Today, I’m delighted to feature Carrie Fancett Pagels, a friend of mine who has recently had her debut inspirational fiction novella, Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance published.
Carrie has been an inspiration to me in the past two years as we’ve been traveling the path to publication.
Carrie, what sparked your personal writing journey?
I had been writing for years, since childhood. What really jump-started my writing was when our son sank into autism after a second set of MMR shots. I felt like I might lose my mind with all his bizarre and extreme behaviors (which I won’t describe here.) I began writing a story about a boy who recovered, over time, with God’s help. And PTL, my son has made tremendous strides and is doing very well now.
Let’s talk about your new inspirational book, Return to Shirley Plantation. Please tell us about it.
This story is about radical obedience despite what might be in a situation for oneself; selfless sacrifice and obedience to our Lord. It is about waiting for God’s leading and timing. Angelina Rose is a multi-generational mixed-race woman who is only 1/8 African-American and appears white.
The Abolitionists used photographs of white slaves (white by appearance but in slavery like Angelina) to stir up Northern sentiments. An exhibit from a couple of years ago, that focused on this, stirred my interest. I began to imagine how a girl in the 1860’s, enslaved, could be 1/8 white at that point. It wasn’t a pretty thought. But unfortunately it happened frequently where you have multi-generational abuse of slaves, resulting in yet another generation of children born into slavery with a white father.
I used a thread in the book where Angelina compares herself with her sister, who is 1/4 African American and had a father whom her mother loved. I have to think that happened, too, where you knew you weren’t the product of a loving union. And I’d also read about a gentleman, who after his death was revealed to have been a man “passing” as white and he was a very prominent man up north. But essentially, the story is a romance and a historical fiction set at one of our nation’s Historical landmarks–Shirley Plantation, which is an amazing place.
Shirley Plantation was a Union field hospital during the Civil War. The Carter women were very impressive in their willingness to tend to the wounded soldiers. Mary Braxton Carter, in particular, is documented to have possessed a very strong faith. And I have a tragic figure, the real-life Hilly Carter, Mary’s son, who had trained to be a minister.
I hope my story will “take” people there and help them understand some of the things that went on during the war. I do not present a one-sided view (I am Northern-raised) but try to give a balanced approach to what people might have been thinking at the time.
God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing this book?
SO many things!!!
~ That I need a critique partner, like Kathy Maher, to help me.
~ That I don’t like to write in isolation.
~ That when God enables me to do something He will give me supernatural favor to get it done.
~ That listening for that still, soft voice is something we all need to do.
What are you working on right now?
Two different manuscripts–one is set up north during 1895 and the other is set along the James River in 1745! I am going back and forth between the two!
Thank you so much, Carrie, for joining us today. Every success as you continue to serve God through your writing.
Here is a bit more about Carrie and where you can find her:
Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.
With a Ph.D. in School Psychology, Carrie served as a psychologist for twenty-five years. Married for over 25 years to the love of her life, she resides in Virginia’s historic triangle. She has an 11-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter.
Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance, is an Amazon top-rated Civil War book.
Carrie contributed to God’s Provision in Tough Times, Lighthouse of the Carolinas (July, 2013).
Carrie’s short story, “Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas,” will appear in Guidepost Books’ A Christmas Cup of Cheer (October, 2013).
Facebook Author Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carrie-Fancett-Pagels/317053071710640?fref=ts
Facebook Personal Page http://www.facebook.com/carriefancettpagels
Links to purchase Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance
God’s Provision in Tough Times