Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interview with Aussie author Carol Preston and book giveaway

I’m delighted to be able to welcome my friend Carol Preston, an Australian historical romance author, to our blog today.

Jo-Anne: Carol, how long have you been writing? What originally inspired you?

Carol: My interest in writing historical novels began when my children started school and I took up family history research. While I wondered if I might find some English aristocracy or perhaps a famous explorer in my background, instead I found seven generations of Australians, mostly of British and Irish convict heritage, stretching back to the First Fleet on my mother’s side. So, having come to terms with originating from a long line of petty criminals, I became intrigued with the daily challenges, struggles, losses and achievements of my ancestors. I wanted to write those stories in a way that not only my children and grandchildren could learn from and enjoy but also in ways other people could find interesting and inspiring.

Jo-Anne: Has any aspect of your previous occupation helped you as an author?

Carol: I think being a psychologist and listening to my clients share their own stories of loss and betrayal, the struggle to forgive, to overcome tragedy, to relate in healthy and meaningful ways, has really helped me to imagine the interactions and personal, daily journeys of my ancestors because I believe these personal and relational battles are common to human beings in every generation, everywhere.

Jo-Anne: Earlier this year, I really enjoyed reading your fifth novel Mary’s Guardian. What would you like readers to take away with them from this book?

Carol: The most inspiring aspect of Mary’s Guardian for me as is that lives which seem doomed to utter despair and hopelessness can be restored and healed through the most unexpected circumstances; that something good, even wonderful, can come from the most dreadful situations with God’s help.

Jo-Anne: What other books have you had published already and where are they available?

Carol: My first three novels were a trilogy – Suzannah’s Gold, Rebecca’s Dream and The Price of Peace. These are a saga of the Oakes family, one line of my ancestors, and are available from Zeus Publications, First Edition books or directly through my website My fourth novel, The Face of Forgiveness, is available through Light the Dark or Even Before Publishing or also through my website. Mary’s Guardian, my fifth novel, is available through Light the Dark or Even Before Publishing and also through Amazon or Koorong Books

Jo-Anne: And you have a sixth novel, Charlotte’s Angel, due for release in October this year. What inspired you to write this one?

Carol: Charlotte’s Angel is the sequel to Mary’s Guardian and continues the story of the Douglass family. Charlotte is one of my favourite characters in my novels. I think she has a great story to tell which will inspire hope in readers.

Jo-Anne: You have obviously done many hours of research for your novels. Do you have any tips in this regard?

Carol: I think if you have a natural interest in history or in your own genealogy, the research is nearly as much fun as the writing! There is so much material available now online as well as in history books that the problem for me becomes when to stop researching. I have to remind myself that every detail of what I’ve discovered can’t possibly be put into the novel. If research is a battle for writers, however, they probably need to write straight from their imagination and avoid the need for so much research.

Jo-Anne: Do you have any further novels in mind?

Carol: Oh, yes. I have plenty more family history to draw on, and with every story there’s a rich source of inspiration and life lessons to share – so many aspects of faith to explore in so many situations. As soon as I’m finished one novel, my mind starts plotting another ancestor’s journey.

Jo-Anne: What has been the most memorable event of your writing journey so far?

Carol: I don’t think one particular event stands out but the most gratifying moments are when someone tells me they have been inspired or challenged by my stories. My desire is that readers will not only identify with the journeys of my characters but will also meet God in them or through them. It’s a thrill to hear about, but I’m also aware I may never know when a person is touched by these stories. It’s enough to leave that in God’s hands – something I must keep remembering.

Jo-Anne: Thanks, Carol, for sharing something of your writing journey with us.

By commenting below on this interview, you will be eligible to win a copy of Mary’s Guardian from Carol. A winner will be chosen on Friday 15 July and announced on Sunday 17 July. Please leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached.
“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”

To find out more about Carol, please visit her website,

Jo-Anne Berthelsen grew up in Brisbane and holds an Arts degree from Queensland University. She has also studied education and theology and has worked as a high school teacher and editor, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the spoken and written word and currently has five published novels - Helena, All the Days of My Life, Laura, Jenna, and Helena's Legacy. For more information about Jo-Anne, please visit her website,


  1. This sounds like an interesting read and a chance to learn some Australian history.

    I'm writing from Canada on a hot summer day and I just realized Carol is working on her next book in mid-winter. Let's hear it for "International" Christian Fiction Writers!

    avaldal at shaw dot ca

  2. It certainly is mid-winter here Alice. Right now it's 6.30am and while I love to write at this time of the day, it's pretty cold, though I'm sure our winters do not match yours, especially in the snow country. I've experiened a little of that in your lovely country and imagine it's inspiring for a writer. Blessings

  3. I just finished reading "Mary's Guardian" last night. The message of new hope in unexpected circumstances certainly comes through and I loved reading our history through the characters' eyes. Thanks Carol. :)

  4. I remember seeing the movie "Man From Snowy River" years ago and wondering what kind of idiot made a western with British accents. How ignorant I was of Australian history! I'm sure your novels could give me a pleasant education! leannehardy (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. this book sounds wonderful...thanks for the opportunity to read it :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  6. Im late commenting due to being so sick the past few days.
    Dont enter me I read this book and its in the top 5 of the year infact I would say number one. I really loved it and seeing what it was like for the first settlers. I cant wait for the next book.
    Nice interview also.

  7. Good interview and your new book sounds an interesting read, Carol. Always lovely to see other felow Aussies here.

  8. Having enjoyed Mary's story, I'm looking forward to Charlotte's. No need to enter me in the draw though, as I already own Mary's Guardian.

  9. Yay! Always fun to read interviews with other Australian writers! Please do enter me in the draw. Many thanks lisamckaywriting at gmail dot com.

  10. Jo-Anne & Carol, thanks for your fascinating interview! Carol, it's great you've been able to incorporate learning your family history with book research. Mary's Guardian sounds like an interesting read :)

  11. What a neat interview! I really enjoyed hearing how you mine your family history for inspiration. I'd love to read your book.

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  12. Thank you all for your comments. It's great to know that Christians are writing all around the world and are supporting each other with encouragement and enthusiasm. I've been able to look at some of your websites now and feel I have connected with others who have the same heart.