Lillie: I’m thrilled to welcome Carlene Havel to my blog today. I first met Carlene through her parents, my dear friends, Billie and Herb Houston (writing as Barri Bryan). She wasn’t a writer when I first met her, but she has since published three books.
Carlene is offering a giveaway, a $15 Amazon gift certificate, to a lucky reader. Read on to find out how to enter.
Updated 11/18/13: Sarah is the winner of the gift certificate.
Welcome, Carlene. I’m delighted to have you here.
Carlene: I’m glad to be here.
Lillie: As I mentioned above, both of your parents are writers. Did you always want to follow in their footsteps?
Carlene: Although I’ve always loved to read, I once had no interest in writing. My former occupation required me to write technical papers—which I did only because I had to. In 2005, my life was transformed by coming to faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. In addition to other, innumerable life-altering changes, I suddenly developed a passion for writing.
Lillie: Along with that passion, God obviously gave you lots of talent, as well. What can you tell us about your latest novel, which I have reviewed below?
Carlene: I originally wrote Here Today Gone Tomorrow in 2009. After a publisher rejected it, I threw away everything but the first three chapters and started over. This time, I plunged more deeply into memories of some personal experiences, therapeutically writing away old hurts. Prism Book Group offered me a contract to publish the revised work in 2012. Then the editor suggested a rewrite to drop the first three chapters, which were all that remained of the original novel! She was absolutely right. Here Today Gone Tomorrow expresses my philosophy that there is always hope.
Lillie: That philosophy is a great expression of your faith. What is the general theme of your work?
Carlene: As a writer of fiction, I believe it’s crucial to entertain readers. Who wants to read a boring book? I write what I myself like to read, uplifting, encouraging stories. After creating a set of characters, I always want to give them a happy ending. Sleazy slime-balls trying to kill a bunch of other dirt-bags have no appeal for me, although I do appreciate a nasty villain getting his comeuppance. To borrow from St. Paul, I write to affirm faith, hope, and love—and the most wonderful of all is love.
Lillie: I’m looking forward to reading more of your books. What is next?
Carlene: A Sharecropper Christmas will be released by Prism Book Group at the end of November. This is a novella, loosely based on family stories of farm life during the Great Depression. Co-author Sharon Faucheux and I recently signed a contract to publish our full-length novel, The Scarlet Cord, the story of Rahab. Meanwhile, we’re working together on a book about another courageous woman of the Bible.
Lillie: Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
Lillie: Thanks, Carlene, for being my guest and for offering a giveaway to a lucky reader. Tell us about the giveaway.
Carlene: I’m giving away a $15 Amazon gift to a lucky commenter who wins a random draw. I recommend the dry roasted soybean snacks for if the winner isn’t a reader.
Lillie: I can’t imagine a non-reader following my blog, and I recommend the winner buy your books if they haven’t already read them. To enter the drawing for the gift certificate, leave a comment below. I’ll generate a random number on random.org to select the winner.
Carlene: Thank you so much, Lillie, for hosting me on your blog today.
Lillie: I’m delighted to have you as my guest, and I hope you will stop by later to respond to comments.
Carlene: I’ll certainly do that. Good luck to everyone who leaves a comment to enter the giveaway.
Carlene Havel has lived in numerous US states, the Philippines, and Turkey. Like most writers, Carlene has always loved to read, and her taste is eclectic. Her other hobbies include sewing, knitting, crochet, and embroidery. She especially enjoys Bible study, normally devoting one day each week delving into the Scriptures with a small focus group. The Havels make their home in San Antonio, Texas, in the midst of a big, extended family.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Casey and Carlos aren’t swept away by passionate love at first sight. Instead, they start as neighbors, then they become good friends. Love develops as the two get to know each other. Both experience real life challenges, but they each rekindle their strong faith. Together, with the help of God, they overcome challenges and find the joy of a love based on more than physical attraction and rooted in faith. A tender, heart-warming story of love–love for God and love for each other. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.