Monday, April 03, 2006

Interview and excerpt - Along Came Love by Carrie Turansky

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.03.2006

Today I’m interviewing Carrie Turansky, whose debut full-length book just hit the shelves TODAY!

Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Steeple Hill - Love Inspired #345, April 2006
ISBN 0-373-87363-8

Single mother Lauren Woodman returns to Vermont to renovate her family’s historic property and open an antique and art gallery. She longs to build a secure life for herself and her young son, leave her past mistakes behind, and avoid any romantic entanglements in the future. When Lauren crashes her car into a snow bank, she is rescued by a longhaired man she assumes is a homeless wanderer. Wes Evans is actually an ex-missionary who considers himself a failure for buckling under in the face of persecution and imprisonment for his illegal missionary work in the Middle East. He senses God has sent him to Vermont to help Lauren and her son, but he is torn by his desire to keep his past a secret. As their friendship deepens to romance, Wes is forced to make difficult choices that involve great sacrifice in order to protect Lauren and her son. Lauren and Wes discover new dimensions of God’s grace and forgiveness as they put their love, their faith, and their very lives on the line for each other.

Excerpt of chapter one is here (.pdf file).

Interview with Carrie Turansky:

What was the funnest part of writing ALONG CAME LOVE?

ALONG CAME LOVE has been "in the process" for a long time. I first brainstormed ideas with Linda Windsor at an ACFW Conference a few years ago in Kansas City. A year later I attended a fiction clinic taught by Linda, and she helped me again. She should get some of the royalties on this book! I learned a lot as I wrote this book, and that's always fun for me.

What's your favorite scene from ALONG CAME LOVE?

It's hard to choose just one...but I guess I would say the scene where the hero plays checkers with the heroine's son. Toby is only six and he has learning disabilities and struggles in school, so winning a game of checkers is a big deal for this little guy. Lauren, the heroine, is very touched buy the hero's desire to help her son. This scene was inspired by my father-in-law who often played games with my children and loved them enough to let them win just to boost their confidence and build a relationship with them. The book is also dedicated to my husband's parents, John and Shirley Turansky, in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary. They are a wonderful couple who have had a huge impact on my life.

How did you come up with this story idea?

A few years ago I read the biography of a young man who was a missionary in the Middle Ease. He was arrested for his undercover missionary work there. The power of his testimony and God's provision touched me deeply. I wondered what his life was like when he returned to the U.S. He was the initial inspiration for the hero, Wes. I read a magazine article about a young widow who lived in a very small town in Vermont and then later I visited that beautiful state. I decided a small town setting like that would be great for this story.

Are there any symbols or themes in ALONG CAME LOVE that you want to point out, elaborate on?

The theme of understanding and accepting God's forgiveness is woven throughout the story. Both Wes and Lauren have issues from their past that affect their present in negative ways. It is easy for them to see what the other one needs to do...but it is harder for them to see it in their own life. That is so true for most of us. It is often easier for us to look at others and wonder why they don't get it. We need other people in our life who love us enough to patiently tell us the truth and help us see an example of living it out.

What's your next novel to be released?

KISS THE BRIDE, a 4-in-1 romance collection, will be released by Barbour in September. The co-authors are Kristy Dykes, Aisha Ford, and Vickie McDonough. The theme that unites the novellas is that each woman owns a unique restaurant in a different area of the country. They meet at a convention in the beginning and one buys an apron that says Kiss the Cook. Since there is only one apron they decided to share it by sending it around the group...and you will have to read the book to see what happens to them!

You know (or maybe you don't know) how much I LOVE FOOD. One of my favorite restaurants is this Vietnamese sandwich shop that makes a pork and pate sandwich with cilantro on fresh-baked baguettes (dreamy sigh). What's your favorite ethnic food to eat and why?

Our family lived in Kenya as missionaries for one year, so we have many happy memories of enjoying Kenyan food and drinks like chai, (tea boiled with milk and sugar) chapatis (which are a little like a tortilla) and beef stew. We also lived in Hawaii, so we like to pull out our old church cookbook and make some of our favorite Hawaiian recipes, too. My younger son works as a pizza delivery guy, so we often have cold pizza for snacks. Yumm! This is making me hungry.

YUM! I’ve never had Kenyan food. And I don’t know if you know, but I’m from Hawaii. :)
If you could have written any book in the world, which one would it be?

I love stories like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women...maybe the modern movie version more than the books. But I hope to write something as long lasting some day.

What ministry do you do at your church or in your community? Why do you like doing it?

My husband is senior pastor at our church and I partner with him in ministry in many ways. We often open our home and have people in for dinner, meetings, parties, and coffee. I want to help people feel loved and accepted and grow in their faith. Now that our church is larger we do this same type of hospitality at church with "Get Connected lunches" every other month for new people. I also oversee women's ministry, organizing events for women. One I especially like is our Women's Christmas Tea, which is a wonderful outreach to our community. It takes a lot of work, but ladies come to know the Lord each year, and that makes it so worthwhile.

WOW! That Christmas Tea sounds fabulous!
What's your writing schedule like? How do you ensure time for family and church?

I have five children and I homeschooled them for many years. They are now 18 - 24. So this year I finally graduated! Yeah! But I am still a wife and mother and those roles come first before my writing. I get up with my three kids who are still at home each day to spend some time with them before they head off to school. Then I have the morning to spend time with the Lord and to write. I usually spend the afternoon with things around the house, exercising, and running errands. Some evenings I have more time to write, it depends on what our family is doing. I am regularly involved in a couple different small group Bible studies or prayer groups plus other church activities. My husband travels and speaks a few times each month with his parenting ministry, so when he is away I have extra time to write.

What is your most memorable moment as a writer?

There have been many memorable moments...being a finalist for the Noble Theme Contest, getting that first call from my agent telling me I had sold to Steeple Hill, my husband telling me my story made him cry, opening the box and pulling out my first book and seeing my name on the cover, and receiving my first "fan e-mail" from a Christian psychologist who had a lot of positive things to say about Along Came Love. Happy memories!

Awesome! Isn’t the Noble Theme/Genesis contest a wonderful opportunity for unpublished writers? {blatant plug}
Finish this line: Writing a novel is ...

A wonderful growing experience! The Lord can teach you so much as you wrestle through the issues your characters are facing in your story. Even if my books were never published I would write just for the experience of all I learn through them.

Describe your writing space as it is now, and your fantasy writing space.

I have a beautiful corner desk in the dining room as my special writing space. I have two large windows that look out on our back yard and give me a view of the trees and sky. Sometimes deer, turkeys, squirrels, and birds visit. I love having that view. Behind my computer I have several pictures of my family. I'm blessed with a cushy chair that is very comfortable. I use a laptop so I can also sit a few feet away from my desk in a recliner. I don't have email reception when I am in the recliner, so that temptation is removed and I can focus on writing a little better there.

Do you have a special verse specifically to inspire your writing?

"For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

This verse means a lot to me because I know without His work in my heart and life I would have nothing to write about. It can be scary to stare at an empty screen and know that you face a deadline! And I need all the help I can get! : )

What's the best writing advice you've ever received?

No back-story in the first 30 pages. This is so hard to do...but it is the key to a well-paced opening that helps to draw people into your story and keep them turning pages. Also... Remember you want to give people an emotional experience when they read your stories. So that means you have to make your characters suffer! Put them in tough situations and then ask yourself what can I do to make it worse?

Thanks for doing the interview! Any parting words?

Thanks for this opportunity, Camy! I want to invite everyone to stop by my website ( where you can read excerpts from Along Came Love and Wedded Bliss. Just click on the cover of the books on the home page and it will take you there. God bless you all!

Camy here: Thanks, Carrie!

Bible in 90 Days: Day 76. I just finished Romans. The one message I took away from it is how we as Christians are very diverse and we need to be considerate of each other. God speaks to each of us in different ways. It’s hard for me to trust God in my relationships with people. I want more tangible proof of an effect on their lives—it’s my control-freak nature, I think. Submission—of myself to God, of my loved ones to God.

Writing: Getting ready for the Mt. Hermon Writers Conference. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog from Wednesday to Tuesday.

Diet: Doing good so far today. I had a tough PT session. For lunch, I had a salad with yummy avocado dressing and a tuna fish sandwich with heavenly Portuguese rolls (toasted, naturally). Dinner will be chicken a la king with lots of vegetables.