About Caryl McAdoo:
Caryl McAdoo loves God, and currently writes four series: the historical Christian ‘Texas Romance’ a family saga; a contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; The Generations, her Biblical fiction, and the newest Days of Dread Trilogy for mid-grade readers. Known as the “Singing Pray-er”, she loves praising with new songs the Lord gives her and prays her story gives God glory! In 2008, she and high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings, believing all good things come from the Lord. Besides glorifying Him, she hopes each title also ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. The McAdoos live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State with two grandsons.
What inspires you to write?
My love for the Lord is my inspiration coupled with my desire to bring Him glory inspires me to write. I’ve loved putting words together since I was a child, and English was always my favorite school subject. My grandfather used to tell me and my cousins stories and wrote one fairytale book. His daughter, my mother also wrote a book. Neither of those were published, but you could say I came by writing naturally. In the 7th grade, I wrote in an “What are you going to be doing in the year 2000” essay–it was 1962. Mine mentioned being an intergalactically famous author jetting from planet to planet to sign autographs! What can I say? The space program let me down.
Tell us about your writing process.
Most definitely a pantster – although I really must be more a skirtster, because I don’t wear pants. My husband prefers skirts, and I prefer pleasing him. Plus there are scriptural reasons, but I love dresses and skirts because they make me feel more feminine. I enjoy being a girl. Can you tell I get off topic pretty easily? Actually, I say I write for discovery, much more dignified for my stage of life.When I start a new WRITING project, I decide on the basics, my characters, their names, and the journey’s bare bones, then off I go with them. I find out what happens along the way and don’t usually know how their story is going to end until I get there.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My heroines all come from different parts of me, not so much on purpose, it’s just how I write. They’re all strong with major flaws. Look at Sue Baylor (Vow Unbroken, bk one, 1832). She had to deal with her anger and jumping too soon to conclusions, but she loved with a love that was more than a love. She remained faithful to God and was willing to admit when she was wrong and ask forgiveness.
Now Sassy’s (Hearts Stolen, bk two, 1844) strong will and stubbornness got her in all kinds of trouble, but having it so hard early on caused her to appreciate freedom and calmed her down a lot. Her heart trusted God, and with the slightest of reminders, she clung to Him and His promises, ready to face whatever came. Her love ran deep.
Independent, intelligent, incorrigible May (Hope Reborn, bk three, 1850)–so confident yet so unsure–didn’t want to be alone. She kept trying to talk herself into being okay with it, talk herself out of a husband and babies. So opinionated and outspoken, poor novelist ends up with her foot in her mouth more than once. For thirty-nine years, she’d never known or acknowledged God, couldn’t face her fears or secrets, but once she found Him and the man He brought into her life, it changed her.
There’s also Mary Rachel, Gwendolyn, Cecelia, Bonnie, Lacey Rose, Rebecca, Faith, Mary Ester, and Sammie Dan. They are all close friends. Some of them are like friends I know with part of me. Other characteristics I give them may be ones I hope to have.
My heroes on the other hand are a lot like my wonderful husband, so I love all of them! My characters become close friends, and I love them. They’re like gifts from God, and I love writing their stories, sprinkled with scriptural principals and giving God glory!
What advice would you give other writers?
(1) Sit in the chair and start writing, keep writing.
(2) Hone your craft. In the beginning, spend every bit as much time studying the craft of writing as you do writing. Always, always be improving.
(3) Find a good read-and-critique group then go regularly. Read and listen to the comments and suggestions. If the other workshop members aren’t being tough on you, find another group! Iron sharpens iron. Sometimes it hurts your feelbad, I know, but it also improves your writing.
(4) Attend writers’ conferences when you can. Larger ones can be expensive, but there are many smaller writers groups who offer smaller, less expensive options.
(5) Never consider what you put to paper as untouchable. You just can’t. I’ll leave you with a favorite quote: “Only God writes in stone. The rest of us rewrite.”
(6) Never give up. Keep at it. If God is in it, He will help you.
(7) Oh, and go Indie! (see next answer below)
How did you decide how to publish your books?
God led me to the DFW Writers Workshop in 1993 and I got my first title published in 1999. By 2008, I had nine published by three regional presses, one east coast company and one west coast audio publisher.
I met Mary Sue Seymour at a small writers’ conference the last weekend of April 2012. On the three hour ride back to the DFW Airport for her ride home (I’d volunteered to take her) we visited, and she told me the easiest genre for her to sell was historical Christian romance. She said that if I’d write her one set in the 1800s, she’d sell it. Well, I dropped her off on Sunday and started writing on Monday.
I wrote Vow Unbroken in nine weeks and sent her the manuscript in early July. She signed me to a contract in August then sold it to Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, in October. I truly thought I’d finally arrived. But it took two years before Vow hit the bookstores, and in that time, I’d written many more stories including book two Hearts Stolen and book three Hope Reborn.
At the Lord’s leading, again, I elected to publish independently, releasing a back title with a facelift and new title, Lady Luck’s a Loser, in April, Hearts (bk two mentioned above) in November, and A Little Lower Than the Angels (a new Biblical fiction series). Then 2015, I jumped in up to my neck and published eleven new titles! It would have taken me until 2026 to get all those out through a traditional publisher.
I found that I LOVED being in control of my stories, their covers, timelines, and marketing. I got my stories into the hands of 250,000 readers that year, and Amazon sends three checks a month directly to my bank account…one for print sales, one for eBooks, and the third for my audio editions. I absolutely love being an Indie author–well, hybrid since I’m published both ways–but I can’t imagine what a traditional house would have to offer for me to sell them another one of my stories.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Indie, Indie, Indie. Just as typewriters are all but obsolete, so soon will be the big New York publishing houses. Of they’ll hold on still putting some out, but eventually everyone is going to get smart and publish independently with Amazon. And I’m an Amazon exclusive author. All my titles are in their Select Program, which means readers who’ve signed up for their Kindle Unlimited program can read them all for free. Amazon pays the authors by the page from the pool of subscribers’ monthly payments. What a win-win! I love it, and I love Amazon!
What do you use?: Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: My most popular series is my historical romances. I also write a contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and for mid-grade and young adults.
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.