What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Carla Stewart and Free Books!

PhotobucketOne woman clings to her memories. The other wants to erase hers.

Before we visit with today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Janice Hanna's new release, Love Finds You in Groom, Texas, is:

caseym.writer@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (below my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Now let's revisit with novelist Carla Stewart, author of Broken Wings (FaithWords, June 2011).

PhotobucketCarla Stewart’s writing reflects her passion for times gone by as depicted in her first novel, Chasing Lilacs. Carla launched her writing career in 2002 when she earned the coveted honor of being invited to attend Guidepost's Writers Workshop in Rye, New York. Since then, her articles have appeared in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, Saddle Baron, and Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine.

In her life before writing, Carla enjoyed a career in nursing and raising her family. Now that their four sons are married and they’ve become empty-nesters, she and her husband relish the occasional weekend getaway and delight in the adventures of their six grandchildren.

Carla enjoys a good cup of coffee, great books, and hearing from her readers.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

-- I’m the mother of twins and have twin grandsons.

-- On a trip to England, my husband and I had a private tour of the crown jewels and spent an evening with our hosts in the Tower pub.

-- I can’t stand cantaloupe.

-- Our youngest son was married in a Fairy Tale Wedding at Disneyland, complete with glass carriage.

-- At the same wedding, I “bounced” a wedding crasher from the reception.

I love the variety there, Carla. Makes me smile.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Broken Wings.

PhotobucketOnstage, the singing duo of Gabe and Mitzi Steiner captured America's heart for more than two decades. Offstage, their own hearts have throbbed as one for sixty years. Only now, Gabe has retreated into the tangles of Alzheimer's, leaving Mitzi to ponder her future alone.

On the other side of Tulsa, everyone believes Brooke Woodson has found the perfect man—a handsome lawyer with sights on becoming Tulsa's next District Attorney. If only Brooke felt more sure. If only her fiancé could control his anger. If only love didn't come with so many scars.

When an accident lands Brooke in the hospital where Mitzi volunteers, the two women quickly develop an unlikely friendship. With Mitzi's help, kindness, and insight, Brooke learns how to pick up the broken pieces of her life.

What is it about your lead characters that will make your readers care about them?

I have two lead characters who get equal billing. Mitzi is an aging jazz singer who is still full of spunk even though her husband now has Alzheimer’s. I think readers will identify with her perseverance in spite of adversity both in her past and in her current situation. Brooke is a young woman in an abusive relationship with her fiancé. Readers will root for her to be strong and escape the tangles of her life.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

The lives of the two women is rendered with tenderness and celebrates the value of friendship. There are several colorful characters who add humor and warmth when it’s needed in the “heavy” parts of the novel. And for music lovers, the jazz thread is woven throughout. One of my goals when writing serious women’s fiction is to keep the tone light and bring hope to readers.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketBrooke is the perfect role for Sandra Bullock.

PhotobucketMitzi is spunky and not too full of herself so Betty White would be a good choice.

PhotobucketFor Lance, the abuser, Mark Valley who was on Boston Legal.

PhotobucketFor Gabe, who even in the throes of Alzheimer’s has a large presence, would be Ed Ames of the Ames Brothers. I actually watched videos of him singing when I was writing Gabe’s scenes and listened to him singing “My Cup Runneth Over” about a million times (I’m not kidding!).

I recognize Ed Ames from his acting, but I never knew he was a singer. 

And if your novel were brought to film, what’s one song you’d like to hear featured in it?

"His Eye is on the Sparrow"

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It’s been a few months since I read it, but I cannot stop thinking about it. Then this past January I met Jeannette at an author event and we talked about her book. She teared up as I told her how taken I was with part of her dad. She said, “As a writer, you understand.” It was a precious moment, and I never miss an opportunity to tell people what a wonderful memoir this is.

What are you working on now?

I recently signed a new two-book contract with FaithWords. I’ve just turned in Stardust, a story set in 1952 in East Texas bayou country during the height of the polio epidemic. I’m brainstorming and working on the early chapters of a “girlfriend” novel which will release in 2013.

Where else can readers find you online?

My website
Follow me on Twitter

If you'd like to purchase the book online, it's available via these buttons:

556569: Broken Wings

Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

Do you ever imagine yourself as one of the characters in a book and wish you could have a different life?

Thank you, Carla, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Carla has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, June 9. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Carla's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Cynthia Hickey, below, and leave a comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of her book.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.


Brenda said...

Of course I wish I had done something different with my life when I read a book. Books are my escape from life as i know it!

I posted this to my blog:

Brenda from Michigan

dancealert at aol dot com

windycindy said...

I adored Chasing Lilacs. Books that
are written during earlier time
periods fascinate me! When I think about time travel, I try to imagine where I would go...When I visited the Palace of Versailles, I thought
about Marie Antoinette having lived
there. Amazing!!!!!
Many thanks, Cindi

EJ said...

I love historical & amish fiction - sometimes I wonder if I would have made the same choices as the character in the story, or wonder if I could have survived some of the things these characters go thru. But have never wished for a different life because I know that God has me right where I need to be.

- Elaine rejordan79@msn.com

Linda said...

I would like to be a character only in the realm of not having back problems. I like my personality, so I'd probably surprise the writer! Oh, I do have weaknesses, too, just so you know I'm not conceited. But then God can use me anywhere, with or without back problems.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot om

karenk said...

oh yes, characters fascinate me...often times i do not wish to finish reading the book because i don't want their 'story' to end

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Koala Bear Writer said...

I loved Carla's first book so would love to read this book (but I'm a Canadian, so can't enter this contest - why not???). I'm a twin and I heard from my mom how tough it was to have twins, so I'm even more in awe of Carla knowing that she's a mom of twins too. And I think I became a writer myself because I spent too much time imagining myself as a character in a novel and rewriting my life in a more interesting way. :)

Trish Perry said...

I think one of my favorite things about reading fiction is the fact that I often feel like I'm in the world of the book while I'm reading it. But I'm always glad to get back to my own life, LOL!

Brenda, thanks for posting about Carla's interview and give-away on your own blog. Word-of-mouth is fabulous promotion for inspirational fiction.

Cindy, if you haven't yet read Golden Keyes Parsons' books, you might want to look into them (after Carla's books, of course. And mine.)

Linda, I love your comment about escaping reality simply to be free of back issues. I can imagine you in some intense high-speed car chase, content nevertheless because of your pain-free back.

Koala Bear Writer, I'm sorry about the restriction about foreign entries--it's actually a legal thing. But I also try to keep postage costs down for the authors I interview. The expenses can add up when writers appear on numerous sites, and the authors are already giving away their books and paying regular postage, so I try to help them in that regard. I'm so sorry that shuts you out.

Julie Garmon said...

Hey Carla! You know I loved Chasing Lilacs. Can't wait for Broken Wings--and I totally agree. The Glass Castle was unforgettable.

Shine on, my friend.

apple blossom said...

Yes, there are times when I put myself in place of a character in the book.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

carla stewart said...

Love all your comments. EJ - you are so right about God putting us just where we were meant to be. Sometimes I forget that, but I do love a good escape once in a while.

I'm fascinated, too, with other eras and wonder if I would make the same decisions characters did. And sometimes I want to bop them on the head and say, "No, don't do that!"

Linda, maybe you'd like to be a character in my book - I like it when my characters surprise me.

Koala Bear - you've been such a wonderful supporter. Maybe I should run a "Canadians only" contest on my blog - LOL!

Julie - we love the same books. I hope you enjoy Broken Wings.

Thanks, Trish, for the great interview. I'm feeling really bad that I had you put that cute Mark Valley on as my "bad guy." I'm sure he wouldn't be amused:-))

Good luck, everyone!

Word Lily said...

I'm not sure I (very often, anyway) actually imagine myself in a book as one of the characters, but I certainly take on their emotions as I read! WordLily AT gmail DOT com

Michelle said...

I always enjoy the places that a story takes me, and I enjoy getting to know different characters, but I don't ever wish I could have a different life. I do find it fascinating to escape to different times and places though.

Thank you for entering me! I read Carla's first book, and it's one of my favorites! Looking forward to reading Broken Wings.


Jillian said...

Great interview, ladies! I love the cover of Broken Wings, Carla. I'm a big time bird watcher. :) I love to escape to another time and place for an hour or two, but I'm always thankful to get back home. :)

Jillian said...

Acck! I forgot to leave my e-mail address.
jilian2011[at]hotmail[dot] com

by Pegg Thomas said...

I'm forever putting myself in the character's place of my current read. I live a charmed life, really, but it's fun to "what if" when reading.

twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

carla stewart said...

Apple Blossom, I'm glad to know I'm not alone. Thanks!

Word Lily - I'm glad you mentioned the emotions as a lot of people have commented that Broken Wings is an emotional book - it evokes both anger and wistfulness. Will be glad to hear what you think.

Ah, Michelle, you made my heart happy today. I hope you like Broken Wings as well.

Jillian - thanks. My publisher does wonderful covers. The sparrow is more metaphorical in the book, but there's also a pair of swans that are part of the story, and I watched the "real" swans to try and capture their essence. And I'm crazy about the cardinals in my own backyard.

Peggy - this made me smile, too. No matter how comfy we are in our own lives, it's fun to sometimes be taken away in the life of a character.

Thanks for all these wonderful comments, ladies.

Rose said...

Yes sometimes I do imagine I am that character but I never would change my life.
andantespirit08 [at] gmail [dot] com

carla stewart said...

Hi Rose! Thanks for the comment and stopping by. Imagining we're the character can be fun for a bit, but I agree, I wouldn't change my life. Not really.



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