Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Carlene Havel's The Scarlet Cord (with Sharon Faucheux)

Welcome to the Mine, everyone. We’re digging for diamonds in Christian fiction. Are you ready to get your hands dirty? I sure am.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Carlene Havel, a fellow Prism author. Join us as we discuss her literary gems.

Hello Carlene, welcome to the Mine. I'm so glad you could be here today. 

For those readers who may not know, what kind of books do you write and can you enlighten us on your 'process'? You know...how you create one of your jewels?

Thank you, Renee. I'm happy to be here. Let's see.

I write Biblical fiction with co-author Sharon Faucheux. We start by discussing Bible characters, finally narrowing the choice down to the one whose story we're most interested in telling. Then she peels off to do research while I begin writing the plot synopsis.

As a solo act, I’ve published two contemporary Christian romances and one historical novella. There are always new stories bubbling through my imagination. For me, ideas come easily. Staying focused on one long enough to complete a book is the challenge.

As busy as life can be, I can believe that. Still, I can see you've reached the finished line. Congratulations! And you've been published which is awesome as well. I see you're an author with Prism Book Group, like me and a couple of other miners at the Diamond Mine. What may a reader expect from a Prism book?

Congratulations on winning a Prism contract, and welcome to the fold! Like most writers, I also love to read. Prism Book Group publishes works that are clean, well-written, and carefully edited. I don’t care to read filthy language or casual sex disguised as romance, and you'll never find those things in Prism books.

You hear that, folks? Clean, and well-written. Thank you, Carlene. I'm honored to be part of a publishing company such as Prism. Speaking of publishing, have you ever been published by anyone besides Prism?

The answer to this question could fill a book. Hmm, maybe someday it will. I got off to a rocky start, but my mother, who also happens to be an author, kept encouraging me. I considered asking Mom (pen name: Barri Bryan) to intercede with Desert Breeze, where she has several books. Ultimately, I decided I would get a publishing contract on my own or not at all. Prism began accepting submissions at a perfect time for me, and I love working with Joan Alley and her crew.

That does sound like quite a story; one I would love to hear (or read) one day. Anyone else agree? I believe you have writing in the blood, so to speak. And did you say Desert Breeze Publishing? What a small world. One of our miners has a contract with them as well.

Back to your latest gem... what are you working on now?

Next up for publication is “The Scarlet Cord”, co-authored by Sharon and me. It’s the story of Rahab. You may recall she was the harlot who survived the fall of Jericho when the walls came tumbling down. Rahab and her family were spared because she had the faith and courage to shelter Israel’s spies. Later, she married Salmon, the Prince of Judah. The Bible doesn’t tell us much more about her life—that’s the part Sharon and I imagined and wrote.

What a story... and in the Bible. I've reviewed several Biblical romances for my blog. I enjoyed reading them, although I don't write them. I'll definitely have to check this one out. Can we get a glimpse?


     The tall man held up a hand, and his companion fell silent. Rahab was accustomed to men who could not afford her services, but the reactions of these two stung her. One seemed completely indifferent, while the other made her feel unclean. The truth flew into her mind with such force it escaped from her mouth. “You are Hebrews.”
     “Yes, we are,” the tall man said, much to Rahab’s surprise.
     They were such beautiful young men. What a pity it would be for them to be impaled in the public place. “Do you not know the king’s men keep track of foreigners in Jericho, because of all the trouble across the river? If you hurry, you may be able to escape.”
     The shorter man quickly pushed his food away, stood up, and shook out his clothing. The taller one stood and faced Rahab. “Would you hide us?” he asked.
     “I could be executed for helping you. And my whole family along with me.”  Looking into his eyes made her heart beat faster. Yet his face would no longer be handsome after a beating from the soldiers’ rods.
     The tall man spoke gently. “Help us and you will live when we take this city.”
     “Take Jericho? You cannot,” she whispered. “Our walls…”
     “Your walls are nothing to the Lord. We will conquer this city and all others who stand in our way, just as we have overcome the Amorites.” His manner conveyed absolute confidence. “Our lives in exchange for yours. Yes or no?”

I remember the fall of Jericho in the Bible. What an awesome story to tell. How do you decide which characters to pick for your books?

The Bible is filled with fascinating characters! How would it feel to be truly "given" in marriage?To live in an environment where a malevolent king had absolute authority? To be one wife among many? Those thoughts, coupled with a wish to write about a heroine from the Bible, eventually resulted in selecting Princess Michal, King Saul’s youngest daughter, to take the starring role in our first co-authored novel. After Sharon and I sifted through numerous possibilities, Rahab grabbed us next and wouldn’t let go. We were intrigued by the unlikely inclusion of a pagan harlot in the lineage of the Messiah. Once we selected our heroine, we include characters named in the Biblical account and invented the others.

I'm so excited for you (and Sharon). This book sounds absolutely amazing. Do you have any special events planned involving its release?

Prism covers are always smashing—perfectly reflective of each book’s theme—so I’m planning my first ever “cover reveal” event for “The Scarlet Cord”. A year and a half ago, Sharon and I looked at a picture Joan suggested for the cover of “Daughter of the King”. Almost as if we were leafing through a family album, we both said, “This is not a picture of Michal. She’s Rahab!”  

That is so cool. I love it. And I can't wait for the reveal. I can't wait to see her shine. After all, I think we have a diamond. Thanks for stopping by the Mine, Carlene. Are you open to taking some questions?

I’m honored to be your first featured author. It has been my pleasure to visit your lovely site.  May your jewelbox be filled with sparklers! I am most definitely open to questions, but I will be away from my computer for a while today, beginning a new Bible study. So if I’m slow to respond, you know why.

I completely understand. Don't worry, we have plenty of time. After all, we'll be here all week! (Oh my, I sound like a comedian.)

So if you have a question for Carlene, have at it, folks and don't forget to enter the giveaway for her latest release and a $25 gift certificate on Amazon! (see details below)




Carlene Havel's Daughter of the King
(e-copy or signed print version)
winner's choice

Enter via Rafflecopter!
(drawing on 5/14/14)

About the Giveaway's Prize:

Princess Michal was the youngest daughter of Saul, the first king of Israel. In an age when fathers arranged marriages, Michal dared to fall in love with a handsome young musician named David, from the little town of Bethlehem. As recounted in the Bible, Michal helped David escape from her insanely jealous father. King Saul punished his daughter with forced marriage to a distant war lord. Princess Michal unexpectedly returns from seven years of exile to find a changed world. Most of her relatives are dead. David has become King of Judea. He has acquired six additional wives, one of whom is a princess from Geshur. Michal longs to have a son to reign over Israel and reestablish the rule of King Saul's heirs.  But each royal wife has hopes of placing her own son on the throne. Can Princess Michal's love for King David survive war, madness, infidelity, and betrayal?

About the Author:

I grew up in Texas and married a military officer.  Courtesy of the US Air Force, I’ve also lived in six or seven US states, the Republic of the Philippines, and Turkey. My husband loves to travel, and we’ve had lots of fun satisfying his wanderlust. Although I prefer peaceful mountain forests, he enjoys big cities, exotic locales, and archaeological excavations. Glenn and I still laugh about our adventure in a Parisian coin operated laundry, and I’m pretty sure a couple of French housewives do, too. 

My home is now in Texas, in the midst of a big, extended family. I had no interest in writing until 2005, when I became a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. Along with everything else that changed, I developed a passion for writing. I love Bible study, normally devoting most of one day each week delving into the scriptures with a small focus group. I also enjoy sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery.

Amazon, Daughter of the King:  http://goo.gl/5WLKj
Amazon, all my work:  http://goo.gl/ugcII


Misty Russon said...

Your books sound intriguing. I will have to check them out.

Carlene Havel said...

Thank you, Misty! I hope you enjoy them.

Amryn Cross said...

Great interview, Carlene. :-) I'm the "miner" with a Desert Breeze Contract. Congrats on all your success!

Carlene Havel said...

My mom loves Desert Breeze - I think you'll enjoy working with them. I met Gail Delaney and some other DB folks at a recent conference - nice folks with vast knowledge.

nancy bolton said...

Hi Carlene! I'm one of the miners and will soon be published with Prism Book Group this fall. I agree that the Bible is loaded with interesting characters! Your books sound wonderful. I have a question: Do you find that during the writing process and developing characters, you are also learning things about your own heart?

Carlene Havel said...

Hi, Nancy, Thanks for joining the conversation! I do think writing does lead to self-discovery. Once upon a time, I thought the ancients were quite different from contemporary people. More and more, I realize that while their food, clothing, transportation, shelter, and customs were nothing like ours, hearts are remarkably consistent. When an author attempts to unravel a character, looking within is a valuable resource. It seems to me jealousy, betrayal, and love feel the same across the ages.

Renee Blare said...

Thanks for stopping by the mine and joining us, everyone,
What an awesome question, Nancy! For me, I would have to say yes. When developing a scene or situation within a story, sometimes it actually helps me in "real life." God uses my writing not only for others (I pray, anyway!) but to knock me upside the head! To remind me of His great wisdom, especially when I'm trying to impart those great lessons to others. LOL
There's nothing like eating your own words. :)

Renee Blare said...

Hey, Carlene!
I have a question... what's it like to write with someone? You said in your interview, she does a lot of the research and you plot. But how do y'all manage the writing part of it all?

Carlene Havel said...

Sharon and I began as coworkers, then became close friends. We shared an office for three or four years. Not that we agree on everything--there's one esoteric topic we still can't discuss--but we always though we made a good team. When we had a project, I would toss out ideas. Sharon had to figure out what was rational vs. crazy. When I tackled historical writing, I knew I was out of my depth. So I approached Sharon about teaming up again. I'm so grateful she agreed! We are able to disagree without being disagreeable. We talk through a story until we have the general outline and the main characters Then we do independent work until our book is about half done, sharing ideas, questions, and information mostly via email. As work progresses, we sit together at my dining room table or a nearby Mexican restaurant and hash things out. When the manuscript is complete, we sit together and read it aloud, revising as we go. We laugh a lot more than we argue.

Renee Blare said...

That sounds so cool. :)

NJ said...

Book sounds interesting! I'll have to check it out!

Carlene Havel said...

I appreciate your interest! "Daughter of the King" is on sale for 99 cents this week on Amazon and B&N. Back to normal next week.

Gay Lewis said...

I love Carlene and Sharon's books. Biblical history is a favorite of mine and seeing it brought to me in a "live" format is more than entertaining. It's also mind provoking.

Carlene Havel said...

Thank you, Gay. Your quirky little angel Sarah makes me laugh. Maybe we should become each others' press agents!

Renee Blare said...

Thanks for the update on your book, Carlene! What deal. :)

Peggy Trotter said...

Love, love this idea of personifying Rahab! What a great idea! I've always been fascinated with here given she was in the line of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You really hit on super interesting concept. I love how the commonly, 'unacceptable people,' like prostitutes and foreigners were part of Jesus' human heritage. It so magnifies his love of all people.

Carlene Havel said...

You are so right, Peggy! His lineage illustrates "whosoever will" to perfection. The more Sharon and I focused on Rahab, the more astonishing her story becomes. She had all the "wrong" credentials--a woman, unchaste, from a heathen culture. Amazing grace!

Renee Blare said...

I can't get a date right to save my hide! Don't worry, I corrected the giveaway day. This giveaway ends on 5/14/14, everyone. Spread the word! :)