Traci Wooden-Carlisle began writing poetry and short stories as soon as she was able to form words on paper. She used that as a way to creating worlds, as well as, to communicate with God.
Today, Mrs. Wooden Carlisle lives in San Diego with her husband, David Carlisle. She serves as a church Office Manager, teaches fitness classes, continues to praise the Lord through dance, and is currently writing her third book in this Christian-fiction series.
A&RBC: Tell us how you came up with the concept for My Beauty For Your Ashes?
I saw variations of this book in the corner of my mind for a long time. It was extremely vague, kind of like a wind that sounded like a familiar whisper. I saw a strong heroine who had a clear understanding of herself on a number of different levels, but, as we all do, had some things in her life she had placed off to the side to get to later. After almost ten years of looking at a quiet pen, I asked God for something just for me. I wanted to hear His voice again through writing, but I wanted to hear it in a story that was designed just for me. I didn’t know where it was going during the first 4 chapters, but as the 5th chapter took shape I could see He was leading me on a journey that would allow me to quietly tell people about pieces of myself He healed and is healing.
A&RBC: Your book has a unique title, how did you come up with this title?
As it goes with most of my greatest thoughts, I received the title in the shower. It seems I can hear God best there because everything else is automatic and I adore warm water apparently. It came to me clearly and strongly as a single title and since I received it while I was in the 12th chapter of the book, I thought it fitting – because God waits for my approval on these things. Not.
I felt a sense of giddiness at the fact that it came to me without much provocation. It confirmed that I was on the right track and I was conveying the right message. It wasn’t until I got to chapter 47 that the name of the series came to me and there was a great deal more struggle there since I was much more focused on finishing the book than just enjoying the ride.
A&RBC: Why did you feel you needed to write this particular book? Is this topic familiar to you?
There are a number of noteworthy topics in this book; incest, teen pregnancy, adoption, anger and frustration due to lack of forgiveness, the need for living donors, and living a life built around having an intimate relationship with God, just to name a few. I would say that I am familiar with each topic in this book either by research, self-experience or through mentoring and each topic touched my heart so deeply that it left an indelible mark and has altered my perspective in life. Though I didn’t start the book with the intention of touching on some of these topics, I was glad when my story brought light to them because these topics are sorely in need of a voice, people’s compassion instead of judgment and a better understanding.
A&RBC: What do you want readers to take from My Beauty For Your Ashes?
Peace, healing and inspiration. Even though it is fiction, there is a situation in each one of these character’s lives that a reader has dealt with directly or indirectly. They can be staggering, leaving you with a limp for the rest of your life if you don’t know how to heal or who to go to for healing. For some it takes a new perspective on their situation that can open the doors to options they didn’t think they had. For others it may be the beginning of a life-long love with themselves.
A&RBC: Which chapter of the book was the hardest to write?
When I saw the subject matter coming in chapter 15, I thought it would be hard to write, but I moved through it smoother than any of the other chapters. Chapter 47 ended up being the hardest because it would help shape a relationship that would be crucial in the next book – though I didn’t know it at the time. I must have written pieces of that chapter over 4 times before I was quiet enough to hear what God really wanted to conveyed in that chapter.
A&RBC: What has been your biggest achievement/challenge as an author?
My biggest achievement is that I finished this book and I will say that when I reach the end of each one. It is a labor of love that strips me bare even as it fills me with a joy and a sense of purpose that I can’t take credit for. I can only be obedient to God and write. So I guess my biggest achievement is finishing the book and the greatest challenge is continuing to be obedient and write when I am prompted.
A&RBC: Are you an avid or occasional reader? If so, what is your favorite genre of books?
I love books. I carry a couple wherever I go and almost all of them have some type of romance in them. I adore the possibility, awareness, struggle, surrender and acceptance of love in real life and in book form.
A&RBC: What new project (s) are you working on?
I am currently working on the third installment of the Promises to Zion Series. I have thoughts of what I might delve into after this series, but I will be hard pressed to let go of these characters. They are like family.
A&RBC: Where can readers find you?
About The Book
Though they hail from backgrounds that are worlds apart, it only takes one fateful accident to rearrange their priorities and set them on roads that intersect, forcing them to acknowledge the relationships they can’t do without.
Elder Paige Morganson has worked hard to overcome the anger, hate and abuse of her past. With God’s help she believes healing and wholeness is within her grasp when she is propelled into a world of secrets and lies that threaten to unravel the very thread of hope she’s clung to in her struggle for peace.
Mason Jenson is a self-made man who has been able to create his own fortune and build a home life with his wife and child void of God’s help…so he thinks, but as the world he knows balances precariously on the edge of destruction, who will he turn to?
Elder Brandon Tatum’s, new in town, has prided himself on not making a move until he’s heard God, but even as he accepts his new position in ministry, he is faced with decisions of the heart; a whole new territory for him.
Victoria Branchett has ruthlessly survived the death of her only daughter by fierce determination, but is the strength she has relied on enough to see her through a failing marriage and an ailing grandchild?
This novel merges colorful characters facing one untimely circumstance after another, and mixes in a serious spin on how one views God, both inside and outside of His will. Of course, this is just the beginning. More people emerge from behind the scenes; some to help and others, to hurt. With everything happening simultaneously, one would almost question if God is able to truly fix and heal everything, and the readers will see just how far each person’s faith (or lack thereof) will carry them. As they sift through the debris of past dreams and hopes left by the wayside, they are offered a lifeline and given an opportunity to receive God’s Beauty for their ashes.