Category Archives: Author Interviews

Carrie Fancett Pagels: Writing Where You Live

We’ve all heard the advice, “Write what you know.” Have you considered, “Write where you live”? That’s part of what led to my novella, “The Steeplechase.”The Steeplechase cover A group of authors who’d contributed to the Christmas Traditions collection (a best seller on Amazon in anthologies still, six months after its release) decided to go in on another collection called “Love’s Sporting Chance.” Although I grew up in Michigan, I live in Hampton Roads, Virginia. When I was working on a trilogy of full-length novels set along the James River, I was intrigued by the history of hunts and of the steeplechase. In the 19th century there was an entire swath of horse race country in Virginia from Charles City toward northern Virginia. There are yet today hunt clubs (such as Queen Anne in Charles City) and horse farms along that corridor.

Given how dangerous a steeplechase can be, I wondered what would motivate a young woman to try to engage in this sport, which really didn’t get started until the last quarter of the 19th century. But I wanted my story set earlier. I’m fascinated by the changes that took place in this country during colonial and Early American years. Although some people refer to this time as Regency, we had quite a different outlook on things here in America than they did in England.

While researching, I’d learned that Anglican churches were often shuttered after the American Revolution, some not opening again until decades later, with the Episcopal church. I wondered, what if you had an Anglican priest who was an American. How might his family be treated? What would he do to support himself? What if his daughter was spurned as a possible mate because her father was considered aligned with the British because of the church?

That background helped me create Martha Osborne. I gave her a nasty English stepmother who has returned to England leaving Martha’s beloved little brother in a boarding school. Meanwhile, Phillip Paulson, who owns a horse farm, inadvertently becomes involved in a secret race between two prominent churches on the peninsula – Bruton Parish and Grace Episcopal. (My ancestors attended Grace in the early colonial days.)

If you get the chance to visit the Virginia peninsula, be sure to stop by Bruton Parish (located at the edge of Colonial Williamsburg) and Grace Episcopal (in Yorktown) where you can practically feel history come alive.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.Carrie headshot 2016

Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. 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!


Blogs: Overcoming With God and Colonial Quills

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Links to purchase:

Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2nd edition, January 2016)

The Steeplechase (Forget-Me-Not Romances, February 2016)

Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican Book Group, June 2016)

The Substitute Bride: A Novella (October 2015)

The Christy Lumber Camp Series: Lilacs for Juliana (August, 2016), The Lumberjacks’ Ball (April, 2015), The Fruitcake Challenge (2014)

“Snowed In”, in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Guidepost Books (2013)

God’s Provision in Tough Times Lighthouse of the Carolinas (2013)

Connie Almony: The Deeper Stuff

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded Bio Pic Connie Almonyan Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. I asked her to give a little deeper insight into her newest book and this is what she had to say:

Around 20 years ago I watched Mel Gibson rescue his onscreen son from kidnappers when law enforcement could no longer help him. I’d just started reading Christian fiction and wondered how a Christian author might write this story. I’d also wondered how she could insert a little romance? I had no plans to be an author at the time, but the story of a pastor with a past swirled in my head—characters added, others subtracted, various settings—until I began to reveal bits to family. They marveled at the crazy churnings of my mind, but none of us believed I’d actually turn it into a book.

More than ten years later, after my daughter inspired me to get serious about writing, I still hadn’t planned to write this story. I published three completely new ones. Why? From a human perspective, I couldn’t tell you. From a Godly perspective, I believe He wanted it to marinate a little longer. Had I written it first, it would have been completely different, and missing many of the characters whose life experiences I’d yet to appreciate at a deeper level. The sweet, ten-year-old boy struggling with autism. The tattoo-laden, Harley-riding, elder of the church. The former dirt-track race car driver who, despite his hardened exterior, has stolen some reader’s hearts with his rarely-exposed kindnesses.

Though I’d planned to make the “pastor with a past” someone who’d grown up in a country-club lifestyle, I hadn’t planned to make his new best friend, and the man who brought him to Christ, his mechanic. Nor had I planned to make the church he led a “redneck church” until my cousin had affectionately given his own congregation that label, the one I’d come to see like home and family.

Connie Almony BookFlee from Evil is about forgiveness, redemption and the manifestation of Romans 8:28 where God can not only make bad things, that happen to a person, good. He can also use the bad things a person has done for His glory. It is also about the Body of Christ at work in all its vibrant colors, each different from the other, yet all necessary to form the whole.

Unlike the movie that inspired it, it is not just about a man who’d do anything for his child—as God has done for us. It’s about a God who can re-purpose the lowliest of lives and make them extraordinary!

Connie Almony is also the author of One Among Men and An Insignificant Life, about women who run dormitories at a major state university, and At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD. Watch out for more books in each of these series, as well as a multi-author book anthology coming Summer 2016.