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Interview with Patricia "PacJac" Carroll

Where did you come up with the idea for Constance: Bride of Florida?

Actually, this story came about by a project out of a Facebook group I belong to: Pioneer Hearts. There were 45 different authors writing 50 separate novellas – one for each state. I chose Florida.

Each story was to take place in 1890 and involve a mail-order bride. I chose Florida because my sister-in-law lives in Panama City, Florida. My story is set in Apalachicola, Florida. I also named my character Constance after my best friend.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love how stories come to me. I am a seat-of-the-pants writer, so every story is a surprise and a thrill. I really loved how Constance found herself, her strength, and courage while on an old ship at sea on the way to marry Drake.

What was one challenge you faced while writing this book?

Because it was a project of 45 authors, I had to make sure the beginning matched with the criteria set. I also connected with a couple of the other authors to have a connection in our stories to cross promote them. It was and still is an exciting project.

What did you learn while writing?

I learned about the city of Apalachicola and a bit about its history. I also visited the city to get a good feel for it.

What do you enjoy about being an indie author? One challenge?

I love the freedom of being an independently published author. I can publish a story as soon as it is ready. My stories can be as long or short as they need to be. Can I say again, I love the freedom! I often feel that the Lord made the indie revolution just for me.

As with all freedoms, indie publishing comes with its own set of responsibilities. I am responsible for editing, covers, marketing, schedules, etc. And it’s not all free—I have to pay for editing and covers and marketing.

But the freedom and excitement of hitting that “publish” button myself is worth it all.

What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?

I love to write. The stories spur me on. I have so many waiting on me to get them done—and they are standing in line rather impatiently. I have to say, the stories come from the Lord. I was getting a little proud (ok, bordered on haughty) saying that I could come up with a story anytime. I just needed a name, place, or an event.

Opportunity came for me to write a short story for an anthology and all the proceeds were to go to Mission Arlington. I can do that, I proudly stated. Sat down Saturday night and Sunday. My ladies group at church gave me the names and event and places. But no story came. None. Nada. Wouldn’t happen.

The story was due Monday by noon. As I went to bed Sunday night, I was sad that it hadn’t happened. I’d lost it. Scary thought for a writer to lose the ability to make a story.

But—and God does like to use that word to get to us—I woke up at 5 a.m. Monday morning with a picture in my mind of a cowboy on a horse towing a Christmas tree and knew I had a story. Knew it. And I did. So I know where my stories come from. The Lord gives them to me.

What has been the biggest influence to your writing career?

I would have to say my writing friends and mentors: Lena Nelson Dooley, Jackie Castle, and so many more. And ACFW! I went to the conferences every year and learned. I am so thankful for a group dedicated to helping writers learn their craft.

Please share one piece of advice you’ve found helpful in your writing career.

Keep writing. Keep learning. Find trusted friends.

What are you currently reading?

I have to say that writing has put a dent in my reading. Especially on the indie treadmill of writing where I put one book out but the next one is pulling on me to be written.

Do you have an all time favorite book? If so, why is it your favorite?

I’ll go way back to the days before I could even read to a little book called Jim Jump. I had my mother read that book to me at least a million times.

Basically, it’s about a little colt that loves to jump. He annoys all the animals because he jumps over them. Finally, they dare him to jump over the creek. He tries but lands in the middle of the creek.

All the animals laugh at him, but he shakes it off and tells them that he will try again and someday jump that creek.
I may come up all wet on some things, but one thing you can be sure of—I will try again and I will do it.

Emilie Hendryx is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She writes romantic suspense while dreaming up YA Sci-Fi dystopian worlds on the side. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time you can find her playing guitar or reading a book all while drinking too much coffee.

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