Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Before we get started with today's author interview, just a quick reminder: today is the last day to enter my Valentine's Day Contest! Click here for all the details ~ I'll announce the winner right here, tomorrow!
Now welcome Carol Spradling, author of historical fiction and romance. Her first book, Cost of Freedom, is due out with The Wild Rose Press this spring.
Hi, Carol! So tell us: was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?
I was always fascinated with Colonial America, but there were two events that captured my attention in a way that I knew I had to write about the 1700s. One was my middle school, history teacher, Mr. Igo. When he taught, he would pull his chair in front of the class, lean in, and speak as though it were story time. His animation and passion for this period stayed with me, deepening my infatuation with the time.
The other, I read a small blurb in a magazine about a woman who lived in pre-Revolutionary War America. Her husband was away, fighting with the Patriots while she lay dying of an undisclosed illness. A friend begged her to send word to her husband. She refused, commenting that her life was insignificant to what he did. It was more important that he stay where he was than be with her.
I knew this woman’s story had to be told.
Wow, that's interesting. Can you tell us about your upcoming published novel?
Cost of Freedom is the first book in a trilogy set in 1770, Boston. It opens with William Jackson at the Boston Massacre. He tries to diffuse the situation but gets wounded, rendering him unable to continue with the Sons of Liberty. Unknown to him, childhood friend, Abigail Matthews arrives in Boston, thinking herself an indentured servant. One night, she is alone in a cemetery and overhears two Patriots plotting against her beloved England. She flees with this information but is captured and taken to William’s home. On opposite sides of the conflict, they re-ignite their friendship, but it is not until Abigail shoots a British soldier and is marked as a traitor that she begins to see the Colonies and their fight through William’s eyes.
Sounds exciting! So how do you go about developing your characters?
Most of my characters present themselves. As I formulate the idea for a scene, they arrive,
generally with their own attitudes and thoughts of what should transpire. It is not uncommon for me to have an idea for a character’s speech and behavior. The next thing I know, I’m following them down a side road, wondering how I got there. I always find it advantageous to allow them to be themselves, rarely have they lead me astray.
As a published author, what advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
Write from your heart. It doesn’t matter what you write or how well you construct a sentence. Get the ideas on paper. You will have ample opportunities for revisions. Also, write for the joy of it. If your main goal is to be published, you will find writing frustrating.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Writer’s block hasn’t been a problem. I am a ‘chunk writer’. Basically, whatever scene I’m thinking about on any given day is what I work on. When the flow dries up, I move on to something else. Sometimes, I’ll write small paragraphs, ideas basically, in several scenes. Other times, the entire scene will unfold in one swoop.
When I do find myself without a pressing scene, I will look over what I’ve written, pick one spot and think, what would happen if I did this. I also like to take a deeper look at the characters and try to determine what is the driving force behind them. This generally opens up an entirely new aspect in which to work.
With historical fiction, although the foundation and some of the characters are based in fact, my main characters are fabricated. This gives me the liberty to put them in places and situations without adulterating history. Plus, it breathes life into the period, providing a fresh perspective.
When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?
Oh, I have to use the computer. I can’t touch type. For me to transfer written work to the computer screen would take forever, not to mention be frustrating. I will jot thoughts and ideas down on paper because inspiration strikes at the oddest times and a fired-up computer isn’t always handy.
Thanks for being here and sharing your experiences, Carol. Is there anything else you’d like to mention to readers today?
I hope you will enjoy William and Abigail’s story as much as I enjoyed telling it. Updates, excerpts, and soon-to-be announced release dates for Cost of Freedom are available at my website.