Cara Brookins is the author of Rise: How a House Built a Family, an extraordinary true story of a woman taking the greatest risk of her life in order to heal from the unthinkable. After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible. Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan, and a mile-wide stubborn streak, she built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children. Together they designed the house, framed it, ran the plumbing and gas lines, and mortared blocks with their hands. It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls, and laid bricks for their two-story, five-bedroom house. She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family.
Building something big enough to change the way she and her kids saw themselves gave Cara the idea that other people could do exactly the same thing. While their big thing may not be a house, taking a leap toward a better life is exactly the right move for everyone.
Cara is a computer analyst, social media marketing expert, and the author of seven middle grade and young adult novels. She continues to build new things through her fiction. She motivates businesses, writers, and parenting groups to take enormous leaps toward their goals and to build impossible things.
Cara grew up in Wisconsin and now lives in Arkansas with her four children, Hope, Drew, Jada, and Roman.
RiseHow a House Built a Family
St. Martin’s Press
After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible.
Leadership Cara recharges leaders' enthusiasm and helps them redefine their goals by sharing relatable and actionable personal stories. Leaders at every level will identify outdated methods and learn to create more dynamic and engaged teams by embracing a new leadership mindset.
Teamwork Cara calls for teams to make the best use of each member's skills so they can achieve impossibly big goals together. Drawing on the experience of building a house with her kids, a team ranging from seventeen to two years old, Cara challenges audiences to take advantage of the wide range of skills and temperaments of a diverse team.
Productivity Cara helps you attack your to-do list with realistic productivity strategies based on the ways in which human minds focus their attention. Using real life examples from the construction site, Cara shows audiences how to end procrastination and get more done by restructuring a few simple habits.
Read People‘s story about the Brookins family.
Watch Cara’s appearance on the Today show
Read Do South Magazine‘s write-up on Cara and Rise.
Read Publishers Weekly‘s review of Rise.
Read the NYT Women of the World story on Cara and the building of Inkwell Manor.
Check out USA Today‘s coverage of Cara’s family’s story.
Read the CBS News piece on the Brookins family.
Listen to Cara read an excerpt of Rise.
Read Cara’s blog.
Download Cara’s media kit.
“We knew Cara had an interesting story to tell and was a good speaker – we were wrong! She had an amazing story to share and was equally amazing at holding our audience and moving them. She inspired. She uplifted. And she thoroughly convinced our attendees that they can accomplish far more than they believe is possible. I would highly recommend Cara to any audience!”
- Doug Perry, Communications Director, Utah Association of Counties
"Cara is an extraordinary individual with an extraordinary story to match. Sometimes, telling the story can be a challenge in itself but that was not the case for Cara. She built her talk from the ground up, to ensure it was a personalized message that resonated with our audience–and it did much more than that. She captivated the entire room, addressing themes that we wanted her to touch on (e.g. leadership, teamwork, resilience) and did it with humanity and humor...all the while making it so relatable and human. Our group was left inspired, motivated and without a dry eye. Cara was the pitch perfect speaker for our event and we feel so fortunate that she was available to talk to our group."
- Prominent technology company
"Cara did a great job! She really connected with the audience and everyone enjoyed the program."
- Jenny Dodson, Director, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Student Experience Center
Advance praise for Rise :
"A tough, honest memoir. Brookins deftly narrates the extreme learning curve her family experienced while putting a family back together again."
"Cara Brookins did something remarkable with her life: She turned trauma into power and fear into courage. She refused to be a victim anymore. In powerful ways, her extraordinary memoir, Rise, tells the story of her resurrection from victim of domestic abuse to bad-ass mom with a hammer and carpenter’s square. You will be enlightened. You will be inspired. You will cheer her on as she builds a new home and a new life for herself and her four children — one brick at a time."
— John Grogan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Marley & Me
"Sometimes the universe puts us in a bad place and dares us to fight our way out. Cara Brookins did just this. We should all be as strong as her. This book will provide the powerful imagery and guidance for a generation of people who need to change their lives."
— Tom Hart, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rosalie Lightning