Book Quotes

“but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”― Jane Austen

Monday, September 8, 2014

Interview ~ Carrie Fancett Pagels, with Giveaway


Hi Carrie! Welcome back to Stuff & Nonsense. You have been a busy lady this year. What was your favorite activity during the summer?

Writing! I wrote “The Christmas Challenge” novella and worked with four different editors this summer on three different projects!

Traveling!!! I went to Michigan to do more research for The Christmas Challenge, to do a two day book signing event at the lumber museum where my great grandparents’ cabin is situated.

Researching !!!  I did research this summer, in Michigan, for another series (the first novel in the series is a finalist in the Maggie’s Award for Excellence, so prayers are appreciated!)

What are you reading?

Just finished Cynthia Hickey’s and Niki Turner’s lovely novellas and a new novel by Caryl McAdoo, whose writing voice is the closest to mine that I’ve seen yet. Loved her book “A Vow Unbroken.” I’m back to reading Jody Hedlund’s latest, which is also set on Mackinac Island, like my series, but eighty years earlier in time. I started reading it but had to take a break because it was interfering with my own writing. But I’m taking a little time off from the island (my story world!) while I promote “The Fruitcake Challenge” which is set outside Mackinaw City in 1890, and is just across the straits from Mackinac Island. And by the way, that is not a typo. Mackinac Island but Mackinaw City. Don’t ask!
  
Tell us a little bit about your novella and why you wrote it?

I was invited by my friend, Gina Welborn, to join this group of eight authors who wanted to publish a series for Christmas. It is called Christmas Traditions, and Cynthia Hickey has led off the series with her lovely novella, Handcarved Christmas. Niki Turner’s novella Sadie’s Giftreleased last week. My novella should release by September 15th.

I’d had the “What if?” of imagining a camp cook desperate to find her way out of the lumber camps but determined to do so and a former teacher, now a lumberjack, butting heads and falling in love. I wanted both of them to find hope in their situations. My inspiration song for my wring was Danny Gokey’s “Hope in Front of Me.” Here’s a link to the lyrics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KIhYZQ_ovw

The Fruitcake Challenge was a very fun project and inspired by my real-life lumber camp cook grandmother and my mother, who helped out in the cook shack as a girl. So writing the story of a cocky axman who challenge’s a camp cook to make a fruitcake “just as good as” his mother made, has been like taking a walk down memory lane.

I love my spunky heroine, Jo! And I did a “cheat”—I named her after Josephine March, one of my favorite heroines ever! And the hero, Tom, got his first name from my son’s friend who was bemoaning the fact that his name had some bad associations, e.g., Doubting Thomas. I’d told him there are lots of heroes named Tom and so I made mine one! My husband’s last name is Jeffrey and so Tom Jeffries was “born.”
  
This new novella is called “The Fruitcake Challenge.” 

What is your favorite dessert to make?

Well, you’d think after writing about so many different ways a fruitcake could be made that I’d say fruitcake but I like those quick chocolate lava cakes.  I made this recipe recently, substituting Colonial Williamsburg’s “Heritage Chocolate,” which has a lot of spices in it, for the regular chocolate. http://www.anoregoncottage.com/quick-and-easy-lava-cakes/

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written?  If so, why?

Yes, I have an as-yet-unpublished manuscript that is my favorite. It is currently titled “The Overseer’s Daughter” and I simply loved the heroine, the hero, and their story as well as the setting. The story made the rounds to most of the CBA publishing houses, except a few. Still praying it will be published traditionally.

I’m also very fond of my Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance novella because of the theme of obedience plus a cast which includes multi-racial characters—something you don’t see too much of in inspirational fiction.


I only write because God calls me to do so. Logically, I see no good reason for people to write Christian fiction—it has to be a calling. It’s very hard work with little return. God has encouraged me through people he’s put around me to lift me up on my journey. And when I’ve been ready to give up—He’s granted me awards or lovely reviews, etc., to urge me to keep writing.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing?  The easiest?

The hardest thing is cutting a story while still maintaining the integrity of what you’ve written. Writing the story “Snowed In” for Guidepost Books was one of the easiest and most enjoyable things I’ve done (on the first draft). It was awesome “spending time” during 1945 at my great-grandparents’ log cabin (which is where it was set.) But when I had to trim 20% of the story down (which was within the guidelines of what was contracted for, so I’m not complaining, I’m simply stating the facts) that was so difficult that I had to enlist two freelance editor friends to help me do so. Lesson learned. I’d stay at the lower end of guidelines for future submissions.

Do you have a favorite character in this work?  If so, why?

My mother died four years ago. There’s a lot of Ruby in Jo Christy. She loved my husband and found him funny but rarely did she get to observe Jeffrey in his “I’m almost always right” mode—which is what my character Tom Jeffries stays in until his character arc changes. Mom started life out in Kentucky and was then dragged off to the North woods to lumber camps, by my grandfather but she found her way out of the camps by getting jobs in the last community where they’d lived. So I’d say Jo is my favorite character for her determination and spunk and because she reminds me of my mother!

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

Don’t ever give up hope! God has a plan for you. It may not look like anything you wanted to do. In fact, it might look like the exact opposite of what you were aiming for. Trust God and He’ll bless you with a future better than you could have imagined for yourself!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Anne, and thanks for being part of the Christmas Traditions series Promo team!

Thank you for being here, Carrie! It's always fascinating to learn more about a favorite author. 

Links to purchase Carrie's books:

A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Guidepost Books

Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance 


God’s Provision in Tough Times

Author Bio

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D. (www.carriefancettpagels.com) “Hearts Overcoming Through Time,” is an award-winning Christian historical romance author. Carrie’s novella, The Fruitcake Challenge, releases September, 2014. Her short story, “Snowed In,” appears in Guidepost Books’ A Christmas Cup of Cheer (2013). She’s the Amazon best-selling and top-rated author of Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2013). Her Historical Genre winning short story, “The Quilting Contest,” will appear in Family Fiction’s The Story 2014 anthology. Carrie is a finalist in the 2014 Maggie Awards for Excellence for her unpublished novel, Grand Exposé.

Contact Carrie:


Carrie is offering an E-book copy of “The Fruitcake Challenge” novella and an autographed paperback copy of  her novella, Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance
To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment telling us what you most look forward to at Christmas. Ends Sept 12th. Paperback to US ONLY.


55 comments:

  1. The Christmas season has so many things I like - visiting with family and friends I don't get to see often enough; shopping for the less fortunate; realizing the true meaning and God's greatest gift; and finding warmth in a comfortable spot, a glowing fire, a cozy quilt, and a good book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, Janice--you nailed a lot of things that happen in this book and in the Guidepost Books "A Cup of Christmas Cheer" collection! In this novella, an unexpected visit from a family member might make all the difference in the world--or it may be that God already has things all worked out! Thanks for coming by!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. I just wrote from my heart.

      Delete
  3. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Anne! You're such a sweetheart and good friend to me! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are most welcome, Carrie! It's always a pleasure to hear about your writing journey :) I hope you get to feeling better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My favorite thing about Christmas is singing Christmas songs, spending time with family and friends and making memories for the new year.
    I would love to read this Chrstmas book. oh.hello.hiya@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great ways to enjoy Christmas and make memories! Thanks for coming by, Danie! Blessings!

      Delete
    2. Danie, I love singing Christmas Hymns! We sit by the fire and my sons and husband play guitar. It's the most wonderful time of the year :)

      Delete
    3. And Danie Walther, per random.org, you are the the winner! Congrats!

      Delete
  6. Christmas seems so far away! I suppose I look forward to the excited feelings of the season and the beautiful music!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually it seems far away, but with a Christmas release it seems so near! My story actually BEGINS in summer! Ends at Christmas eve! Only 15 weeks till Christmas and the older I get the faster it comes!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Kate, 106 days until Christmas! That's not long :)

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. My son likes turkey dinner so much that we have to do an almost exact repeat of Thanksgiving on Christmas Day. Since my hubs helps (in fact does the turkey now pretty much completely) I look forward to that part of it! The hard thing about Christmas, with having RA, is the extra good stress it causes! Which in turn causes flareups.

      Delete
    2. Bonnie, My oldest son may already be shipped out to the USAF by the time Christmas gets here. Every moment is precious!!!

      Delete
  8. I always look forward to Christmas because of gathering with family. This year, we are newly full time RVers. Our families live in an area where it's too cold for us to stay in the winter, so for the first time we will be away from them for Christmas. We're expecting to be in Alabama on the gulf coast, but it won't be the same without all our family there.
    raeray2 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow that is so cool, Robin, to be full time RVers! Can any of your family come visit you there? Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
    2. Robin, What a blessing to be able to travel in an RV! I hope you find some 'new' family to spend Christmas with, maybe a new church family. My husband and I have talked about it many times. We are nearing a point in our lives that we are ready for some adventure on the road ;)

      Delete
  9. I always look forward to all the beautiful Christmas decorations and lights.I especially look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus.I love your books Carrie and enjoyed this blog post.Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TY, Jackie! I love the lights, too. We have lots of Christmas tree ornaments and I wish my little family would get excited about putting them up, but... Maybe this year I'll have more help!

      Delete
    2. Jackie, One of my favorite things is pulling out all the old ornaments and thinking about where they came from, which ones were made by our children, gifts from friends, etc. One year my husband made a cross frame, entwined lights on it, and put it flat on our extremely steep roof. It could be seen from way down the road. It was very pretty and not tasteless. Now our grand children get all excited about the lights we put on the porch :)

      Delete
  10. We haven't had a family Christmas for a few years now & this year it's going to happen :) Children & grandchildren to fill our home for this Blessed holiday! Would love to read your books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that is so exciting, Deanna! I am so happy for you!!! My inlaws are coming to visit up this Christmas.

      Delete
    2. Deanna, That is wonderful!!!! And the most important thing to have, really. I can ultimately do without the 'trappings' of Christmas. Just give me my husband and family and I am good. Which in turn makes me think about all the people who have no one to share the celebration of our Lord's birth with, and that makes makes me sad. We really do need to pray for folks during the Christmas holiday.

      Delete
  11. My favorite thing to look forward to for Christmas is the grandkids portraying the Christmas Story. They are all so cute and excited to do this, and everyone loves it. We have lots of family traditions and there is no breaking them! And I love that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhhh, that is so sweet, Sonja! One thing I really miss from childhood is the children's pageant that all of us kids put on for Bethel Church. That's a great memory. We had such a wonderful time making the season of Christ's birth memorable.

      Delete
    2. Sonja, That's a great way to celebrate our Lord's birth! My husband and his siblings used to do something similar when they were little. Such precious memories! We always make a birthday cake for Jesus. Well, sometimes it is a giant cookie or pie, but always a special dessert just for HIM :) And candles!!!

      Delete
  12. Seeing my grandchildren as they get up from a night's rest to see what Santa has left them is such a great. After a bit of playing, we all sit down to a wonderful breakfast together.

    It was great to see Carrie here. She is a super writer and the interview was wonderful. I would love to win Return to Shirley Plantation and The Fruitcake Challenge is great!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This year I will have my grand puppy!!! Maybe they'll bring him over to celebrate with the family. Sounds like your family has a wonderful time!

      Great seeing you here!
      Thanks, Melanie!

      Delete
    2. Melanie, Our traditional Christmas breakfast is a yummy Hashbrown Casserole and French Toast. But what everyone REALLY loves is getting their own special box of their favorite cereal under the tree. Now that is a tradition the kids love, young and old! I think they might throw me out of the house if that wasn't one of their gifts :)

      Delete
  13. Loved this interview - thanks, Carrie and Anne!!

    Carrie, I loved "The Fruitcake Challenge"!! The personal history behind it and the fact that I live in Ky. (was born and raised here), but also lived in 2 different areas of Michigan - and fell in love with the lake areas - make "The Fruitcake Challenge" even more special to me, as does the Christmas setting. I also enjoy homemade fruitcake, but have to admit that I love the lava cake more!!

    Christmas is special to me - my favorite holiday, my birthday - but more importantly, the birth of Christ. I love everything about it!! Lights and decorations, church Christmas programs, Christmas music, foods, Christmas movies and books, family gatherings, the joy, excitement, and more giving and loving attitudes, and the observance of Christ's birth.

    Carrie, I so agree with your comments: "God has a plan for you. It may not look like anything you wanted to do. He'll bless you with a future better than you could have imagined for yourself." Years ago, I never would have imagined my life as it is today - but true happiness has come through following God's plan for me.

    I also agree that writing Christian fiction is a "calling", as well it should be, and very hard work. Carrie, thank you for obeying the "call", your hard work, your wonderful books and all you do for others!!

    I have the eBook of "Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance" and would love to have the paperback to keep.

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonnie, I have to admit I do not like fruitcake, at all! But shhhhh....don't tell Carrie ;) I do think I would enjoy that Lava cake she made, though. Maybe I will try one of those out for our Jesus birthday cake this year.

      Yes, if we all could just learn to surrender to HIS will in our lives instead of trying to take control, what JOY there would be, ALL the time!!!

      Delete
    2. Bonnie, God bless you for your words of encouragement today! And THANKS for your Beta read of the story and all your great "catches!" I fixed them this afternoon. I'd love for you to have a pb copy, too!!! Hugs!!!

      Delete
    3. Anne, have you ever tried Claxton's fruitcake? They make the best. If you make it right, and to taste, fruitcake can be really yummy! But lava cakes--who doesn't like those, I mean--really? Easy to make, too!

      Delete
  14. I look forward to all the beautiful music and getting together with my family. This year I'm looking forward to reading one of my best friend's Christmas novella...I think it has fruitcake in it!! lol Another thing I love about Christmas...the baking!! :-)
    '
    ANNE thanks for having CARRIE on your lovely blog! CARRIE it's always fun to learn new things about my BFF!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teresa, It was my pleasure to host Carrie and promote her books! I love reading good fiction :)

      I bet the music swells and bursts forth at your home and church! Maybe one day I will get to hear you play in person. You know, Columbia isn't THAT far away :)

      Delete
    2. Teresa, could you make a layered fruitcake? I have an idea for one I might make for Christmas. But I'll probably cheat and use an angel food cake for part of it. Wish I was coming to SC, sniff sniff! Hugs!

      Delete
  15. I recently read another book that took place in a lumber camp and found it very interesting. Can't wait to read this one and it's even more special since her mother actually worked in one!

    One of the things I love the most about Christmas is looking at all the pretty decorations.

    Doreen
    PriviesAndPrimsAtYahooDotCom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doreen, My grandmother was a camp cook for my grandfather's lumber camp. Poor thing, I think she wished she was still in KY with her family. Maybe it was good my mom got out of there, though--or I wouldn't be here if she'd not moved to MI! Hugs!

      Delete
    2. Hi Doreen, The premise of a lumber camp is quite interesting. Carrie's story is unique and I think you will enjoy reading it. We have a small town about an hour away that has a lights festival every year. It's congested but the lights and decorations are usually very pretty and tasteful.

      Delete
  16. My grandmother used to buy a fruitcake at Safeway every year and serve it with Christmas dinner. I never did understand why so much of it remained uneaten... I loved it! Still do!

    My mother's side of the family is all from Kentucky, from way back. Coal miners, mostly, and a few moonshiners and bootleggers from Hazzard County. Yes... THAT Hazzard County. :)

    So excited to read The Fruitcake Challenge! Being part of this collection has been such a tremendous blessing to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Safeway...wow I haven't heard that name in years, Niki! Are they still around? I must confess I am one who never liked fruitcake. At least not the store bought ones. I've never had a homemade one, though. That might be better :)

      At least you have an exciting family history to draw from when writing, huh?

      I'm looking forward to reading your story in this collection!

      Delete
    2. I wonder how far Hazard county is from Greenup and the area where my mother grew up. I think Mason co. might have been another yes, ok she lived in Lewis county until she was 12.

      Delete
  17. Hello to Anne and Carrie. Enjoyed this interview. Loved hearing about your mother Carrie. And, your grandmother. I would love to win your book. What I love about Christmas is decorating my tree. So many ornaments from years past and recent. I just love looking at it every night all lit up. I always keep putting off taking it down. The room looks naked as my sweet husband always used to say. He hated to have to take it down too. I also love getting to be with many of my family. And, I love the memories it brings back to me. I married at 16 and am now 79 so thats a lot of Christmas memories. And, in 1958 GOD gave a real live baby girl for Christmas. Right in the middle of the day. So, I started early taking Christmas pictures under the tree. Still do that. I have to put my tree up as long as I possibly can. Thanks for the give-away. Maxie
    > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Maxie, What a blessing to have baby on Christmas Day! My mom's birthday was Christmas Eve, and I have a grandson who was born on the 23rd, so we always have two separate celebrations. I love the tree once it is up. I'm a little OCD so it can be very frustrating if I don't chill out and enjoy the process. :-)

      Delete
    2. Maxie, I always love hearing from you and about your life. What a great Christmas gift from God. Love you Maxie!

      Delete
  18. Thank you for a great interview. One thing I look forward to at Christmas is all the Christmas movies, especially Hallmark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to be so careful not to get sucked into the secular Christmas movies, which end up bumming me out, Susan. I love the Christian ones, though. Hugs!

      Delete
  19. I'm sorry a winner hasn't been chosen yet. I am in FL, at my daddy's bedside during these last days. Thank you for your prayer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne, I will go ahead and draw the winner. Praying for you. Hugs!

      Delete
    2. Danie Walther is our winner and I'll try to contact her! Hugs!

      Delete
  20. I'm know I'm late, but I wanted to respond by saying that I enjoyed this blog post. Carrie, I learn more about you every time I read a post about you. Interesting! Congrats on your newest book! Hope to read it soon. Love and hugs to you!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I was just thinking today that I'm in the mood to start Christmas reads. This series looks like just the ticket. Thanks for pointing them out.

    ReplyDelete

I am so delighted that you've taken time to come by and comment. Blessings for a joy-filled day!

1 Corinthians 1:3 ~ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.