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.


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/