I took my preview copy of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman as we traveled out of town. My hubby got little conversation from me. When I did talk it was to exclaim over the progress of the plot in the novel. Carole Brown has taken on the dark subject of religious cults and delivered an important message for believers. Today, I am privileged to have Carole visit my blog.
Carole, it is a delight to have you share with my readers today. My first question is one every writer wants to know. What compelled you to write such a work?
Thank you so much for inviting me!
My husband came up with the idea! We take an interest in many news items especially unusual events happening in the United States. When the cult in Texas, a few years ago, caught our attention, we began a “what if” session.
What if a woman turned on the cult? You read of incidents of people escaping or leaving a cult and sometimes even the reason. I wanted to give her a huge reason to stay but rebellious enough to work against them.
Why would she do this? There had to be something so catastrophic, so horrid, she would risk everything.
What would give her enough initiative to do that? What could that exact “something” be?
After answering those questions, the plot exploded from there.
I remember meeting a woman who had left the Children of God cult. Her story was similar to your novel. What research did you do to create the world of The Children of the Righteous Cain?
I, too, have known of a few cults and that knowledge lent itself well in this story. Even with that, I still wanted more information so was able to speak to several people who had more knowledge about cults; what were some of their actions and how did they think?
Some have weird rituals.
Most are manipulative and loyalty plays a huge part.
Many require monetary sacrifices.
Usually the leader is the ultimate speaking and commander.
I didn’t want to use an actual cult so went with creating one. I wanted something with some ancestry history, one big identifying emblem, and some very demeaning and controlling factors. An action that would turn a normally quiet and cult-law-abiding woman into a vengeful person.
A tattoo seemed a good answer to the emblem problem. I did quite a bit of research on tattoos, trying to discover the right one for the story. Eventually I realized nothing would succeed any better than an eye. Chapter one gives the reader a hint.
I needed to decide on a setting and at first considered Ohio, but it didn’t feel right. My second choice was West Virginia (I didn’t want to set it out west). With it’s beautiful mountains and the many back roads, it’s Appalachian history, and the possible seclusion ability it afforded, I knew I’d found the perfect place.
I found Dayne MacFarland and Cara Hayman believable characters. Some of their reactions reminded me of people I know. How did you craft these characters?
Caralynne was perhaps the hardest. I needed to make her vengeful, yet show her as a loving person capable of so many positive things if given the chance. Writing her as a devoted mother–bringing in all the sweet things she thought and did for her daughters and for her friends in spite of all her misguided planning against the men of the cult gave her a balance that very well could (and does!) take place in real life.
Dayne’s character: When my husband and I plotted the story, we knew Caralynne would need a decent and good influence in her life; someone who understood the cult ways, yet be convinced that change for them would also be better. What better way to establish a history than to have a young man who grew up at the same time as Caralynne. Then have them separated for a time and reunited; both changed from different circumstances and events of life. Though Dayne was a basically good man, he still was human: a bit prone to being stubborn as evidenced in his arguments with Professor Moore in college; a bit prone to anger at injustice (which is really a good thing, yet it must be focused in the right way). I wanted a man who showed sympathy and love toward Caralynne’s daughters and strong enough to stand for what was right and not frightened when threatened with ruin.
He was easy to write and I believe easy to sympathize with and love.
I love gentleness, strength, and deepness in a character even when they’re flawed in many other areas. It was easy to create Dayne’s personality as such because I kept visualizing the good influences he had in his life (in spite of being surrounded by such evil men): his parents and Professor Moore.
Is there anything you would love to add that I may have overlooked?
Here is the description of the plot.
Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter at the hands of a radical religious cult – The Children of Righteous Cain. So when her husband, a founding member of the cult, suffers a massive heart attack, Caralynne allows her husband to die.
Caralynne’s secret seems safe until Dayne MacFarland returns determined to learn the truth about the cult. His investigation and his rekindled love for Caralynne leads the pair toward a confrontation with the group’s leaders.
Can Dayne’s love for Caralynne bridge the gulf of anger and bitterness that divide the community? Or will Caralynne’s deadly secret prove too high a price for her redemption?
I hope readers will take away a greater sense of sympathy for those caught up in abuse or unusual situations. And for those who may read the book and hurting from any kind of abuse, please don’t give up. There is always hope.
You mentioned you are writing the next book in the series. I loved finding closure at the end of this novel. Yet, it left me with many questions that still needed to be answered. Can you share a few teasers regarding what the next installment holds?
Here’s a brief and rough blurb:
It begins with a baby kidnapping. Elder Simmons, the antagonist, will not let go. He is determined to wreck vengence upon the MacFarlands, even if he has to do it from prison.
Cara and Dayne, now happily married, go through trials that will shatter their self-complacency and test their love. Dayne will be lied about and like Joseph in the Bible must hold steady for God’s timing. Cara has suffered hurts and abuse from her former marriage. With Dayne she thought everything would be smooth sailing. But when the lies surface, can she trust him, does she love him enough to stay strong for his sake? Will her mustard seed faith grow or be uprooted?
When is your book available and how can my readers get their own copy?
October 21st. The link is http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938499948/
Carole’s Bio and links
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
Connect with her here:
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
She is also part of several other blogs:
Geezers Guys and Gals: http://geezerguysandgals.blogspot.com/
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/