Interview with Author Carleen Brice

I’m thrilled to be hosting author Carleen Brice today. Read through this post to find out how you might win a free signed copy of her book, Children of The Waters.

About Carleen Brice

Photo of Author Carleen BriceCarleen Brice’s debut novel, Orange Mint and Honey, was an Essence "Recommended Read" and a Target "Bookmarked Breakout Book." For this book, she won the 2009 First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the 2008 Break Out Author Award at the African American Literary Awards Show. Orange Mint and Honey was optioned by Lifetime Movie Network.

Her second novel, Children of the Waters (One World/Ballantine), a book about race, love and family, just came out at the end of June. Booklist Online called it "a compelling read, difficult to put down." Essence says, "Brice has a new hit." You can read an excerpt at her website

She is at work on her third novel, Calling Every Good Wish Home, and she maintains the blogs White Readers Meet Black Authors ( and The Pajama Gardener (


Cover of Children of the Water by Carleen Brice

I was exhausted and singing the blues the hour I began Carleen Brice’s new novel, CHILDREN OF THE WATERS. Five hours later, I’d finished this fresh, free-rein novel about mothers’ secrets and children’s sorrows and was shouting ‘Hurray!’

–Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

In CHILDREN OF THE WATERS, Carleen Brice manages to explore the difficult, messy and unpleasant details of life with both humor and wisdom. The parallel journeys of sisters, Trish and Billie, will resonate with everyone and anyone who has questioned their identity and place in this world. Once again, Carleen Brice has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable novel that gets at the heart of the human experience.

— Lori Tharps, author of Kinky Gazpacho

CHILDREN OF THE WATERS (A One World Trade Paperback Original; On Sale: June 23, 2009) by Carleen Brice—author of the #1 Denver Post bestseller and Essence Book Club Pick Orange Mint and Honey—explores the connection between love and race, and what it really means to be family.

Brice’s compelling, eagerly anticipated new novel CHILDREN OF THE WATERS strikes deep emotional chords and poses the intriguing question: Can two strangers become sisters?

Trish Taylor’s white ancestry never got in the way of her love for her black ex-husband, or their mixed race son, Will. But when Trish’s marriage ends, she returns to her family’s Denver, Colorado home to find a sense of identity and connect to her past.

What she finds there shocks her to the very core: her mother and newborn sister were not killed in a car crash as she was told. In fact, her baby sister, Billie Cousins, is now a grown woman; her grandparents had put her up for adoption, unwilling to raise the child of a black man. Billie, who had no idea she was adopted, wants nothing to do with Trish until a tragedy in Billie’s own family forces her to lean on her surprisingly supportive and sympathetic sister. Together they unravel the age-old layers of secrets and resentments and navigate a path toward love, healing, and true reconciliation..

Essence wrote that Orange Mint and Honey "will have you hooked from page one" –and so will Brice’s latest.

By Carleen Brice
A One World Trade Paperback Original; On Sale: June 23, 2009
978-0-345-49907-3; $14.00; 224 pp

The interview

Tell me a little bit about the book
A: Still reeling from divorce and feeling estranged from her teenage son, Trish Taylor is in the midst of salvaging the remnants of her life when she uncovers a shocking secret: her sister is alive. For years Trish believed that her mother and infant sister had died in a car accident. But the truth is that her mother fatally overdosed and that Trish’s grandparents put the baby girl up for adoption because her father was black.

After years of drawing on the strength of her black ancestors, Billie Cousins is shocked to discover that she was adopted. Just as surprising, after finally overcoming a series of health struggles, she is pregnant–a dream come true for Billie but a nightmare for her sweetie, Nick, and for her mother, both determined to protect Billie from anything that may disrupt her well-being.

If your protagonist were to wake up one day with a super power, what would that super power be? Alternatively (or both!) if your protagonist were to wake up one day with an intense craving for something, what would the craving be?
A: Billie would like the power to heal people. Trish would like to be able to talk with animals and understand what they say back.

Would your villain (or antagonist) prefer to be Emperor Ming The Merciless or Darth Vader? Why?
A: I don’t really have a villain in this story.

What do you consider the heart of your story? That is, what is the issue or emotion that propels things forward? Spill your guts on this one.
A: The heart of the story is the importance of family. What really makes people family. Is it blood? Is it history? Is it love, shared experienced? And what’s the definition of family. . . aren’t we all related if you go back far enough?

If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation of your book,who gets the call?
A: Halle Berry as Billie. Idris Elba as her lover Nick. Jennifer Anniston as Trish.

Is there a scene you cut from the book that you kind of wish you could put back in?
A: Not with this one.

Do you have a sample chapter posted?
A: I’m an overachiever-posted the first 3 chapters!

Tell us why your editor is the best editor ever in the universe.
A: She’s a genuinely good person, and I really appreciate the fight she fights in-house for me.

For a chance to win a free, signed copy of Carleen’s book, Children of the Waters all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. If your profile doesn’t link to a valid email, PLEASE either include your email or commit to checking back on Tuesday, July 28 to see if you’re the winner.


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4 Responses to “Interview with Author Carleen Brice”

  1. RKCharron says:

    Hi 🙂
    Thank you for having Carleen Brice on your blog. I hadn't heard of her or her books before and now I want to read both books!
    I love finding new authors with new books. I am sure I will enjoy the novels.
    Thanks again.
    Love from Northern Ontario

  2. M. says:

    Dropped by to see what Carolyn reported on Washington (yes, I live vicariously through others, why do you ask?) and found a new-to-me author with beautiful covers and intriguing titles. I loved the superpower specification of not just being able to talk to animals, but being able to understand them back (since it makes sense that the one doesn't necessarily include the other, and I just hadn't thought about it that way before!). Off to look at Carleen's blog now. And a shout-out to the Northern Ontarian poster before me, from a former Sudburian and room-mate to a Wawonian!

    (I'm taking myself out of the draw since I've had recent good fortune at this site already *g*)

  3. Susan/DC says:

    Thanks for drawing our attention to a book that may otherwise have flown under the radar. I recently went to an author talk where she described almost exactly this situation — she opened the door one evening to see a woman who looked very like her and found that the woman was a half sister she'd never known she had. Not only did the author have to carve out a relationship with this sister/stranger, but she had to redefine herself, as she was no longer her father's oldest child, her father's only daughter, etc.

    Liked the answer that there were no villains in this book. I like it when books/movies/whatever deal with real people who try their hardest but sometimes make mistakes or don't know what to do and have to figure out how to deal with the consequences.

  4. Carleen Brice says:

    Thank everyone for your lovely comments! And Carolyn thanks again for hosting me!