Monday, December 08, 2008

GIVEAWAY & REVIEW of A BRIDE SO FAIR by Carol Cox with author interview

This is a dreadfully late book review on a story I LOVED.

Readers, if you haven't read Carol Cox's Fair series, I highly recommend you get them. Set in Chicago during the 1800's World Fair, this story had my attention in the first page. I LOVED how the characters interacted with one another. I fell in love with them by the first few paragraphs which I think is why the book was so hooky. Not only that, I could see and hear and feel and smell the setting. The author writes in such a way that the reader experiences the story rather than just reads it.

Writers: If you want an EXCELLENT example of how to Show vs Tell...GET THIS BOOK! In fact, this would make a great stocking stuffer or Christmas gift.


After growing up in an orphanage, Emily Ralston loves being around children and thoroughly enjoys her job at the Children’s Building at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. As the receptionist she helps check in the children and ensures they are safe and well cared for while their parents view the fair. She could not have known what God had in store for her…
When Columbian Guard, Stephen Bridger, drops off a three-year-old named Adam as a lost child, her life irrevocably changed. While the sparks of attraction are undeniable, Emily tries her best to ignore them as she and her best friend, Lucy, scheme to keep Adam safe and happy, far away from the orphanages they both know too well.
Soon Stephen learns about Adam’s mother while both the mystery and his relationship with Emily deepens. As they learn bits of truth, danger and deception now threaten to undermine their growing relationship. Why is a young woman murdered while surrounded by thousands of fairgoers? What secrets could a sweet, abandoned little boy possibly hold? Can Emily and Stephen solve the deadly mystery before time runs out?


Award-winning author of twelve novels and eleven novellas, Carol shares her love of history, mystery, and romance in the books she writes. A pastor’s wife, Carol makes her home with her husband and young daughter in northern Arizona. To learn more about Carol and her books, visit her Web site at Carol Cox Books.

Below is an interview sent to me by Glass Road PR:

Q&A with Carol Cox, author of A Bride So Fair
Q. Where did you get the idea to write A Bride So Fair?
A. Several years ago, I came across a brief article that mentioned the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, calling it a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. And my response was, “If it was such a big deal, how come I’ve never even heard about it?” So I looked it up online and was overwhelmed at the wealth of information I found. I had no idea how many of the things we take for granted today were introduced at that fair—things like the Ferris wheel, Cracker Jacks, Cream of Wheat, Juicy Fruit gum, and the concept of the Midway. Familiar names from our history books were among the 27 million people who visited the fair. Thomas Edison, Scott Joplin, Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams, and Susan B. Anthony were all there. It was a moment in which our nation felt itself on the brink of major change, and the more I learned about the fair, the more excited I became. I knew I had to set a story there, and that initial idea turned into a three-book series, A Fair to Remember. A Bride So Fair is the final title, and it was hard to say goodbye to the setting and characters I’ve come to love.
Q. How much research is involved in writing a solid historical fiction novel like this one?
A. I was so fascinated by what I learned about the fair that I continued researching for two years before the first book in the series was even contracted. As I mentioned above, I found a tremendous amount of information online, including photos of the fairgrounds and its buildings. I was able to purchase several books printed during that time period that gave detailed descriptions of exhibits as well as the reactions of people who visited the fair. That was invaluable in getting insight into how it affected people of that day. I studied maps of the grounds and floor plans of several of the buildings until I felt like I could navigate them as easily as I can get around my home town.

All of that helped in getting my facts straight, but I needed to add sensory details to make the setting come alive. What would my hero and heroine experience on the shore of Lake Michigan? What would they see, hear, smell? How would it feel to walk across the vast fairgrounds or stroll along the edge of the lagoon? I made a trip to Chicago, where I spent a day at Jackson Park, the site of the exposition. All but one of the buildings are long gone, but simply being there and soaking up the setting added a myriad of details for me to draw on when writing the story. At that point, I could look at my research photos and feel like I could step into the scene and describe it as though I’d actually been there.

Q. What inspires you the most as a writer?

A. It’s always interesting to hear what sparks ideas for other writers. For some, it springs from a character; for others, the catalyst is an issue they’re passionate about. With me, the setting often comes before either the characters or the plot. A particular place will catch my imagination and I’ll wonder what kind of people might have been there and what would have happened to them. I love the challenge of bringing a setting to life so it becomes something a reader can experience rather than just read about.

Q. You’ve written quite a few novels already, do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

A. Read in a wide variety of genres to discover which holds the most appeal for you. Your writing will show far more depth and passion if you're working in a genre you love.

Be patient. Prepare to learn and gear yourself mentally for a marathon, not a sprint. The learning process takes time.

Study the craft of writing. There are excellent books available, covering everything from basic grammar to character development to plot and structure and much more. A number of organizations exist today that offer teaching, encouragement, and support to both aspiring and experienced writers. And writers conferences are held all around the country. Attending conferences is a wonderful way to build on your knowledge as well as getting to know others who share your passion for writing.

Develop a teachable attitude. The more I write, the more I realize how much more there still is to learn. There is always the joy of growing, of improving my skills, of learning to be a “workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (from 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)






vince said...

Hi Cheryl:

The 1890’s were very rich in historical events. I wonder if Carol Cox is going to work the death of Baby Ruth into one of her stories. The death of Grover Cleveland’s little girl rocked the whole nation. This event would make a great backdrop to a period romance. I hope I can get these Fair books in large print or as eBooks.

Thanks for the heads-up.


Cheryl said...

Have to admit,I never cared for history in school but now it holds so much intrigue for me,and this interview has given me another historical event to learn about. The books really have peaked my interest,so will add them to my Wish List.

Becky said...

If history was taught in interesting books like this, we would all be better informed.

Avily Jerome said...

That sounds like a great book!

Thanks for the interview- it's really encouraging to hear success stories from someone who has gone through it all.

I love that you went to Chicago and absorbed all the details! That's a great idea, one I hope to employ at some point in my career!

Thanks again for the interview. Please enter me in the giveaway contest!

Avily Jerome

avilyjerome [at] hotmail [dot] com

Carol Cox said...

Hi Vince,
You're so right about events like Baby Ruth's death adding wonderful texture to historicals! Coming across those nuggets of information is what makes the research one of my favorite parts of the writing process.

Carol Cox said...

Believe it or not, Cheryl, I never liked history during my early years either! It ranked as my least favorite subject clear through high school. In college, I had a professor (for a required course--I wasn't about to sign up for a history course voluntarily in those days! LOL) who made history come alive. It opened my eyes to seeing the past as far more than a list of names, dates, and places. I haven't been the same since. : )

Carol Cox said...

Becky, I've often wished that myself. History is so fascinating, and it's a crying shame when it's presented in a way that bores people!

Carol Cox said...

Avily, the trip to Chicago was such a great way to really get the feel of the place. We walked around the site of the fair using a diagram that showed where the exhibit buildings were located. We even found an old lamppost that dated from the fair. I was able to slip it in to Ticket to Tomorrow, the first book in the series. It was too fun a detail to pass up! : )

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Carol, thanks SO much for stopping by today!

Thanks everyone for reading the article and commenting.

I appreciate you all so much.


sarahw said...

sounds like a great historical book, would love to have my name entered in the draw.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Julia Colquitt Allen said...

Julia Allen

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Cheryl, I'm a history buff and haven't read a book yet about the World's Fair and this sounds like a really good one.

Also, I really need lessons on Showing vs Telling.

Please enter me for the draw.

anitamaedraper at hotmail dot com

Carol Cox said...

Hi Anita,

I'd never even heard about the fair until shortly before I started doing the research for this series, and the things I learned were just amazing. If they ever do come up with a time machine, I'll be standing in line to head back to 1893!

And Cheryl, thank you sooo much for the wonderful review and the comments on showing vs. telling. I appreciate them more than I can say!


rebornbutterfly said...

Am i too late?
If not please enter me :)

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Congrats to Avily who won the drawing!


Carol Cox said...

Congratulations, Avily. I hope you enjoy the book!