Our guest today is Carol Heilman. I enjoyed getting to know Carol last spring at the Carolina Christian Writers’ Conference. Carol is a coal miner's daughter who married her high school sweetheart. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband of fifty-plus years.
I hope you'll enjoy our interview. Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Carol’s delightful debut novel, Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbrier. I love the cover.
Carol, please tell us a little about your writing.
I began writing family stories, especially about my dad’s Appalachian humor, for newspapers and magazines. I read tons of books on writing, and enrolled in a few creative writing classes, but the most important step for me was joining a critique group. These fellow writers became my support and my cheerleaders who gently critiqued my work until gradually my writing skills improved. I think a good critique group is invaluable.
For you is writing a passion, a calling, or both?
Writing is an absolute passion. Just ask my husband who sometimes rolls his eyes at my enthusiasm.
What’s the best thing about writing a book?
Getting lost in the story and in the lives of the characters.
Is there one piece of writing advice you wish you’d had from the beginning?
You will learn more from your failures than your successes.
What is the most meaningful truth you hope your readers will glean from your writing?
Listen to our elders. Really listen. And become a voice for a senior who cannot speak for himself or herself.
What do you think the Lord is teaching you through your writing?
Patience and compassion.
What inspired you to write this novel?
The story began as a writing assignment, a short story, inspired by my mother’s spunky spirit and my dad’s humor. The main character, Agnes, has my mother’s spunky spirit.
Tell us about your new book.
Set in a small town, AgnesHopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar, is about an outspoken widow who sometimes talks to her husband, Charlie, even though he died two years and three months ago. Here’s a description from the back cover.
Summer's steamy haze coats North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, but feisty Agnes Marie Hopper discovers the heat isn't the only thing causing her blood to boil. After a kitchen fire destroys her home, Agnes moves in with her daughter, Betty Jo. Three months later they come to an understanding. Neither can tolerate living with the other. So on a sultry August morning Betty Jo drives Agnes and her few belongings to Sweetbriar Manor, a local retirement home and a former house of ill repute.
With no intention of staying, Agnes devises a scheme to sneak out of the Manor and find another place to live. Before she can make her exit, she runs into her best friend from high school, along with some other quirky characters. With a nose for trouble, Agnes learns some of the residents are being robbed, over-medicated, and denied basic cable and Internet access.
Armed with nothing more than seventy-one years of common sense and a knack for pushing people's buttons, Agnes sets out to expose the unscrupulous administrator, protect her new friends, and restore Sweetbriar Manor's reputation as a "rewarding and enriching lifestyle." But the real moment of truth comes when Agnes is forced to choose between her feisty self-reliance and the self-sacrifice that comes from caring for others.
Please share with us your favorite Scripture and why it means so much to you?
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.” 2 Samuel 22:17 (NIV)
If the Lord Jesus had not rescued me, I would have drowned. I was a young adult when I realized He loved me unconditionally, and at that very moment my bitter and rebellious heart began to heal and change. Now my heart is filled with His joy because I will always belong to Him.
Thank you Carol for sharing with us today. Your novel sounds like a fun read.
Readers, thank you for visiting Write Moments with God. You can connect with Carol on the following sites:
Author Page: amazon.com/author/carolheilman
I hope you will leave a comment (with your email address if I don't have it already) in order to be included in the random drawing for a paperback copy of Carol new book. Please share this post with your friends. The winner will be announced on the blog, Monday, February 9th. Blessings!