Saturday, January 19, 2013

Meet Carey Jane Clark

Is there a story behind After the Snow Falls?
The typical writing advice is to write what you know, so naturally some of my own stories and experiences come through in After the Snow Falls. The story is one of forgiveness and healing, something that arose out of some of our experiences when our family first moved to China four years ago. My own personal healing came about as I learned to forgive. And some of the experiences of childhood illness came out of my childhood experience with a family friend who died of leukemia.

What started you on your writing journey?
I have wanted to write almost as long as I can remember. I read a quote recently by John Green, “Great books help you understand, and they help you to feel understood.” I really relate to that quote. And I think the first book that made me feel that way was Anne of Green Gables. When I finished reading that book, I was hooked on reading and I knew I wanted to be an author someday. It took a long time before I had the courage to follow that dream, but after my son was born, I used his nap times to squeeze in work on a writing course from Writer’s Digest. I started to hear positive feedback on what I wrote and take the first steps to writing what has now become After the Snow Falls.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Homeschooling my three kids. But I love my kids and I love learning. I think that learning together with them enriches what I have to offer as an author, so I’m never sorry about time spent that way.

Which character in After the Snow Falls most interested you while you wrote? Why?
When I wrote the first draft of the story, I wrote entirely from Celia’s perspective. I was totally in her head and telling everything from her point of view. But when I reached the end, the story fell flat. I knew it was missing something. I went back and worked through some tools to figure out what essential thing was missing in her, and realized what was really missing was Alfie. He was there in the first draft, but not fleshed out at all like he is now.
I really fell in love with Alfie during the second draft, and what I wrote about him changed Celia too. I think Celia and I are alike in many ways, but if there were one character in the book I’d want to hang out with, it would be Alfie.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love reading, and I’m pretty eclectic in my interests, but my favorite kind of book would be literary fiction. I’m not much of a romance reader, but I’ve been known to read a romance or two. My favorite books of all time are Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
My kids. We make a lot of memories while homeschooling together and we learn a lot together. I’m sure I learn as much as they do. It’s something that definitely takes dedication and there are days I think longingly about the time I could give to writing if I wasn’t homeschooling, but I wouldn’t trade the time I share with my children for anything.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
In After the Snow Falls, Celia lives in the Ottawa Valley. The specific town she lives near is fictional, but based on a place not far from where my husband grew up. It’s a beautiful area. Also, at the beginning of the story, Alfie and Adele are traveling back to Canada from California following Route 66. When I was writing this novel, my husband and I were planning to travel Route 66 ourselves on a motorcycle, but then all our plans turned upside down when we decided to move to China.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
That’s a tough one. We love to entertain and we love food. I don’t know that we have a single favorite, but this Middle-Eastern style meal is always greeted with enthusiasm:
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground lamb (or half lamb, half beef)
3 tablespoons grated onion
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg
28 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Mash the garlic into a paste with the salt using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a chef's knife on your cutting board. Mix the garlic into the lamb along with the onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, ginger, and pepper in a mixing bowl until well blended.

Form the mixture into 28 balls. Form each ball around the tip of a skewer, flattening into a 2 inch oval; repeat with the remaining skewers.

Place the kebabs onto a baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium high heat and lightly oil grate.

Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning occasionally, until the lamb has cooked to your desired degree of doneness, about 6 minutes for medium.

I usually serve this with a sauce made of stewed tomatoes, pine nuts and red onion. I serve saffron rice and a salad or tabouli on the side.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I am just finishing the first draft of my next book. It’s a middle-grade novel this time about a young boy who stumbles on a stunning discovery while visiting with missionary relatives in the Amazon. After it’s well on it’s way, I plan to begin more serious work on another contemporary fiction involving events leading up to a school shooting. It’s an idea I was working on long before Newtown, but it’s been made even more timely by recent events.

Author Bio:
Carey Jane Clark is an author, homeschool mother and expat, living in China. Carey writes to instill courage, hope and conviction. She has authored several articles for various publications and has ghostwritten a devotional for teens. She has been writing for more than twenty years. Her writing in After the Snow Falls has been compared to that of Karen Kingsbury and Jodi Picoult. 

Carey shares the adventure of life with her husband and three children.

Links: (blogsite - very eclectic, not just bookish)
Twitter: @CareyJaneClark

 Carey Jane Clark is giving away a copy of After the Snow Falls. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post.

Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss the winners list. ;-)


Library Lady said...

I enjoyed reading the interview of Carey Jane Clark.
I would also love to win the book too.
Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
Janet E.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

spangldlady said...

Thank you for this opportunity to win this really great sounding book. It was a great interview too. Blessings! Darlene

cjajsmommy said...

Thank you for the recipe -- I may have to try this some day when I feel adventurous. Please enter my name for a copy of this book.
djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

spangldlady said...

I'd love to win this one. Please enter my name. Blessings! Darlene

Teela said...

Great interview and enjoyed the recipe as well. Please enter my name for the Carey Jane's giveaway.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I'd love to read it and see how she handles this heartbreaking storyline.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

WOW! I can't imagine living in China, I also have a granddaughter who homeschools. She has 5 kids, ages 9 down to 2 mo, She loves it. I would love to win your book, Carey. Thanks girls for having her as a guest!
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I love the Anne of Green Gables books, too. There's just something about them that make you want to be creative. Thanks for having the giveaway.


tickmenot said...

It is always so interesting when I hear about Americans who are making their homes abroad! It is such a blessing to have the internet so that we can hear about each others lives.

Blessings from Kansas City!!

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