Please give a big welcome to CARLA GADE.
rem: Thank you, Carla for being on my blog this week.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
CARLA: I was raised in the historic New England town of Wrentham, Massachusetts where we celebrated its tri-centennial when I was in grade school (this fostered my love for history). For the past 13 years, I’ve lived in central Maine with my husband, near my two adult sons and 2 yr. old grandson.
rem: I love history! Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read. Tell us three things about yourself.
CARLA: I’m creative, a deep thinker, and I adore classic movies.
rem: What was / were your favorite book(s) as a child?
CARLA: Harold and the Purple Crayon (I could always relate to his imagination), and the Tell Me Why children’s question and answer books (always inquisitive!).
rem: I can relate to both the imagination and inquisitiveness also. If you could chose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?
CARLA: Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. She’s so magnificent, ethereal, and wise.
rem: Great choice, good reasons. What is your most treasured possession?
CARLA: Next to my laptop or iphone, lol, my Bible. Yet, since I read that in a variety of forms now, I would say my family photo album from my childhood.
rem: What is your greatest fear?
rem: Oh, I like bats – they eat mosquitoes! What is your greatest regret?
CARLA: I don’t do regrets. I find it best not to dwell on mistakes because when I submit them to the Lord I find that He redeems and redirects my life.
rem: What a wise and lovely attitude to have. I admire that. What is your favorite quotation and why?
CARLA: “A true imagination is beholding a truth of God,” by 19th century Scottish storyteller George MacDonald. It reminds me that any worthy and creative idea I have only comes from the mind of God. He is the true Author and Creator.
rem: We do think a lot alike. What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?
CARLA: I admire men who respect women and women who respect themselves, and vice versa.
rem: Respect cannot be overlooked, both for self and for others. What do you do as a hobby?
CARLA: I enjoy drawing house plans. One of them will be built in the spring by a relative. I also enjoy photography and genealogy.
rem: House plans? Well this one surprised me! I’m an Interior Designer, so yeah, I love drawing house plans!
Dogs or Cats? Which do you prefer?
CARLA: Cats. I just lost my 15 year old calico kitty, Briar Rose, but we still have 3 year old orange tabby, Dasha.
rem: Sorry to hear about your sweet Briar Rose. I’m a cat person also. (some might say crazy cat lady) What would you do if you weren’t writing?
CARLA: I was formerly a webmaster and graphic designer and stopped when my writing responsibilities became my priority. So, I suppose I would still be busy with that.
rem: Tell us about your blog, Relatively Speaking. Who is your favorite ancestor you’ve discovered? The most interesting? The baddest? What prompted you to look up your ancestry?
CARLA: Relatively Speaking is my family history blog. It’s a place to share and record my adventures in genealogy. Mostly I post about my New England family heritage (a great deal of my ancestors were first settlers in 17th century Massachusetts) and my husband’s similar history. I also post what I can regarding our Scandinavian roots (I am half Swedish and my husband half Norwegian). I’ve been fascinated with my ancestors since childhood. My grandmother told me we were “Yankee” so I wanted to find out just what that meant. Basically, we are a European blend on that side: English, Welsh, and Scottish with some Mayflower connections and even several royal lines.
My 10x great-grandfather, John Howland, is one of my favorite ancestors. He actually fell off the Mayflower during the crossing and was rescued. Had he not been, I would have not been. 😉 Mary Towne Estey, my 10x great-grandmother, was executed as a witch in Salem, MA in 1692.
Tried alongside other ancestors, and condemned also by ancestors in the hysteria. Rev. Nicholas Noyes was the officiating clergy during the Salem Witch Trials. He later regretted and apologized for his involvement, though not before sending many to their grave. Such a tragedy. Great-great-grandchildren of Howland and Estey married some years later, thus my maternal line on my great-grandmother’s side. Imagine the stories they had to tell to their children!
rem: I, too, am fascinated by ancestry and genealogy.
Tell us a little about your writing journey. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
CARLA: A life-long writer, I began writing fiction with a goal of publication about 15 years ago. I got my first publishing contract in 2010 and now have 8 books which have released. I don’t have much of a writing routine, except when I have a project such as a proposal or contract I’m working on. Then I’m basically “on.” I spend a great deal of time researching, planning, plotting, and characterizing. I write fairly methodically, intuitively, for hours on end, a chapter at a time. I send each chapter to my “first editor” (Mom), and as she is busy with her red pen, I continue writing. She returns her edits, we discuss, I make revisions, rinse, and repeat until “the end.” The only time I really “draft” is when I get a brainstorm and I either write in a notebook or on my laptop whatever the story is telling me and then I try to make sense of it later. I write in my nest, which is empty most of the time, except for on occasion when I have caregiving responsibilities.
rem: I love that you say “… write … whatever the story is telling me…” I’m totally a pantser and totally get what you mean by that. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?
CARLA: Over the past few years I have had to write through significant grief on several occasions. When you are numb inside it is hard to locate the muse. I always pray as I write for inspiration, but I never prayed so hard as when I have a writing commitment feeling like a dry well. God is faithful and as long as I plant myself down, he gets my fingers dancing again.
rem: He really is faithful. I’m amazed how much more productive I am when I take 20 or 30 minutes or more and sit with Him before I start writing. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
CARLA: Creating. I find the publisher’s line edits very tedious. It’s hard work to write a book well.
rem: You’ve got that right! I had a friend comment that exact thing recently, just watching me in my process. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
CARLA: I love being able to have the flexibility to work at home and other places. I also immensely enjoy the research involved for my projects.
rem: I love my research! And I’ve said for years, in half jest, that I can literally sit on a beach and read a book and call it work… wink wink What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
CARLA: The hardest thing may be conforming to the publisher’s specifications and editorial recommendations for “your” story. Once you sign the contract you really must let go of your precious creation and trust others with it. The easiest? I’d say enjoying interaction with readers.
rem: Ouch to letting go. I had a hard enough time letting go of my concept for my cover, remember, artist here. And I love interacting with readers, as well as other authors. What are your recommendations for a new writer?
CARLA: You must believe you are a writer! Network with experienced writers online and off. Learn the craft of writing well, but don’t get so bogged down with all the “rules” that it zaps your creativity – apply a principle at a time and build on it. Join a critique group (with higher skilled writers) and welcome the process of creative growth. Don’t be prideful and take things personally – your writing is a product, not a person. Do not disregard industry standards and recommendations for craft and professionalism.
rem: I joke that my first rule is to know the rules and then ignore them! LOL I think you’ve displaced that: new first rule, believe you are a writer. I love that. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
CARLA: Oftentimes from historical places and museums and antique books. I try to image “what if” or find a hidden nugget of a real historical person or event and build around it.
rem: And thus, historical fiction is alive and well. Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?
CARLA: I read mostly inspirational historical fiction. A few of my favorite authors are MaryLu Tyndall, Laura Frantz, Julie Klassen, Ruth Axtell, and many more.
rem: Tell us a little about your latest book?
CARLA: My new release, The American Dream Romance Collection, actually includes a previously published book, Colonial Courtships with my novella, “Carving a Future”, along with five other novellas (nine in all). I tell the story of a ship’s figurehead carver who is working as a journeyman and on his way to become a master carver. He is commissioned to carve the image of the story’s heroine, an indentured servant who works at his family’s inn in 18th century Connecticut.
rem: Intriguing premise. And now, of course, I must read it! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?
CARLA: My hero and heroine both have to labor in difficult circumstances. I hope my readers can be encouraged to work in service to Christ, above all, in whatever we do, and seek our reward from him, not others who may disappoint.
rem: That’s a powerful message in that answer you just gave. What is your current project?
CARLA: I’m working on a novel about Swedish immigrants, as my paternal grandparents were. In fact, one of my primary research resources in an antique tome about Swedes that belonged to them. I made the author of that book a character in my story.
rem: Where can we find you online?
Website – www.carlagade.com
Blog – https://familyhistory.wordpress.com
Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Carla-Olson-Gade/e/B007W4ZZOS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1402802534&sr=8-1
rem: Thanks for joining us today, Carla. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!
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