Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing a former Californian, now a Michigander—Carol Grace Stratton is one of our newest CAN members and a multi-published author of fiction as well as a nonfiction book for frequent movers. And she has a fun dream career . . .
Welcome, Carol! Please tell us about your novel, Deep End of the Lake.
Ally has it all: an upcoming wedding, new writing gig, and two great kids. But when life turns upside-down with a rebellious daughter, shaky job, and shakier engagement, she leans on her newfound faith, learning if you’re in the deep end of the lake, you’d better learn how to swim.
Sounds fascinating! What inspired you to write this book?
My driving mission in Deep End of the Lake is showing readers how God can repair and restore our broken lives. Deep End of the Lake shows how important it is to have confidence that He has a plan, and His blueprint for our lives is so much better than any clever scheme we can dream up. Like my protagonist, Ally, we often look for affirmation in the wrong places and we miss true joy by choosing the wrong paths.
So true. What is the primary focus of your book?
In my story, Ally Cervantes is a new Christian and has much to learn about trusting God through job difficulties, a troubled teen, and a shaky engagement.
How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
Like Ally, I struggle to work out His plan with my strength. For a good part of my life I’ve had a hard time understanding my mission in life and how He wanted me to minister to people. What I’ve learned is our calling isn’t found in the big exciting things or labeled positions but the little things in life we do to serve Him. If you want to really understand servanthood, the book, Practicing the
Presence of God by Brother Lawrence speaks to being Christ’s servant.
Ah yes. The little things are usually the most important things.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I almost gave up as I had a lot of rejections regarding the story. But with determination and a conviction my message is crucial to women, I continued rewriting the story. It took six years to write the sequel to Lake Surrender.
I always love a story of perseverance! Those times certainly stretch us spiritually—which gives us more to share in our stories. So how do you share these truths in your writing?
I try to be subtle when sharing my message. Inserting random Bible verses can jar the reader and pull them out of the story. I’d rather weave truth organically into my story. Characters need to go through their own pitfalls, and struggles to figure out on their own that God is on their side and available to help them.
Why do you love writing?
It allows me to dream, to escape into another world, and to share His truths in story form.
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Writing isn’t glamourous or particularly lucrative. It’s a lot of hard work, but authors write because they can’t help it. We’re a stubborn lot.
We certainly are! Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
I took part in a library event in our town along with other local authors, ready to meet the public. Sitting at a long table, I was eager to promote my first book, a devotional book called Changing Zip Codes. Out of nowhere a young army wife rushed up to me. With tears in her eyes she thanked me for writing a book for movers. She said, “I resented being a military spouse until I read the first page of your devotional. As I read it, I felt like you were reading my mind and it helped me accept my husband’s chosen career, moving and all.” Wow, if for no other reason, her words made it worth writing the book.
What a wonderful story! I’d think that would fulfill your dreams, but do you have an unfulfilled dream?
Yes, I love to sing and have a secret desire to become an old school lounge singer. (I know, it doesn’t quite fit the image).
Can I say . . . we want a video of that! Other than lounge singing, what ministries are you involved in, and why?
I spend a lot of time on the phone encouraging women, so I guess I might be called a counselor. For some reason I’m a 911 for those who have an emotional crisis or merely need some positive input in their life. I’m also involved with the Bible study at my local church.
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
I sing, play guitar and mandolin. I can also guess movie plots pretty easily.
The curse of the novelist. Other than writing, what are your hobbies or activities or passions?
I love hiking, Zumba, baking, crafts, and gardening. I also love playing with my grandkids. It’s a second chance to enjoy parenting from afar.
How fun! I’m sure your readers are eager to hear what you’re working on. Please tell us about your next project.
My next novel will involve a family crisis with members involved in untangling a will that has been sabotaged.
Intriguing! We can’t wait. Thank you for visiting with us, Carol!
Writing for Him,