Carrie: Hi Kara! I’m so excited about your debut novel Close to You – excited FOR you and excited to read it! Thanks for joining me for this interview 🙂
Kara: Thanks so much for having me here 🙂
Carrie: If a law was passed in New Zealand that limited residents to FIVE works of fiction and FIVE only, living in NZ as you do… which five books would be must-keeps for you?
- The Chronicles of Narnia (I can have that right? I mean I know they’re technically six stories but they do come combined in one volume!) I’ve read the whole series a couple of times over the last year since Narnia is one of themes of my October release Can’t Help Falling and think C.S. Lewis is just a storytelling genius.
- Susan Meissner’s A Fall of Marigolds. This was my favourite read in 2014 and two years later I still think about it!!
- Kate Morton’s The Shifting Fog (which I think is published in the US as The House at Riverton). This was her debut novel and the first one that I ever read that was contained two intertwined stories – one contemporary and one historical. I’ve loved those stories ever since!
- Brock and Bodie Thoene’s Zion Covenant series (I know, I know, I’m cheating again but really, you can’t just choose one book in a series!) This was the first series in Christian fiction that had me completely captured. I remember saving up my pocket money for months to be able to afford the next book in the series and John Murphy was my first fictional crush 😉
- Becky Wade’s My Stubborn Heart. I had never heard of Becky Wade before I picked up My Stubborn Heart on a Kindle Deal but it was the book that, after years of rejections, helped me believe that there was a place for my voice in Christian fiction. I know Becky now and she even endorsed Close To You but I still struggle to reing in my inner fan girl in her presence. 🙂
Carrie: What are your go-to writing snacks and/or beverages?
Kara: Double Stuff Oreos are my go-to snack (or when celebrating or commiserating a Double Stuf Oreo parfait). Fortunately, you can’t buy them in New Zealand so I’m forced to ration my supplies! A lime and soda with plenty of ice is my drink of choice J
Carrie: Close to You is your debut novel! CONGRATULATIONS!! What is something you’ve learned through this first publishing experience?
Kara: So so so many things. One of the big ones is I’ve been overwhelmed (and humbled) by how invested my publishing team at Howard Books has been in Close To You. Obviously, I knew they liked the story because they acquired it, but their authors include huge bestsellers like Karen Kingsbury and Tosca Lee so I was very prepared to be the very small (and very happy!) fish in a very large pond. But everyone, from the VP of Fiction, Ami McConnell, through to the designers working on my covers, through to the sales and marketing, through to my own editors, have blown me away with their love for this story.
Carrie: What’s the story behind the story in Close to You? In other words, where did you get your inspiration for such a fun plot?
Kara: As much as I wish I could claim the original idea for Close To You, I can’t! the conversation that started it all was when I was meeting with an editor at a writers’ conference in late 2013 and she asked me if I had ever considered writing a story set in New Zealand around the Lord of the Rings movies. I hadn’t (and thought it was one of the craziest ideas I’d ever heard!) but immediately the idea of a failed entrepreneur and a begrudging tour guide dropped into my head and it all went from there.
Carrie: In Close to You one of the main characters is pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan. Soooooo the question begs. Which are you – a true die-hard LOTR fan or a faker? 😉
Kara: On a scale of Jackson being a 1 and Allie being a 10 I would say I’m probably a solid 5. I know enough to get by but you certainly won’t find me in costume attending a Lord of the Rings movie marathon any time soon.