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Interview with Carol Cox

Carol hails from a small town in northern Arizona. Not only is she the author of over 30 novels and novellas, but she is also a pastor's wife, mother, musician, and volunteer. You can see her familiarity with the beauty of Arizona and her mastery of historical novels in her latest release, Trouble In Store.

Please tell us about your most recent release, Trouble In Store. What was the inspiration behind it?
I love stories of people who are thrown into impossible situations and manage to prevail, despite the odds. How do they manage? How do they find the strength to survive? In Trouble in Store, I was able to explore those questions when Melanie finds herself completely on her own, with no family or friends to offer help.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Encouragement from my family has helped me persevere through times of doubt and difficulty. Years ago, my husband signed me up for my first writer’s conference as a birthday present . . . even though we couldn’t afford it. That kind of support is priceless, and it means the world to me.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time? Are there extra demands on your time being a pastor’s wife and mother? If so, how do you manage that with your writing?
Trying to keep my life in balance is always a challenge. My husband is the pastor of two churches, and I’m a homeschool mom. I play the piano at both our churches, teach children’s Sunday school, and lead a monthly women’s Bible study. In addition, I’m a member of our local historical society and enjoy taking part in community activities in our small town.

Sometimes I feel like one of those jugglers who try to keep a dozen plates spinning all at once! I’d love to have a fixed writing schedule, but life has a tendency to throw my carefully-laid plans into chaos, so I’ve learned to be flexible and trust God to carry me through. And He is faithful to do it!

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My stories reflect my worldview and the values that are important to me—thus, my faith is an integral part of my writing. My primary goal is to offer a good story, not to preach a sermon. The theme of a book should be a seamless part of the story rather than a moral lesson tacked on to make a point. Jesus showed the power of story through His use of parables, and what better example can a storyteller follow?

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
It isn’t just one moment, but a series of them. And it may be surprising that this has little to do with contracts, awards, or sales figures. One of the greatest blessings of my career has been the friendships I’ve formed with others in the writing community. Those connections are precious and have enriched my life in ways I never would have imagined!

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
Story ideas can come from unexpected sources, and often when I’m not actively looking for them. A snippet of history, a fragment of conversation—anything can spark an idea and bring a tingle of inspiration. When that tingle is accompanied by a quicker heartbeat and chill bumps prickling my arms, I know I may be onto something worth pursuing!

What, in your opinion, has changed about your writing over the years? What brought about that change?
In working with some fabulous editors, I’ve learned how to weave in extra layers that add so much to both the story and the characters. It does require more time and thought, but the end result is a deeper, richer book . . . and that’s well worth the extra effort!

Name three things that you have found most helpful to your writing career:
Conferences and networking with others in the industry.

The wealth of information available through conferences and writing organizations like ACFW.

The encouragement and support of family and friends.

Any parting words?
Thanks for posing some great questions! It has been a joy to spend time with you here.

As a parting word for aspiring writers, I’d like to offer the reminder that a writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. Take time to savor every bit of the journey. Be willing to learn everything you can to hone your craft, and then see what doors God opens . . . in His perfect timing. These are exciting days to be a writer!

Thanks for sharing with us, Carol!

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