Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview with Carla Stewart & Giveaway - Part 1

When I read Carla Stewart's book, "Broken Wings," I couldn't wait to approach her for an interview. Not only has she agreed to the interview, but she's sponsoring a giveaway for her book. See the bottom of this post for details.

Without further preliminaries, let's get on with the interview.

1) Welcome, Carla! We'd love to hear about your journey to publication. Were you "discovered" or was it a long road?

Definitely the long road. It took almost nine years to the day from the time I got serious about writing (bought the book, put on the writer's hat, and whispered, "I'm a writer.")

2) Is your genre considered Contemporary Women's Fiction? Did you face any obstacles because of the genre you selected? If so, please share your experience and how you overcame them.

What I write straddles the fence between contemporary and historical. I usually call it nostalgic women's fiction. This is something of an anomaly in the CBA, so yes, there have been obstacles. My first book, "Chasing Lilacs," was rejected many times before it found a home. It was six years in the making!

In retrospect, I think my belief in the story, being willing to rewrite it a dozen times, and listening to the experienced and wise people God put in my path led to it finally being published. Now, I don't think of it as an obstacle, but a learning process and God's timing.

3) What was your inspiration for, "Broken Wings?" Did you base some or all of it on incidents in your life?

It began with a short story I wrote a number of years ago based on my own family's tales about the Great Depression and Black Sunday in particular. In "Sand Plum Summer," three orphans were taken in by a farm family when their mother perished in the worst dust storm in history.

I loved this story and thought of the characters from time to time. It was almost like they were waiting backstage for their cue to make an entrance. It kept coming back to me that the oldest of those three orphans surely had a story to tell.

Then one day, I read a newspaper article about the possible renovation of Tulsa's Big Ten Ballroom, a jazz hall in the forties and fifties. I knew at once my little orphan had grown up to become a jazz singer. She would be quite elderly now, of course, but perhaps she needed to tell  her story.

None of, "Broken Wings," is based on my life or people I know, but about a month after I'd received the contract offer, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer's. The story took on a very personal meaning as I was writing it.

Next week, Carla will share her advice for writers seeking publication, discuss social media, and talk about those who influenced her career.

Writers: Are you facing obstacles with your choice of genre? How do you stay motivated?

Readers: Do you ever wish publishers would expand their horizons beyond their usual offerings?

And now what you've been waiting for...the giveaway details!

1. Please comment on this post, including your email address. Sorry - no email, no entry. You can have up to two entries if you comment here and on Part II of the interview.

2. You must be a Follower of Christian Writer/Reader Connection.

3. The giveaway is limited to residents of the U.S. and is void where prohibited. The winner is responsible for their eligibility.

4. Deadline: Saturday, October 22, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be selected in a random drawing, notified by email, and announced on Sunday, October 23, 2011 on the blog.

5. When the winner sends me their snail mail address, I will forward it to Carla. She will send you, "Broken Wings."

Disclaimer: I have not received any remuneration for this interview from either the author or the publisher. I loved the book and wanted to showcase the author. :)


Anonymous said...

This book sounds lovely, so does the author! I love how she said that she rewrote her story many times and listened to the advice of others! A book is definitely a group effort, resting on the shoulders of a talented and determined writer!

Terri Tiffany said...

What a good interview.I write women's fiction and think it is a hard genre to place as well. I would love to win this book! at yahoo dot com

Jessica Nelson said...

I was privileged to meet Carla at ACFW. What a sweet lady! And I think that time in history is sooo intriguing. I'd love to be entered to win one of her books.
jessica_nelson7590 at yahoo .com

Jaime Wright said...

Great interview, Susan!!!

Nancy said...

This book sounds so good. The part about the ballroom intrigues me. I have a thing about that era and the romance of it all, even if during the depression.

Rhonda Schrock said...

I like the emphasis on God's timing, no matter how long it takes.

Great interview, Susan!

Jeanette Levellie said...

I am always encouraged when I hear an author took the long road. By the time my book comes out, it will be four years from conception to birth, but I'd been writing parts of it for seven or so years before that. Aha.

This sounds like a wonderful story.

Yes, I do wish publishers would broaden their offerings. I think we are seeing a wider spectrum with smaller publishing houses.

Please choose my name! I lovingly follow your blog.


Thanks for your generosity, Carla!

Karen Lange said...

Great interview! I enjoyed learning about Carla and her book. Thanks to both of you. :)

I would love to be entered to win.

carla stewart said...

Susan, I'm honored to be featured today. And the comments - lovely, each and every one. I was glad to meet Jessica at ACFW (big wave!). Novel writing, no matter what genre you write, is not for the faint of heart. I'm slogging through a new mss right now. It's hard work.

Blessings to you all.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Faith - Her experiences encouraged me because my genre does not hold "most favored" status. Thanks for stopping by and entering the drawing.

Hi Terri - Yay! So nice to see you. Hope you're settled into your new home. I miss your posts. :)

Hi Jess - How neat that you got to see Carla in person! I love meeting author friends.

Hi Jaime - Thanks!

Hi Nancy - Yes, the ballroom angle added a lot of interest to the book.

Hi Rhonda - I'm still glad I didn't know how long this journey would be. :)

Hi Jen - The Moses Conspiracy has been in the works for a number of years. The waiting is the toughest part, isn't it?

Hi Karen - She did a great job on this book. Oh, for more hours to read!

Hi Carla - Thank YOU! Your story encouraged me.

Susan :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I've heard wonderful things about Carla's books, and her description of the dust bowl and the jazz singer really caught my attention! I would love to be entered in the drawing:


Thanks, Susan!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill -

Thanks for your comment and for entering the giveaway. I think you'd enjoy Carla's books.

Susan :)

Susan H said...

I've had the pleasure of meeting Carla in Jefferson, TX, such a sweet person!! I loved her book, Chasing Lilacs and look forward to reading her newest novel!!


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Susan -

I haven't read Chasing Lilacs yet, but it's on my Wish List. :)

Thanks for stopping by and entering the giveaway.


DenaNetherton said...

I had to re-write one of my stories when I found out that publishers don't like stories that are in between historical and contemporary. Also, I've been moaning for some time about the limited offerings we get from publishers. Sometimes I'm insulted by it. Why can't we see more Christian stories with grit and realism (but not filthy language.) I believe there is room in Christian literature for both the "sweet, but not too realistic" and stories that ore closely mirror real life.

DenaNetherton said...

I'm back, Susan. Carla's book interests me. May I be included in the drawing? My email is

carla stewart said...

Thanks, Jill - I'm partial to the jazz part of the story, too!

Big wave to Susan! Great meeting you last year. Books Alive, wasn't it? Are you going to Girlfriend Weekend? I'll be there.

Dena, there is a little better climate now for nostalgia. Maybe thanks to The Help and Mad Men (on TV). My next two books are both from the nostalgic era, and I'm fortunate that my publisher allows me to write about some of the tougher issues. I think offering hope is the key.

Susan, if you get a chance to read Chasing Lilacs, let me know what you think.

Thanks, all!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Dena - I've added you to the drawing. Watch for next week's post, and comment for another entry. :)

Hi Carla - Thanks for holding down the fort. Life gets a little crazy around here. :)