Tuesday, February 13, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH CARYL McADOO



Oh my! What a treat y’all have in store today. And those of you who’ve read any of Caryl McAdoo’s (and Ron’s) books know what I’m talking about. Welcome, to the Diamond Mine, sweet friend.  Pssst, wait ‘til we’re finished with all the chit-chat, I’m bettin’ Ms. Caryl’s going to offer a give-a-way. No scrolling to the end…just you wait!

Yay! A trip to the Diamond mine! Thank you for inviting me, DiAne. I’m so honored to be here with you today!

Q. Readers want to know, beyond the back-of-the-book biography, about the authors they read. Will you share a little about yourself and your family?



This June I will be married to the love of my life and best friend Ron fifty years! As with most marriages, not all were sunshiny with peaches and cream, but God . . . He is so faithful and constant and helped us get through all the hard times. To Him, all the glory is due! We have four children—three sons and a daughter—pretty spread out with firstborn at nineteen and baby son at thirty-two.
Before our youngest left home, at the age of fifty-two, we took in four grandsons (ages six, four, three, and newborn straight from the hospital) and reared our second set of children, so just last year, we became empty nesters at sixty-seven! We LOVE being together twenty-four/seven and usually are! To those who don’t know, we write together, too.
I’m Grami to seventeen grandsugars (one is a great). The youngest Lilly turned two this week, and the oldest twenty-nine on the same day! They’re spread from Hawaii to New York, but the majority are in the DFW area. We try to get together on Thanksgiving Day. That’s the only holiday I ask to be mine, so we usually have a crowd J

 
I love being creative with as many outlets as God gives me including singing new songs (YouTube channel in links below), painting, crafting, landscaping and gardening . . . oh yes, and writing of course! In 2014, after traditionally publishing ten titles, I went Indie and so enjoy working with the cover artists now and designing the interior of the books myself. So now I’m a hybrid author!   

Q. Caryl, I knew you had bushel of kiddos and grandkiddos…and I’m bettin’ you have a great in that lineage. I know you’ve written a library of books—when do you find the time to write and when did you know God called you to paint canvases of words? Give us a few tidbits about your journey.

It’s fun to recall in 1962 (I was twelve in seventh grade) for an assignment of what we’d be doing in the year 2000—it seemed forever away—I wrote that I would be an inter-galactic famous author, hopping from planet to planet to sign books! But then Ron came along and I really never thought much about it until he started writing a Biblical fiction in the mid ‘80s.
Our first nine books had both our names, but when Simon and Schuster published book ten VOW UNBROKEN the editor and our agent said one name is better and the woman’s best. Ron could care less about fame and the fortune (that’s surely coming) will be his as much as mine. I suppose after fifty-two years, he trusts me not to abscond with the blessings God brings!
My first full year as an Indie, we published eleven new titles. A few were already written, and a few others started, then we wrote the rest during the year. Keep in mind, that’s eleven new covers to keep up with plus all the formatting and marketing for each—what a crazy year! Then we settled into three books for the next two which brings us to a total of thirty published!
That brings us to 2018 and another first. In January, we published TWO new titles SON OF PROMISE and SILENT HARMONY, both historicals, and we’ve set a goal of a half-million words. I have titles set for launch in May and September every year, but I can see there will be others this year—one I’m truly excited about is a Biblical fiction titled I AM MY BELOVED that features Abishag, David’s last queen that he “never knew”. See below for more on this title.

Q.  I’ve read most of the books from your Buckmeyer family series, and wonder how God put this series together in your heart? Does this originate from relatives who blazed the Texas trial long before you were a glimmer in your daddy’s eye, or purely fiction?

Yes, ma’am . . . purely fiction, built one paragraph, one page, one scene at a time. Ron and I never know how a story is going to end when we start. We just followed God’s leading with each one and don’t plan much farther ahead than the next scene. We say we write for discovery. The characters of course have traits of people we know including a lot of our own. I guess all authors put themselves in their characters to a certain extent.

Q. LOL, yes, I know my Crissy character is a blend between myself, my daughter, and granddaughter. Your characters leap off the page and into the hearts of your readers because they remind us of where we came from and most important, where we’re going. Do you have a life verse that brought you to and carried you through the writing of this particular series?

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3
The Lord gave me this scripture on a Sunday morning in 1997 and confirmed it twice more that day. In my Bible, it’s dated and marked with the church bulletin—one of those confirmations. The writing is a part of the vision. God will use it for His purposes. Waiting nigh onto thirty years now, and will continue until either it comes to fruition or I get to see Him face to face.
I do believe one of the reasons all my titles have so many five-star reviews (seventy percent average with another twenty percent four-star) is due to the characters. I had such a wonderful review the other day from a new-to-me reader on SON OF PROMISE. She said she wanted to put Travis, Emma Lee, and Cody (my characters in that story) on her prayer list! That’s how real they were to her! What a compliment!



Q. When I read the last book in the Buckmeyer family series Chief of Sinners…or at least you said it was going to be the last…we all want to know what’s next? Don’t you have a new book about to be released? In any event, what’s next for one of my favorite authors? And will you give us a peek into your WIP? 

I started to tell about it above—the Biblical fiction titled I AM MY BELOVED that features Abishag, David’s last queen. When writing along on this story, I often have to stop for a bit of worship—can’t see through my tears anyway—to extol the great majesty of my awesome God. My favorite thing to do of all!
He’s anointing the story. Solomon, of course, inherited Abishag. His brother Adonijah wanted her to wife after David’s death and lost his life for it. Inspiration came from the Song of Solomon, so the wisest and richest king plays a major role as well. It’s at around forty thousand words now and should be finished this month!
Ah! It’s simply an amazing story!
Does that sound braggart and vain? It doesn’t to me, because it’s God who’s given it—I didn’t make it up! Just as the songs I love that He gives me. For all the books, the songs, all the blessings of my life . . . He is due the glory! My author’s motto is “Praying my story gives God glory!”
As Edith Ann would say, “And that’s the truth!”

Q. And finally, do you have words of encouragement and hope for some of the new writers among us…words of wisdom from a lady of the Word…words that will carry them through those tough times all word weavers experience when choosing to join the ranks of brothers and sisters who spend hours and hours of time in front of their computers, and end up wondering if we truly have a call from God to write.

Don’t give up! Wait for the vision.
While you do, study to show yourself approved. Learn your craft. I have what I consider an awesome little book chock full what I learned from my mentors—tips and examples on Point of View, scene and sequel, passive versus active voice, where to open the curtain, and more—all presented in an easy-to-understand conversational format.
It’s called STORY & STYLE, The Craft of Writing Creative Fiction . . . the craft can be learned! God sent us to a read and critique group in the early ‘90s where traditionally published authors took us under their wings and mentored us. If you have the book and come up with a question. I’m available by message or phone!


DiAne, I want to thank you for inviting me to the Diamond Mine! I’ve so enjoyed visiting and would love to offer a giveaway to one of your readers! How about a print copy of VOW UNBROKEN, book one in that Texas Romance Family Saga series? I’ll randomly choose one from those who comment, answering this question:

What are you waiting for?

Caryl will be announcing the winner of VOW UNBROKEN next Wednesday evening, February 21st.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Interview with Award-Winning Author Nadine Brandes



Today, let's welcome award-winning author Nadine Brandes to The Diamond Mine!! She's the author of the three-book Out of Time speculative fiction series. And her newest book is due out this July: Fawkes.


She's a gifted, imaginative writer whose stories will rivet you with vivid characters and compelling settings. What an exciting and rewarding experience it is to read her books! Welcome, Nadine! I'm so honored to host you today!

So, let's begin by hearing a brief description of your Out of Time series.

These books are about a world where everyone has a clock telling them how long they have to live. The main character starts with one year left to her life.

A premise like that really grabs the reader from the beginning. I know it did for me! What element of this story really brings it alive for you?

It feels very personal because Parvin (the main character) wrestles with a lot of the same questions I did as a teen: What’s the point of being alive? Can I really make an impact on this world? How do I tackle this God thing?

You did a great job of exploring these questions that so many teens as well as adults find themselves struggling with. Very true-to-life. 
Speaking of that, are any of your characters based on real people?

I draw all of my inspiration from real life, but no character is based off one person in general. :) 

I know what you mean! So many of my characters have aspects from real people, but have their own unique personality which develops as the story does. 
Do your books begin with a small idea that grows as you write, or do you have a fairly fleshed-out story in mind before you begin to write?

It really depends on the book! For A Time to Die, it was a small idea that grew as I wrote it. (Grew into a three book series!) But for Fawkes (my upcoming release) I had the story fairly fleshed out before I started. 

So just like your characters, your books have their own personality, too! Do you write nearly every day for a period of time, or do you write in short or long bursts depending on inspiration?

Haha! I definitely don’t write every day. My creative juices have to refuel, so I usually have two “big chunk” writing days a week. The other days are spent plotting, blogging, and interacting with my readers via social media.


Sounds like a good balance that obviously works well for you. I'm curious. Which book of your series was the easiest one to write, and which was the most challenging?

My second book, A Time to Speak was the easiest to write because by that point I knew all the characters and the world had been established. I was ready for things to get real (plot-wise) and get bigger. I loved writing that book and it came out so smoothly! The growth in that book is my favorite  and a lot of readers say it’s their favorite, too.

The hardest book in the Out of Time Series to write was the last one. Man, trying to wrap up all those plot threads and have a decent ending was almost the death of me! I rewrote that ending at least four times and was afraid it would go to press incomplete! Thankfully, God brought it all together in the end. 

But if we’re talking about all my books, Fawkes was the hardest book I’ve ever written. But I’ll have to get into that another day. ;-)

Wow, you've got me mighty curious about Fawkes. Guess I'll have to wait until July, though! So, which do you prefer to write: a series, or a stand-alone story?

This might sound weird, but to me all my stories feel like standalone. Some are just longer than others. I prefer to write the story the way it needs to be written. The Out of Time Series had to be a three book series to finish the story. But currently my next two books, Fawkes and Mysterious Title Mwahaha, are both average-length standalone. :)

I see what you mean. Even in a series, it's good for each part to be its own unique story, and deliver a different experience to the reader. When you imagine someone reading your books, what reaction or reactions would you most like them to have?

I want them to leave inspired. Not just inspired writing-wise, but inspired to totally go after life with 100%. To not back down and to realize that they can impact this world in magnificent ways. :) And to realize that God is worth it. There are so many poor representations out there, but when you really get to know Him…He is the one who will send you off to change the world.

Absolutely! What a great point!
Now for a rather personal question. Do you enjoy feedback about your stories even if it’s critical?

I don’t think anyone likes learning that some people didn’t like their stories, but I really appreciate honest readers and the courage it can sometimes take to post a negative review. I love and learn from all feedback. And no matter the level of criticism, I just hope we can be friends. :-) (Even though that sounds cheesy.)

I don't think that's cheesy. Sounds mature to me.
So, what do you like most about being a writer?

Connecting with readers! You would think that I would like writing the best, and I do like that a lot. But it’s so special to connect with readers and show them that I’m accessible and I’m here for them. When I was growing up and social media wasn’t really a thing (wow, that makes me sound old) all my favorite authors felt untouchable—as though they were in this other world. And I would have loved to talk to them about how their stories changed me. Now that there’s social media and I’m an author, I want to be that author that can be reached and that does talk back. :)

Wow, I never thought much about that. What great advice for every author to think about. Thanks Nadine! I'll have to start doing that!
Okay, tell us a bit about your newest book, and what you’re working on now.

My newest book, Fawkes, is a historical fantasy that tells the story of the Gunpowder Plot—where a group of men decided to blow up the king of England in 17th century London. My story is told through the eyes of a plotter’s son and how he joins the plot for his father’s approval, but then faces the impact of whether or not he’s brave enough to go through with it.
 True story, too! (Except for the fantasy elements. :P ) It’s currently up for pre-order and releases July 10th!

Sounds like an awesome story! That's on my to-read list! Nadine, thank you so much for spending time at The Diamond Mine. I really enjoyed this interview!

Well, readers, here is a short bio about Nadine, followed by her social links:

NADINE BRANDES once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and Fawkes (July 2018) Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom. 

Here are my main social media links: