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Diverse. If one word can describe Carol McClain, it's diverse and had been long before diversity became such a pc buzz word. She's a novelist, essayist, and erstwhile poet (Be glad it’s erstwhile and no longer current). She hales from northern New York—so far north, she was almost Canadian. Eh?

 Nowadays, she’s working on her Southern dialect as she and hubby now live in East Tennessee. She plays the bassoon, creates stained glass, and is a former marathoner and high ropes instructor. For more than thirty years, she taught English, and she now teaches the wee ones in Sunday school. In addition to this, she has served on the North Country Habitat for Humanity board for over ten years. In that capacity, she's held every position except those having to do with money. She may be able to tell you the definitions sesquipedalian, but simple addition baffles her. She is course coordinator for ACFW. Vice President of ACFW Knoxville and a member of the Authors Guild of Tennessee.

 And of course, she writes. She’s completed four novels, The Poison We Drink is her latest. A New York Yankee in Stinking Creek will be released in late June.

Books by Carol McClain

what Readers Say

  • Why do you write non-fiction? Don’t most people...
    Yes, and that includes me! I love novels and the mythical worlds they create outside actual events. I actually began Nick and Viola as a historical novel. But I realized the temptation was too great for me to romanticize and embellish the actual events. Sometimes we need to present the truth with as much clarity as we can muster through deeds, court records and memories. In writing history, I had to do hard research, and in several cases I found that the historical records disagreed with my assumptions. Suddenly the reality was far more exciting than anything I could imagine....
    Why did you decide to write a book...
    The easy answer is that I am retired. I am an English major. I have more available time than I have had for the last forty years. But that is not why I decided to write this book. I wrote Nick and Viola as testimony to the family we forget, the ancestors who struggled and laid down a foundation for the people we are today. My mother rediscovered Nick and Viola through her genealogical research. My father, who never knew the story of his paternal grandparents, found peace in its hard truths. I realized this story was also important for my...
  • Do you have a new writing project?
    I love oral history, and I conducted oral history interviews with my mother and father before I wrote Nick and Viola. Before that, I was involved in an oral history project in the 1980s in Cedar Rapids, IA. Interviews were recorded with over ninety seniors of diverse backgrounds, from manufacturing families who controlled wealth to Czechoslovakian immigrants who sought wealth. I am rereading these interviews to find a common theme for essays and possibly a book.

Interview with Author

Why do you write non-fiction? Don’t most people want to read novels?

Why do you write non-fiction? Don’t most people want to read novels?

Yes, and that includes me! I love novels and the mythical worlds they create outside actual events. I actually began Nick and Viola as a historical novel. But I realized the temptation was too great for me to romanticize and embellish the actual events. Sometimes we need to present the truth with as much clarity as we can muster through deeds, court records and memories. In writing history, I had to do hard research, and in several cases I found that the historical records disagreed with my assumptions. Suddenly the reality was far more exciting than anything I could imagine.

Why did you decide to write a book at this stage of your life?

Why did you decide to write a book at this stage of your life?

The easy answer is that I am retired. I am an English major. I have more available time than I have had for the last forty years. But that is not why I decided to write this book.

I wrote Nick and Viola as testimony to the family we forget, the ancestors who struggled and laid down a foundation for the people we are today. My mother rediscovered Nick and Viola through her genealogical research. My father, who never knew the story of his paternal grandparents, found peace in its hard truths. I realized this story was also important for my children and grandchildren. And I hope it transcends my family and speaks to others who seek their own truths.

I also realized it was important to me. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s in the Kentucky Bluegrass world of tobacco. I experienced that world without understanding how it evolved and how it defined me. This book helped me stand outside that world and see the larger forces that shape us all. It has been a privilege to write Nick and Viola.


When You Hear …. is the result of these efforts. I have been humbled by comments from parents and grandparents who have affirmed that this book has encouraged a habit of praying in not only their young child’s life but theirs as well.

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