Monday, May 05, 2014

Author Interview: Carol Brill: Cape Maybe: Peace by Piece

Carol Fragale Brill's fiction received recognition from Poets and Writers and was a reader’s favorite for The Best of Philadelphia Stories. Her works have also appeared in Wide Array, New York Journal of Books, the Press of Atlantic City, and numerous online e-zines and business journals. The author of two novels, PEACE BY PIECE and CAPE MAYBE, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Welcome Carol onboard.

Your real name and pen name?

For most of my married life, I’ve simply gone by Carol Brill. I decided to publish using my maiden and married name, Carol Fragale Brill. I have never had children, and even if I did, they would be Brills and wouldn’t carry on the Fragale name. My brothers and male Fragale cousin don’t have children. There will be other Fragales in the world, but none of them will be direct descendants of my father and his siblings. In their small way, my novels, CAPE MAYBE and PEACE BY PIECE—the children of my soul—will carry on our Fragale name.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I have loved listening to and making up stories ever since my parents read me Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Black Beauty at bedtime when I was five or six. I know Grimm’s may not seem like the stuff sweet dreams are made of, but mostly they read the ones about princesses being rescued by the prince.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

My husband Jim is my best friend and the love of my life. Our marriage, his unwavering support, and our life in Cape May are sources of joy and inspiration beyond my wildest dreams.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Like most people, I have faced my share of challenges. One of the biggest for me was being anorexic and bulimic for most of my twenties. With recovery came spirituality—not religion but a belief that there are possibilities I can’t foresee and that ultimately life works out the way it is meant to. My personal experience with anorexia and bulimia helped me create Maggie, the narrator in PEACE BY PIECE.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I write contemporary women’s fiction. It’s also what I most enjoy reading—recognizable women with real every day relationships, challenges, and desires. And, just like those Grimm’s fairy tales, I still have a sweet spot for happily-ever-after love stories.

When did you start writing?

I was twenty-something when I realized I wanted to write a book. It took another 20 years for me to get started. About 15 years ago, I read Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST WAY. The week after I finished the book’s twelve week course, I joined my first creative writing group. I often go back to the wonderful tools in THE ARTIST WAY—like morning pages, where you do a mind dump on paper to clear the cobwebs so the creative juices can flow, or an artist date, where you take yourself out to play to recharge your batteries.

I can’t remember if it is Julia Cameron, or Anne LaMott or Natalie Goldberg, but I heard one of them say writer’s block isn’t about being blocked, it’s about being empty. I try to remember that and do the things—like walking on the beach with my husband, reading women’s fiction, watching humming birds and dolphins—that fill me up and rekindle my creativity.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I’ve had a number of short works published, but most of my writing time has been devoted to my novels.

PEACE BY PIECE is about love in all its many forms—friendships, family, unshakeable first love—and the tender love between a reserved single woman and a lonely little girl. After a chance reunion with Thomas, her college sweetheart, Maggie faces the toughest decision of her life. Will she return to her loveless marriage for the sake of the child who has become her own, or this time around, will she trust Thomas and follow her heart?

CAPE MAYBE traces the push and pull of Katie’s conflicting love for her erratic mother and steadfast grandfather and her ever-growing attraction to her best friend, Dennis. Katie’s life is shaped by her vow to be nothing like her alcoholic mother. Her reckless teenage choices test the strength of family ties, friendship, and first love. Ultimately about hard-earned hope, what we inherit, and what we choose to let go, in Cape Maybe, Katie discovers what she never expected about motherhood, forgiving yourself, and creating your own second chances.

Your favorite time of the day?

I am a morning person—often at my computer in the dark hours before the sun is up. Most days, you will find me there pre-dawn, rereading and editing what I most recently wrote before getting ready for my “day job.”

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

I am a steadfast, practical, Capricorn. Perseverance is one of my top strengths, so my sign suits me well. 

Your favorite color and why?

I’m split between blue and green, the colors of sky and ocean and being outdoors.

What three words come to your mind for each –
Technology – ugh, too hard
Life – opportunities to grow  
God – a higher power
Humanity – just be kind
Terrorism – scary and sad
Racism – open your mind
Childhood Abuse – can’t fathom it
Love – beyond wildest dreams
Old age – wisdom and experience

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

PEACE BY PIECEunshakeable first love and complicated second chances

CAPE MAYBE - Love and loss—the memories and secrets that haunt mothers and daughters—and the power of hard-earned hope.

The last line of your autobiography would be…

She never stopped loving and being grateful for Jim and living in Cape May

Find Carol at:

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