Today the talented Carol Underhill is with me for a Q & A!
Me: What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Carol: Grace Livingston Hill, Gone with the Wind, A Lantern in her Hand (Bess Streeter Aldrich)
Me: How did you come up with the title(s)?
Carol: I wrote down a list of words that sounded like a historical title, Legacy, Journey. Then I wrote down words describing the heroine. I came up with Legacy of Courage, the first book being Courage to Hope.
Me: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Carol: The characters and the events in the book are fiction. I used my own family ancestry as a guideline for the dates when the characters could have been born, but they are not based on any real people.
Me: What books have most influenced your life most?
Carol: The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder remain my all-time favorites. I’ve read them since I was a little girl and still enjoy them. They are so rich in history. Also the Red River series by Lauraine Snelling. Very inspirational.
Me: What book are you reading now?
Carol: Lauraine Snelling has one coming out that I can’t wait to read. It’s a prequel to her Red River Valley series.
Me: What are your current projects?
Carol: I’m writing a blog based on the characters and events mentioned in the first book. The heroine, Cara, was born in Charleston, raised in Texas, and ends up in Indiana living on her grandmother’s farm. I did not write all of the backstory into the book, and sometimes the readers have questions about how all of this takes place. I went back into my research, starting with Cara’s grandfather and the Revolutionary War. Three times a week I post details about the characters and events on my blog, as a prequel to the Courage series.
Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Carol: I’d like to make a career out of writing and speaking in public about my writing. A library used my book for their book club and invited me to come and speak. I enjoyed it, and it led to two other speaking engagements.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I did go back and change the ending of the fourth book from the original printing. I wrote book 4 in a month and did not take much time to work on editing. After a couple of years, when I went back and reread it, there were some details that just did not fit into the story right.
Me: How did you get started with the writing venture?
Carol: I’ve been writing for a long time. The Courage series began in 2002. After the first book was finished, I tried every traditional means possible to get it published. In 2007, I let a friend read the first two books. She loved them and wanted copies for her family and friends. We looked into a local printer and had some spiral bound copies made up. I published the first five books in spiral bound. Then in 2012, I was put in touch with a printer that I could work with to have a traditionally bound paperback book. The cost of printing was reasonable. The startup costs were expensive, of having the covers and texts prepared for printing. It has been well worth the cost, however, as I am starting to see the book sales grow.
Me: Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Carol: I have all the details for the series in my head and an outline written out. I don’t always have the motivation to sit down and write.
Me: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Carol: “We build our own ladders to reach to the sky,” is a quote I learned back when I was in college. I take this to mean that we have to work out our own way to make things happen, because there are not always “lucky breaks” in life for writers who want to be published.
Me: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Carol: I would tell them, “Thank you for sticking with me on this journey as my stories and books have developed into something I am proud of.”
Me: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
Carol: I chose a state and a time period I was not familiar with. I researched probably a hundred websites or more, and many books and encyclopedias, to get a feel for the real history behind the story. I joined a 19th Century Writers’ group on Yahoo. I asked questions and found out some of the words or details I used were not in existence at the time of my writing (1850’s). It was a learning experience, and very humbling.
Me: What genre do you like writing the most?
Carol: Inspirational romance. I like weaving my own legacy of faith, handed down from generations of women before me, into the stories.
Me: Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Carol: I do. Often. I have to sit down and write my way through it, until inspiration hits and the writing gets on a roll again.
Me: Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Carol: Sometimes I have it all planned out before I begin, but the details come up and the stories take twists and turns that I don’t plan on. It makes the writing process very interesting and fun.
Me: Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Carol: I wrote romances in high school that my friends and teachers read and liked. Early in my 20’s I tossed those out and am glad I did. I would be embarrassed to have those early works in print.
What is your favorite color?
What’s your favorite food?
Puppies or bunnies?
Puppies now, but when I grew up, it was bunnies. As a child, I had my pet bunny, P.J., for over ten years. Now I have a Black Lab named Rosie.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Most definitely chocolate.
Courage to Hope
A young widow, Cara Bancroft struggles to hold onto her farm, her inheritance from her grandmother. With her fourth child due at harvest, she can’t possibly run the farm herself. Finding someone to work for her is not an easy task. She is an outcast in the community because of her past mistakes.
Adam Kenley is the third son of a farmer. He wants to better his position in life to win the hand of Belinda, whose wealthy father wants more for his daughter than to marry a farmer. Adam takes the job on Cara’s farm to earn money for the university, against his family’s advice.
Adam’s hard work brings hope into Cara’s life, but will his friendship with the widow cost Adam his dream?
Facebook: Carol Woolworth Underhill, author page