Carole Brown has “written” most of her life—as a newspaper reporter, an editor of journals and newsletters, and an author of research manuscripts. She has a passion for serving other writers and is the founder of Circle of Pens, a mentoring group. She also volunteers with ACFW Ohio.
Carole’s inspirational fiction debut, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, was an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist. She has also written five children’s books and won awards for her poems.
She and her husband, Dan, live in Southeast Ohio. They have traveled extensively through the United States, ministering and counseling.
Your background is in journalism. What sparked your fiction-writing journey?
Actually, fiction has always been my first love in writing. Although I enjoy journalism, research articles, and poetry now and then, I love letting my imagination take me away to new worlds that I create.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I try to bring in some aspect of faith into my novels, but in some of my stories, like The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, it plays a more open part. If you take out the faith in this novel, the plot wouldn’t work very well. Other books I write, the faith may show up more in a worldview way: as kindliness to a fellow person, changed attitudes, or sympathy where before there was hardness. Showing changes for the good, and especially Biblical changes are important to me, whether mildly or deeply.
Let’s talk about your debut book, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, October 2013). Congratulations! Please tell us about it.
Thank you! I’m really excited and thankful for God’s blessings and the many people who’ve helped bring this to pass. : )
Here’s a bit about the book:
How far would YOU go to avenge the murder of a daughter?
Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter from the hands of her religious group, The Children of Righteous Cain. When her husband suffers a sudden heart attack, she does nothing to help him. In her eyes someone needs to pay, and if that means all of the men in the group, then so be it.
Dayne MacFarland is sent away to college by the senior elder of the group to learn ministry. When he returns after finding salvation, determined to bring the truth to the people he’s known all his life, he rediscovers Cara and realizes the love he once felt for her is still deeply embedded within his heart.
Dayne faces men unwilling to turn their backs on the cult training he despises. Cara faces men who follow their leader in abuse toward their wives and the young girls of the group. Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings.
Can Cara overcome the feelings that have governed her most of her life? Can she learn to trust Dayne, and most of all a God whom she sees as uncaring—if He’s really there at all? Only Dayne’s prayers and love can reach Cara and show her the way to redemption, and Cara must recognize and accept God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far.
(The setting for The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is rural West Virginia, where the ugly monster of abuse dwells alongside country roads, mountains, and beauty.)
What was the inspiration for the story?
Smiling. My husband came up with the plot. He and I enjoy keeping up with unusual news items in the world, and the cult situation in Texas (several years ago) caught our attention. We began a “what if” session, and Dan, my husband, came up with the idea of a cult group and a woman who loses a child through abuse and not only is angry and bitter but plans her revenge against the cult. The story exploded from there.
Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life or one of your characters lives that taught you something?
Yes indeed I can. It’s a little miracle in my life this summer and fall. I can’t go into a lot of detail, but suffice it to say, that marketing plans didn’t go as I thought and hoped they would in a certain area. I finally told my husband, “I don’t know what else to do. I’ll just have to leave it in God’s hands.” (Why don’t we do that at the first?) Within a few weeks things exploded! Literally. Only God knew how to do this and how much I needed it to go exactly as He planned.
Over and over, our God is a God of miracles!
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Definitely ice cream. Love the stuff, unfortunately. Add a few fattening chips and you have a lot of calories to work off the next day. Still, it’s fun while it lasts.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Well . . . I tried a clarinet while young. Guitars and a saxophone as I grew older; I’ve played an organ and accordion, and still strive to create music on a piano. I’m not a professional by no means even though I’ve taken lessons from two different, but very good, professionals.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Probably a very romantic one with sudden and unexpected bursts of independence and suspense for added interest.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I’m afraid I’m a little of all those. I’m independent sometimes when it suits me taking matters into my own hands (and sometimes regretting it). I’m fairly friendly, I think, and usually willing to help, I love being different and a little mysterious; enjoy helping and rescuing others, especially the underdogs, if I can, and like being made over by my husband and playing dress up (seriously, for nice dinners and shows).
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
My brothers and I had a pony and dogs, and I had a parakeet named Dreama. After I grew older I added cats to my collection of animals: Ajax, Riley and Toes (had too many), adorable and gone too soon.
In my married life we’ve had chickens (and a spiteful rooster!), cows, horses, cats and dogs, an aquarium with a large assortment of fish and a garden pond with different fish. Right now we have three dogs, numerous cats (too many, but can’t bear to give them away) and one horse named Shyenne.
One of our dogs, Taffy, is a little terrier, and we have no idea where she came from. When one of the horses died, Shyenne grieved. My husband and son came home one day to find Taffy sitting next to her. After that Shyenne was okay and Taffy was ours. Noah, we hauled clear from Pennsylvania; and Mackie was a Boston Terrier my second son found and brought home. We’re suckers and softies when it comes to animals needing love.
What would I still like to adopt? Hmm. An elephant, and I long for my garden pond to get into the proper shape to house Koi. : )
Thanks, Carole! It’s a pleasure to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
And thank you, Kathy, for welcoming me to your site! I’ve enjoyed the questions so much.
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For more information about Carole, visit her Facebook page. She blogs at http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com and also participates at the Barn Door Book Loft.
For a list of retailers that sell The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, logon to the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas website.
Thank you Kathy for inviting me to your lovely site! Really enjoyed your take on the questions, and wish you the best in your own writing endeaavors!
Enjoyed having you, Carole. Love your book cover. Thanks for all you do for ACFW.