I am excited today to introduce to you author Carol Brown for today’s Writers’ Write to Know Wednesdays. Carol is a pastor’s wife, has a B.A. in anthropology and languages, and has ministered with her husband all over the world – from in Idaho to Indiana to Ohio to Australia to German to Finland to Canada! Carol writes children’s books and non-fiction books. Please enjoy her answers to your questions!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a wife, mom, pastor’s wife, elementary teacher and university instructor, foreign student advisor and educational administrator turned writer! And most importantly, a grandmother to 5.
2. Tell us about your current release.
My current release is Sassy Pants Makes Amends. It is the second of a series of four relating the adventures of Sassy Pants who comes to think she is a people not a pig. She develops a real attitude and destroys about every friendship she had. Then in this second book she feels the bitter consequences and wants to fix things but doesn’t know how. Old Clyde, the old Clydesdale work horse knows what to do—make amends. It is a way to fix a friendship when you are the one who broke it. It goes waaay beyond sorry and gives folks a reason to trust.
Please pick some questions from this batch of questions submitted by my readers:
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?
To simply leave it be and allow the Lord to stir the story and prompt the next flow.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?
I never seriously considered writing with publishing in mind, but as I was recovering from a nasty attack of MS I began to write down thoughts and stories that came to mind as a way to save my sanity. Then one day the Lord said, “We have a book!” It looked like a big pile of disjointed rambling to me, but a dear friend helped me dig the MS out and we did have a book. When I finished the two books about high sensitivity I told God that it was too hard and I didn’t want to write any more hard books. He said “Okay!” and proceeded to give me the story line for the children’s’ books!
Characters definitely develop as I write. Some of the characters I have in mind but others just come out as the story progresses. They work themselves into the story, I didn’t know they were a part of the story until they were! The plotline the Lord gave me pretty well intact.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?
No, I just write the story and see how long it is and if it isn’t long enough I ask the Lord what He wants to add. If it is too long then I ask the Lord to help me spot the things that are not needed. And He does. It works for me.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
I recommend the Nike slogan—just do it! And keep doing it! Learn all you can and practice so that when inspiration comes you don’t have so many errors to go back and edit!
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.)
I write so much faster on a keyboard—I love the cut and paste feature and the spellcheck!
How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel?
I have yet to write a novel, but I think that is the next project the Lord has for me. What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? The first block is that I don’t know how to write a novel so I will be taking a class to remove the roadblock!
What is your inspiration for writing?
I have always been a story teller. My daughters when they were little asked, “Mom, what was it like in the OLD DAYS when you were a kid…” and so the stories started. I wrote some down just so I could quit laughing and go to sleep! So kids inspire stories and the Lord is a great inspiration as well. My mother inspired the Sassy Pants series. She has had a number of strokes and the subsequent memory loss. For a period of time she kept telling “pig stories.” The same ones—over and over! Rather than pull out my hair I pulled out my pen and started writing. There are a few facts in the stories. All the rest is sheer flight of fancy!
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?
(Smile) In the car going down the road—that’s where the Sassy Pants books came!
I was a great fan of Jack London and Jim Kjelgard—absolutely loved nature stories
Who do you envision your typical reader to be?
Grades 2-6 but the interesting thing is that older ones enjoy the story as well, but it isn’t cool to read a “kid” book when you are older so they read it to the little ones! Adults also enjoy them.
I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper?
The Lord had to nudge me to start writing. I didn’t know I had stories of my own to tell. I had always told the stories others had written.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read?
I write to please the Lord and hope people enjoy them!
Which of your characters most reflects your personality?
Oh, that would be Miss Molly, the barnyard instructor…a merino sheep who teaches barnyard rules and etiquette to all the new babies and new comers to the farm
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out.
That would be true for the children’s stories but when I wrote the books for adults there was no way on earth that the book would submit to an outline. It just wrote itself, slowly, with lots of editing and rewriting.
Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?
Yes, with the adult books, but no for the children’s books! I think it is quite interesting that the process is so different for the different genre.
You can find Carol online at her website here: http://fromgodsheart.com There is a code in each book that will allow for the free audio download of Carol narrating the story. Then you can burn a disk and have it in the car for road trips. Another way to use it is for a “read along” if a child needs practice in reading fluency.
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