Meet author Carol Grace Stratton

Carol Straton is a novelist, reporter and freelancer. She’s written hundreds of articles and four books—Changing Zip Codes, The Littlest Bell Ringer, her award-winning debut novel, Lake Surrender, and her newest, Deep End of the Lake.

An avid hiker and baker, Carol also speaks to women’s groups such as Mothers of Preschoolers. Married to her literary muse, John, they have four children and nine grandchildren and reside in Clemmons, North Carolina. I love to encourage new writers and readers who have moved.

Tell us about your newest book.

Deep End of the Lake is the sequel to Lake Surrender. It’s the continued story of Ally Cervantes, a Californian who has moved to Lake Surrender, Michigan, with her two children to start life over again. Newly engaged to camp director Will Grainger, she still thinks she can do it all. But with an autistic son, rebellious teenage daughter, a crazy work schedule, and a shaky engagement, she finds herself back in the rat race she left. As a new believer she learns to trust God, not her plan B.

What inspired you to write Deep End of the Lake?

Readers loved Ally and Will and I wanted to continue their story to show how Ally grows in her faith. (She’s a new Christian).

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Parenting a rebellious teen and autistic son, satisfying a demanding boss, and learning to love again, single mom Ally Cervantes learns when you’re in the deep end of the lake you’d better know how to swim.

What genre do you focus on?

Women’s Contemporary fiction. I love helping women navigate their world through my stories. The modern woman faces so many choices and so many pitfalls and often feels alone. I’m hoping my stories might resonate with many who face difficult decisions. Life can kick you in the butt and if I can mirror life situations and solutions, as well as entertain readers, I’ve done my job.

Why do you write?

I’m fascinated with human personalities and why some choose certain paths in their life’s journey.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Ally Cervantes is my protagonist. I love the name Ally because it has a fun-loving vibe. Her last name, Cervantes comes from the Spanish word for servant. In the first book Ally starts out as a hard-driving career woman whose family is second place. In both books she learns through humiliation and failure that “success” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Instead, she realizes how serving others gives her true satisfaction. As with all of us, she is a work in progress.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I’m not a morning person, so I use the early part of my day to do less creative work like answer emails and work on marketing books. My most productive time is afternoon and evening.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

The solitude, and the constantly wondering if I am writing a book anyone will buy.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

It’s satisfying to know you’ve touched others with your story and maybe changed their outlook towards life.

What’s one thing your readers should know about you?

I’ve lived in two countries. I was an exchange student in Mexico City in my teens and I studied at Capernwray, New Zealand, for a semester in my mid-twenties.

Navigating a huge city like Mexico City was a bit overwhelming, but my Mexican sister and I learned how to take buses everywhere. Even still, I ran into some dicey situations that weren’t safe for young girls. I love the Mexican people. The phrase, “My house is your house,” epitomizes the hospitable Mexican culture.

I love New Zealand, chocked with beautiful scenery, from the majestic beaches on the North Island to the fjords on the South Island. I could have stayed longer but my boyfriend was back in California and I missed him. Yep, I ended up marrying him.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I’ve learned to be more disciplined, although I still struggle with time management. Half of writing is getting into the groove. I can do that a lot faster now because of my years having to be on deadline as a newspaper reporter helped this.

What is your favorite pastime?

Trying out new recipes and eating them. I come from a family that loves exotic recipes so I come by it naturally.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Yes, Changing Zip Codes (a devotional) Lake Surrender (the first book in the Lake Surrender series), and The Littlest Bell Ringer (a Christmas middle grade novel).

What are you working on now?

I’ve sketched out a possible novel about a dysfunctional family and an inheritance.


Link to book:

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