Sunday, May 31, 2015

Love is in the Air: Author interview with Raelee May Carpenter

Welcome my super talented writer friend whose pen name is Raelee May Carpenter to the blog today! She's here to talk about the release of her new novel, Liberation Song and I think her words will inspire you. 

Enjoy the interview! :)

Questions from Alexis in bold, answers from Raelee not in bold...


Alexis: Congrats on the soon to be released book Liberation Song! Is it a novel or novella?

Raelee: Liberation Song is a novel but (at about 54,000 words) is shorter than the average nowadays.

Tell us about the heroine in Liberation Song. What is her name? What are her strengths and weaknesses? What are her hopes and dreams? What is her biggest fear? What was your favorite part of writing her character?

Alexandra Adelaide is a highly intelligent, motivated, analytical lady with lots of compassion and a strong sense of right and wrong…and she is afraid of basically everything. She wants to atone for a deadly mistake in her past and keep her four-year-old daughter Aggie safe and happy.

Alex has a good sense of humor belied by an inner social awkwardness. She’s hardcore tough, but only because she’s afraid. I enjoy expressing the paradoxes of her character.

Who is your hero in Liberation Song? What is his name? What are his strengths and weaknesses? Who does he love? What does he not like? What was your favorite part about writing his character?

Matthew Gold’s tender-heart is contradicted somewhat by his dark, tattoo-covered appearance. He’s extremely attractive but wears thick glasses that obscure his face. He has a habit of asking extremely personal questions of near strangers and butts heads with Alex over this early on in their relationship. He loves Alex, her daughter Aggie, his family, and Jesus. He also still has an affection for his late wife whom he lost to an ectopic pregnancy several years ago.

Matt is so committed to Alex and so patient with her insecurities. I enjoyed writing about the tender and tireless way he chips at the walls she builds around her heart.

Describe the plot of Liberation Song without giving the story away.

Here’s my mini-blurb: Three years after anti-human trafficking Operation: Free Bird goes south, Alexandra Adelaide is beginning to put the pieces of her heart back together. Then a new kind of tragedy strikes: she falls in love.

Did you create the plot as you write or do you take time to go into great detail before you start writing the story?

I always have a general idea of the plot before I start writing, but most of the story comes alive, instinctually, along the way...though I don’t always write everything in order.

What is your favorite feature of the creative writing process? Explain.

I love the way stories can inspire people. I write about grace, and my hope is my stories teach people how to let more of it into their lives. When a reader tells me one of my stories affected them or helped them understand God’s love a little better—Wow! Those moments are worth every hour I put into the writing, editing, and marketing of my books.

Describe your writing space. What makes it special to you?

I will write anywhere. My most common space is on my couch, but I’ve been known to pull out my laptop or a pad of paper in bed, at the store, at someone else’s house. I’ve become more disciplined at writing in recent years. I will make time for it even if I don’t feel super-inspired, but I also will catch the spark of an idea wherever it happens to occur to me.

What is your go-to food or drink when you are on deadline?

Leftovers, cold cereal, or frozen meals from Trader Joe’s—anything that’s easy and quick to prepare. Sometimes I’ll splurge on a sandwich from the gourmet deli near my apartment.

How did you learn of your traditional publisher eLectio? Share your story. 

Liberation Song
is being released by eLectio Publishing, a mid-sized faith-based traditional press based in Texas.

I found out about eLectio when they followed me on Twitter! I’d gotten several rejection slips before, like all authors do, but when I visited their website, I realized Liberation Song might be a good fit for them. I prepared the submission packet and sent it along, prepared to wait the requisite three to six months to hear.

Well, two weeks later, I had an e-mail from eLectio’s COO Chris Dixon. We scheduled a phone call, and I had no idea what to expect, but I did further research on the company and prepared a few questions to ask.

When the time came, he greeted me, introduced himself, and said, “We want to publish your book.”

It was a relief to have questions and info prepared, because I was absolutely reeling after that! Three weeks after I sent my submission, my contract arrived in my email box. The day after returning the contract, I had a release date.

After that came what Chris called the “hurry up and wait” stage. Waiting for the edits. Waiting for the cover. Waiting for the galley. eLectio is a great company to work with, though. They produce incredible books, and the artists and editors know how to capture the spirit of the work. Chris and Jesse Greever (the CEO) have been so supportive along the way, as have the other eLectio authors. I’m so glad to be part of the eLectio family.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Share the story.

I honestly don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I wrote a novel when I was seven-years-old. Not that it was worth publishing, but I did write it, and writing books that people would read has always been my dream.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Write. You need to edit and market, and writers’ groups and conferences and classes can be great, but in the end none of it matters if you don’t make time to put your words on the page.

Who is your favorite Christian author? Why?

Oh, my, there are so many. Francine Rivers is awesome, and her book Redeeming Love is a title I will go back to again and again. Susie Finkbeiner, a Michigander like me, writes these intense books that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes both at once.

Recently I’ve gotten in to Lisa Samson, and I adore her contemporary literary stuff. She finds the extraordinary in ordinary life and inspires you to reach out and make the world a better place. Francis Chan and Philip Yancey write great nonfiction. Honestly, I could go on forever.

How does your belief in God affect your storytelling?

Without Him, without His love and all He’s done for me, I wouldn’t have a story to tell.

What is the one thing you want your readers to remember about Liberation Song?

I hope readers come away thinking about God’s grace and how it can give them greater freedom and hope in their everyday lives. I hope they’ll be asking Him to knock down the walls they’ve built to keep Him out.

Complete this sentence: When I wrote “the end” to Liberation Song, I ______________because _________________.

When I wrote “the end” to Liberation Song, I cried because saw myself in it so much, and I was so grateful for God’s grace.

Thanks for the interview, Rae!

Author bio: 
Raelee May Carpenter is a Christian and an author of contemporary fiction, inspirational essays, and modern mythology. 

Her work is passionate, descriptive and just a little edgy. Raelee's three lifelong passions are faith, people, and words. 

She's a tone-deaf music fan and "Mumma" to a young-at-heart, rescued Beagle mix. 

Raelee's favorite thing to write about is the force that saved her life: Grace.
Blurb for Raelee's book, Liberation Song:

When we first meet Aili MacIntyre, she’s doing what she’s been doing all her life: running in fear. She flees through a foreign jungle with two young girls and tries to save them from the forced prostitution ring that has held them in a virtual hell-on-earth. But tragedy meets them under the trees, and only one child escapes.

Three years later, Alexandra Adelaide has acquired a new identity and a radically different scene: the metropolitan jungle of Greater Los Angeles. She, though saved by Grace, has invented what she believes is the appropriate way to suffer for her own sins. Alex is raising the child who was orphaned by her insecurities. And she never, for a second, lets herself forget the pain caused by her mistakes.

Then the real tragedy strikes: she falls in love.

Matthew Gold is everything she needs and a lot more than she could’ve imagined. Bright, attractive, generous, and with his own vested interest in Grace, Matt works hard to earn Alex’s trust and a place in her life. He even loves and seeks to protect her daughter, who is the key to breaking open the biggest human trafficking case in recent history.

But Alex has lived in fear since she took her first breath. So how does she let Love start a new day? How does she choose courage even as very real dangers draw closer to her barred doors?

Buy Raelee’s book:
Direct from eLectio Publishing: Paperback (with free e-book) or e-book (multiple formats)
Also available from Amazon: Kindle or paperback

Connect with Raelee:

Website -
Twitter - @RaeleeCarpenter
Facebook -

Amazon Author Central -

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