The month of October is a special time for me:
my debut novel, my baby,
will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!
I’d like to give a big welcome to Lisa Carter to my blog. Lisa, thank you for joining me today. I’m excited to have you here.
Blending Southern and Native American fiction, Lisa Carter writes “Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder”. Her latest release is Under a Turquoise Sky. She is the author of two previous romantic suspense novels, Carolina Reckoning and Beneath A Navajo Moon; and Aloha Rose, a contemporary romance in the Quilts of Love series. She and her family make their home in North Carolina. When she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, teaching writing workshops, and researching her next exotic adventure. She has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball. Connect with Lisa at www.lisacarterauthor.com.
Robin E. Mason: Welcome, Lisa. You’ve gone from the Deep South to Hawaii and now you’re writing in the Southwest. That’s far and wide and back again! How did that journey come about? What intrigued you about these locations?
Lisa Carter: I am a native North Carolinian. Scratch beneath the surface of the polite Southern drawl and hospitable sweet tea, there is a layer of the gothic—Southern Gothic—in our history. Family stories of lost causes, tragic love, and quirky Aunt so and so’s, we’ve all got them. North Carolina is also home to the largest population of Native Americans east of the Mississippi. I’ve known various members of the Cherokee, Lumbee, Haliwa-Saponi and Coharie tribes throughout my life. I’ve always been fascinated by their culture. Admired their persistence and perseverance against overwhelming odds to survive and thrive. Television has reduced Americans to a mind-numbing blandness. Southerners—and Native Americans—do not fit into that cookie cutter mold. And I love that. We are unique and proud of it. When my in-laws retired to the Southwest, it wasn’t long before I began exploring the Navajo country. My Hawaiian story came about because I have college friend with Hawaiian roots whose real life story she allowed me to fictionalize.
rem: So the in-laws got you there! Methinks t’was but a matter of time, though, ‘til your own Indian roots took you west to expand your knowledge of Indian lore. I have read Beneath a Navajo Moon¸ and I loved how you wove present day with the historical element! I could identify with Erin’s struggle to please her parents and to follow her own vision. Under a Turquoise Sky promises the same sort of tangled adventure and I can’t wait to read it! Have you started on your next story? What’s it about?
LC: Vines of Entanglement releases February 2015 and this novel returns to the setting of Carolina Reckoning —Raleigh, North Carolina. Readers will have a chance to catch up on what’s been happening in the lives of Alison, Mike, and Claire who have “cameo” appearances. But the main story centers around the power of truth. “A tangled web of lies characterizes the new life Laura Mabry has built for herself and her son after the tragic death of her husband. But truth and murder lurk just around the corner when she stumbles upon the body of a young college student on the forested recreational trails of Raleigh’s Greenway. Laura’s carefully constructed world slides off its axis after she comes face to face with Detective Jon Locklear. Jon’s spent ten years trying to forget memories of Laura and the sweet scent of honeysuckle. At the top of suspect list, Laura must find the courage to face her deepest fears and unravel the lies before she and her son become the Greenway Killer’s next victims.”
rem: “A tangled web of lies…” You’ve got my attention! Tell us a little about your writing journey. What do you enjoy most about being a writer? What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
LC: I love the power of discovery as I create characters and settings. I love how sometimes—always just when I need it—the story finds me. What’s hard is juggling all the hats an author has to wear—editing one project, writing another and perhaps marketing yet a third. Then of course, there’s always dinner to make, too.
rem: I love the way you say that, “… the story finds me.” That’s how I write, too. And so many hats!!! LOL What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?
LC: I treat writing as a job. I start each day when my children leave for school in the morning. I stop when they return mid-afternoon. I try to work only Monday through Friday but of course tight deadlines sometimes require that I put in a few weekends as well.
rem: Oh, so disciplined! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?
How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
LC: The most significant thing to me about Christian fiction is that our stories depict realistic characters and life situations—often tragic situations. But in Christ, there is always woven in a thread of hope and redemption that no matter how tough life might be, God is enough. Enough for your past, your present and your future. Being a Christian novelist has also forced me to go deeper in my understanding of Scripture and my personal walk with Christ. And there are pieces of me in all my characters. Writing, I tell readers, is actually cheap therapy.
rem: Funny you mention therapy – I’ve said in my own bio that I began writing as self-prescribed therapy! And look where it got me! I agree, Lisa, writing fiction from a Christian perspective is not so unlike parables Jesus told. How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?
LC: One reader recently wrote to me:
“I was reading a novel last night called Beneath a Navajo Moon by Lisa Carter. When Carter wrote it [p. 26] she probably didn’t think much of it, but God used it last night. The main character Erin Dawson thought of something her dad told her. He told her in order for a person to have a happy life they needed three things: Something to look forward to; good work to do; and someone to love. That got me thinking. Then this morning I found myself in 2 Corinthians 4 – 6. Those chapters were the medicine I needed to see life clearly again.”
Another wrote of Under a Turquoise Sky:
“Definitely grittier than most Christian romantic suspense novels, Under a Turquoise Sky addresses a number of social issues and the author doesn’t pull any punches. She writes with unflinching honesty laced with compassion. That’s really evident in her tough-as-nails hero, Aaron. Probably one of the most amazing character arcs I have ever read. His faith journey alone is worth the read.”
It is my prayer that my novels will encourage readers to walk in beautiful obedience to the Shepherd of their souls. I pray each will discover the name by which He calls us—beloved—and fully embrace its significance. And, I hope they have as much fun reading my novels as I had writing them.
rem: Brought tears to my eyes. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it, whether through a pages of a novel or standing next to someone in check-out at the store – our lives touching others. If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?
LC: I am a great fan of all Catherine Palmer’s Treasures of the Heart series heroines because of the suspense, the exotic locations, and the take-your-breath romance.
rem: I have not read Catherine Palmer – now I must! You offer some great advice for writers on your website! My favourite is #2: “Glue your butt in the writing chair and write at least a 1000 words every day.” Consider my toes stepped on! What advice can you give here for others aspiring to publish a book of their own?
LC: Attend as many of the best conferences as you can afford—at least one a year. This is where the publishing gatekeepers hang out. Here you can find an agent, an editor, find a critique partner and a network of other writers to cheer you on your writing journey. And, make it your primary goal to grow as a writer—so study the craft; study marketing; study the industry.
rem: I intend to be at ACFW next year! I blogged not long ago about this incredible circle of writer friends I’ve stumbled into. I’m amazed, and thrilled, and I’m loving every minute of it! Even the “hats” that are not so comfortable!
Thank you, Lisa, for joining me today. I can’t wait to read Under a Turquoise Sky.
#lisacarter, #carolinareckoning, #aloharose, #beneathanavajomoon, #underaturquoisesky, #Southerners, #NativeAmericans