Friday, 28 February 2014

4Q Interview - Meet Cara Brookins, Interesting Lady, Terrific Author.

Cara Brookins lives in Arkansas and is a senior programmer/systems analyst for City of Little Rock. She is a very fine writer. Where she finds the time to write is a mystery considering she has a family to raise, a variety of projects on the go, a motivational speaker, builds web pages, an avid reader with her own fantastic library in a home that she and her children built.  She is kind enough to share her thoughts about writing here at 4Q. Her website and blog addresses are below.

4Q: I discovered your short story – Treasure Quest – when I visited your website. I’ve always been drawn to stories of boys and their antics. The lad in the story- Cooper – finds a treasure more valuable than he was originally seeking. Tell us please how this story evolved.

CB: When my publisher requested a short story, I immediately went a little frantic. My mind simply doesn’t work that way. Stories always come to me as full blown novels. So I cheated a little by thinking of this tale as an introduction to a novel with a full blown, larger treasure hunt to take place (for pretend) after this short bit about him finding civil war artifacts as well as connecting with his great grandfather and father.

I always love writing from a boy’s point of view and especially about the outdoors. My own childhood was spent on endless outdoor adventures and treasure hunts in Wisconsin. I also love writing survival stories, so ultimately this treasure story had to have a slice of that as well. Cooper overcoming his physical limits is a great representation of what is happening on a deeper scale with his relationship with his family members. The treasure isn’t what he was expecting, and neither is the relationship with his dad. I don’t know if I will ever revisit Cooper’s story, but he was a lot of fun to hang out with!

4Q: Your TimeShifters series is a compelling account of time travel to the past, an earlier period filled with amazing characters and creatures, as well as danger for the young traveller- Jordan Booker. There are two books available in the series, Mark of the Centipede, Mark of the Serpent and the third, Mark of the Spider will be ready in the spring of this year.  Tell us about them, your inspiration for them.

CB: I had the idea for this series during a two hour work commute. I actually pulled out a pen and wrote notes under the hem of my skirt on my thigh while I was driving. (Now I use my phone’s voice recorder!) The idea that our earth’s history is significantly different than the Discovery Channel’s depictions appealed to me. Especially the colors and sizes of plants and animals because these create
wild visual effects. I stretch science a little regarding green photosynthesis and creatures that escaped the fossil record, but it’s important to stretch our idea of what is possible as well as have fun with what might have been. And since I love survival stories, having an ill equipped boy learning to survive in both rural and urban settings fit well for me. I loved incorporating everything from dinosaurs to steampunk elements in the same series. It’s difficult to fit that much variety in a single trilogy! Many of the times in my life when I read the most were to escape reality for a while, so it was important to me that this trilogy allow the reader to fully depart

from everything familiar.

4Q: Please share an amusing family or childhood anecdote.

CB: As a child I was obsessed with fairy tales, particularly any with witches. The women in my life were very kind and nurturing, so the horror of an evil female who lured children into ovens or hunted them down with flying monkeys was a mysterious terror. When I was about four, my mom and grandma took me to the grocery store after a morning filled with witch storybooks. We turned down the first aisle and three women dressed fully in their black Amish clothing turned toward me—likely with a friendly smile. I screamed and shouted, “Witches, Mommy! Run from the witches!” The small town in Wisconsin where I grew up has a large Amish population, and I was accustomed to seeing their horses tethered outside every time we went shopping. But on that particular day my imagination won and my poor mom and grandma had to suffer the consequences. Naturally, they were

mortified, and Mom steered me away from Amish for a few years.

4Q: You have two adult novels ready for publication, Little Boy Blu - a psychological thriller and Voodoo- Dolls for Justice. I’m eagerly awaiting an opportunity to read them. Can you briefly tell us about them and where they are in the publishing process?

CB: I’m actively seeking a publisher for Little Boy Blu. It’s a dark departure from the middle grade and young adult works I have out to date, though the protagonist is still a young boy. The premise is a woman who intentionally has children with a genetic abnormality that causes blue skin. These children are raised in isolation in the Appalachian Mountains. When the oldest boy, sixteen year-old Blu, uncovers family secrets, someone in the family starts trying to kill him. The craziest thing about this story is that it is based on a real genetic condition that causes blue skin, so it is wildly possible.

My women’s comedy mystery about voodoo is the first novel I’ve completed with an adult woman protagonist. I really had a blast writing this one. Annette Dupre is a divorce attorney whose law practice is floundering until she introduces voodoo dolls as a feel

good gimmick. Women line up for dolls in the likeness of their soon to be ex-spouse. Of course the dolls have to be more than feel good therapy, especially when Annette’s great aunt from New Orleans—suffering from dementia—attempts to teach her the finer points of voodoo. I would love to write an entire series from this novel, and am doing final edits now.

I’m also putting the final touches on the next TimeShifters novel, Mark of the Spider, and have a new thriller outlined. The thriller is loosely based on my kids and me building our own house from the ground up. I am billing it as fiction, because that is the only way I’ve found to tell the real truth. With a bit of luck—and an immunity to sleep—I’ll start the new novel in March!


Thank you Cara for giving us an insight into your stories. I hope your many projects never take you from your writing. Visit Cara’s website at or her blog at


Next week, March 7th, an up and coming author will share an excerpt from her new novel, The King of Swords. Connie Cook delivers a new mystery story where each chapter is titled for one of the cards from a Tarot Deck.

Are you scared of Wasps? I am. March 14, read a story about those small creatures that can terrify some people, especially Seymour Troffmock.


Dark Side of a Promise - a tantalizing tale of revenge - is available at or