A visit with Carol Grace Stratton and a Giveaway

Headshot session for Carol Stratton

I am excited to have author Carol Stratton on my blog today. I love her work and hope she inspires you as a write and piques your interest as a reader.

Welcome Carol, let’s start this off with a bit about your writing journey.

When I was in sixth grade, our town paper published an essay in their “Youth Said It” column. That was a thrill and seeing myself in print planted a desire in me to be a published writer. In high school I lived through a hilariously humiliating first date. I submitted it to McCall’s magazine and of course was turned down, but it started me thinking about writing. In college I started to major in English until the head of the English department (himself, a Pulitzer prize winning poet) would write snarky comments in red pen on how I might want to find another major. I put writing aside.

What a horrid man. Obviously, he was wrong.

It wasn’t until 9/11 that God turned a key inside of me and released my passion for communication. I typed up my thoughts on the national tragedy, walked over to our local newspaper, handed the editor my piece and held my breath. He skimmed through it, nodded, and said those magic words – “I’ll take it.”

When my babies grew up and left the nest, I remembered my earlier desires to write and attended Write to Publish in Wheaton Illinois one summer. I wrestled with believing I really was a called writer and prayed for a sign. After the conference I attended church with one of my friends and in the middle of worship, I began to cry. Well, I’m not a crier so I knew God was speaking to me. Suddenly He told me, “Pursue joy and comfort others.” That’s all he said. Not, “Become a novelist,” or “Write devotions.” But I knew it was His way of pushing me forward because it’s truly a joy to share my words with readers.

How wonderful.  

Expand on your calling to create words on paper to share with the world.

It took a while to realize I wanted to write. My creative outlet as a young mom had always been music, especially writing songs. But writing music became frustrating. When I figured out I could express myself better with words, and there was a pathway to sharing my stories, I was one happy camper.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Yes, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3.

I love that one. 

Now, let’s talk about your latest project.

Deep End of the Lake. It’s a sequel to my first novel, Lake Surrender.

How did you research for this book?

I lived in Michigan and worked with autistic children so most of my story is from memories of life up north.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

Working in an autistic classroom I wanted to write about my students. I also wanted to show the struggle that parents have with a child on the spectrum. These families tugged at my heart.

Next I’d like to ask tow of my favorite questions.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

 Write for the love of it, for the ministry of words. Don’t wait for family or friends to get on board and encourage you. Often they won’t understand.

So very true. Now, Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My husband. At first didn’t understand my intense desire to keep on writing even when I had so many rejections (33 on a middle grade novel I’ve never published but who’s counting?) but now he’s my cheerleader and my literary muse as he helps me with my book titles.

That’s so sweet.

As a writer I’m an avid reader. What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Cozy mysteries and chick lit (humorous).

And my last question comes from the curious minds of new writers. Where is your favorite place to write?

I’d love a warm July day where I can stretch out on a lounge chair overlooking a Michigan lake. Anyone want to offer me a rental? Me too.

More about Carol Stratton:

A novelist, reporter and freelancer, Carol has penned 500 articles, and four books, Changing Zip Codes, the award-winning debut novel, Lake Surrender, (inspired by her work with autistic students), The Littlest Bell Ringer and the sequel to Lake Surrender, Deep End of the Lake. She loves to connect the modern woman to the truths of the bible through her stories.

An avid hiker and baker she also speaks to women’s groups such as Mothers of Preschoolers. Married to her literary muse, John, they have four children and eight grandchildren and reside in Clemmons. She loves to encourage new writers and readers who have moved.

Here’s the link to order her book:

You can connect with her at:

Carolgstratton.com. (website)

Twitter: @carolgstratton

FB: Carol Grace Stratton

Carol is offering a Kindle giveaway for her new novel.

Here is the back cover copy:

Who Says Giving Up Dreams Isn’t Success?

Ally Cervantes has all she wants in life—an upcoming wedding, a chance to prove herself with a writing gig, and two great kids. But her life turns for the worse when the unexpected happen and she soon finds herself struggling with a rebellious teen daughter, a shaky job, and a shakier engagement. With her newfound faith acting as a life preserver, Ally discovers if you’re in the deep end of the lake, you’d better learn how to swim. Although fiction, Deep End of the Lake, is written from the authors’ personal compassion for families who have the privilege and responsibility to care for a child with a disability. Having worked with autistic students, Carol has seen first-hand the stress and demands these parents face and wanted to capture in a story those pressures, all while providing the encouragement that a beautiful hope and faith can bring into the struggles.

It’s simple to enter the giveaway. Comment below and your name will be put in the drawing. Carol will draw a name Friday, April 2nd and contact the winner.

Click on the cover for a sneak peek.

My Personal Pick of Books For Holiday Gift Giving

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

Over the last few years I have written almost 80 reviews. My goal is to reach 100 in 2015. Because I love to read and people often ask me for book recommendations I thought I’d share a list of some of the goodies I’ve read in past year.

Add some to your to-read-list or buy them for your favorite book worms.

I’ll divide them by genre and encourage you to check out my reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

Some on this list are debut novels of exceptional quality. All of the authors have a wonderful grasp on the craft of writing and draw readers into their stories. This list reflects my love of reading and willingness to review books outside my own genre of historical.


World War II settings:

With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown

Under the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J Wisler

Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor

Revolutionary War setting:

Fields of the Fatherless (YA book) by Elaine Cooper

1800s setting:

Kincaid Brides Trilogy by Mary McConeally

Trouble In Texas Series by Mary McConeally


The Cat Lady’s Secret (cozy) by Linda Yazak

Chapel Springs Revival (humorous) by Ane Mulligan

Murder on Edisto by C Hope Clark

The Simulacrum by Brad Seggie and Linda Yezak

Firewall (FBI Houston #1) by DiAnn Mills

Contemporary Fiction:

Breathing On Her Own by Rebecca Waters

Reservations For Two by Ann Patrick

Traveler’s Rest by Ann Tatlock

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

Lake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton

Give The Lady A Ride by Linda Yezak


Blood For Blood (Vampires, 1800s setting) by Ben Wolf

Innocent Blood; Equinox of Reckoning (Halloween setting with Celtic lore) by John Turney

Crossing Into The Mystic (The Crossing Trilogy #1) (Ghosts) by D L Koontz

Whiskey Sunrise (Crime Drama involving the supernatural) by John Turney


Dare U To Open This (8-12 yrs. olds boys) by Carol McAdams Moore

Just Sayin’ (8-12 yrs. old girls) by Carol McAdams Moore

God, Me and Sweet Tea (women) By Rose Chandler Johnson

Hungry For God, Starving For Time (women) by Lori Hatcher

These are only a portion of the ones I read this year. Some authors I would recommend that may or may not have made this short list whose overall body of work are wonderful reads are C Hope Clark, DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Virginia Smith, Gilbert Morris, Jerry B Jenkins, Carole Brown, Elaine Cooper, Mary Conneally, Cynthia Ruchti, and James Scott Bell.

What books have you read this year? Which ones would you recommend?

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