Friday, September 19, 2014

Carol Award Finalist: Debra Clopton

Today at the Craftie Ladies we complete our salute to our authors who rise to the top and prove that Christian fiction rocks! 

Please join me in welcoming Debra Clopton.

Her novella, 
is a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award.

What inspired you to write your finaling book?

Actually my agent Natasha Kern wanted me to try my hand at a historical and asked me if I thought I could squeeze a novella into my schedule. I was busy but no way could I pass up an opportunity to collaborate with Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley and Robin Lee Hatcher so I agreed and was so glad I did. It was a joy from beginning to end. My story was to be set in Summer and all of them were about mail order brides. When I set down to brainstorm ideas I started looking at popular names from the 1870’s and, like happens to me a lot, when I saw the name Melvina and then the name Eldora the magic happened-I instantly saw Melvina Eldora Smith in my mind and the wonderful opening line popped into my head:

A born killer, Melvina Eldora Smith killed three people by the age of one: her mother at birth, her father of a broken heart and her poor, poor uncle Mutt outside a bar with a runaway buggy…

I instantly had to find out who this girl was! I felt for her and saw an unloved child grown up into a spunky young woman who’d unjustly had a lot of horrible things blamed on her all of her life by her bitter aunt. And of course I wanted to see her with a happy ending! 

How does your faith play into your stories?

I live my faith each day in a natural way, it is just a part of me. Like everyone, I struggle sometimes and am always striving to be a better person, to make a difference. It’s an ongoing process. I let my faith play into my stories in the same way, letting my characters walk naturally with their faith too. There is ebb and flow and each story’s faith element is dictated by the book and the character as I’m writing it. I let God lead on that discovery and I pray about it constantly as I write.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I love the creative process-that moment when I’m writing and then something unexpectedly ties together perfectly and beautifully-I call it a God moment-completely orchestrated by Him. I just love that! And with this story started with the opening line coming to me so perfectly and in an instant.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Counting on a Cowboy book 2 in my new Four of Hearts Romance series coming out from Harper Collins Christian in 2015. Book 1 Betting On Hope comes out Feb 2015. I’m thrilled about the books and hoping my readers love them too. They are about 3 brothers, cowboys, running their family ranch the Four of Hearts Ranch in Wishing Springs, Texas. These are longer books than my Mule Hollow series but have the same feel and a great supporting cast of characters I think my readers will love. I tried very hard to give Wishing Springs that Mule Hollow feeling, but with a twist. 

Tell us about your Carol Award finaling book.

Like I said above it’s a sweet story that will have you rooting for this wonderful girl, Melvina Eldora Smith (Ellie). She’s nineteen, lost everyone who ever loved her at birth and decides to become a mail order bride when she reads an ad by a man looking for a mother for his baby-who has also lost her mother at birth. Ellie has a lot of love to give and needs love desperately-as does Mathew the hero. I so enjoyed Ellie’s spirit-she is just so full of expectations and hope. It was my first historical and my version of a Cinderella story. I’m loving that it’s up for this award because it was such a joy to write. It can be bought alone as an ebook or as a collection called a Bride For All Seasons. The 4 novellas in the collection are tied together by a meddling mail order bride magazine editor who takes the letters he receives and edits them, tweaks them to “help” the people find love. The only problem is when the brides reach their destinations things are not as they seemed and it makes for very comical situations!

 Sounds like a fun read.

Thanks for joining us today, Debra. We look forward to cheering you on at the Carols!


  1. Congratulations, Debra! I love that opening line!

  2. Looking forward to cheering you on at the ACFW Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

    The novella sounds delightful! You hooked me at the first line!

    See you in ST. Louis!

  3. Congratulations!! So well deserved. I'm so glad I got so spend time with you at RWA this year:)

  4. Debbie, this story sounds wonderful! I just love that it came from that first line. So cool when something like that happens.

    Congrats on the Carol final and best of luck with the new release from HC!

  5. Congratulations! I love that opening line, too.

  6. Thank you all! I was thrilled. I'm just honored to be nominated.
    Thanks for the interview Mindy. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in St. Louis and cheering all my LI sisters on!

  7. Congratulations on being a CAROL Finalist, Debra! Cannot wait to see you in St. Louis!
    And I LOVED your novella (A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS is on my "keeper shelf" *smile*).
    Hugs, Patti Jo


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