Author Spotlight · book review · books · Teaser Tuesday · writing

Lake Surrender ~ Carol Grace Stratton

perf5.000x8.000.inddThe full title of the book is Lake Surrender – Her journey ends where the lake begins

If you’re looking for a little romance, it’s in there. Mystery? That’s in there too. There’s also a little bit of chick-lit self-discovery wrapped in there for good measure. The characters feel real and relatable.

Ally’s life is a mess, she is newly divorced, about to lose her house, has a needy young autistic child and s stubborn almost-teen. Can life get any harder?

Ally has trouble admitting that anyone but her ex-husband is at fault for the divorce, she will have to learn forgiveness or learn to live with the pain forever.

Carol has been a freelance writer for 14 years, writing over 200 articles and is currently a reporter for the Mooresville Weekly. She has a degree in Recreation Therapy and has worked with autistic children in a classroom, an experience that inspired her to write about a woman with an autistic son.headshopt turtleneck closeup

She speaks at national writing conferences as well as MOPS and other women’s groups about personality temperaments, friendship, and encouraging yourself.

Carol is married to her husband John who she calls her “muse” and has four grown children and four grandchildren. Currently, she and her husband, John, live in Mooresville, North Carolina where she loves to hike and play guitar and mandolin while learning to love liver mush.

Carol, thank you for joining me for this interview today!

Benjie is autistic and you go into quite a lot of detail about his quirks and actions, do you have an autistic child or is there one in your life that you were drawing from?

I have a degree in Recreational Therapy and have worked a lot with the disabled population. About fourteen years ago I took a job as a teacher’s aide in a classroom of autistic students (high school level).  I knew then that I needed to write about these kids. We also have friends who have a son who is on the spectrum as they say and is very disabled. I dedicated my book to their family. In addition I have a nephew who has Asperger’s Syndrome. I have a passion to help those who have such a difficult job parenting children who are so misunderstood.

I enjoyed reading about the Northern Michigan area, you write about it like it is home. Is the Lake Surrender area based on any one area?

The story takes place in Northern Michigan around Traverse City, one of the most beautiful parts of Michigan. I made up the lake but loosely based the story on a couple of lakes up there, Lake Ann, and Crystal Lake. The people in that area are quite friendly (a lot because of tourism) and it’s easy to fit in. I spent a summer around the Lake Ann area and we would vacation a lot there when we lived in the Midwest. I actually grew up in California in the Silicon Valley.

The story is written in such a way that you side with Ally or Bryan, I found myself siding with Bryan for quite a while. Was it difficult to only give one side of that situation?

Great question! I wanted to give Bryan a fair shake and really both Ally and Bryan, who were married were workaholics. I felt like so often the husband is blamed for a failed marriage. I’m glad to see you gave Bryan a break! So often in books the guy is the jerk.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors, something you’ve found out through your own experience?

 I have four things to share to encourage the unpublished writer.

 1)     Never give up. I have a card with Churchill’s shortest speech hanging in my office. It says simply, Never give up. Never, never, never, never, never give up. I have been writing about 16 years, doing freelance writing and didn’t seem to be going anywhere. I have many moments of doubt, wondering why I would keep exhausting myself. My children’s middle-grade novel that I kept sending out, has a whopping 33 rejection slips. I kept telling the Lord I didn’t want to have my first book signing in a nursing home! Finally I tried something new and wrote a 40 day devotional because I’ve moved 22 times. That book, Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Planted became my first book.  If God puts an idea or story in your heart, pursue every avenue, even if it wasn’t your first choice. We need to remember writing, as a believer, should first and foremost be a ministry

 2)      Don’t despise the little things. I, like many other writers, showed up at my first conference with my completely written book, ready to sell it. Now I ask you, what publisher wants to take a chance on a newbie who has never published? Publisher’s take a huge risk when they take your first book and they’d like to know other editor’s thought you were worth publishing. Prove you are by growing your “clips” or samples of things you’ve already published. Publishing is a business, a hard business.

 3)      Give away your writing and your ability. Write for a newsletter, a non-profit blog, anything. We need to not be selfish with what we can do or who we can help. One of my biggest thrills is to see someone who has been published have their first piece in print.

 4)      Don’t make having a book published something just on your bucket list. It’s too hard. Write for the joy of communication.

If you are interested in reading Lake Surrender, you can find it here.