Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Carrie Fancett Pagels & ‘Love’s Escape’

Posted October 3, 2017 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Christian, giveaway, historical, romance / 92 Comments


Dr. Carrie is in the house today, y’all! She’s talking about her newest novella – ‘Love’s Escape’ from The Captive Brides Collection – and one of my very favorite historical topics, the Underground Railroad.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

You can connect with her at

Carrie can also be found at Overcoming with God, Colonial Quills, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Follow her on Goodreads, Amazon, LinkedIn and BookBub, and sign up for her newsletter!

Her newest novella, ‘Love’s Escape’, released Oct 1st as part of The Captive Brides Collection!

Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?

Contributing authors include Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welbourn. Novellas cover a range of time periods, spanning from 1655 to the 1890s.

Love’s Escape, by Carrie Fancett Pagels

With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?


Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too!

Escaping on the Underground Railroad

By Carrie Fancett Pagels

Thanks for having me on, Meez Carrie! And BTW, of course I love your name! Not only your lovely first name but thanks for letting me borrow for both first and maiden names for my heroine’s friend in “The Sugarplum Ladies” part of A Victorian Christmas collection from Barbour (September 2018). Set in 1867, right after the Civil War was over, I’ll also be “visiting” with a number of fictional characters from my other books! But let’s talk about this novella and why I find the Underground Railroad fascinating!

Growing up in Michigan, we learned of many Underground Railroad stories. No history of America in the mid 1800s was complete without the story of abolition and of the Civil War and how the Underground Railroad assisted many escaped slaves. My new novella, “Love’s Escape”, is a twist on that theme. About a year before my heroine, Letitia, is assisted off of a Virginia plantation, Henry “Box” Brown had successfully shipped himself north in a box!

BTW, if you want to set the mood for this post, go to this link of Stephen Foster songs!

And here’s my Pinterest board for Lettie and Nathan’s story!

Lettie is one-eighth African descent (octoroon being the terminology of that period of time.) She has nothing that “shows” she’s an escaped slave, which it makes her travel much easier. As I was writing the story, I felt the conflict Lettie had in having been a slave, the daughter of a woman one-fourth African descent (quadroon being the terminology) and her grandmother the daughter of an African slave and a Caucasian planter. Here’s a picture from my Pinterest Board that I think “looks” like how I imagined Letitia!

I’ve met so many people, since I wrote Return to Shirley Plantation, my debut book, who are of a similar descent as Lettie. It’s something most don’t talk about. And in these times, we don’t think much about bi-racial or multi-racial backgrounds. But in Lettie’s day it was the difference between bondage and freedom. So she’d have to bury her past if she wants to escape. And we literally give her a device in which that could happen – a coffin!

Julian Charity, the Shirley Plantation Historian, gave me the idea for the story. He spoke of slaves being smuggled out in coffins. I thought – oh my, that would be so horrible! And what a thing to put my characters through! I’d also read about double bottomed wagons, which were used to transport slaves on the Underground Railroad. So, I made my coffin a double bottomed one! Both Julian’s family, and my friend Libbie Cornett, have families who own funeral homes – Libbie’s family since before Lettie’s time! So, I used some of their history in this story.

And now Letitia is “passing” for a free white woman. But Lettie has more to get freed from – her fear, shame, anger, and lack of faith. She’s understandably in a state of fury and dismay after her enslaved mother has been beaten to death by Lettie’s master and father (not shown on the page, but backstory.)  Although I felt sorry for Lettie, I have to say she was a prickly pear to work with at first, and understandably so.

Another of the challenges of writing this story is because of all the travel it took to get a slave to freedom. Letitia ends up taking many forms of transportation on this journey and I spent time researching each one! And I get her a friend to travel with her. And a sweetheart for each! So, double the romance. But can they successfully get to safety in the north – when they’re pursued and have to divert their travel plans?

One of Meez Carrie’s readers will win a paperback copy (autographed and also personalized if you wish!) of The Captive Brides Collection!

Wow! Thank you, Dr. Carrie! I don’t know that my claustrophobic side could handle escaping in a coffin but… desperate times call for desperate measures, don’t they? (And I’m honored to let you borrow my names for your upcoming story! Can’t wait to read it!)

Carrie Fancett Pagels is offering a signed copy of The Captive Brides Collection to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What about you? What do you find most intriguing about Carrie’s post?

Tags: , , ,

92 responses to “Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Carrie Fancett Pagels & ‘Love’s Escape’

  1. Connie Saunders

    Hello Carrie & Carrie! I am a huge fan of your blog Carrie and Carrie F. P., I love your books. AND, the Underground Railroad has always fascinated me. John Ripley & The Ripley House in Ohio is about 30 miles from me and at least one home in my County in Kentucky is thought to have had a tunnel that aided the slaves. Thanks for choosing to focus on this important part of our history.

    • Hi Connie! Becky Germany at Barbour came up with the Captive Brides concept and suggested one might be an escaped slave story. Julian Charity’s words, about the slaves escaping in coffins, had stayed with me over the years. So this worked out to tell Lettie’s story and Nathan’s!

  2. Kailey Bechtel

    This whole post is interesting. I really enjoyed learning about the fact that they smuggled people out in coffins. That would be pretty scary for me.

    • I started thinking — what would make me take that risk to escape in a coffin? So I built in the backstory that Lettie’s mother had just been killed by Lettie’s biological father, the plantation owner and that Lettie was in danger of dying, too. So that was double motivation to get her out and into that coffin!

  3. Perrianne Askew

    The coffin escape! But I’m sure desperate times called for desperate measures. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

    • Carrie

      i really don’t know that I could do it – but I guess God would give me the strength i needed when I needed it, right?

    • I think this shows the importance of backstory, too, Perrianne, something that I teach about (I’ll be teaching an ACFW online course in January on this topic and just spoke at a conference in Maryland.) Lettie was motivated by her mother’s horrific death and by the possibility that Lettie, too, might be killed by someone at the plantation (she’s been threatened). So the tension had to be ramped way up at the beginning of the story! Blessings!

  4. Carol Kelley

    I enjoy Carrie’s books. So interesting all the ways the Underground Railroad worked. Looking forward to reading this one. Always great to read books from Michigan writers.

    • Hi Carol! Thanks for reading my book babies!!! Didn’t you find, in school in Michigan, that the Underground Railroad was heavily emphasized. I doubt they do that here in Virginia, though! Blessings!

  5. Brenda Murphree

    I love reading about the Underground Railroad. I have a book that I read over and over as kid called Voices in the Night. It was about The Underground Railroad and I loved it! So it really fascinates me about having a false bottom to the wagon or transporting the slaves in coffins. But it’s also sad that it was necessary. Love your books Carrie!

    • Hi Brenda. That sounds like a wonderful book! I’ll have to check that out! I read a lot of Underground Railroad stories while growing up and some as an adult and watched movies, too, about this ordeal. In The Sugarplum Ladies, releasing in The Victorian Brides Collection next September, I have a lady who works both with freed women and Civil War widows in teaching them how to cater events! There really was a movement to do this in the Detroit area after the war.

  6. Susan Johnson

    This sounds like such a good story. Of course, I have loved every story I have read of Carrie’s. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book

  7. Debbie Clatterbuck

    I found it fascinating to find that even a person one-eighth African descent could be held as a slave and treated as such. But, then, we do have people these days being kidnapped and sold as white slaves. I love reading about the Civil War era, but have read very little about the Underground Railroad. Interesting.

    • Have you read my debut novella “Return to Shirley Plantation” Debbie? Enslaved people who for all purposes were “white” was one of the things abolitionists jumped on big time. Yes, we have this horror occurring today, too. No one should be enslaved, period. Where were you brought up?

      • Debbie Clatterbuck

        Carrie, I haven’t read Return to Shirley Plantation yet, but it is on my TBR list. I grew up in New York and Ohio. Never have believed in slavery of any kind.

  8. Trixi

    Of course I’ve heard of the Underground Railroad and positive we studied that time period in school. But traveling in a coffin…oh my! Even if it is double bottomed that just makes me shiver as I am claustrophobic…lol! I found that to be the most interesting fact in this post. I’m so glad Carrie does all her research to bring us more realistic things in fiction…thank you for that!!

    Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to win a copy of “The Captive Brides Romance Collection”! I really love the Barbour novella sets 🙂

  9. I will like this story because I have read some underground railroad stories and enjoyed them. Its a wide range of years too and that will be interesting.

  10. Elma Brooks

    Love reading about all the things the slaves had to go thru for freedom. Would love to read about this coffin escape .Thanks for the giveaway and interview.

  11. Winnie Thomas

    Thanks for this very informative post, Carrie S. and Carrie P. It was very fascinating. I just got this book in the mail today, and I’m anxious to read it. Hugs to you both!

  12. Paula S.

    Love Carrie’s books. This sounds so fascinating. I need to read about Shirley Plantation! Would love to have another Barbour collection. Another great interview, Carrie!

  13. Dorothy Boucher

    What an awesome! post and I love the fact that this story is about underground railroads . I have always been intrigued on the many stories that have been written on these. I am certain I will get to this one also. Sounds like a blessed story to read.

    • Hi Dorothy! Best wishes on possibly winning Love’s Escape in the Captive Brides collection! I love those freedom stories, too. Lettie has to find her freedom in Christ and let go of her anger, which gave her quite a character arc! Blessings!

  14. Evangeline

    One intriguing thing about Carrie is that she is a psychologist turned writer! I’m wondering if any of her patients anonymously creep into her novels!!! ??? She is a new author to me, and I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks!

    • Hi Evangeline! Nope, I haven’t had a specific client sneak in yet in terms of adult H/H but since I worked mostly with kids, but yes one character, Jack Welling, in My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island could be a compilation of MANY of my smart but ADHD boys I’ve worked with over the years! Best wishes!

  15. Caryl Kane

    Awwww two of my favorite Carrie’s together! The Underground Railroad is fascinating. Their creativity and determination is to be admired!

  16. Holly Ison

    Great post! I love stories about the Underground Railroad and can’t wait to read yours, Carrie! Traveling in a coffin?! Don’t know if I could have done that, but definitely interesting! 🙂

  17. Smuggling people out of coffins must have been the most interesting experience ever! Lovely post and will put this book on my TBR! 🙂

  18. Vivian Furbay

    I have a real interest in American history and would love to read the stories in this book.

  19. Lori Smanski

    This is a fascinating post. those songs really are interesting. I would love to read your book.

  20. Steph J.

    I was most surprised about the lengths that slaves went for freedom. I had no idea that they would hide in things like coffins.

  21. Carol Alscheff

    I was really intrigued by this post. I have long been interested in the underground railroad. Both the escaping slaves and those helping them. We have at least one stop here. We are very close to Canada. The addition of the photos and songs made it even more interesting

    • Hi Carol! I’m wondering where you live. I have a story I am writing (for Sept. 2018 release in Victorian Christmas Brides collection from Barbour) set in Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, right after the Civil War.

  22. emilee

    The inspiring courage of the slaves and those who risk their own lives to help them is fascinating. I hope I have the opportunity to read this story.

  23. Andrea Stephens

    C.B.S. and C.F.P. two of my favorite people!
    I found Lettie and Nathan’s story so interesting. Thanks for sharing this bit of history with us. I cannot even begin to imagine escaping in a coffin!

  24. Shannon

    What a great post! The bravery and courage shown by those involved with the underground railroad, slaves and others, is amazing.

  25. Elly

    I’d heard of escaping via coffin, but never double-bottomed wagons. Now that’s interesting!
    Elly -Indiana-

    • Julian Charity’s own family owns a funeral home in Charles City and my best friend’s family also owns a funeral home in Richmond. It was fun using Libbie’s historic funeral home as part of the setting for the escape, although there is no actual factual basis for her family’s involvement.

  26. Abby Breuklander

    Wow wow and wow, I’m definitely going to have to do some more reading about the Underground Railroad! I can’t imagine trying to escape in a coffin!

  27. Karen Klepsteen

    Oh my goodness. They would’ve had to drug me or knock me out. I can’t deal with the claustrophobia! They were such amazing, brave people who lived back then!

  28. Wendy Shoults

    Thank you for the interview with Carrie Pagels! She is a wonderful story teller. She goes back into history getting facts and bringing them to life in her books. I am looking forward in reading more of her books.

  29. Trixi

    Carrie (Meez Carrie), I had all but forgotten I won a copy of this on a FB party WAY back in July from Patty Smith Hall. She messaged me and let me know it was on it’s way, please take my name out of the draw. So sorry! I mean that was only three months ago, you’d think I’d remember…lol! Getting older stinks :-p

    • Thanks so much, Meredith. That’s really important to me and when I was reading historical romance and not seeing a whole lot of research gems in the books I was reading, I wanted to have that in mine. But I do have a whole bunch of fave authors who do include lots of historical facts inside their romances.

  30. Terrill R.

    I played Carrie’s suggested background music by the Celtic Tenors while I read the post and I seriously got choked up. Thanks for sharing that, Carrie.

    • Thanks for listening, Terrill! That was one of the songs that inspired me for Lettie’s mood. Also, a contemporary song, “Rise”, by Danny Gokey was the song of Lettie’s heart once she’s on her was well and truly to freedom! You’d think I believed my characters were real (they are to me!) Blessings!

  31. Rebecca Maney

    Carrie has such a mixture of academics, imagination, hobbies and travel experiences . . . . which obviously has fed her originality in her storis!

  32. Julie Waldron

    I find it fascinating that they smuggled slaves in coffins, I didn’t know that. It’s creepy but yet it was a good idea.

  33. Penny Mooney

    I enjoyed your time with us. I can’t wait to read the Captive Brides. I remember reading somewhere about the slaves in the coffins. I still shudder to think about those poor people. Such cruelty in our history. Thank you once again for your time.

Leave a Reply