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Carrie Gerlach Cecil is upfront about it:

She was a wild child.

Those days are behind her, but they have provided some rich fodder for the Tucson native's latest book, "One Sunday."

"She is the voice of what I would consider to be America or a lot of Americans including myself at one point," Cecil said about her character Alice Ferguson's journey to find herself and a connection with God.

Alice and Cecil have much in common. Alice grew up in Tucson, made her way to Los Angeles and ended up in the South.

That's the route Cecil followed, working in Los Angeles before she moved to Nashville, Tenn., with her husband, Chuck, who was then the defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans (he now coaches with the St. Louis Rams).

The couple met 26 years ago while both were University of Arizona students and he was a star football player with the Wildcats.

The couple have an 8-year-old daughter.

"How much of Alice is Carrie? I would say how much of Alice was Carrie ..." Cecil said. "There are moments in it that I look back and some of those experiences were mine. As much as they're painful to look at, I wouldn't be able to stand here now and relate with authenticity. …"

"One Sunday", which was released in February, is Cecil's second book and her first to touch on her Christianity.

"It's pop-culture Christian per se," she said.

"It is very modern. I mean I went from making fun of (Christians) to being one of them, so I tell both sides of that story in what I hope to be a very moving and hilarious way," Cecil said.

"One Sunday" just flowed for her.

"All of the pieces sort of fell into place, from finishing it when I needed to finish it, and even starting it."

The second book done ("Emily's Reasons Why Not"was her first), she is moving on to other projects.

Cecil is working on a novel with her cousin, producing a reality show and continuing to tell her story.

But she's doing it all with a philosophical approach: "I think what's next is just trying to hold on and see what God has in store for me and to be grateful every day."

Rachel Cabakoff is a University of Arizona journalism student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at