Friday, October 21, 2016

#Interview & #Giveaway with Author @KaraIsaac

 Because Kara Isaac is only one of MY FAVORITE PEOPLE EVER! (Jaime here writing this), I'm super stoked to bring her to our blog today!! I had the super joy of reading this novel in first draft form and it was great then, and is now even better!! I want you all to get to know Kara and have a chance to win a copy of Can't Help Falling. So here we go!

Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?

My latest release is called Can’t Help Falling set in Oxford, England and is the story of two Narnia fans, Peter and Emelia. My debut novel, Close To You, had a Lord of the Rings theme and I knew from my research for Close To You that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien had been friends, taught at Oxford University during the same time period, and both belonged to a literary group known as the Inklings. I’ve always been a huge Narnia fan and so when my editor asked me if I had an idea for a second book that could somehow be linked to Close To You that was what I pitched her. Thankfully she loved it!
  
What was the most difficult scene for you to write?

To be honest, this book was filled with scenes that were difficult to write! But the toughest scenes for me are always the ones that contain a significant spiritual or faith element. These are always the ones that I pray over the most trying to find that right balance between whatever my characters struggles are that are creating barriers between them and God, making those conversations or experiences feel authentic, but at the same time written in such a way that if a person who isn’t a believer is reading it they don’t feel preached at.

I generally hold the view that if I get some reviews saying it wasn’t Christian “enough” and then others saying to was “too” Christian then the balance is probably about right :)


How did you choose the location for this novel, and why did you pick this particular place?

Oxford was a natural choice once the Tolkien/Lewis connection had been decided on between the two books. Oxford University was where the men met as young professors (at an otherwise ordinary faculty meeting!), their friendship flourished there and, some say, without that neither Middle-earth or Narnia would have ever existed. Also, in what can only be described as a God happening, Close To You, actually wraps up in Oxford which provided another link between the two books. Even though, when I wrote that, it never occurred to me that it could be the location of my next story!  

Tell us about your favorite secondary-character, and why you love them?

My favorite secondary character in Can’t Help Falling is Emelia’s cousin, Lacey. Emelia is a very private person and Lacey is really her only close friend who knows her past and all of her secrets. Lacey was a great character to write because even though she understands why Emelia is the way she is, she doesn’t hold back from telling her the truth and challenging her on some of the choices she is making. She was also just one of those characters where you put them in a scene and they just take on a life of their own!


If you could have your readers pick out one critical scene, truth, or story line from your novel, what would it be and why?

A common theme running through my stories is the one of second chances. I wish I could pick a critical scene but the most critical ones would also give important parts of the story away! Peter and Emelia are both burdened by regret about decisions they have made and struggle with feeling like their lives will always be defined by them. I would love it if readers took away that there is no mistake that they have made that God sees them as being defined by.

Time to learn some more about you! Here at the CCC Blog we’ve had a running war for some
time between coffee and tea drinkers J. To shake things up a bit, if you had to choose between a cup of hot cider or pumpkin spice latte, which would you pick to warm up to this Autumn?

Definitely hot cider! Mmmmmmm

The holidays will be upon us soon enough. Tell us a favorite holiday memory:

My family is very spread out with both my parents and sister and her family living in different countries. Alas, trying to split holidays between ourselves and our spouses families isn’t as easy as lunch at one side and dinner at the other so we only get every second Christmas together. One of my favorite holiday memories was last Christmas. It was held at our place, with four generations, including six cousins aged 4, 3, 1, 1, 1 and five weeks, lots and lots of great food and the weather (summer in New Zealand!) was just incredible. Getting to spend time together as an extended family and see the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of so many “little people” was pretty much the most fun ever.

 We know you love to write (obviously!) and read, but what other hobbies do you find yourself gravitating toward?

I love cooking and baking when not under the pressure of needing to quickly feed small hungry mouths before an apocalyptic meltdown erupts! I also started taking barre classes just over a year ago and while I certainly cannot claim a dancer-like physique (especially in my current heavily pregnant state!) I’ve found myself enjoying it much more than I was expecting to!
  
Tell us about one odd item you can find in the bottom of your purse, book bag, or computer bag?
An odd assortment of fruit flavored tea bags. I don’t drink coffee or “real” tea so occasionally I’m that visitor who asks for a hot water and then whips out her own “special” tea bag. Luckily my friends are used to it!


What’s your favorite app on your smartphone and why? J

I’m not sure if it counts as an app but if my calendar ever disappeared off my phone or stopped working our whole family would be in serious trouble. It co-ordinates all of our lives!

 Now’s your chance to brag on your pet, if you have one! And include a picture! We love pets around here. Erica and Jaime are cat lovers, Anne too! And Gabe recently got a dog! So what furry, reptilian, or amphibious character lives in your house?

Zero pets in Casa de Isaac (or even indoor plants for that matter!) With a five year old, a two year old and a baby on the way I’ve got my hands full just keeping them alive :)


What three books grace the top of your To-Be-Read pile? (because we know you HAVE to have more than one book on that stack)

Usually I have a huge stack of fiction but at the moment two of the three at the top of my TBR are non-fiction; Made Well by Jenny Simmons and Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. Rounding them out is My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray.


To close, will you share with us a favorite snippet from your upcoming novel to whet our appetite? And be sure to include the links where we can buy a copy!

So many choices but most of them would probably be spoilers so this one is a snippet from Chapter 2, just before Peter and Emelia meet :)

Lifting her left hand, Emelia brushed the wood with her fingertips, then placed her palm flat against the cool surface.
Looking over her shoulder, she scanned the space. No one. The only sound was the low, muffled voice of the guy on the phone in the other room.
Biting her bottom lip, she let her fingers run along the side of the door. The wardrobe tugged at her, the way all wardrobes like this had since she was a little girl.
Wherever you are, Emmy, you will always find safety in here. And one day, one day, you and me? We'll find the wardrobe.
The words her mom had whispered to her tiptoed through her mind. Whispers of the past that haunted her every step.
The door swung open without even a squeak. Smoothly, on hinges that felt like they'd been oiled seconds ago, even though the cobwebs in the top corner told a different story.
She stuck her head in. Darkness met her like a warm embrace. For all the unfulfilled promises her mother had made, for some reason the one about always feeling safe in wardrobes had stuck. Along with the compulsion to continue her mother's lifelong mission to find the one.
There were rules, of course. No feeling for the back until you were inside. No playing it safe, keeping your feet on the outside and reaching out. You had to commit. Narnia would never be found by those who were uncertain or ambivalent.


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What a fun interview, yes?! Now, enter for a chance to win a copy of Kara's latest novel! You won't regret it! :) Or go here to purchase a copy now:





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17 comments:

  1. Love this interview and love my sisters. I even found out something new I have in common with Kara -- the TEA BAGS!

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  2. Kara, this book sounds good and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    It's still hard for me to remember that Christmas in New Zealand is in the summer. Do you all listen to traditional Christmas songs or is it weird to hear all of the snow and cold references?

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  3. Hi Sylvia, thanks for dropping by! We do sing most of the traditional Christmas songs in our T-shirts and flip flops though not so much the ones like "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!" But definitely Jingle Bells etc.

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  4. I was blessed to be part of "Help Kara Isaac Find Her Toes" team. This is such a good book! Such an unusual "Meet Cute" too.
    Good luck to those entering to win a copy and if you don't win, you should still pick up a copy for yourself.

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  5. Thanks for sharing Kara! Best wishes on the arrival of your new little one...

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  6. Great interview! I love getting to know authors. Looking forward to reading your new book!

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    1. Thanks so much, Heidi! I hope you enjoy it :)

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  7. I loved Close to You and passed my copy on to my daughter, who is a big Lord of the Rings fan (with instructions to give it back). She loved it too. We are both looking forward to Can't Help Falling.

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    1. HI Pam! I'm so glad you both enjoyed Close To You. I hope you enjoy Can't Help Falling just as much!

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  8. I just started chapter 16 and I'm intrigued regarding whatever secret happened with Anita and the two main characters....
    I'm bad to check out the author notes and acknowledgements in the back right away and I noticed Jaime, Anne and Laurie were mentioned (sister chucks).
    And Kara I know what you mean about the calendar in the phones. I faught it for a while holding on to my paper calendar but my husband got me using the one in my phone. We had to coordinate his and my doctor appointments as well as ones for his elderly dad and my elderly mom.

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    1. Hi Gail! This book would not exist with Laurie, Jaime and Anne. It gave me all sorts of trouble when I was trying to write it and they helped pull all the pieces together :)

      I fought it as well. I still have a paper scheduler for a lot of my book related activities because it helps me to be able to see more than one day at a time but for day to day life the phone is definitely the go-to!

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  9. Great interview, Kara! :) Now I definitely want to read your new book! :)

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  10. Looking forward to reading this book!

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  11. Love the premises of both your books - being a great Lewis & Tolkien fan. Have to read your books :)

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