Today, Love Lines from God welcomes author, Carol Heilman. Carol is also hosting a two-set book giveaway of her Agnes Hopper series. To enter, see the instructions at the end of the interview.
Carol, tell us when you decided to become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
Twenty or so years ago when I was fifty-something, I tagged along with my husband to his work-related conference in Asheville, North Carolina. One afternoon, I wandered downtown and discovered a bookstore—along with libraries, they are always my happy place. A book on creative writing caught my eye. An hour later, I had purchased the book and hurried back to our hotel to try out some of the exercises. One ten-minute lesson took my breath away. I was hooked. Now I can’t imagine my life without writing.
Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from?
This is a tough one. The kernel usually begins with ordinary encounters with people, overheard conversations, or observations on the street or in an airport—even in the church. When my mother and dad moved into an assisted-living facility, they shared some of their experiences about coping with the changes in their lives. Some stories were sad, but they found things to laugh about too.
Why do you write what you do?
I’ve always had a heart for the neglected or ignored in our society—the ones who often have no voice such as seniors, the homeless, and the incarcerated.
What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?
Overcoming doubts and fears.
If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future?
How to make the Good News real without preaching or using words common only to Christian circles.
If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your books?
Chasing too many rabbits. Now I’m revising and rewriting and trying to follow a logical sequence of events. From beginning to publication, it takes at least two years. I’m terribly slow.
Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
Understanding social media and how it works, mastering a synopsis, and book promotion.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
Dropping into the fictional world of my characters and spending some time there. In my books, Agnes and her friends (or enemies) are as real to me as a next-door neighbor or someone I’ve known since childhood.
What are you reading now, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
Hush by Leanna Sain. It’s a murder mystery, and I’ll have to say it has given me nightmares. She is an excellent writer. I recently finished The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. I grew up in Kentucky near the setting for this book. It touched my heart.
Some of my favorite authors include: James Still, a writer of Appalachian literature, including River of Earth (He always wrote the truth while showing respect for people going through hard times) and Clyde Edgerton, author of Walking Across Egypt. This is the first time I realized an old woman could be a funny character in a book.
Can you give the readers the buy links for your books?
Can you also provide the readers with your social media links so they can follow you?
Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar
Agnes Hopper Bets on Murder
Author Page: amazon.com/author/carolheilman
To enter the dual-set book giveaway, share this blog post on a social media platform and tell us in a comment that you have done so. Or, just comment on the post. Names entered through midnight on December 9, 2019, will qualify for the giveaway. Please include a contact email so we can notify you if you are the winner.
Carol Heilman, a coal miner's daughter, married her high school sweetheart, a farmer's son. She began writing family stories, especially about her dad's Appalachian humor, for newspapers and magazines. One day her mother said, "We don't have any secrets anymore!" Carol's book series, Agnes Hopper Shakes up Sweetbriar and Agnes Hopper Bets on Murder, was inspired by her mother's spunky spirit and her dad's humor. Carol and her husband of fifty-plus years have relocated from the mountains of North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina. They love to play cards, go antiquing, hike, and visit grandsons on the east and west coasts.