Carol Cox, author of Love in Disguise joins us today. She is offering either a book or a heart-shaped pocket mirror with a sticker featuring the book’s cover on the back. Your choice! So make sure and leave a comment below with your email address to be entered in the contest. We have to have at least ten comments.
Carol, tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Phoenix as the only child of a dairy farmer. Hard as the work was, I loved farm life and everything that went with it. Some would call it a lonely line of work, but spending so much time on my own gave my imagination the chance to run free and create the stories I loved to write and hoped to publish someday. In my mind, I could see myself doing that for the rest of my days. But after I came to know the Lord at age 16, it turned out that God had other plans for me.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself as a pastor’s wife . . . let alone the wife of a man who pastors two churches! In addition, I lead a women’s Bible study and work with the children in both churches. I’m also a homeschool mom and a full-time writer who enjoys rural life in northern Arizona. It’s amazing to see how God allowed me to keep writing and country living in my life and added so much more!
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
Avid doesn’t begin to describe it! Reading was more like an obsession with me. I read anything I could get my hands on—from cereal boxes to the directions on the cans of my mom’s hair spray. And I had my nose in a book anytime I could manage it. My mother and I had a long-standing difference of opinion as to whether it was possible to do a thorough job of vacuuming the house while reading at the same time. She said it couldn’t be done, while I insisted it was totally feasible. Looking back, she was probably right . . . but who cared about spotless carpets when I was in the middle of a mystery, and the heroine was in danger? While I loved all types of books, my preference then, as now, was for stories with a strong mystery element.
Why do you write?
I can’t not write. I see stories in the people, places, and situations around me, and there’s something inside me that demands that those stories be told.
Tell us about your latest book.
Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it’s the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.
Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can’t figure out who’s stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow . . . or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.
Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn’t safe no matter which character she plays! Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he’s falling in love with doesn’t really exist?
Where do you get ideas for your books?
The best ideas are often the ones that come along without me seeking them out. Places tend to stir my imagination, and before know it, I find myself wondering who would have been there and why. Once the characters start walking onstage, I have the delicious job of chronicling their story.
How do you choose names for your characters?
I don’t have a set process. In fact, quite often the characters introduce themselves to me, and I don’t have much say in the matter.
How do you get to know your characters?
I have writer friends who write out detailed biographies for each character, but the idea of doing that makes me twitch. I start out with a general idea of my characters’ backgrounds and what brought them to the place where we find them at the story’s beginning. More of their life story comes out a bit at a time while the book is being written, much like the way I’d get acquainted with an actual person.
Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
I fall somewhere in between, leaning toward the plotter end of spectrum. When I begin a book, I know the basic story premise, the main characters, and the mystery to be solved. I also have a fairly good idea of how I want it all to end, but I don’t always know who the villain is until I’m farther along in the story. When snippets of scenes occur to me, I’ll write them down and work out how to incorporate them into the plot. I’m a great believer in having a general outline to use as a road map. That helps me keep my destination in mind, but it also allows for some fun side trips along the way.
Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.
I write full-time and homeschool our daughter. My husband pastors two churches and operates a leather business (where he specializes in making Western gun rigs and law enforcement duty gear) in what we laughingly call his “spare time.” Put that all together, and it makes for some interesting moments when it comes to scheduling our days! On top of that, we live 50 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart, movie theater, or mall. Once a week, we make the 100-mile round trip to town, fitting in all our shopping, errands, music lessons, doctor’s visits, hair appointments, etc. That may sound a little daunting, but we’ve learned to make it work.
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Fidgeting. LOL Do you remember the main character in the children’s novel, Harriet the Spy, who was always scribbling something down in her notebooks? That pretty well describes me, as well. Writing is such a part of who I am that I can’t imagine not doing it at all.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
My husband was in the army when we got married, and he was stationed in Germany shortly after our wedding. We spent a year and a half exploring Europe and loved every minute of it. Well, maybe not the time our car’s clutch gave out, and we spent the night sitting in the car on a Paris off-ramp . . . but that’s another story. I would love to be able to take several months and visit those places again!
What is your number one spiritual gift?
Administration, which probably explains why I’m more of a plotter than a pantster. Jotting ideas on index cards and arranging them until all the scenes are in the right order comes naturally to me.
Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
To connect with me online (and I hope you will!), visit my website at www.AuthorCarolCox.com, where you can sign up for my newsletter and leave a comment on my blog. You can also find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/carol.cox. I love connecting with readers that way!
Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Sherri! It’s a pleasure to be here!
Don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a book or a heart-shaped pocket mirror.