I’m thrilled today to have Caryl McAdoo here wit us on Shelf Full of Books for an interview. Yesterday I reviewed Hearts Stolen, the second book in her Texas Romance Series. Welcome Caryl.
I want to thank you so much for having me, Kathryn. I’m so excited to chat with you and you readers and share a bit about my books.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Music, I love to sing – mostly praise and worship, but God gives me new songs that go along with my children’s books I take into schools and He gave me Susannah’s Ballad for VOW UNBROKEN. He gives me scripture songs to help me with whatever I’m going through. Like: ♫♪*`•. I'm free.•*♪¨*sing•♪♫ I’m free!♪♫•*¨♪ Free to be what You want me to be.♪♫¸¸ •*♪ No more!*•.¸ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸Sin’s slave!.•*º°You freed me from the curse!•.¸.•✿ڿڰۣღ the day Your Life You gave!ღ(̆̃̃ڿڰۣ✿♫♪*You knew me then!`º°¨•.¸You know me now!•.¸.•*♪♫• And love me still!♪♫¸•*♪The purpose of my life♫♪*`•. Is now to do Your will!.•*♪¨*sing•♪♫
I also like to paint and garden – not so much the getting down and in the dirt anymore (pretty hard to get up) but decorating the garden, adding touches. I love Pinterest for remembering great ideas.
Tell us something you would like your readers to know about you they don’t.
Besides writing, I love to sing. Not because I have a beautiful voice. I just love making music, and never learned how to play an instrument, so I sing. While I have trouble remembering a movie, even a good one, the tune and words to a song are forever etched into my brain. Once in the role of taxi-mom singing unashamedly with the radio, I overheard my seven-year-old in the backseat tell her little girlfriend, “My mother knows all the words to all the songs, even the ones she hasn’t heard.”
I guess some readers might guess that though because I often sing all over Facebook. A song like: ♪♫•*Our God ¨*•.is an awesome God!¸¸.•*¨He reigns*•♫♪ from Heaven above!♪♫•*¨*•. With wisdom!.•*¨*•♫♪ Power and Love! ♪♫•*¨*• Our God is an awesome God!¸.•*¨*•♫♪♫♪
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Anything with tomatoes and jalapenos J Our country city of Clarksville is blessed to have Rio Verde, a fantastic little restaurant that makes a ‘Steak Mexican” I think I could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner six days a week, but I only have it now and then. Ron takes me there to celebrate.
And on my desk is almost always a 9 oz. bag of Lindor irresistibly smooth milk chocolate truffles. They’re great for writers’ block. I mean, they’re amazing! J
What role does your faith play in your writing?
It has been a great joy to discover this genre and I owe that in full to Mary Sue McAdoo Seymour, my agent. Can you believe she grew up a McAdoo? God has such a sense of humor! And of course, meeting her was His divine plan for us both, so He ultimately gets credit for me writing historical Christian romance.
I love being able to write His principles and Truths into my stories. That my readers write of drawing closer to Him or examining their hearts anew because of my writing is such an awesome reward.
I am wholly sold out to loving God and pleasing Him in all that I do. I could never repay the debt I owe to Him, but thank Him so much for preparing a way for me to be in relationship with Him. That He loves me the way He does and blesses me and sends His favor before me never ceases to overwhelm me.
My heart’s desire is to bring Him glory, and this platform He’s given me allows me to advance His Kingdom here on earth. Believing time is short and that His Son is coming again soon to reign in Jerusalem, I set my focus on bring the Good News to all who are lost and don’t know Him as I do. I don’t know how they even get through a day without Him. I sure couldn’t.
How many books do you write in a year?
Depending on the length, as few as three or four and as many as ten or twelve! The historical Christian Texas Romances are all over eight-five thousand words, usually upwards to ninety-five, and those take two to three months to write. I’ve written a book in a month or less when it’s more like forty thousand words. I call those novellas, but some are calling seventeen to twenty thousand words ‘novellas’.
When I contracted with Simon and Schuster to publish VOW UNBROKEN (book one of Texas Romances) it was eighteen months before it hit the shelves, and I couldn’t sell any other books during that time, but I kept writing. When my husband and I decided to go hybrid and publish HEARTS STOLEN, we had to wait for six months after Vow’s release in March. So HEARTS came in September with the next two HOPE REBORN and SINS OF THE MOTHERS already written—now scheduled to come out in January and May respectively. In 2015, I plan to release nine titles, three Texas Romances, three Biblical fiction (volumes two, three, and four of The Generations series – one already complete), and three contemporary romance novellas (two already complete). That’s all God willing of course.
How do you write the books so quickly?
I truly don’t mean to sound trite, but literally, one scene at a time. And God helps with the ideas flying, too! The scenes are usually a few pages long and a sequel before the next scene and before I know it, there’s a chapter. Sometime in one day, sometimes two. An average chapter in my opinion is ten pages long. Some are eight, some twelve, but ten is a good average. Then as the story progresses, I enjoy finding out how it’s going to go! J I do not know how it’s going to end when I start.
Where do you get the ideas for all the books you are writing?
From all different places! Sometimes a fun fact I find in my research gets me to thinking. I think of a heroine and what kind of trouble she’s going to be in. She’s usually at least in part like me. Then her hero (a lot like my high school sweetheart husband Ron) and how he’s going to help her. That’s enough to get me started and the story builds as I write. I’m always talking to God about everything, so He’s the One who ultimately gives me the idea and brings the stories to a good end and resolution.
How do you keep all the storylines straight for all the stories you are writing at the same time?
That isn’t hard. Think about your mother telling you a story going on with your cousins in your crazy aunt and uncle’s family. And then about what’s going on with your BFF and all her drama. And lastly, imagine that you’re reading one of my Texas Romances. You wouldn’t get those three stories mixed up. J They are all different and the people in them are different. I get to know them all well since I have the pleasure of being right inside their heads! J
Do your creative juices flow in others areas besides writing?
My name Caryl (pronounced carol) means joyful song. Since the ’80s, God has blessed me with new songs! Mostly praise and worship, but also family songs – one for each of Grami’s 14 grandsugars, my Mama, my Mean Old Uncle Jim’s retirement and fun children’s tunes to go with our (co-authored with O’Pa) mid-grade chapter books.
The Lord’s even given me Susannah’s Ballad, a love song my VOW UNBROKEN heroine would sing. I’ll probably share it at a few of my Launch Parties. I’d sing it for you if you had a player on your website J
I’m liable to break out into song at any minute as the melody strikes me, used to embarrass my daughter when she was little singing at the grocery store or her school. But now she does the same thing, and her daughters cry, “MOTHER! PLEASE!” When she was five or six, she told a little friend of hers, “My mama knows all the words to all the songs, even the ones she hasn’t heard.”
Yes, I am a singer lady. And my best times in this life are when the Spirit carries me to His throne in praise and worship!
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I would be a praise song extolling the greatness of my Abba! I would be so bouncy and happy that believers who sang me couldn’t keep their feet still even if they wanted to—they’d just have to dance! With much forte, I would usher them into His Holy courts with blasts from shofars and flutes, guitars and drum rolls. Then. I would stretch out my melody long and slow down my exultation, go into a pianissimo that guides His children to worship, into the Holy of Holies where they would bow down. They and I would then be silent and breathe in His manifest presence.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Most definitely and without hesitation—the strong female lead. I’m a firstborn, Mama’s only child for eight years. My ability to take charge and get things done was one of my qualities that attracted my Ron, although he’s become king of our castle, my ‘head’, and I do my best to submit to him as unto the Lord—though sometimes, I forget and have to repent later. Yes, I’m a lot like Susannah in VOW UNBROKEN J Like Sassy Rose in HEARTS STOLEN J and like May in HOPE REBORN!
You have been God’s servant in extending my ‘platform’ through this interview to all your friends. I pray that some of your readers will also become mine because they’ve joined us today and liked what I had to say. I love it how so many authors, reviewers, and bloggers are open and ready to help writers to success instead of thinking there aren’t enough readers out there for all of us. I am grateful to you for inviting me.
With fourteen titles released by six publishers, Simon & Schuster author Caryl McAdoo is excited about her new historical Christian Texas Romance HOPE REBORN, book three after VOW UNBROKEN (1832 / March 2014), book two HEARTS STOLEN (1844 / September, 2014) She also enjoys success with her new Biblical fiction series The Generations, volume one A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS (November 2014) and volume two THEN THE DELUGE COMES releases in March 2015.
The novelist also edits, paints, and writes new songs. In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for almost fifty years—to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and fourteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes they books will also minister His love, mercy, and grace to all their readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State.