Today we welcome Carol McClain to my blog. Carol is a critique partner and is graciously giving away a copy of THE POISON WE DRINK to one lucky winner. Leave a comment (and include contact information) to enter.
Carol, glad to have you. Where did you grow up and attend school? Are there any other authors in your family?
I was the first person to graduate college. I attended SUNY Oswego on Lake Ontario in New York. Thinking I understood the cold of northern New York, I moved further north and east and discovered how frigid life there can be.
I'm the only traditionally published writer in my family. My nephew works with YWAM in Southeast Asia. He's written and filmed many scripts. He even had a showing on Long Island.
Another nephew, who is an incredible artist, writes frequently, but the publishing vehicle is generally facebook. One other nephew does like to dabble in poetry.
As a whole, I come from a strong, artistic line--not necessarily with authors.
How did you get started writing? How old were you? What made you want to start? What did you enjoy reading as a child?
I'm a dreamer. Until young adulthood, daydreams floated through my head with regular frequency--usually romances.
My traditional path to recording my dreams didn't start until late in life. However, as a child, I invented dramas and directed family and friends to act in them. Then I forced our parents to pay a penny to watch us play.
I earned my living as a teacher. And as in teaching, I wanted to write so I could change the world (I am idealistic). Also, since I told myself stories non-stop, I figured I needed to write them down.
How and when did you and your husband meet? Was it love at first sight? What does he think about your being an author?
My husband and I met online. The frigid town mentioned above is an itty-bitty town on the Quebec border--think Montreal, not Buffalo. No viable male attended my church so I took a chance and went online. I discovered Neil, who lived only seven miles from me. He was a pastor and good and kind, and in our dozen years of marriage, we have maybe argued twice.
I don't think it was love at first sight. However, from the first date, I knew he was a man I could commit my life to. Perhaps I was prophetic. Within a year we married.
And he loves that I write. He's my biggest fan, and promotes all my work--which is wonderful seeing as I forget to inform people about my novels.
How old are your children? Do they read your books? Have any of them got the writing bug, as well?
I have one daughter Sarah who is decidedly left-brained and not like her artsy mother. She's a speech pathologist, preppy, and literal and a whiz at all things mathematical. I'm the hippy-dippy harebrained one.
She reads all my books and is quite proud of her mamma. We're best friends.
How do you research the communities and people you write about? Do you find yourself having do a lot of research?
I love research, which surprises me because in college you would have thought I was expected to explore the Septuagint in the original Hebrew (I know, it's Greek to me) when forced to research.
I become my characters. In my first book, DWF: Divorced White Female, I developed a love for Ben and Jerry's Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz when I formerly hated coffee ice cream because my protagonist devoured it.
Anna Haas in Waters of Separation made me love Africa.
In The Poison We Drink, I love Torie Sullivan's spunk.
In DWF, the obsessive Chandler family is much like me.
My latest book, The Poison We Drink, convinced me I wanted to be a paramedic--all because my antagonist adored the job.
Only in Waters of Separation did I have to research a community because half the book took place in the Ivory Coast.
Which is your favorite book? Do you have a character in your books you identify with the most?
Until Poison came out, my favorite would have been Waters of Separation. Anna Haas is probably most like me--insecure, serious and desperate to see justice done for those who have none.
Now, the themes in The Poison We Drink inspire me. We must forgive, and we need others to help us along that path.
The Poison We Drink
Twenty-four-year-old hairdresser Torie Sullivan has given up on life. When her boyfriend betrays her, she careens her car into a ditch in a drunken fury.
After paramedic Adam Benedict rescues Torie from her mangled car, he learns she's the middle school bully who brutalized him. A week later, he discovers she lives in a lean-to in Hookskill Nature Preserve. Despite his hatred, his innate compassion won't allow him to leave Torie in the wilds. He offers her a room in his miniscule cabin.
After Torie's first night at Adam's, tragedy strikes his life, and he can no longer house her. His girlfriend, Maya Vitale takes Torie in. Though first-grade teacher Maya's past isn't as sinister as Torie's, she, too, hides a shameful secret.
In The Poison We Drink, the lives of three disparate friends collide and reveal the toxic pasts that threaten to poison their lives.
Only by forgiving the unpardonable can they be set free.
This book is available wherever books are sold online.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2hE0mNh
Others say weird.
In truth, McClain's wacky and wonderful.
As a youth, she believed herself an odd-ball, and craved to be like others. She even practiced writing in clichés because her classmates did, and if they thought the phrases were cool, they had to be.
Fortunately, that phase passed, and she now celebrates her own diversity. She plays bassoon, creates stained glass, enjoys high ropes, loves to run and, of course, she writes.
For thirty years she attempted to teach teenagers the joys of the English language. Judging from the prevalence of confusion with their, they're and there--not to mention your and you're, she hasn't succeeded. She's now on a quest to make magic with her own words.
You can contact Carol at http://carol-mcclain.blogspot.com