Spies, Flutes, and Red-Heads: The Makings of a Spy Novel

Welcome mystery writer extraordinaire, Carole Brown. I’m so excited to have her as my guest because the second book in her WW II mystery series The Spies of World War II, A Flute In A Willow is now available. She’s agreed to share a bit about how she does  her research and developed her characters and plot for the seriesDSCN4465 (3)



Developing my WWII Spies series came from two things:

  • Listening to my mother talk about her life during WWII and seeing the pictures she had
  • A short story about a “supposed” civilian spy during WWII from an elderly man. Rumors had it that HE was that spy, but he neither confirmed nor denied it.


And since dangers and sacrifices abound in WWII stories—some of which I brought out in these books, I also wanted to create a sense of fun, warmth and love to lighten the suspense. One way I managed to create the feeling was to bring music into the story as a subplot.

The Red-headed Sisters:

I’d already planned to feature three red-haired sisters in their own books. It was fun to create their personalities and who the heroes would be. Fortunately, while I wrote book one, the heroes for the other two books appeared and were good matches for sisters two and three.

Let me share brief thoughts how the spies, music and sisters all work together to make this series heartwarming and suspenseful books.

With Music in Their Hearts

With Music in Their Hearts

With my interest piqued and imagination soaring, I settled on the plot for book one where the hero—handsome, smart, a minister and godly—is rejected to serve overseas but recruited to serve as a civilian spy. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between him and the heroine as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

Emma Jaine Rayner, by her own claims, is a non-professional pianist, who entertains and gives an extra doze of homeyness to the boarding house residents with the nightly musical fests. Her active imagination while playing, increases her longing for a man to love—and Tyrell Walker, the civilian spy, increases the pressure by wooing her with his trained voice.

AFitW 5th image(2)


A Flute in the Willows

In Book Two, the heroine and hero are both rebels in their own way. She has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband, an overseas U.S. spy. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? When his wife’s life is threatened, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Jerry has to risk all for the very soul and life of himself—Josie. These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their ownselves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness.

Josephine Rayner Patterson, the second sister, is quite different from her older sister. She’s athletic and training for the Olympics once it’s resumed after the war. But returning to her flute after a drastic alteration in her life, it’s the balm that heals her troubled heart. In spite of resisting, Jerry Patterson through her music and enduring love, finds his heart strangely drawn to what he’s never experienced before.

Sing Until You Die

The third book in this series has a tentative publishing date of 2019. The youngest sister of the WWII Spies sister overhears a private conversation while singing to the military troops and realizes it’s vital information to the well being of the United States. When she’s almost discovered, Claire barely escapes. Surrounded by zealous people she can’t and won’t trust, Claire has no options but to trust the one person she most disdains, the one person she ran from, quiet, plugging-along Wills but rumored to be the best spy serving on U.S. soil. In the midst of danger, Wills has the chance of a lifetime: to show the love of his life his love for her. Will she learn that God is her strength and wisdom and that no matter how well she can sing, how far she travels, how many men she meets, only Wills can fill the void in her heart?

Claire Roseanne Rayner is the princess of the family, the petted and beloved daughter of the Rayner Family who sings like a bird and is determined to fly away like one too. She loves God but staying away from the boy-turned-man she grew up with is never far from her mind. William (Wills) Mason has never wavered in his love for Claire Rayner. In spite of having no talent in either singing or playing, he’s fully behind Claire’s musical ambitions.



Researching the spies was an eye-opening experience. Not only danger is involved, but there are tons of reasons why men—and women—serve in such a capacity. The rewards are vast—money, esteem, the parties and socializing, exotic countries—if all goes as hoped and the spy escapes detection. Caught—prison and death can be the result.


It was easy to include this in these books because of my own love of music. The decision as to what or how it was brought into each book was also a fairly easy decision. Music has so many benefits besides lightening up suspense books.

  • Encouragement
  • Mood enhancers
  • Spiritual uplifter
  • Good music is healthy

and so much more.

One tidbit before I move on to the sisters. I love most instruments, but the flute was not one of them—until I heard one played by an expert. That changed my ideas about flutes, and from then on, I’ve been a devoted fan. The flute seemed the perfect instrument to include in atheletic Josie’s life.

Red-headed Sisters

I’ve always loved red hair. It’s so vibrant, rich in color and alluring. Studying and researching the subject I realized how many different shades of red there are. Choosing the shades was fun, but I wanted it to be more than fun. The shades needed to match their personalities.

All in all, the first two books have been a delight to write, and I’m looking forward to the writing the third book soon.


Thanks for allowing me to visit, Cindy.

Absolutely loved having you.  You are always a delightful guest. Thanks for making the time.  If you’d like to learn more about Carole and her latest novel read on.

Back Cover Blurb for Flute in the Willows

Both rebels in their own way, Josie and Jerry Patterson must figure out how to keep the other’s love…and keep the German enemy at bay.

She has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Has another woman captured his heart?

Jerry has vowed to let Josie live her own glamourous life…especially after what happened in Germany. But when his wife’s life is threatened, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Jerry has to risk all for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness.

Buy the Book:


About Carole Brown:

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, 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?

Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427898838&sr=8-1

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carole-brown

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=67381031

Google+:    https://plus.google.com/u/0/113068871986311965415/posts

Stitches in Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Question for readers from Carole:

How much research detail do you like when reading a book? Is there ever too much or not quite enough to suit you?


I loved learning how Carole did her research and built her story world.  I strive to give my readers helpful information and writing tools. If you enjoyed this peek into the research side of the writing world sign up for this blog before you leave and receive more interesting and fun posts in your email.



Ten years in the Making: A Book Contract



If you follow me on Facebook, you saw my recent announcement. I received my first book contract. It only took 10 years to get there. Oh, let’s not forget 20 rejections, many rewrites and several edits. Years of improving my writing skills through online writing courses and writing books.  Ten years of attending conferences. Submitting to magazines and websites with both success and failure. I’ve made the acquaintance of many writers, both newbies and seasoned pros. During my ten year journey I have added agents and publishers to that list of acquaintances.

Help others on the journey

I’ve written over a hundred book reviews and supported my fellow-writers anyway I can. I enjoy helping promote their books and sharing words of affirmation when they were discouraged. I have purposed to invest in others while I worked toward the illusive contract.

Keep learning

Actions such as joining critique groups, following writing blogs and reading a lot propelled me toward the goal of publication. This has been ten years of perseverance and determination. I’d confess “I am a writer” when I wanted to keep that proclamation to myself. Established writers encouraged me to learn how to use social media.  Then I started this blog, Writer’s Patchwork, where all these writerly parts are sown together into the bigger quilt of gaining a contract. (Clever play on words.)

Cindy's Editor's Choice Award-2

My award. I am so blessed.

Never give up

Anyway, the point I’m trying to press home is don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged and keep helping others in the industry. Keep focusing on your goal and over time you’ll get that book contract.

Come follow me

It will probably be a year before my novel will be available for sale. During that time, I will be posting the next stretch of my journey. Even though I have a contract, a mountain-load of work remains to be done before I see my book in print. I’ll share my experiences in hopes of inspiring all of you to keep going. And give you a glimpse into the process of contract to book shelf.

 If you don’t want to miss a post of my continuing journey, please subscribe in the right hand column.


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?

If you wish to follow Writer’s Patchwork please go to the sign up options on the right hand side.

A Peek Into The Writing World of Award Winning Author Carole Brown


I am so excited to have author Carole Brown with me today. This is her second visit to my blog. I interviewed her in October 2013 when her novel The Redemption of Caralynn Hayman was released. With Music in Their Heart is different in a number of ways but the strands of excellence and adventure run through both of them. For those of you who missed my previous blog post where I introduced this exciting book click here.

With Music in Their Hearts

Carole, welcome to Writer’s Patchwork and thank you for taking the time from your busy writing schedule to visit.

First I have to ask, what sparked the idea of WWII spies? More specifically, spies on American soil?

That’s a great question. It’s a two-fold answer. ☺

First, we had an elderly gentleman who wrote a self-published small book about a man who served as a civilian spy during WWII. It was said, that HE was the spy, but he never confirmed or denied it. Still his basic thought made for a great plot for my With Music in Their Hearts!

Secondly, I wanted a story with a heroine that honored my mother, and when I began this novel, I used my mother’s name, Emma Jane (Jaine, in the book). Mother never especially liked her name, but I love it and think it fits my female protagonist perfectly.

Where did you do your research?

Mostly the internet, although books and people comprise some of my research too. I love having the information at my finger tips but interacting with individuals is something personal and interesting that is quite rewarding, especially when he or she has intimate information from their own memories or family history.

I found a pastor as a spy very intriguing. Why a pastor?

Why not? ☺ Pastors are people too with desires to matter and do “great” things. Seriously, the basic idea stemmed from the answer to your first question.

But the question begs to be answered: How would HE handle it? Especially as devoted to God and the church as Tyrell is. Would he stride-for-stride be as brave, as forceful, as smart as his FBI cousin and best friend, Ben Hardy?

It was an unusual situation that created a difficult situation for a man in a position most people would consider to be a job that is mild and peace-loving. What people forget (at times, I think) is that ministers have strong feelings about loyalty and faith and right and wrong. That’s why Tyrell felt pulled between disgust and compassion for Hank, one of the boarders. And to put a godly man in a secret position to spy on people he also needed to minister to–oh, my, what intrigue!

As I wrote my interview I felt like I was in the middle of an old black and white movie watching the story unfold. Loved the dialogue-so true to the time. How did you keep the dialogue and character interaction circa 1941 without interjecting 21st century jargon and mindset?

Carefulness. I’ve listened to a lot of talk from that era in many avenues. I’ve studied sites with lots of phrases and words, and read books. Then there’s always my imagination. Somehow I can usually picture the actions and moves of the characters and even “hear” their conversations. The more I wrote, the more I edited, the more I “lived” then. I immersed myself in that time period until I could “hear” the characters talking as they should.

Emma Jaine and her sisters represented the young people growing up in 1940s America so well. You mentioned the main character has your mother’s name. Did you use some of your family’s stories as a basis for your characters’ everyday activities? Perhaps you had a spy in your clan? Were any of the boarders based on actual people?

Sort of. My mother’s stories of her life, jobs and the struggles during the war period. The pictures are wonderful and transported me straight back into those early war days. Lol, about the spy in my ancestors’ lives. Who knows? I’ve never heard of any, but that’s not saying there wasn’t.

Spies have always interested me. It’s hard to separate “good” spies from the “bad” ones, because we’ve all heard of the things they have to do and be involved in at times. How many times can you lie your way out of a mishap or lie your way into a situation? Will your conscience allow you to even go as far as some go? All those questions and more complicate matters even more so when I  plopped a pastor into the role.

Carole, your writing is always stellar. Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a multi-published author.

Thank you, Cindy! I appreciate that.

About three years ago, I was on the verge of quitting–totally and completely. It was the first time I had ever sunk so low into despair and discouragement with my writing. Little did I know, that God had a plan, and my feelings were part of it.

I’ll try to be brief. I’ve written for years, but not seriously as a career fiction author. When I got back into it, I dived in head first, re-learning everything I needed to know: critique partners, conferences, workshops. I attained an agent, submitted to contests and editors. I did my homework, and gradually developed my own style.

But the year I sank low, I had had enough of a million (well, it did feel like it!) rejections. A dear older friend sat me down, figuratively, and said, God gave me this talent. I needed to trust him and keep writing.

It wasn’t easy, and I still had little faith, but I plastered those words across my computer screen and dug in deeper. I finished, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman and submitted it to The Lighthouse of the Carolinas Publishing House at their request, was accepted, and rest is history.

Now, I have three books out, with more on the way in months. God has blest me immensely, and I truly, truly feel humbled by his love to me for allowing me to have this talent and joy in knowing I’m an author.

Before we close this delightful interview, do you have any last minute thoughts to add? Don’t forget to mention upcoming books, your website and any other ways we can contact you.

I’d just like to encourage any writers out there, to never quit. Seek and discover the writing journey God has for YOU, then follow his plan. Only when we submit to his best plans for US do we find true satisfaction and peace.

I’d love it if your readers would check out my three published books:

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

The first book in the Denton and Alex Davies cozy mystery series: Hog Insane

With Music in Their Hearts, the first book in the WWII Spy series

These are ones I’m working on now:

The second book in my mystery series, Bat Crazy, is scheduled for release late winter.

I’m working and hoping to have a late 1800s light suspense book ready soon too.(Caleb’s Destiny).

I’m striving to finish the second book in The Spies Series: A Flute in the Willows, for publication late next year.

And I always have others on a back burner to work on as I have time.
Thanks so much, Cindy, for allowing me to share a little. It’s been fun answering these questions.

It has been my pleasure. Let me give you a hug before we part and add you are an inspiration to struggling writers. Thanks so much for stopping by.

A few more things you may not know about Carole Brown and how to follow her.

Brown not only has her award winning (RWA International Digital Awards finalist in Inspiration, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. Look for the second book, Bat Crazy, late 2014 winter.

Released November 1, 2014, is the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

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/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

She is also a part of several other blogs:

Stitches in Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

Carole is giving away a copy of With Music In Their Heart to one lucky commenter. You can choose either paperback or e-book. This is a wonderful gift for the bookworm on your Christmas list.

We will draw the winner on Friday.


An Introduction to With Music In Their Hearts A World War II Spy Novel

With Music in Their HeartsI loved With Music in Their Hearts and am so honored Author Carole Brown agreed to an interview. She will be sitting down with me next month to share about the creation of this novel and her writing journey. I am so excited I thought I’d share a few things to wet your reading appetite. Hopefully, get you as excited as I am about the interview. So I am sharing the review I post on Amazon, the back cover copy and an excerpt from the first chapter (Carole gave me permission) to generate some interest in this fascinating novel.

My review

I opened to chapter one in my Kindle and heard the music coming from the piano at the boarding house. I felt a part of the intrigue and saw the characters as they interacted with one another. Carole Brown’s World War II spy novel With Music in Their Hearts is a fascinating read. The realistic dialogue, setting and characters dress drew me into this 1940’s mystery. Americans spying on Americans during a turbulent time in history perked my interest. Make that spy a pastor and add some romance and I was fully engaged. The character’s reminded me of an old black and white movie from the period especially the way the men and women flirty and behaved. Carole is a gifted writer and meticulous researcher. Both talents show through in this page turner. Some may refer to it as cozy because there isn’t a lot of graphic violence. But the suspense still rings true. Lovers of World War II historicals aren’t the only ones who will enjoy this novel. If this time period is not your normal fare give With Music In their Hearts a look you won’t be disappointed.

The Blurb

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

Excerpt from Chapter 1

A vehicle’s tires spinning gravel behind him warned him he’d not lost the black

car. Slowing. Creeping. Engine purring. Only a few feet separated him from the car and

making a sudden decision, he jogged around the corner and hugged the building trying to

put distance between it. The car’s tires squealed as the car sped up. The driver took the

corner, gravel crunching and spinning into the air.

They must have spotted him for the driver braked, throwing the passenger

forward. Tyrell flung himself at the car and grabbed for the door handle.

The window slid down.

Something tugged at his arm.

And the handle tore from his grasp as the car accelerated.

The seemingly belated, reverberating crack of a gun vibrated the air around him.

The car spun around a far corner, and Tyrell reached up to rub his stinging arm.

The sticky wetness drew his attention.

Blood. He saw the tear in his coat sleeve, the minute traces of blood oozing.

He’d been shot?

Why would they—whoever they were—want to shoot at him? It was a scratch,

and they’d been close enough to kill him if they’d wanted to.

They didn’t want to. What were they after? A scare tactic? To warn him away?

From what? Perhaps all this was a coincidence, a figment of his active imagination.

No sign of the car. Satisfied he was rid of them, he entered the hotel. At the

reception desk, he filled out the necessary papers, climbed the stairs, and headed down

the hallway.

At the far end, a red-haired woman inserted a key into the lock.

Was she the same woman who’d been in the recruitment office? That hat . . . He

called out, “Hey, lady.”

She glanced his way, her luxurious hat tilted at just the right angle to hide one

side of her face. With a flip of her plaid skirt, she shoved open her door and disappeared


Tyrell hesitated at his own door, next to her’s, but inserted his key and entered.

Inside, he switched on a light then as quickly flicked it off. He stepped to the window.

And drew in a breath as if he’d been sucker-punched.

Down below, across from the hotel, the streetlight reflected off a long, black

Oldsmobile. Standing beside the car staring up at the hotel, stood Ben Hardy.

His cousin and best friend.


With Music in Their Heart

Kindle Link:   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OVFWA5S?pldnSite=1

Print Link:    http://www.amazon.com/Music-Their-Hearts-Spies-World/dp/1941622038/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415113865&sr=1-1&keywords=With+Music+in+Their+Hearts

If you’re curious enough to add this to your reading list I hope you will stop by on Monday, December 1st to see the interview with this wonderful writer. By the way it is available in e-book format as well.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss this upcoming interview as well as interviews with other authors who have agreed to share with me. There will be giveaways 🙂

Spooky Architectural Prompt—Can You Guess?

Halloween puts me in mind of an interesting architectural structure. Its very name paints a scene without further description. One that authors and movie makers have used to represent the darker side of life and promote fear. When describing a large old mansion or a castle, we see them. To add a creepy feel to a dark and stormy night lightening might cause their eyes to glow. In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast a fight between the beast and his archrival takes place on their steep precipices. In the Sorcerer’s Apprentice Balthazar brings the stone creation to life and flies off on it.

Many a scene in literature has the damsel in distress hopelessly trapped on one. Or the hero hanging on by his fingernails as the villain crawls along its cold stony back to finish the hero off. Only to tumble to his own death on the slippery thing. Carole Brown’s debut novel The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman has a heart pounding scene like that.

In the comedy Murder By Death these stone creations fall each time the doorbell rings.

Have you guessed of what I speak?

Image Image

That’s right, gargoyles. Many medieval structures such as churches have them keeping watch on the walls. Architects of the period used the gargoyles as part of their drainage system to keep rain water from eroding the stone structures. Because the stone had to be carved to accommodate the water artistic figures; often misshapen animals and mythical creatures became the purveyors of rainwater.

Although they take on many shapes, most people picture gargoyles as ghoulish and otherworldly. Therefore, they are the perfect backdrop to a sinister act or a ghost story. I have not read a book that placed gargoyles as beacons of hope. However, the Disney Movie the Hunchback of Notre Dame had three animated gargoyles as Quasimodo’s friends and confidants. Only Disney could make a gargoyle friendly.

Can you name any other movies or books that contain gargoyle references?

Interview With Carole Brown Author of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman


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.

Ÿ  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.

Ÿ  Why would she do this? There had to be something so catastrophic, so horrid, she would risk everything.

Ÿ  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?

Ÿ  Some have weird rituals.

Ÿ  Most are manipulative and loyalty plays a huge part.

Ÿ  Many require monetary sacrifices.

Ÿ  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/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

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/