Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sit-Down Saturday with Carol Ross



Thrilled to sit-down this lovely Saturday morning and answer some questions about my latest book, If Not for a Bee.
In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say? 
If not for a bee...
I think the title of the book is a perfect caption, "if not for a bee." Because literally, if not for a bee, hero Aidan Hollings wouldn’t be in Alaska. If not for a bee, he and Janie would never have their very first encounter in front of the Donut Den in downtown Rankins, Aidan would never enlist the help of Janie’s older boys in his lab, Janie would never have to interview him for the Rankins Press, and...on it goes. And all because of a bee.

What is your favorite scene?
 
This is a tough one. I like so many scenes in this book it’s difficult to choose. I think this is because I love Aidan and Janie so much. These two are both dealing with some complex issues. But they both want to do the right thing, especially when it comes to Janie’s boys. As we all know, sometimes no matter how much we analyze and agonize about an important decision, ultimately it still might not turn out to be the best one.

I love the scene where Janie discovers that Aidan is teaching her older two boys a skill that he feels is valuable; something that he is convinced will help them solve a problem. He’s also aware of the fact that Janie may not agree with this approach, so he acts on the age-old theory that sometimes it’s easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Of course, he gets caught. Janie’s mom claws come out in full force as she battles with whether or not this is the right thing for her children. A conversation ensues where Janie has a bit of a revelation about her parenting style.

Who was your favorite character and why?
I adore Janie. She’s loosely based on my oldest sister, Shelly. Like my sister, Janie’s devotion to the people she loves trumps everything else in her life. She is kind and sweet and generally easygoing, but mess with her children, her family, or friends? Watch out. You’ll see a side to her you never even knew existed. 
If you could pick an actor or actress to play the hero and heroine, who would they be? 
I’m not one to picture famous people when I write my stories. I know authors who create collages or Pinterest boards around their Hollywood-featured hero and heroine. I can see how this would be helpful, but I always feel like I should be writing instead. Not that I am writing necessarily, just that I feel like I should be.  But Aidan, the hero from If Not for a Bee is an easy one. He’s Matthew McConaughey. Matthew is a bit older than Aidan (who is in his early thirties in the book) but he could pull it off. Imagine Matthew in the films Sahara or Fools Gold. Even his personality reminds me a bit of Aidan.  For Janie, I would go with Amy Adams. In fact, the more I think about it, the more perfect she seems.
Here they are. My Janie and Aidan.
Tell us one thing you learned during research. 
Only one? I've become a little passionate about these little critters. I've learned so much about bees I could write an entire blog post (book) about them. Oh, wait…I've already done that. Twice. 
Although, since you asked...
One fascinating fact that I don’t think I’ve posted previously (although it is mentioned in the book) is how active some species of bumblebees are in Alaska. With its shockingly cold temperatures, I wondered how early do bumblebees come out in the spring?  Arctic bumblebees are blessed with this super-hero-like ability called thermoregulation, which allows them to raise their internal body temperature to somewhere around 100° F. The tundra can be half-frozen in the spring, but the Arctic bumblebee will be out there visiting the very first blooms of the season and doing his pollinating thing.
Isn't it cute? Love these tiny, fuzzy super-heroes! (photo by Silvio Sorcini.)


This is your third book.  Exactly what does that mean to you?
 

 I’m starting to believe that I really can do this writing thing. My anxiety level has gone down so much since my first book came out. I was nearly frozen with fear that a horrible mistake had been made - my editor hadn’t really read it, my reviews would all be one-star or less, I’d embarrass my family, etc. Book two was better as I held on to the fact that I’d truly given it my all and that’s what really matters. But with this one, I’ve firmly grasped the fact that I can only control the things I can control. (I say the serenity prayer on a daily basis.) Not that I don’t still have “book” worries. They just don’t consume me anymore. I’m really enjoying the entire process now. And that makes me happy.

What do you plan to work on next?
 
Just finished revisions for book four. This one is called A Family Like Hannah’s and is also set in Rankins. I’m excited about it because it’s a little different than the previous three Seasons of Alaska books in some subtle, but important ways. Ways that I feel I’ve grown and improved as a writer. Such a great feeling. 
I am currently working on another proposal for Heartwarming. I’m going to step away from Rankins for a book or two and then hopefully revisit it again for a couple more books. Looking forward to creating a new world, but not quite ready to say goodbye to Rankins forever.

What are you reading for pleasure right now?
 
I recently finished reading fellow Heartwarming author Amy Vastine’s The Hardest Fight. I loved it. I’ve loved all of her books, but I think this one is my favorite so far. Next up is Kristan Higgins’ latest, If You Only Knew.
Thank you so much for taking the time to let me ramble about my latest release. For more information about me or my books stop by my new website: carolrossauthor.com Or just stop by and take a look because it’s so pretty! You can sign up for my newsletter, too. (It’s my first website ever. I’m a teensy bit excited about it in case that it isn't coming through on the page.)

        Available at the following:        
 Harlequin 
Thank you for stopping by to chat with me this morning!



26 comments:

  1. You're doing "this writing thing" just wonderfully!

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    1. Oh, Liz. Thank you. You are wonderful.

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  2. I was already looking forward to reading If Not for a Bee, but this post made me even more excited to get to it.

    I agree with Liz, and I love your new website!

    Best wishes with the new proposal. I know it'll be only a matter of time that you'll be announcing that you have a new contract.

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    1. Thank you, Kate. It really was fun to learn about bees and sneak some of the information into the story. I so appreciate your confidence in me!

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  3. Hi Carol!! Thanks for telling us more about If Not For A Bee. These little bee facts are slowly changing my mind about the little critters. I guess they are pretty amazing and rather cute when they're not stinging you. ( :
    Were you really that afraid when Mountains Apart was released? I loved that book so much. I can still remember the opening scene that cracked me up. You ARE really a writer, and a very good one. Wishing you the greatest success in the future with your writing.

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    1. Good Morning, Laurie! I do like to talk about this book for some reason. Well, I'm sure it has a lot to do with the bees. I'm a little over the top about them these days ( : And I'm glad to open your mind a little. (You don't have like wasps though. They're mean lol) And yes, I really was that scared. I think part of it was being so stunned that my life-long dream was coming true. Thank you so much for your kind words. You're so sweet!

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  4. I always wanted to be a beekeeper! I think it's amazing the way they make honey--which I love. Looking forward to reading If Not For a Bee!

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    1. Patricia, you should be a beekeeper! My granddad kept bees and I have so many fond memories of him showing us how it all worked. And the honey, and honeycomb. I would like to have bees someday - or at the very least invite someone to keep them on our property. They really are amazing. Thank you for stopping by!

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  5. Carol, I have read all your Rankibs books and just love them. This one was incredibly delightful as I felt so sorry for Aiden who kept stumbling all over him self. The destroyed Boston Cream Pie was genius. Hiwever, your deft handling of the bullying issue should win you 5 gold stars in every parents eyes. Bullying is a massive problem in our schools because of many reasons, first of which, is that teachers have lost their power to deal with abolish children and their more anusive parents. Aiden was fantastic with Janie's boys. I highly recommend this book to all mothers, grandmothers, aunts and uncles. Also, can I please put in a vote that you not leave Rankin???!?!? These Alaska settings are brilliant and different. You have something special here. I wish you great success in your career.

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    1. Catherine, thank you so much! These means the world to me, especially coming from you. I totally agree about the bullying. And if teachers can't take care of it, then kids need to be equipped to do so themselves. I can't imagine ever leaving Rankins for good ( : I love it there. On bad days I wish I could move there myself!

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  6. Sorry for all the typos! I hit send accidentally!!

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  7. Heading over to see your new website! Sounds like a great book!

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    1. Oh, thanks, Pam! It was a fun book to write. Thanks for taking a look at my site ( :

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  8. I can't wait to read this one and now that I can picture Matthew as Aidan, all the better! I love Rankins and hope you stay there awhile but also can't wait to see what else you have brewing!! Thanks for the shout out. Love you to the moon and back, woman! xoxo

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  9. I can't wait to read this one and now that I can picture Matthew as Aidan, all the better! I love Rankins and hope you stay there awhile but also can't wait to see what else you have brewing!! Thanks for the shout out. Love you to the moon and back, woman! xoxo

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  10. Thanks, Amy. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what else I have inside my crazy head, too. And you're welcome. I really loved The Hardest Fight. Poor Lucy. I loved her complexity and her dignified suffering. Heart-wrenching. LOVE YOU, TOO!!

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  11. I've loved all three of your Rankins books. They depict the Alaska lifestyle well, and your characters feel real, even the bees. Looking forward to the rest.

    And your website is quite lovely.

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    1. Thank you so much, Beth! So happy to hear you say that. Alaska is such a unique place and it's important to me to get it right. Thank you also about my website. I have Swank Web Design to thank for that one. But I am really happy about the way it turned out.

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    1. Yay! Thank you, Diana. It was a fun one for me to write. So much setting material for me to work with - Alaska and bees and bears... I really hope you enjoy it.

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  13. I can't wait to read If Not for a Bee, Carol. Good luck with your new proposal! What a comforting thought to know that the anxiety of writing a book reduces after you get a couple under your belt. I'm working on my first contracted deadline which is Monday. I hope to have some hair left. :)

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    1. Thanks, Jill. And yes, the anxiety level has definitely gone down for me! Hang in there. And please know that I or any one of these Heartwarming gals are here for you if you have any questions or concerns or just need a laugh or a shoulder. I don't know how I would have gotten through that first year without the support of these ladies!

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    2. That is so sweet, Carol. Thank you.

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  14. Carol - you'll have to research birds next, because - you know - birds and bees are what we're all about. Love that you've tackled bullying - touchy subject. Good for you. Wish you great success with this release!

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    1. Muriel, you are so funny! And what's even funnier is that I've been thinking about tackling bald eagles. They are such an iconic creature in Alaska. I thought something to do with them might be fun for a book. Thank you for the kind words and the well wishes.

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  15. I can't wait to read this book, Carol, and I love the title! I love bees in general and have plenty around since I garden organically. Our local farm store has an entire shelf dedicated to bee keeping supplies and I'm really tempted! I buy 100% beeswax and melt it to pour my own candles. Beeswax candles don't let toxins into the air like regular ones do, and I've read that they help clean the air because of ionic charge differences. Can't hurt and I figure using bee products helps the folks raising them so they don't go extinct! :). So looking forward to reading this!

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