Monday, February 17, 2014

Featured Debut Novelist: Carla Laureano

Carla Laureano is the author of the romance novel, Five Days in Skye, and as C.E. Laureano is the author of the young adult fantasy series, The Song of Seare.

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Carla Laureano earned a degree in English from Pepperdine University in 1997. Since then, she has been a professional marketer, copywriter, and martial arts instructor, but her first love is telling stories that cause readers to look at their world and their faith in new ways.

Carla is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She was selected as a finalist in ACFW’s 2012 Genesis contest in the speculative fiction category. She lives with her husband, two sons, and a menagerie of small pets in Denver, Colorado.

The following is a February 2014 interview with Carla.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of
Five Days in Skye
by Carla Laureano


One copy to be won

Contest open to entrants worldwide.

Contest runs from 14-28 February NZDT



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Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a crazy-outgoing former marketing executive turned writer/work-at-home-mom. I live in Denver, Colorado with my hunky martial-arts-master husband and two active school-aged boys who spend most of their time jumping off things and fighting with light sabers.

Now the important details. Tea with milk and sugar. Dark chocolate with sea salt. Ethnic food, especially Indian and Vietnamese. Oh, and I have major shoe and scarf obsessions.


What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since 1st grade. I was one of those girls who always had her nose in a book, and my parents couldn’t buy them for me fast enough. I suppose it was the love of reading, and by extension, the love of storytelling that spurred my interest in writing. I crafted my first story at 7, and I had a short story published in 7th grade. I wrote my first terrible, horrible, no good, very bad novel at 16, but it was enough to get me a college scholarship. Just don’t expect that one to surface anytime soon. I’m considering tracking down the floppy disk and burning it lest anyone be subjected to that much badness.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Christian fiction offers not only entertainment, but hope. Story is such a powerful medium for communicating truth, and it allows us as readers to dissect and internalize that truth for ourselves. There’s a reason why Jesus taught with parables: as humans, we gravitate towards stories and learn from the experiences of others, whether they are real or fictional.                 

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

I hope they feel something, whether they laugh, cry, or throw the book across the room. I love to entertain, but I also like to challenge our preconceptions of what it means to be a Christian. That’s why I enjoy writing characters that don’t necessarily fit into a proper, church-going box.


What has been the most surprising aspect to becoming a published novelist? 

How little it changes your life. When you’re trying to sell your first manuscript, you think that first contract is going to change everything. And certainly, it’s exciting to see your words in print and do interviews and realize that people are reading what you’ve written. But for me, the joy is in the writing, so my life feels much like it did before (just with a lot more deadlines).


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

I’m definitely a high-energy, goal-oriented person, and it’s interesting how God uses what I’m writing to get my attention. I tend to insert the themes and lessons I need to learn into my works in progress. When I read over what I’ve written weeks or months later, it’s like He’s speaking directly to me. I also find that in wrestling with the hows and whys of a spiritual theme, I think more deeply on the topic that I might otherwise.

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Other than being a novelist, what other goals do you have for your life? 

I’m a mom, so raising my two boys to be compassionate, strong Christian men like their father is my main focus. Well, that and keeping them alive and out of the emergency room. Both are a daily challenge.

On a smaller scale, I’d like to travel the world and learn to speak other languages. I speak some Italian and Spanish and understand a smidgen of my husband’s native Tagalog (Filipino), but my foreign language skills are pretty rudimentary.


What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I like to read and knit. I’ve spent a lot of years in ballet and martial arts, and I’m hoping to get back into both next year. It’s not going to be pretty, folks. If you hear sirens in the area, it’s probably the fire department come to rescue me from some ill-advised splits.


What can you tell us about your debut novel? 

My contemporary romance Five Days in Skye is the story of an overworked American businesswoman who finds her goals and assumptions challenged while on a business trip to Scotland. It’s my own meditation on life’s priorities and second chances. But that makes the book sound more serious than it actually is. It’s flirty and a lot of fun.

The back cover copy pretty much says it all:

Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she'll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. When she's sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she'd rather leave buried.

For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father's dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful, intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell.

Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives—and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 

I’m currently writing a young adult Celtic fantasy series for NavPress/Tyndale under the name C.E. Laureano. The first volume, Oath of the Brotherhood, will be out in May 2014. I’ve also got more books in the contemporary romance series planned, so hopefully I’ll be able to share details on those soon!


What would you like to say to your upcoming fans in New Zealand and around the world?

You guys are the best part of being a writer! It’s humbling to hear that people are enjoying my book, even more humbling when it’s impacted them in some way. I’m sincerely grateful for all of you!


Do you have any parting words?

If there’s one message I want to come across in my writing, it’s that regardless of our experiences, our mistakes, and the ways that other people have let us down, God is always faithful. Know that He sees you as you are, and you’re precious to Him.



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Five Days in Skye

Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she'll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. 

When she's sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she'd rather leave buried. 

For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father's dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful, intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell. 

Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives-and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.

Purchase Five Days in Skye
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


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Oath of the Brotherhood

In a kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man’s worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a scholar, a musician, and a follower of the forbidden Balian faith: problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king. 

When Conor is sent as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom, he never expects to fall in love with the rival king’s sister, Aine. Nor does he suspect his gift with the harp (and Aine’s ability to heal) touches on the realm of magic. Then his clan begins a campaign to eliminate all Balians from the isle of Seare, putting his newfound home in peril and entangling him in a plot for control of the island that has been unfolding since long before his birth.

Only by committing himself to an ancient warrior brotherhood can Conor discover the part he’s meant to play in Seare’s future. But is he willing to sacrifice everything—even the woman he loves—to follow the path his God has laid before him?


Pre-Order Oath of the Brotherhood
[Amazon.com |
The Book Depository]



Buy Carla's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of
Five Days in Skye
by Carla Laureano


One copy to be won
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from 14-28 February NZDT

Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for Carla Laureano when making a blog post comment. Simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 

All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing. Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn.


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