Carole Brown Lights up the Coffee Corner...Join Us for a Taste of Mystery

Hi, everyone! The Coffee Corner has a special guest this month. So pull up a seat and prepared to be dazzled by best-selling author, Carole Brown and author of Knight in Shining Apron. I hope you like mystery and fun because both is ahead! And on we go with the interview:

Renee: I have to know, Carole, how did you come up with the idea for your book, especially that title?

Carole: I think it evolved. J The story originally began as a romance to see if I could even write a totally romantic book. I did, but, to me, it always lacked something. Of course, when I dragged it out from the “shelf” where it hid for several years, I realized making it into a light cozy mystery would be the spark it needed.

I like extremes (the rebel in me? Lol) so the thought of a restaurant owner who couldn’t cook and a chef who also wasn’t just a chef, but a knight gave the co-protagonists a bit of interest that it would have lacked otherwise. I mean, who can resist a determined, strong woman (in many ways) who tackled a career when she knew nothing about such a thing? Who can resist the thought of a handsome man who knows how to cook and is a knight to top it off?

Give them some threats that seem to be coming from the past, some damages and real personal issues that need to be resolved, and the idea blossomed from there.

Having said all that, it was simply logic to play on the words “a knight in shining armor” by changing the last word to fit the male character and story.

Renee: Is there a particular reason you chose your setting?

Carole: I wanted to make up a setting that I could play around with, if needed, in each of the stories I plan to write. I’m familiar with West Virginia--quite a bit of it, and sometimes, think of it as a second home state because we‘ve spent so much time there for various reasons. It’s a beautiful--and in certain areas--rugged state, yet offers diverse entertainment and options. The people are educated, but down to earth. They’re friendly, loyal to a fault (if you can say that), hard-working and firm in their beliefs.

And I wanted a small town with the friends, gossips and misdeeds that go along with cozy mysteries. Hence, Appleton, West Virginia.

Renee: For our friendly writers out there, which writing style do you prefer?

Carole: I’m mostly a pantser. I do like to have a general idea about the story plot, what I want to accomplish, where I’m going, some scenes, character looks and some of their habits. I do some research, but also like to finish detailed researching as I move through the story line. I’m one who likes to edit as I go--to a certain degree. If I have a few days break from writing, then I reread whatever I feel is necessary to update myself on what I’m writing. It also gives me a fresh start, clues me in on where I left off and what I need to accomplish, helps me see areas I’ve left hanging on places that need editing or a new approach and I can also capture any new ideas that come to me.

I also enjoy writing on more than one novel at a time. Sometimes it will be so many words a day on one and finish up with another. Other times I’ll concentrate on one (especially during deadline periods) and only work on another when I have a break.

It works for me. J

Renee: What do you do if you’re “stuck” or need inspiration?

Carole: This is an easy one. I do one of three things:

1.      Take a short break from writing that novel.

2.      Brainstorm with hubby or a close friend-critique partner. Either of these two helpers are a sure-fire way to garner new ideas, to look at a scene differently, or to realize that a certain event/happening/scene/chapter just isn’t working and needs edited or cut. Many times they’ve given me food for thought in forcing me to think about the story in a fresh light. They are invaluable to me!

3.      Spend time with my writing buddies from my state and nearby areas. These friends are wonderful tonics to my spirit and writing. Besides the fellowship from like-minded people, I love to hear of their successes, their determinations, their writing decisions--all of which gives me a boosted spark to keep on keeping on. We listen to each other’s burdens and encourage one another to give it our best shots!
Any of these are a sure way to get the writing juices flowing again. I come away (or back to my computer) with fresh inspiration.

Renee: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any fun hobbies or activities you like to do?

Carole: How much time do you have?

Love traveling. Because my husband has always been in ministry, we’ve traveled quite a bit, from coast to coast. We’ve experienced new and different things, been able to take the time to sightsee many famous and sometimes ordinary sights. From Mount St. Helens in Washington state to the Seven-Mile-Bridge in Alabama, from weaving and trying my hand at making fry bread with the Navajos in New Mexico then climbing high altitudes to visit ruins. We’ve enjoying the Native American stew--so hot tears poured from our eyes--to sampling fried intestines. We’ve explored caverns and visited museums, tackled the waves at some beaches, waded in the icy cold streams of mountains, listened to an amazing man entertaining us with his Appalachian piano music and a Native American man coaxing awesome, lonesome tunes from his flute. 

Photography! I’ve always enjoyed snapping pictures (and in answer to one of your other possible questions, if I wasn’t writing--photography would be a first choice. I’m not a professional by any means, although the longing inside me to be so, sometimes is quite powerful. J  I may have to take five shots to gain one good one, but it’s a hobby that I can’t give up. What memories. What a valuable way to share with descendents your life now.

A fun thought: When I went back to school to obtain an associate degree in computer, one of the projects was creating a portfolio of a career. A guess what I chose? Photography, of course! Not to brag, but mine must have been so impressive, the class and even the instructor, thought it was real and that I actually owned a studio. I was impressed that they were impressed. J

Scrap booking is a new hobby I’ve picked up. I don’t have a lot of time for it, but so far the interest is not waning. Right now, I’m concentrating on the grand boys’ interests, events in their lives and trying to build visual memories they can have forever. Someday, soon, I hope, I want to begin on especially memorable life happenings in our own personal lives.

I enjoy my flower gardens and fish pond garden. Shooting for owning some Koi one of these days! Lol. Puttering with my flowers and seeing the results gives me happiness and a sense of peace with my small world. This year, hubby’s built me a few raised garden beds and I love them. We’re small this year with lots of tomato plants, cucumber and broccoli, lettuce and carrots, and then I have a small herb garden too!

We have a huge fireplace that we all enjoy in the fall and winter. We’ve even been known to have a few wiener roasts there when it’s too cold to do so outdoors!

Renee: Wow, I’d love to have as many interests as you do. Of course, I don’t know if I’d ever write though! LOL How do you find the time??? I do have an interesting question for you. With all those interests, if you had the ultimate vacation what would it be?

Carole: We’ve traveled through and in most of the United States and a bit of foreign soil too. But not enough to suit me. Hubby’s not sold on the idea of overseas traveling (but give me more time!) or even a second home in a less expensive country, but I’d love to do more. I’m a part of a group that sends information about different countries, and when I have the time, I read and dream. Italy, Australia, more of Mexico, Israel (although even I hesitate with traveling there), Ireland, Scotland, England. I can’t begin to name them all.

Renee: Well, all being said and done in your life to date, what do you believe your role is in the world today?

Carole: Living close to God and being an example and encourager to my family and friends. Saint Peter in his first book, Chapter Three says (and I’m skimming through) . . . Have compassion one for another, love as brothers, be courteous and don’t render evil for evil, but bless and KNOW THAT YOU ARE SO CALLED that YOU MIGHT INHERIT A BLESSING!

What powerful words. What encouragement. If I can encourage one person (I really desire to encourage many more than one!) to not give up, to be the best person they can be, to achieve what their hearts desire is, to strive to be and do better, to stretch their person and reach for the stars, to follow in God’s divine will for them, then I will have succeeded.

I learned early on that I can’t make my boys be what I wanted them to be. Hubby and I had dedicated them to God while still babies, but taking your hands off and allowing God to work in their lives is an entirely different thing. I’ve watched our boys, our nieces and nephews and friends’ children stumble and fall, get up and try again, give up, and on and on. I’ve learned the years that I can’t make people do and be. Only God can work in their lives. My duty is to train, encourage, pray and leave the rest to God.

If I can encourage a newbie writer that the path their beginning is new and different, but if they want to, if that’s their calling, they can travel it. If I can cheer more experienced writers’ successes and “weep” when they weep over their disappointments and rejections, then I will have done what I should do.

Facing the world we live in today, the strange differences from what used to be is overwhelming at times, but I remember whom I trust, and the older I grow, the more I realize the power of that. By loving God, I can love others. That is my spiritual calling.

Renee: You are an amazing woman, Carole Brown. May God continue to bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand.


I hope you enjoyed getting to know Carole as much as I did. She’s a terrific lady. She’s also giving away a Kindle e-copy of her newest release, Knight in Shining Apron. All you have to do is:
Leave a comment about the interview or tell Carole your favorite hobby!

One winner will be chose by random draw from the comments on 6/26/2016.
Please leave your name and email address after your comment to complete your entry.
A minimum of five comments required to validate contest.


About the Book:

Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia.  Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing.
Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms. Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer. Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play?
And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past? 

About the Author:

Besides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

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