said...

Congratulations, Caryl. A debut release is a big accomplishment. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Caryl McAdoo said...

Thanks Julia, Karen, Angie, Amy, Karen and Beth! It was sure my pleasure to join y'all at the Alley! And Ashley and Pepper - dogs are such a part of my life and always have been. Blue Dog in the book is a hero many times over! Thank y'all for your comments. My Debut Day has been a blast! Three launch parties and a 'Read' at the library - saw so many Clarksville friends!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Lenni! Didn't scroll up far enough! :) Yes, I am blessed. I always tell everyone who ask, "How are you" or "How ya been?" "I am blessed and highly favored!" Mostly because that is ALWAYS true. There are times when answering "good" or "Fine" just isn't! I do love my green :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Thanks so much for joining us today Caryl! I pray God's blessings on yiut book launch.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Congratulations on your debut novel, Caryl and thanks for joining us here on the Alley today.