Interview: Carrie Fancett Pagels + GIVEAWAY

1 Oct

Carrie brick headshot pmWelcome to Buzzing About Books, Carrie!  Please share a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Britney!  I call myself “Tired Old Mommy” because with my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and having our second child when I was 44, I’ve earned that title!  God blessed us with that son, who was prayed into our lives (and yes he’s ours not adopted.)  We have an adult daughter who is an electrical engineer, so I have bragging rights to being the mother of an Electrical Engineer (even if I have no idea what all those squiggly lines mean on her differential equations, etc.!)

I was a psychologist for 25 years, working primarily with children and teens. I specialized in leaning difficulties. My doctorate is in School Psychology. Because of the severity of my RA, I was unable to continue working as a psychologist. But God has provided another path.

When did you decide to pursue writing and eventually publication?

I thought I’d be a psychologist until I was in my 70’s or even older because this was a career I trained hard for. But at the time I pursued my education I had turned my back on God. I’ve been writing since childhood. When I was in grad school, I dropped out and wrote my first complete novel, a secular fiction, and thank God when I shopped it around in 1979, no one picked it up.  I returned to grad school and didn’t write fiction again (that I remember) until I finished my Ph.D. Then, pretty much every year I’d start working on a project.  But it was only after I began to get more ill that I spent more time on my writing.

What is your writing process like?  Do you write daily?  Are you a plotter or a pantster? 

God has to prompt me to write but I do believe He has anointed my writing, so I have a commission from Him to do so. I normally am doing some writing or writing-related activity daily. Absolutely a plotter but I allow some pantsering as the characters may take me different directions.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?  Least favorite?

I love, love, love getting to spend time bringing the characters and stories and settings to life on “paper.”  I detest those grinding final edits. They need to be done, though.

Historical fiction requires extensive research.  What is one of the most interesting things you’ve discovered in your research? 

I’ve found that some of the most interesting stuff is “wrong!”  For instance, one of my yet-to-be-published stories was inspired by a great history which a docent told in error!

I am always intrigued by the names authors choose for their characters.  How do you choose your characters’ names? 

Often they are taken from my own genealogical background, from friends, or in this latest story I borrowed Jo’s name from “Little Women” which was one of my favorite stories!

Please tell us about your latest release, The Fruitcake Challenge.

Fruitcake Challenge cover jpgThe feisty 25-year-old daughter of the camp boss is challenged by a cocky new axman to “make a cake just as good as my mother made” and he’ll marry her! She initially has her dander up and wants to get him good for being such an arrogant shanty boy (and heaven knows she’ll never marry one of those because she wants OUT of the lumber camp!)  But the story is really about hope. Because Jo has to let go of her earthly hopes to allow God to give her His hope which then results in the best outcome for her good. That’s what He wants for us!

Who or what inspired this special story? 

I discovered a few years ago that my grandfather, Christy Isley Skidmore, was born in Traverse City, Michigan, not in Kentucky, which is where he was from. I’d always wondered why he’d gone into lumberjacking and when I learned this about his birth, I realized he’d likely been born while my great-grandfather was lumbering in northern Michigan. I have no proof of that. But I do know that my Kentucky-born maternal grandmother did work as a camp cook in Grandpa’s camp and that my mom helped her. My mother’s personality is infused into Jo. I imagined just what she’d do with a cocky, educated, irritating lumberjack!

I adored The Fruitcake Challenge and thought of fruitcake for days after reading the novella.  Will you be sharing any fruitcake recipes with your readers? 

Yes! Thanks so much, Britney, and thanks for being part of the Christmas Traditions promo team!  As we get closer to Christmas I’ll be sharing recipes. I have a Fruitcake Pinterest board set up now!  Would your readers please share one of their recipes?

What is a favorite holiday treat in your family? 

The birthday cake for baby Jesus is one. I love a Noel log but I rarely make them. I do so enjoy Claxton fruitcake!!!

Is there anything else you would like to share?  What will you be working on next?

 Thank you, readers, for coming by! Please pray for me because my unpublished novel, Grand Exposé, which is out on submission as part of a proposal, is up for the Maggie award as it is a finalist in the contest!

An editor at the ACFW conference encouraged a group of us to submit a proposal to her based on a one sheet she looked at. So I’m doing up my part of that proposal and also another for that same company!

Thank you so much for sharing this delightful interview, Carrie! 

Thanks for having me on, Britney!


Connect with Carrie:

Carrie Fancett Pagels Ph.D. is an award-winning, best-selling, and multi-published Christian historical romance author. Carrie was a psychologist for twenty-five years. Married for twenty-seven years with two children. Carrie resides in Virginia’s Historic Triangle and enjoys reading, traveling and researching. She’s a finalist for the 2014 Maggie Awards for Excellence.

Blogs: Overcoming With God and Colonial Quills
Facebook Author Page
Facebook Personal Page

Links to purchase:

Return to Shirley Plantation PM cover

The Fruitcake Challenge (2014) on Amazon

A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Guidepost Books (2013)

Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (Helping Hands Press, 2013) on Amazon in ebook and in print

Return to Shirley Plantation on Barnes and Noble in ebook

God’s Provision in Tough Times Lighthouse of the Carolinas (2013) on Amazon in ebook and in print



Carrie has generously offered to give away an e-copy of Return to Shirley Plantation and The Fruitcake Challenge to one lucky winner!  Leave a comment, including your email address, to be entered.  This giveaway ends Wednesday, Oct. 8 at midnight CST. 

Questions:  Do you enjoy fruitcake?  Do you have a favorite fruitcake recipe or other holiday recipe to share? 

30 Responses to “Interview: Carrie Fancett Pagels + GIVEAWAY”

  1. Jan Hall October 1, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    Great interview. I can’t wait to read these books. I can think of so many things now that I wish I had asked my grandparents and my parents. I bet you do too. I do like fruitcake but I have never made one so I will be looking for that pinterest page. My favorite fruitcake contains mostly nuts. fishingjan[at]aol[dot]com

    • B. Adams October 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Jan! I haven’t made a fruitcake either, but reading The Fruitcake Challenge made me want to! I’ll be checking out Carrie’s Fruitcake Pinterest board too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      I guess I better start a fruitcake pinterest page because my Food and Recipes section is filling up with fruitcake recipes.

      Thanks so much, Jan! I hope you will enjoy the book. I like lots of nuts in mine, too. I want to make one this year with Macadamia nuts in it!

  2. D.L. Kamstra October 1, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I have actually never had fruitcake. The couple of weeks leading up to Christmas was always filled with my Mom making all sorts of treats. Since she has passed away, my sister and I now follow that tradition. Every year we make fudge and sugar cookies. We also make peppermint bark and spearmint bark each year, since those are super easy, I’ll share that recipe:

    All you need is a bag of White Chocolate baking chips and candy canes (either peppermint or spearmint). Crush about 4 candy canes–easiest ways are to double up a large ziploc baggy (they tend to tear the bags) place it on a cutting board and take a hammer to them. You don’t want them to turn to powder, though you will get some, but don’t want overly large pieces either. You can do more or less canes depending on how much flavor you want to give your bark. Then melt the white chocolate, stove or microwave, being careful that it doesn’t scorch. Once it is melted, pour in your crushed candycanes and stir it up well. Pour the mixture onto a piece of wax paper, and smooth it out to your desired thickness. Let it cool and harden, then break it apart into bite sized pieces.

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway! DLKamstra (at) gmail (dot) com

    • B. Adams October 1, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      I love Christmas goodies, D.L., and your bark sounds yummy! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      Wow that sounds amazing! Well, you’ll have to try one of my fruitcake recipes this Christmas and see if you like it! Best wishes on the giveaway. And if you don’t win it–it’s only 99 cents for the ebook on Amazon or Barnes and Noble! Blessings!

  3. Kelly Youngblood October 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    A great interview! It’s so fun getting to know favorite authors! I look forward to reading this Christmas series, including “The Fruitcake Challenge”. I have never been a fan of fruitcake. I don’t know if it’s because of the stigma on it or if I’ve just never found a recipe I like. I’ve never made it, and now with diabetes, I kind of doubt I’ll be able to. 😦

    Thank you for the interview and for the giveaway!
    Kelly Y.
    kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 1, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      Sounds like fruitcake is a real challenge to you. No pun initially intended but that does make for one! You could probably have it if you measured the amount of fruit in it, added extra nuts for the protein, and made sure to use whole grains. I’ll try to come up with a recipe like that for you, Kelly, so check back with me in about a month! Blessings!

    • B. Adams October 1, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I found a diabetic fruitcake recipe, although there are certainly natural sugars in the fruit. The nutrition values are listed beside the recipe.

  4. Melanie Backus October 1, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Hi Carrie and Britney! What a great interview!!!! Carrie, it is great to see you here and I hope many people stop by to find out about your great books. Since I have read The Fruitcake Challenge, I can sing its praises. It is a wonderful read,gals….go read that novella!!!!!!!

    I was fortunate to win a copy of Return to Shirley Plantation on another blog so I am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival. I know it will be wonderful too!

    Thank you, Britney, for the great job you do and thank you, Carrie.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    • B. Adams October 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      Thank you for your enthusiasm and support, Melanie! I agree; The Fruitcake Challenge is a must read!

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

      TY, Melanie! Great to be visiting with your super sweet daughter! I think your book should have been there by now. Will send you a message. Blessings!

  5. October 2, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    God bless you Carrie wonderful article (((((HUG)))))) Im not in your contest though Chris Granville

    • B. Adams October 2, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Hi Chris! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      Love and hugs Chris, you special lady! I love your daily prayers! They make me smile!

  6. Bonnie Roof October 2, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Loved the interview, Britney and Carrie!! Thank you!!

    I enjoy homemade fruitcake, also like the Claxton fruitcake Carrie mentioned.

    Praying re: your unpublished novel and other writing projects, Carrie – as well as your health issues, and your family.

    I’m not entering the giveaway as I have both “The Fruitcake Challenge”, and “Return to Shirley Plantation”, but have shared the post!!

    • B. Adams October 2, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Hi Bonnie! Thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing the post!!

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 2, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks so much for your prayers, Bonnie. Just knowing I have you as a prayer warrior for my writing and in general, makes me feel so great. Big hugs!

  7. chrisinpsl October 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    What a great interview! I can’t wait to read “The Fruitcake Challenge!” It sounds like what we all need to learn . . . put our hope in God! His plans are best for sure. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Chris, I hope you will love this story about hope! We DO all need to look to Him for our hope! I loved writing this story and I hope it will bless you!

    • B. Adams October 3, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! God’s plans are best, indeed!!

  8. D K Stevens October 3, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Not so sure about liking Fruitcake but I sure did like your book. Would love to get to read Return to Shirley Plantation next 🙂 dkstevensne (at) outlook .com

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

      Hey Deanna, thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you get to read my Civil War romance, too! I loved writing that novella, too! Blessings!

    • B. Adams October 8, 2014 at 12:01 am #

      I hope you get to read Return to Shirley Plantation soon! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  9. Jackie Tessnair October 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Enjoyed the post.Thanks for sharing.

    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

      TY Jackie! Just when you thought you already knew too much, huh? Blessings!

    • B. Adams October 8, 2014 at 12:00 am #

      Hi Jackie! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

  10. Maxie Anderson October 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi Britney. Thanks for interviewing our Carrie. Loved the interview. Carrie, I was having a baby at that age after 4 grown children, but guess wasn’t to be. But it died in the wound, called a missed abortion. Had never heard it called that. The kids were already buying us things but was only about 2 1/2 mos. Still hurt. Everyone disappointed. I loved to hear about your life. These books are going to make everyone glad to read them. I am hoping you are so successful with your books. You are the greatest.


    • Carrie Fancett Pagels October 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      Maxie you are such an amazing blessing to me and to other Christian fiction authors. I wish you lived closer so I could celebrate this story with you. I’m sorry for the loss of your baby. One day you’ll get to see him or her again. I sure hope these stories will remind people of hope in God! Blessings and hugs!

    • B. Adams October 7, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

      Hugs to you, sweet Maxie! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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