When I met Carol this past May at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference it was like meeting an old friend. We share the same publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Some years back I was intrigued when I found an advertisement for Changing-Zip-Codes, Carol’s devotional for folks who move often. Having moved many times myself, I thought her book would be an encouragement for my daughter-in-law, now living the life of a career Navy wife. As Carol and I visited at the conference, we discovered that we both lived in adjoining towns in the San Francisco Bay area during our teens in the sixties.
Tell us a little about yourself, Carol.
Currently, I live in North Carolina with my husband and literary muse, John. We are the proud grandparents of eight grandkids.
I grew up in Palo Alto, in the San Francisco Bay Area, with three siblings where I learned how to sneak out of chores and fight to the death to see my favorite television program (only one television). I lived in Mexico City when I was thirteen as an exchange student and learned Spanish which now is very rusty but it taught me to be independent and to appreciate other cultures. In college, in Fresno, I majored in English until the head of the department suggested, on my papers, that I might want to find another major. (Never listen to the experts).
After college, I lived in New Zeeland for about four months while attending Capernwray Bible School in, Auckland. It truly is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
How and when did you begin to write?
I had my first essay published in sixth grade in our town newspaper in a column called, Youth Said It, in the Palo Alto Times. Later, I got the bug and started sending things out to women’s magazines with no success. But it wasn’t until my four children were almost out of the house that I decided to revisit my desire to write. My first big article was published in a little paper in Zionsville, Indiana and described my view of 9/11. I’ve now written over five hundred articles.
Can you give our readers a short description of Lake Surrender?
My first novel is about a career editor who loses her marriage, house, and job. As a single parent of a precocious pre-teen and an autistic son, she’s forced to find a more inexpensive place to live instead of the San Francisco Bay Area. She ends up in Northern Michigan working as a cook at a dilapidated Christian camp. She can’t cook and right-wing religious types really irritate her. But God woes her as she discovers her journey ends where her life begins. I really put this girl through the wringer!
What led you to write Lake Surrender?
Of all random and curious things, I have a degree in Recreation Therapy. I found I love working with all kinds of disabled children. A few years ago I was a teacher’s aide in an autistic classroom and saw the rewards of being able to enter their private worlds. I also observed the difficulties these parents face every day.
What are you working on now?
I have just finished Dread of Winter, a sequel to Lake Surrender. It’s a darker story where my heroine, Ally, stumbles into a crime while working at her new job as a reporter.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
I have found writing to be humbling. It took me twelve years to get my first book, a devotional, published, and I still have a novel with thirty-three rejections! But here’s what I learned along the way.
- First, realize that you aren’t your best editor. Don’t think you’ve arrived after one or two drafts. Have a trusted, objective person (or two or three) give you feedback. Better still, have a paid edit of your book.
- Second, share your ideas in a blog or newsletter. Yes, share them for FREE. All writing that points to truth is precious to God whether it be a best seller or an encouraging email to a friend. It’s exciting to have my novel out there but I’ve enjoyed the journey and especially the fellowship of other writers.
- Third, support other writers. Write reviews of books you love, send encouraging emails and show up at FB book launch parties. Writing in the Christian realm is all about networking… just like the local church should be.
I found Lake Surrender to be a story of reality, resilience, renewal, and redemption. Carol has created a tender story that doesn’t ever disappoint. Thank you so much, Carol for being my guest.
How can readers find out more about you and your work?
I have a blog on my website, carolgstratton.com. My claim to fame is I’ve moved 22 times and lived to write about it. I have a devotional for movers: https://www.amazon.com/Changing-Zip-Codes-Christian-Community-ebook/dp/B01IFSFACG/
And of course, Lake Surrender: https://www.amazon.com/Lake-Surrender-journey-where-begins-ebook/dp/B01DCJBFMM
I’m on Facebook: Carol Grace Stratton (Author page), Carol Stratton, and Changing Zip Codes. Or Twitter: @Carolgstratton. I’d love to hear from any of you.
We are only a short link to eternity during our time on earth
but with Christ, it can be a strong link.