BLOGWORDS – Saturday 18 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN CAROLL
CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN CAROLL
“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” ~Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better.
Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her 26 published novels.
rem: Hullo, Robin, and welcome to my blog! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
ROBIN: I was born and raised in Louisiana…now living in Little Rock, AR. I have 3 beautiful daughters and two precious grandsons.
rem: Tell us three things about yourself.
ROBIN: I love to scrapbook. I’m a “planner person” and the only birds I like are cardinals & hummingbirds
rem: I’m a planner-type person, too, Level OCD. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?
ROBIN: Sweet tea or white chocolate mocha coffee, but not first thing in the morning
rem: That truffle bit sounds decadent! What do you do as a hobby?
ROBIN: I’m a huge scrapbooker and planner person. It’s a way to be creative with actually making something, and letting my subconscious work out plot issues in the background
rem: I love that plotting / writing happens in the background! Then again, when does it not happen in the background? What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?
ROBIN: My Edgar Allan Poe and Maleficent action figures
rem: Hmmm… Very interesting… Do you use sarcasm?
ROBIN: It’s my first language. J
rem: So I suppose that makes you fluent, then? Huh? Does it? Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?
ROBIN: My life verse is Philippians 4:13: I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me.
rem: We all do well to remember that when Father gives us an [otherwise] impossible task! If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
ROBIN: Stephen King because I admire his body of work, his sense of humor, and I’d love to just sit and chat with him
rem: What a great choice—talented AND prolific! (Can I sit in with you?) What is your favorite bird and why?
ROBIN: Hummingbird. I’m not a fan of birds, but a hummingbird is like a butterfly on steroids.
rem: On steroids! LOL They are quite aggressive for their miniature-ness. Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?
ROBIN: It’s not a like/dislike…it’s more of a “I’d rather fly than drive” option for me. Jamaica is the furthest I’ve actually flown
rem: Jamaica is also hard to get to if you’re driving. Jus’ sayin’ When is your birthday?
ROBIN: August 19th
rem: August is packed with birthdays in our family. What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?
ROBIN: They’re both the same: the year my husband and I went to Jamaica and for my birthday, we climbed Dunn’s River Falls. Was such a great time.
rem: Sounds wonderful! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction? How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
ROBIN: I think Christian fiction is great stories with real characters, but leaving the reader filled with hope. As I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I think it’s a part of me and a part of my relationship with Jesus.
rem: Oh yes, I’ve found that as I write (which is something He gave me) I draw closer to Him and learn more of who I am, which draws me closer to Him, and my writing is stronger for it. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?
ROBIN: If I get bored, I stop reading. Life’s too short to waste time reading the boring. J Pet peeve? Oh, I have so many. LOL Probably head-hopping. It bugs me.
rem: I so agree! ‘specially since I read at bedtime! Which is more important: plot or characters?
ROBIN: Both because if I don’t care about the character, I don’t care what happens to them. On the other hand, I can love a character, but if they are in a boring plot, I lose interest in them.
rem: I totally agree, gotta have both. What would you do if you weren’t writing?
ROBIN: Event planning
rem: Really! I had thought I’d try that a few years ago—then came the diagnosis (RA) and I don’t have the energy, le sigh… What are you reading right now?
ROBIN: Trying to decipher my handwritten WIP notes that I jotted at 3am
rem: pahahahah – unique handwriting, eh? What do you munch on while you write?
ROBIN: I love Tom’s Hot Fries, sweet tea, and M&Ms
rem: Not so big on the hot fries but I’m right there with you with the M&M’s. Tell us a little about your writing journey.
ROBIN: I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I’ve always made up stories for characters in my head. One day, I decided to just write everything down.
rem: The charactersssss, they speaks to ussss… What inspired you to write suspense? You lived in Louisiana, how much did that influence your writing?
ROBIN: I write Suspense because that’s what I love to read. Louisiana living is a different way of life. The people, culture and food….I like to pull little bits of that into my books.
rem: I’mma gonna gotta visit there one day. I’ve too many friends who live there or are from there! You are Executive / Conference Director for ACFW (we need to talk). How do you balance that with writing and—life?
ROBIN: I’m a big multi-tasker. Always have been. I’m a little OCD and organization is a main component to my happiness. I love my spreadsheets and planners and checking items off my to-do list. With my ACFW job, we have an amazing team in place and we all do our jobs well. When one of us are on deadline, we know how to pinch hit for the other. We’ve worked together for years, so it’s a natural flow. My husband works with me, so he understands the craziness at times. And my kids are amazing….they pick up where I leave off so there’s minimal upset in the house, even when I’m on deadline. We laugh…a lot, and don’t take things too seriously.
rem: A fellow spread sheet aficionado! Hi, my name is Robin, and I love Excel spreadsheets! That’s so great your family is so supportive. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
ROBIN: I don’t really have a routine…I assign myself deadlines when I’m not on one with a publisher and try to stay on task. I usually write in my office at home. Sometimes, for a change of pace, I’ll write in my recliner. Sometimes, if my husband is working his day job in the field, I might ride along with him and write while he does inspections.
rem: Never a dull moment, that way. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?
ROBIN: The constant changing within the industry. [Publishing] Houses going out of business, or no longer publishing fiction…it’s more than just the ebb and flow of changes. It’s the big upsets and how it affects others that I struggle with. I don’t know if any of us handle it…I think we all just do the best we can
rem: Maybe it’s our creative minds that allow us to adapt… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
ROBIN: I actually like both, but I guess the creating best. Because it’s new. It’s exciting to get to work on a brand new story. New characters. That’s kind of cool.
rem: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
ROBIN: Honestly? I’m a bit of a control freak, so it’s really fun to be able to control EVERYTHING in my stories. LOL
rem: Muwahahahahah. #bestansweryet What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?
ROBIN: Get into a good writers’ group. Go to a conference—more if you can. Study the craft as much as you can. Don’t compare yourself to any other writer. Don’t try to write for the fads of today. Don’t take criticism personally.
rem: I’m planning to be at ACFW this year—look for me? Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
ROBIN: EVERYWHERE. Literally.
rem: Exactly! How do you choose your characters’ names?
ROBIN: I use names I like…I use the Baby Name Survey Book….if I see a cool name on a namebadge
rem: Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?
rem: Me neither. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?
ROBIN: Right at this moment, I’m working on the sequel to Torrents of Destruction because I’ve gotten the most emails from readers asking for it
rem: Gotta love that kind of reader response! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?
ROBIN: My next release, Weaver’s Needle, releases in June. I LOVED writing this book. With recovery specialists, Native American legends, a hunt for a real treasure in the Superstition Mountains in AZ…what isn’t to love?
rem: I’ve fallen in love with stories with Native Americans! Please give us the first page of the book.
ROBIN: The Legend of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine
In the rugged Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, located somewhere in a twisted labyrinth of canyon juts, lies the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. The Apache Indians—Shis-Inday or “Men of the Woods”—had a secret gold cave hidden in the mountains. These mountains were the home of their Thunder God, and they held the area in reverence.
As news of gold in the Superstition Mountains spread, fortune hunters came from around the world to search. The Apaches, fierce protectors of their Thunder God’s Mountain, killed everyone who dared trespass.
As legend goes, in 1871, two German adventurers, Jacob Waltz and Jacob Wisner, came to Arizona. Waltz met and fell in love with an Apache girl, Ken-tee. Her relatives soon became convinced she had betrayed the location of their secret mine. According to their ancient ones, the gold had been placed there by the Thunder God for them to use only in time of desperation. When Ken-tee led Waltz to the mine, and they returned to Phoenix with nearly $70,000 worth of gold, the tribe warriors raided within hours. While they murdered Ken-tee, the Apaches failed to kill the Dutchman Waltz.
When Waltz was eighty years old in 1890, he decided to hide the location of the mine. As legend tells it, when he had completed his mission, he told many that “you could drive a pack train over the entrance to the mine and never know it was there.”
Several months after Waltz hid the mine, he contracted pneumonia. His only reported friend was a bread baker from Louisiana named Julia Thomas. History records the great February 1891 flood, which bore down on Phoenix, as the most ruinous in the American Southwest. It is reported Waltz survived the flood by climbing into a small mesquite tree, where he was stranded until someone cut him loose and took him to Julia Thomas’s home, who was known to take in victims of the flood.
Julia tried to nurse Jacob back to health, only he was so old and his body so feeble, he couldn’t resist his illness. He died in degrees over the summer. In October 1891, he attempted to tell Julia exactly where the mine was hidden. It’s recorded he said, “. . .the northwest corner of the Superstition Mountains. The key is a stripped paloverde tree with one limb left on, a pointing arm. It points away from the rock, about halfway from between it and the rock, and two hundred yards to the east. Take the trail in. I left a number of clues.” After speaking these ominous directions, he died.
All the Dutchman’s clues seem to focus around Weaver’s Needle. . . .
rem: What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?
ROBIN: That with God, there is always hope
rem: There surely is. Robin, thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!
Where can we find you online?
“Caroll has written an engaging whodunit, with scenes that unfold expertly and keep the action moving and suspense alive. And though the romance plot line is sweetly written, the characters’ faith journeys are also deeply explored. Fans of suspense will be pleased with this light but entertaining read.”~ Publishers Weekly
#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Caroll, Weaver’s Needle, Native American Legends, The Legend of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine, Torrents of Destruction, Framed, Bayou Justice, To Write a Wrong, Bayou Betrayal