Carol Cox is a pastor’s wife, a mom, and a grandmother. She has an abiding love of history and is the author of more than twenty-five books. Her latest, Trouble in Store, released earlier this month.

Carol, her husband and her daughter live in northern Arizona, fifty miles from the nearest mall.

See below for details on the contest Carol is holding to celebrate the release of Trouble in Store.

Please tell us about Trouble in Store (Bethany House, June 2013).

I’ve always been fascinated by stories of people who are thrown into impossible situations and manage to prevail, despite the odds. That’s exactly the kind of situation Melanie Ross faces in Trouble in Store.

Here’s a bit about the book:

Fired from her job as a governess, Melanie Ross has no one to turn to and no place to go . . . except the Arizona mercantile owned by her late cousin and his partner. She packs her bags and heads west, hoping to make a new start. But when she arrives, she learns her cousin’s partner has also died, and the mercantile is being run by his nephew—who has no intention of letting Melanie take over the store he’s inherited. When a body turns up on the doorstep, squabbling with Caleb Nelson over ownership of the store becomes the least of Melanie’s problems.

What inspired the story?

I love studying history and learning about the way people lived in different times and places. And I’m always struck by the fact that while fashions and customs may change from one era to the next, the issues we deal with don’t.

While Trouble in Store is set in 1885 Arizona, the problems facing Melanie and Caleb are the same issues people face today: loneliness, difficult economic times, and balancing life as a single parent.

Melanie’s struggle to find a home reflects the longing we all experience for a place where we can belong, where we’re accepted and loved. It’s a longing God has placed in all our hearts—the awareness of an emptiness only He can fill.

Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often even more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life—or in one of your character’s lives—that taught you something?

Melanie’s experience is a perfect example of that! When her job as a governess comes to an abrupt end, she finds herself cast out into the world all alone, with no family to rely on and no place to call her own. Her only possible haven is the mercantile her late cousin owned, along with his partner, Alvin Nelson. But Alvin has also passed away, and the warm welcome she hoped for doesn’t materialize. Time after time, she experiences a stumbling block along her path . . . and yet God is faithful, leading her one step at a time into new and richer experiences that turn out to be blessings that draw her closer to Him.

I’ve seen that happen in my own life. I’ll make plans, only to see blocks arise in the path before me. When that happens, I have to make a choice. Do I rail against seeing my ideas thwarted? Or do I put my trust in God and let Him turn my feet in a new direction? He knows the end from the beginning and sees possibilities I can’t imagine!

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For more information about Carol and her books, visit her website at

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