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.
The 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.
Links to purchase:
A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Guidepost Books (2013)
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