Carla Laureano joins Carrie today to talk about her favorite characters, the importance of contemporary romance, and her expansion from inspirational fiction to clean romance.
Carrie: Let’s just get James out of the way right now. Though you don’t particularly strike me as a swooner, HOW in the world did/do you survive writing a hero who flirts and smolders as much as James? Because I barely survived reading him. 🙂
Carla: I am not a swooner and neither is Andrea, which is why I needed to give her a hero that could weaken her knees. It was fun watching her succumb to James’s charms despite her best efforts to the contrary. As far as surviving him…I’m not sure I did. I still feel a bit like I’m cheating on him whenever I write another hero. First love and all that.
Carrie: James, James, James, James… Oh. Were there supposed to be more questions? 😉 Clearly, the whole world knows who my favorite Carla Laureano hero is, but who is YOUR favorite Carla Laureano hero? And why?
Carla: Ooh, that’s a tough question. You see, there are elements I love about all my characters, but I really do try to write a man who is perfect for my heroine even if he wouldn’t be perfect for me. (As much as I adore James, that sort of personality would drive me nuts in real life.)
I’d have to say my current favorite is Malcolm Blake, the somewhat-reluctant hero of Under Scottish Stars, releasing later this year. I’m a sucker for his type; combine intelligence, a bit of tough guy swagger, and some rough edges that hide both a sensitive soul and solid character, and I’m a goner. It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me well that I drew on my husband for inspiration to write Malcolm, especially since I’m a lot like Serena.
Carrie: In your opinion, why is contemporary romance such an important genre?
Carla: It’s difficult to be a modern woman, especially a modern Christian woman. We have to constantly balance the tug of traditional roles and the “have it all” promise, and we often hold values that are often seen as old-fashioned in the modern world. Contemporary romance allows writers to talk about the entire female experience, not just falling in love. And the crazier the world seems, the more everything feels out of control, the more we needed to be reminded to hold onto the important things in life: love, family, faith.
Carrie: What authors have influenced you most?
Carla: Long before I knew Christian romance existed, I was reading general market authors like Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts. I really wanted to bring those strong, spunky, career-minded heroines to my writing for the CBA, paired with storylines that better fit my Christian values. Becky Wade was one of the first CBA writers whose work I really connected with; My Stubborn Heart showed me that there was an audience for the types of stories I wanted to write.
Carrie: You recently expanded from inspirational romance into the clean contemporary romance genre. Tell us about this new venture!
Carla: I read pretty widely myself, so I’ve been recently struck by how many readers wanted “not-too-sweet but not-too-sexy” stories that they could share with friends and family who don’t necessarily have the same religious beliefs. I think there’s real value in providing quality, wholesome reading options as mainstream romance gets steamier and steamier, especially for those readers who wouldn’t browse the inspirational category or wander into a Christian bookstore.
When I hit on the idea of writing a new novella as a thank-you to the wonderful readers who have supported me so generously, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try out this related genre. So far the response has been wonderful, so I may expand this first book into a novella series over the next couple of years as I continue to write inspirational romance. Stay tuned for more news on that front!
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To find out more about Carla and her books, visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.