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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Author Interview--Caryl McAdoo

Anne: Our interview today is with Caryl McAdoo (pronounced MAC a doo). 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, Caryl, tell us what inspired this book, your debut novel?

Caryl: My agent, Mary Sue Seymour,  inspired Vow Unbroken when she told me, “If you write it, I will sell it.” She very specifically asked for a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s, which I’d never written before. A member of our Red River Writer's Workshop, Marion Butts, influenced the subject matter. He’s been writing historical non-fiction about anything and everything having to do with Red River and surrounding counties in far North East Texas—my new home—for the last six years.

At the workshop, he read a chapter having to do with the early farmers getting together a wagon train to take their cotton to market in Jefferson, about a hundred miles south. I talked with my husband, also a writer, and we brainstormed a bit. I thought a widow living out on the prairie would make a good heroine. How was she widowed? Husband died in an accident along with his brother. My widow would have been pregnant at the time and also now have her orphaned nephew to rear. That all happened ten years before the book opens, known as "back story"--important for an author to know, but the reader will discover it as they get acquainted with ... with... What would I name my heroine? Susannah, and I'll call her Sue. SO, I was off!

Anne: What is your favorite part of writing?

Caryl: This is an easy question. To have written is my favorite part of writing! At the end of a day when there are ten pages more to a manuscript, that’s very satisfying.

Anne: And what is your least favorite?

Caryl: Do I have a least favorite part? I guess it would be the edits with the publisher’s editors, because by then it gets pretty tedious. You’ve probably been over the manuscript fifteen to twenty times. You feel almost like you could quote it verbatim. The characters are so much fun to create, and they do become friends, but when you’ve read the same tense scene twenty times, it just isn’t as much fun. Some writers might say the marketing is their least favorite part and it IS a part of writing, a big part! But I love the marketing, getting out there with the readers.

Anne: What do you do when you get writer's block?

Caryl: I just have to back up to where the characters were comfortable. Usually, a blockage comes from trying to take them where they do not want to go. And I say that, but God is the one—I believe—Who stops the creative juices because I got a bit in the flesh and He wants it to go another way. Back up, and He shows you through the characters which new direction to take. I do hate erasing though (backspacing). Have you seen that Facebook post that says: "What if when we can’t remember, it’s because we are only characters, and the author is backspacing?"

Anne: I had to giggle at that one, Caryl. Now I know what to blame my gaps in memory on! Now, why do you write?

Caryl: I write because I am made in the image of my Creator who loves to create and put that love in me. I love to tell a story that others enjoy. I love to create the characters and move them from my brain to the page, have them become real to the readers. The whole process is outstanding. And now, on the precipice of the launch of this first novel from a major publisher, I feel as though all the hard work is behind me, the writing, the rewrites, submitting, selling, editing, and marketing organization is all behind me. I’ve worked really hard, thousands of hours to get to this point. I’m at the peak of this mountain called Writing and now—as far as my part of Vow Unbroken—I’m on a downhill slide. My baby is out there as of Debut Day, and it’s in the Maker's hands. He’s been a part of all my processes, but now it’s His time to shine! 

Anne: What is your favorite part of this book?

I’ve been asked this a lot, and it is so hard to choose, there are so many parts that I love so much I get goose bumps or teary eyed every time. But one of my very favorite scenes is when nine-year-old Rebecca tells Henry that she’s been praying to God for a daddy. Hers died when Sue was pregnant with her, so she’d never known what it’s like to have a father. And she’s thinking God has sent Henry to be her daddy, the answer to her prayer. She also talks him into singing in that same scene and I love that part, too. The scene is funny and touching. On my blog, I wrote what you might call some prequelettes.
Here’s the link to Rebecca’s Prayer:

Anne: Want to tell us a little about your next book?

Caryl: The next book in the Lone Star Novels series is Heart Stolen. Levi, Susannah’s nephew in Vow Unbroken is now a young man, a twenty-six-year-old Texas Ranger in 1844. Twelve years have passed, and he’s serving under President Sam Houston who sends him to pick up stolen women after a treaty with the Comanche. One of those women happens to be a young woman stolen from Red River County, a childhood friend of his sister-cousin Rebecca. He promises to get her home, but everything is so complicated. They have so many issues to straighten out and it seems hopeless. I believe it’s a tear jerker. I often broke down at Workshop when I’d try to read it for critique. I’m so silly!

Anne: It sounds wonderful, and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Levi!
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