Sneak Peek: Robin Caroll Shares A Look At Her January 2012 Release Injustice For All
Author Robin Caroll has graced the inspirational genre with books in the Steeple Hill imprint as well as thrilling faith-inspired mysteries. Her upcoming mystery, Injustice For All, follows an FBI agent as he investigates the backwaters of rural Louisiana, looking for the man who murdered a federal judge. In this interview with RT reviewer Terri Dukes, the author gives readers a special look at her January 2012 novel and chats about her inspiration — and motivation — for writing.
What was your inspiration to write Injustice For All?
I had the unique opportunity to sit in on three different trials regarding one case. As I sat on the VERY hard wooden pew in the galley, I learned things aren't always as they seem in trials. I began interviewing all sorts of people affiliated with trials-attorneys, bailiffs, even a former US Attorney. I was shocked when I realized the full extent of manipulation. My shock led to my determination to write about the possibility of worst-case scenario. And to avenge my outrage at injustice.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I do a lot of pre-writing….full character sketches for every main character and secondary characters (16 pages each) and a vague outline, which takes me a few weeks if I can pace it out. The actual writing takes about a month, then the layering another month. So, start to finish, about 3 months.
What would you like your readers to know about Injustice For All?
Injustice For All is truly a book of my heart. There are so many aspects of that story that mean a LOT to me. I hope readers enjoy the process of watching the story unfold and the characters grow.
Is it a challenge to write faith-based fiction in the suspense and mystery genre?
As a Christian, I view the world through the eyes of a believer, so writing from that view is natural to me. I don't ever try to "preach" in my stories, and for the most part, the faith elements in my books come out naturally as I'm writing. I don't "plan" the spiritual arc—it shows up as the characters learn and grow through the course of the book, just like it does in life. Our experiences and beliefs shape who we are…the same holds true for fictional characters.
You embed yourself in the very communities that you later turn into novels. What is this brave research process like?
Honestly, I never really think about it being dangerous at the time. Later, I do and then I might freak out a little. By far and large, I just want to present my characters and situations as realistically as possible, even though it's fiction, and that means getting into the guts of real life. Sometimes that means crying with a younger lady who shares with me the horrors of child trafficking…sometimes it means sitting at a table in a restaurant and interviewing a former gang member over breakfast as he tells me about the people he hurt and how…sometimes that means swallowing anger as a teen tells me what growing up in a home with domestic abuse is really like and what the system does/doesn't do to help…sometimes that means accepting the fact that something you've always believed in isn't what you thought. I think all the mess of real life gives my characters and situations that ring of truth, and that makes the research worth it. Even the "shady" parts.
Which character speaks the loudest? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?
I usually "see" a character before I get a plot idea. That character usually stays the loudest throughout the writing of the book. Every now and again a different character gets mouthy, but I promise to write their story in the future, so they back off.
What is your writing process like? Daily, with regular word counts daily/weekly… or more sporadic with a sudden rush of words with a dry spell here and there?
It varies…sometimes I'll write a scene a day. Other days, I might write a chapter or two a day. A lot depends on how hot my deadline breathes down the back of my neck. LOL
What is the toughest criticism you've been given as an author? What about the best compliment?
Wow…I had some really harsh criticism on my writing prior to being published, but as an author? Hmm. Usually I don't get upset with criticism. If it's from a reader or fellow author, I consider that feedback. Oh. I did have one review that really floored me. The review started strong and really got to the heart of the suspense plot…two paragraphs of really positive review. Then the last sentence basically said it was a "wannabe love story." I was quite shocked. But, I got over it. Especially when my husband and I changed the words to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" to fit the words of the review. LOL Yeah, we have warped senses of humor. Best compliment? A letter from a reader who said she'd been through a situation similar to my character's and she'd lost faith, but reading the story, she'd gone back to reading her Bible and wanted to thank me for the impact of the story. Letters like that are the reasons I write.
What advice would you give to an aspiring fiction writer?
If this is truly your passion, don't give up. Read good books on writing, go to writers' conferences, take writing classes, listen and learn.
I enjoy learning about what books an author likes to read. Who are your favorite authors? What books inspire you?
My favorite authors are Stephen King, Colleen Coble, Iris Johansen, Mary Higgins Clark, James Scott Bell, Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Terri Blackstock…as an avid reader; I have a lot of favorites. I'm inspired by books that take me by surprise. I like to not see the ending coming, but I don't want to be "cheated" either by not having the clues presented so I COULD have figured it out.
Readers mark your calendars, you can pick up your own copy of Robin Caroll's Injustice for All in January 2012. And throughout November we're celebrating Inspirational Month on the RT site, with special genre new, coverage of recent and upcoming releases and more. It's all happening at our Everything Inspirational Page!