Meet author Carol James
Carol James writes redemptive romance. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe. Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of inspirational fiction writers. Carol enjoys spending time with her family, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church.
Season of Hope is set during and immediately after the Vietnam War. It’s the story of a young, unmarried mother whose life is frozen in a winter of guilt, deceit, and fear. Hope believes the mistakes she’s made have not only separated her from God’s love but also have brought about His wrath. She’s lost everyone she holds most dear, except Mattie, her young son. And she will do anything to make sure he is not taken from her. When a handsome young pastor, Josh Lewis, comes to serve in her church, she wonders if she can trust him with her secrets. But Josh has secrets, too. Will he be able to help her find the answers to the questions that have been buried in her heart for years? Or will his own secrets drive them apart and prevent him from helping Hope find her spring of forgiveness?
What inspired you to write Season of Hope?
Season of Hope was first manuscript I wrote. Hope bears a universal burden—regret. She wants to find forgiveness, but her shame prevents her from feeling worthy enough to even ask. The plot was born out of the strife, rebellion, and uncertainty of the late nineteen-sixties and early nineteen-seventies (my college years). A wise author friend told me to pack it away for a few years and work on other manuscripts while I waited. So, ten years later, I brushed it off, tweaked it, and here it is. Just like Hope, I had to wait for the right season.
How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?
Season of Hope is the story of two people with broken hearts and painful pasts who are searching for peace and the one redeeming hope.
What genre do you focus on and why?
I like to write Redemptive Romance. When I first felt called to write romance, I cringed. I believed romance authors were often not taken seriously—that stories of romance are viewed as fluff. But then God reminded me that the greatest story of all time is a romance, the story of a loving Father chasing after the hearts of His children. In that revelation, the idea of Redemptive Romance was born. My novels focus on developing not only the relationship between the hero and heroine, but also their relationships with their heavenly Father.
Why do you write?
For me, writing is a ministry. It’s not something I ever aspired to do. In fact, a few years ago, not much would have sounded less appealing than being a writer. But the journey of life led me into the desert. I was teaching part-time at a Christian school. I loved my work and considered it my personal ministry. Then my husband suffered a health issue and lost his job. With two daughters in college, I needed to find full-time work. But leaving the school meant leaving my ministry. Yet God promised me He was doing a new work in my life. I just needed to trust. I clung to Isaiah 43:18-19. I searched for His new work. God led me to a new job where my boss was a…guess what?? Writer. She became my mentor, my critic, my encourager. And once I typed the first words of Season of Hope, I knew this was what God had called me to do.
Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
The main character in Season of Hope is, believe it or not, named Hope. Choosing character names can be a challenge. When I first began writing, I felt God was leading me to write three novels in which the heroines were named Faith, Hope, and Charity. So, here we have Hope in Season of Hope. Faith is featured in Rescuing Faith. And Charity is still in manuscript form.Most of the time, I give the heroes Biblical names. They’re classic and timeless. Here, Joshua is our hero’s name. Even though Josh is flawed, he exhibits the grace of Jesus.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?
I wish I could say I write for three or four hours every morning, or that I log a certain number of words a day, but I’m not that organized. I am a slow writer, and I spend a lot of time just thinking the plot through before I ever put the first word into my laptop. I usually determine 3-4 plot points and let the characters fill in between. I’ll write a bit, and think a bit more, write, think, write, think, write.
What is the hardest part of being an author?
For me, the most difficult part of writing is not the actual creation of the story, but not comparing myself and my “successes” to other authors around me. It’s easy to get tied up in the reviews and comments—both good and bad—and forget the true purpose of my writing. When even one person tells me one of my books ministered to them, that’s the greatest success I could want.
What’s the best part of your author’s life?
I have always loved imagining and reading happily-ever-after stories. My favorite part of being a writer is putting the stories onto paper (or my computer screen). I love being able to place my characters in dire situations, watch them struggle, and then help them overcome the trials. And all the time I know what’s around the next corner.
What’s one thing your readers should know about you?
I am a huge fan of British Premier League soccer. In addition to absolutely loving the game itself, I really enjoy the commentary by the announcers. In what other sport would you hear the announcer say, “That brilliant pass gave Klopp’s side a massive victory.” Perfect for a wordsmith.
How have you changed or grown as a writer?
That’s a great question. And my answer has to do with questions. A popular phrase among writers of fiction is “Deep POV” (Point of View). The idea behind this is to write in such a way so the reader honestly feels as if he or she is able to perceive the action through the character’s eyes. The reader should actually be in the mind of the character. This involves, in general, eliminating words like thought, wondered, felt, hoped. And that can be hard. When I first started writing, I would use questions to get around this. I couldn’t say, “She wondered what he thought of her.” So I’d write, “What would he think of her?” An editor explained that internal questions generally pull the reader out of the story thereby placing distance between the reader and the character and impeding Deep POV. I’ve come to agree with that. Most of the time, the character has an opinion or idea about a situation. So, unless the character honestly doesn’t know the answer, doesn’t have an opinion, I’ve learned to avoid internal questions.
What is your favorite pastime?
(Besides reading?) I have many, but I just recently learned how to loom knit, and I am loving it! There are three of us in our little “pod” who enjoy knitting, and we’ve started getting together about once a week to talk and knit (emphasis on the “talk”). Plus, I can do it while I watch my soccer games.
Do you have other books? We’d love to know.
Full length novels: Rescuing Faith, The Waiting, No Longer a Captive (coming soon)
Novellas: Mary’s Christmas Surprise, The Unexpected Christmas Gift, Redeeming Christmas (Christmas 2020)
What are you working on now?
I am currently finishing up the manuscript about Charity. The working title is A Time for Singing. It’s the story of a man and woman who are both recovering from heart-breaking rejections and learning to trust and love (themselves and God) again. The two write secret, anonymous letters back and forth, and leave them in the drawers of an old inn. The idea is based on the Secret Drawer Society at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. My husband and I stayed there a few years ago. When we discovered the drawers filled with letters, I knew I’d include that in a novel one day.
Link to book:
Pelican Soft Cover: https://bit.ly/2MGgewZ
Pelican Ebook: https://bit.ly/2MGe28A
Barnes and Noble Soft Cover: https://bit.ly/2BIhkGo
Barnes and Noble Ebook: https://bit.ly/30lXZF9
Link to promo video by Pelican:
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