Introduction to Caroline Carlisle from P.C. Zick
Good morning Ms. Zick! Please, in your words, give us a brief summary of your book.
When environmental writer Caroline Carlisle sets off to report on endangered sea turtles during the BP oil spill in 2010, the last thing she expects is to do is uncover family secrets. The long-kept secrets threaten to destroy her family, unless she can heal the hurts from a lifetime of lies. To make matters worse, Caroline's love for her late sister's husband, Simon, creates an uproar in a southern family already set on a collision course with its past. Using the BP oil spill timeline and facts as the backdrop, Trails in the Sand explores the fight to restore balance and peace, in nature and in a family, as both spiral toward disaster. The battle between wildlife conservation and the oil spill serves as an example of the conflicts plaguing one family whose secrets have remained hidden until Caroline learns more about her grandfather's history and her mother's trauma during her teenage years. As the sea turtle leaves trails leading to the nests laid in the sand, secret journals leave another type of trail for Caroline to follow. Trails in the Sand is set in the Panhandle of Florida and the east coast near St. Augustine. Florida's Panhandle beaches, including St. George Island, off the coast near Apalachicola in the Gulf of Mexico, are home to hundreds of sea turtle nests each summer. When the oil spill threatens to come ashore on Florida's Panhandle beaches, conservationists and wildlife managers join together in an historic effort to save the sea turtle eggs by moving them across the state to Cape Canaveral. As the oil from BP's oil spill continues to spew forth into the Gulf of Mexico, urgency to save Florida wildlife mounts. It's in this atmosphere that Caroline discovers the truth about her family as she writes stories about the rescue of the eggs. Do you relate to this character? Absolutely. I’ve been a reporter; I’ve loved someone from afar for a long time; and I worked with the state (Florida) on the rescue of sea turtle eggs from the Panhandle beaches. However, she’s much stronger than I’ve ever been. She’s smarter, too. I would say I created Caroline as the person I’d like to be. I recently received a review for Trails in the Sand where they said , “I was impressed by how Ms. Zick never portrayed Caroline in heroic terms, yet still managed to make her compelling and somebody we root for. . .” Is this character based off someone you know in real life? She’s a composite of several characters. That’s usually how I create most of my characters, and always, deep inside, there’s a bit of me. In real life, would you hang out with this character? Caroline and I would be great friends. We have a lot in common and we both would have plenty of “mother” stories to share from different perspectives. Caroline’s mother, Gladdy, is definitely a “southern belle” while mine’s a Yankee all the way. What would you two discuss over drinks? We’d discuss the crazy folks of Florida who we both have interviewed. And, of course, we’d discuss love. Why do you love Caroline? I love her intelligence and her ability to let comments roll off her back. She’s not as sensitive as I am, and I love learning from her. Anything else we need to know about her? In some ways, Caroline was the victim of verbal and mental child abuse. However, her father saved her from ever believing any of the nonsense her mother spouted.
Interview with Caroline Carlisle
Hi Caroline, please tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Caroline Carlisle, and I grew up in Calico, Florida, which is in the northern part of the state. I attended college in St. Augustine and fell in love with the beaches, estuaries, and marshes. I’m a writer at heart, but to please my mother I majored in marine biology. I moved to the Everglades soon after my graduation from college where I fell in love with the “river of grass” and made it my home for twenty years. Let's start off simple, tell me some of your favorites. Word- juxtaposition because it’s fun to say and to work it into a sentence Color-green and red – the color of the tomato plants my husband grows Food-anything grown by Simon in his vegetable garden because that’s where we first fell in love Drink-white wine or champagne because it’s a good cold drink for the hot Florida climate Subject in school- Creative writing was always my love along with anything to do with nature. I love writing about the things I see and experience while on the water Where did you grow up? In a small town in northern Florida. My grandparents raised their six children there and all of them stayed in Calico to raise their children. Tell us about your family… My mother is Gladys Stokley Carlisle. Her father was the town’s doctor—he had an office right inside their home. She had four older sisters and a brother near her age. The brother Alex drowned when Gladdy was sixteen, and she witnessed it. That set the course for her life and for mine as well as my sister Amy. Amy is five years older than me, and she and I never got along. Amy is an anorexic thanks to Momma. I’ve always been what Momma called “plump” but my father called “just right.” My father loved my mother for some crazy reason even though she treated him like crap. I married twice before finally marrying the love of my life. Simon and I married after my sister, his wife, died. I have four crazy aunts who were expert in keeping the family secrets. Why did your last relationship end? My second husband and I simply grew apart. We never really loved one another, but we liked the companionship and the independence. He was a sports writer traveling around the country, and my writing took me many places as well. Finally, he fell in love with someone who loved him back. It was an easy split with no hard feelings. What are your thoughts on love? I always loved Simon even though he was five years older than I was and groomed to marry my sister by Momma. They married just as I was graduating from high school. Simon stayed with her through her illness, and I stayed away. I never thought I’d be a mother, but life has a way of happening. I can’t say much more. You’ll just have to read Trails in the Sand to learn more! Thanks for taking the time to meet with me, Caroline! Stay in touch with Ms. Zick to find out what family secrets Caroline discovers. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, her website, her blog, or Goodreads. You can purchase your own copy of Trails in the Sand on Amazon.