A camera pans over the Blog Studio audience as fans clap in tune to the lively music of the Blog Studio Band. Smiling faces appear on the monitor. The band concludes and the curtain rises. The audience applauds as...someone unknown walks onstage. The audience quiets, curious and uncertain what to expect. The woman taking center stage has long, dark curly hair, and eyes that appear aqua. She is petite. She smiles warmly at the audience.
"Hello. My name is Hope Courtland. I'm the heroine in JOSHUA'S HOPE, a novel by Carol Ann Erhardt. I'm so happy to be here today and to have the opportunity to interview a very special author. I'm sure you'll forgive me for taking over the show today when you meet our guest. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and welcome...Carol Ann Erhardt!"
The audience stands and applauds as Carol Ann walks onstage and joins Hope in the two chairs arranged to face the audience.
Hope holds up a book cover.
HOPE: This is Carol Ann's novel, FOXFIRE, which is a finalist for a 2008 Eppie Award. Carol Ann, please tell us a little about the Eppie.
CAROL ANN: EPIC stands for Electronically Published Internet Connection. It’s a group of authors and publishers who publish “e-books.” My novel, FOXFIRE, is published in both e-book and in print, as are many of the publications today. In March, EPIC hosts a conference, with several days of workshops preceding the Gala Awards Banquet, which this year is on March 8. Winners of the Eppie 2008 awards will be announced at this event. You can learn more at www.epicauthors.com
HOPE: That sounds so exciting. How many authors entered the event?
CAROL ANN: I have no idea! There were twenty-three different categories of books. Mine was entered as a romantic suspense, and there are seven finalists, including me. I’m up against some stiff competition, and I’m just honored and thrilled that my book made it this far.
HOPE: FOXFIRE was set in Tennessee, and I know the book I’m in was also set in Tennessee. Is there a reason for this?
CAROL ANN: Absolutely! I’ve always enjoyed vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountain area. The mountains, to me, are fascinating. I love hiking trails to beautiful waterfalls, driving through the National Park…it is relaxing and exciting at the same time. While I’m there, my creativity comes alive. Setting my books in this area brings back some of the wonderful moments I’ve spent there. I set my books in fictional towns close to the larger cities like Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.
HOPE: What are you working on currently?
CAROL ANN: I would rather not talk about it. I’m learning it’s in my best interests. But I can tell you that it is another romantic suspense set in a fictional town in Tennessee. **grin**
HOPE: How long does it take you to write a book.
CAROL ANN: Great question! All total, with many edits, about six months. I’m working this year on shortening that time frame. However, I only plan to finish two novels this year, allowing for edits and galley-proofing, and keeping up with marketing.
HOPE: Tell us one thing about you that we might not know.
CAROL ANN: While I’m very organized in most aspects of my life, I tend to let my writing space get very cluttered. I can’t tell you why it happens, but it does. When things pile up, then I have to take a day and “de-clutter” before I can become productive again. I’m taking a course now by Margie Lawson called “Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors.” One of the things in the very first lecture was to clean off the writing area, even if you had to pile things on the floor. I didn’t have to put them on the floor, but I did follow the instructions. It’s a good feeling to have a big open desk again on which to work.
HOPE: If you won the lottery, what would you do?
CAROL ANN: Ah, the ultimate dream. I’d take it in a lump sum. Then, after taxes, I’d give one-tenth to my church, and an equal amount to each of our children. I’d sell our house and build a new ranch house on several acres of land, surrounded with lots of trees. I’d put another ranch house behind us and move my mother into it, so she wouldn’t be alone. I’d quit my job, put the rest in the bank, and spend more time with my family and traveling with my husband and writing.
HOPE: One question you ask a lot of your guests is if they collect anything. Do you have any collections…besides books.
CAROL ANN: Yes. I have a large collection of music boxes given to me over the years by friends and family. It started when my grandmother gave me a music box before she passed. My hubby then purchased me several on different occasions, as did my mother-in-law. It wasn’t long before my collection grew so large I haven’t enough space to display them. I also tend to collect dust webs on my ceilings. **grin**
HOPE: It’s been fun sitting here and being the one in control.
CAROL ANN: You’re joking, right? I remember well that you were in control during the entire writing process of JOSHUA’S HOPE.
HOPE: **grin** I wanted to make sure you told my story the way it should be written. You do tend to get off track sometimes.
CAROL ANN: **clears throat** Touche!
HOPE: Is that man motioning that our time is up?
CAROL ANN: Yes. It seems he does that every time an interview is just becoming interesting.
HOPE: Carol Ann, thank you for being a guest in the Blog Studio today! And thanks for allowing me to be the host.
CAROL ANN: Thank you. It’s been a blast!
HOPE: Where can our readers learn more about you and your books?
CAROL ANN: The best place is my website. You can reach it at www.carolannerhardt.com There are links to book reviews, some sample chapters, my newsletter, and even a link to this blog. I'd love to chat with any readers. Please leave a comment on this blog and I'll be checking in and interfacing with you. You can also email me from the link on my website.
**HOPE AND CAROL ANN STAND, BOW, AND WALK OFF STAGE, WHILE THE BAND PLAYS AND THE AUDIENCE STANDS AND APPLAUDS.**