Super excited to have a regular visitor and dear author friend with us today, and celebrating the release of her latest novel!! You historical romance readers? You're not gonna want to miss this one!!
Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?
Thanks for having me on, Jaime, Anne, Erica, & Gabrielle! You have a lovely blog and I’ve popped by here often!
I was inspired to write Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican, June 2016) when I began conducting genealogy research on my precious mother’s side of the family. We had a lot on my dad’s, but not on my mom’s. So I started going back and found where one of her cousin’s had posted a bunch but had stopped maybe four generations back. I then kept going. Johan Adam Rousch of my novel is inspired by my real life ancestor, who had nine of his ten sons serve in the American Revolution. For the life of me, I couldn’t find much on his wife, Susannah Sehler, whose name in some had been misspelled as Schlern.
I was working with Camy Tang, taking synopsis classes and whatever else she was offering, and I needed a breakthrough for Suzanne. I knew I wanted her to be French. I decided to make her an aristocrat but from a Huguenot family. Camy and I had a few phone consultations brainstorming about Suzanne. Finally, one night, it hit me. I knew Suzanne had a big spiritual arc she wanted to share but I couldn’t grasp what it was. I was a psychologist twenty-five years and I got into Suzanne’s head. Then I prayed about this novel some more. Suzanne wasn’t a Huguenot. She had some anxiety issues, in reaction to her family’s beliefs, and she’d been copying her dear beloved Marquise grandmother’s beliefs. So now I had something to really work with! She had to find her own spiritual beliefs. Once I had that strong spiritual story arc, the book began to fall into place.
Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I love, love, love Johan. He’s one of my favorite heroes. I actually wrote him first. This was one of my first Christian fiction manuscripts and my first completed one! He was inspired by the real life Johan, and I’d read a rare book about him, and he simply came to life for me. I’ve spent so much time with him now, I feel he is real. I can even hear his deep laugh at what I just wrote!
Can you tell us about a scene that you wrote and eventually deleted? It’s always funJ
I had to cut SO many because this book was close to 120,000 words, got cut to 100,000, and finally ended up in the 80,000s. One scene and theme that my critique partners, Kimberly Dawn Taylor and Sarah E. Ladd, had suggested cutting early on, years ago, was one where Johan sings the Lord’s Prayer at the Aachen Cathedral. Johan has a wonderful tenor voice and I wanted to show it off. But all that scene had to be tightened and cut and they were right – it just seemed too out of place. But Johan is winking right now – he knows he sang it there and it sounded wonderful!
How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?
Johan came from the Palatinate of Germany, in the 1700’s. I wanted Suzanne to be a Huguenot and originally had her arrive with her dying mother, in the Palatinate. BUT, my Fellowship of Christian Writers’ critique partners wanted the backstory for Suzanne. So I had to write another huge section to get her from France to the Palatinate. They immigrate to Philadelphia because historically that is where most Palatinaters went.
What made you pick these specific names of your main two characters?
Ancestor’s real name and I modified Susannah’s to Suzanne.
Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What’s your least favorite household chore and why?
I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which is why I had to stop practicing as a psychologist after twenty-five years in the profession. My pain and stiffness is very much affected by any kind of bending and scrubbing. So that is my least favorite thing to do!
What are your hobbies outside of writing? Summer is upon us, and full of events. Are you doing anything special this summer season?
I am a beader. When I was a psychologist I never really knew how things would end up in the long term for someone. With bead jewelry making you have a quick finished result! Now I enjoy doing them for giveaways to my readers and for gifts to special friends and family members.
This summer I have two book signings in my home town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I’m speaking at a library in the next town over, and we’ll be enjoying Northern Michigan and Lake Huron where we are renting a cabin! I’m also visiting a book club in Lower Michigan (where I set my novella, The Substitute Bride, in Shepherd). We’re also planning to visit Mackinac Island (my novel My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island releases from Barbour Books next July 2017). Hoping to go to the “Rendezvous in the Sault,” a reenactment festival!
We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?
I see no point in writing if not for God and no point if my books don’t include a strong spiritual thread. As you ladies all know, writing is hard work. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t feel compelled to do so by our Lord. Also, with the health issues I have, I don’t think there is any way I could write unless he enabled me to do so.
Tell us a little about a day in the life of you? Wake up time? Lounging in your jammies all day, drinking coffee, living the luxurious life of a writer ;)
Depends on how I feel. I always wake up stiff and in pain but a flare can keep me in bed for hours. When I’m ok, I get up and get my son off to middle school. Then I have breakfast and make my first cup of tea. I try to write in the morning for at least an hour, preferably two. I write outside on my deck whenever weather permits. I’m sometimes out there in a robe with a blanket when it is 50 degrees! I take a break mid-day and then I usually return for another hour or so of writing or editing. I tend to do my social media stuff in the evening, when hubs is watching tv. I’ll sit next to him doing that while he’s watching the news and a show.
We have a bit of a war going on here at the CCC blog. Anne and Jaime LOVE coffee and Erica and Gabriella enjoy a joyful cup of tea. What is your preference? Help us break this tie…
My neurologist says very little coffee for me and I love my tea, so that’s an easy one. I have migraines and the caffeine makes them worse.
And a few fun and quirky questions always reveal of lot from our authors who visit. So, if you had a choice of living in any era other than the present, what would you choose and why?
I wouldn’t. I’d be dead by now and I am not kidding! One of my favorite eras is turn of the century. But I’d need to live in an era of modern medicine, thank you very much! I will say that as far as story world goes, I live very well in the 1890s and I am super comfortable there!
We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:
“Suzanne?” Now was the perfect time to for Johan to ask while they traveled back together. She couldn’t escape him.
Seated as far away from him as possible, she stared off into the distance, a line worked between her eyebrows. “What is it?”
He wanted to tell her about Louisa. Would wait. “Tell me about yourself.” Dear God, was she from the French nobility as he suspected?
Her long eyelashes fluttered. “What do you want to know?”
“Who are you?” She wasn’t a Huguenot peasant.
She clutched the front of the bench. A rut bounced her toward him and she grabbed his arm. “Oh!”
“I want to know everything.” He wanted to know what it felt like to kiss those pink lips. To tell her he’d protect her. But an aristocrat wouldn’t want that. Not from him.
“What did the priest tell you about me?” By the twitch in her cheek, and the way she pursed her lips together, he knew he needed to choose his words carefully.
He sighed. “That priest is my mother’s uncle.”
She began to work a knot into her apron. He’d have to get firm with her, no matter how good she smelled with those flowers in her hair. No matter how he wished to pull her even closer to him. “Tell me everything.”
Sitting up higher, her posture rigid, she gazed beyond the golden wheat fields. Toward France? “I am Suzanne Richelieu, my parents were Huguenots. Both are dead. I don’t know where my brother is, and I’m supposed to go on to Amsterdam and sail from there to the American colonies.”
Heat flared up his neck and he clenched the reins. “Nein.”
He knew his voice was hard, but he needed to know if she was from one of those ancient French noble families. Too good to even love the likes of him. Love. He’d allowed himself to think the word.
“Oui, I already told you.”
“Don’t mock me.” He hadn’t meant to raise his voice so loud or to cause those bright spots of color to appear on her cheeks. The muscle in her cheek tensed—an indicator that she was about to become silent. He wouldn’t allow it. A family member had died and maybe from something she hid.
“Who would kill. . .
Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.
Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. All three of her Christy Lumber Camp books were finalists for Family Fiction’s Book of the Year. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!
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