Friday, April 29, 2016

Introducing @KARAISAAC & a #Giveaway of #CloseToYou

This is a blog post I have waited YEARS to post. In 2009, I (Jaime) received an email from a New Zealand author who was coming to my writer's conference and had been told she and I might be a good "writer-match". Little did we know that email would launch Kara Isaac and I into going on 7 years of die-hard communication, love, writing, family, sisterhood, and loyalty.

She called me last year--all the way from New Zealand, mind you--to tell me she'd been offered a contract for a book I'd fallen in love with the first time I'd read it. It was written under a different title then, but that was the call that brought Close to You into fruition. And, can I just say, this "call", was more like "omigosh, omigosh, omigosh" and "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh I want to scream right now" and Kara declaring, "I'm hiding in a conference room at work trying not to be hysterical" (or something to that effect).

Now her book is on AMAZON!

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

So today, I have the great joy and treasure of introducing you to my writing sister, Kara Isaac.


What authors do you like to read?

Ahhhh so many! That’s like asking me to pic a favorite child ;-) In women’s fiction I love Susan Meissner, Kate Morton, Lisa Wingate and Amy Sorrells. I read a lot of contemporary romance and am a fan of Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Carla Laureano, Katie Ganshert, Denise Hunter and Hillary Manton Lodge to name just a few.

What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

Becky Wade’s My Stubborn Heart was the novel that helped me believe that there might be space for my voice in Christian fiction. Donald Maass’ Write The Breakout Novel was my first real craft book that I read that transformed my writing. Also Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s Rivet Your Readers With Deep POV. I’m about to start Allie Pleitner’s The Chunky Method because I really need to learn how to write in small gaps of time. Apart from that the biggest influence has just been reading widely and taking inspiration from wherever I find it :)

What’s more important: characters or plot?

I’m a very character driven writer. They are always what show up in my head first. As my critique partners know, plot often comes much much later! (to the point where sometimes I’m still working it out after the manuscript is supposedly written!)

For me the characters drive everything, until I know who the characters are and what compels them the plot just doesn’t come together.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author and what would it be?

I write romantic comedies but my characters still grapple with some very real issues. For example, the main characters in Close To You both struggle with forms of rejection, abandonment and not believing they are deserving of a second chance. However, I don’t think I could ever write a main character who suffers from an eating disorder. I had an acquaintance who died from anorexia in her late twenties and so I can’t see how something so life destroying could ever have a place in a more
light-hearted style story.

How important are names to you in your books and how do you choose them?
Names! Oh I’m so bad with names, especially of secondary characters! Main characters I usually settle on their names pretty quickly but in my first four manuscripts I had four different female characters named Kat and I didn’t even realize until someone pointed it out. Reading Close To You I’ve just realized that Jackson’s niece in Close To You and Emelia’s cousin in Can’t Help Falling (my October release) are both called the same thing as well!

What secret talents do you have? Because here at the CCC blog we have all kinds of them ;)

I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue – is that too much information? ;-) (and no you can’t have a photo!) I also make a great cheesecake.

What were you like as a child? Steady-going like our Anne, a tornado like Jaime, and adventurous soul like Erica, or an avid-reader like Gabrielle?

I was an avid-reader like Gabrielle. My absolute favorite place to be was the library. During school holidays my parents would just drop me off at our city one for hours at a time. There weren’t many things that would appeal more than reading a good book – I especially loved the adventure series. Nancy Drew, Hardy Books, Famous Five, Trixie Belden, Secret Seven were all much beloved so I’m sure I aspired to be an adventurous soul like Erica!

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

I regularly find myself into conversations I can’t get out of with my two very inquisitive children. My four-year-old especially has a mind like a steel trap and a great sense for when he’s not being told the whole story so he just asks and asks until he’s satisfied. That has been fun recently with some pointed questions about where his new cousin came from! I’ve give up trying to obfuscate and just started telling him the truth (in limited detail) and then I just wait for it to come back and embarrass me.

We were in the hospital recently and a doctor walked in who may or may not have been pregnant. He poked his finger in her belly and said accusingly “I know what you’ve got in there!” Thank goodness she was actually pregnant!

What’s your writing goals for 2016?

The first four months have been pretty busy preparing for the release of Close To You and edits for Can’t Help Falling. I’m hoping to soon get started on a new story starring one of the secondary characters from Close To You :)

Lastly, will you leave us with a snippet from your book that is one of your favorites and gives us a glimpse into its pages?

That’s like asking me to chose my favourite child! This is an interaction between Allie and her best friend, Kat. I love their interactions because Kat is the kind of friend that doesn’t have much of a filter :)

“You know what else I think I’m right about?” Kat leaned forward.


“I think you like the delays. They give you something to hide behind because as long as you’re still technically ‘married,’ you don’t have to take a chance on another guy. You have an excuse not to grapple with putting your heart back out there.”

Seriously? Kat thought she wanted to live in limbo? “You think I like this? You think I like being legally attached to a guy who cost me everything? I can’t even touch my own bank accounts because he and his lawyers convinced some stupid judge I might pilfer the so-called marital assets.”

“I’m not saying you like it, but I think you’ve grown used to it, even comfortable, and I definitely think it’s less scary than the alternative.” Kat reached forward and pulled the tub of mousse toward her. “The rest of your life is a long time to be afraid of getting hurt. At some point you’re going to have a take a chance on a guy again, Allie. And sure, you might get hurt. But you also might find the love of your life.”

“I’m pretty sure Jackson isn’t the love of my life.” He couldn’t be. Who fell in love in two weeks? That only happened in cheesy Hollywood rom-coms.

“How sure? Sure enough to not tell him the truth in all its miserable glory? Sure enough to let him leave and not spend the rest of your life wondering if you missed out on something that could have been great? Tell him the truth. Tell him the scary, ugly truth, and let the chips fall where they will. Nothing good ever comes out of hiding stuff this big.”


Yes, you all, that is my girl!! And she is hosting an amazing giveaway too!! A copy of her book, a Starbucks gift card (she knows my love language), and a package of Double-Stuffed Oreos. Why? You ask? Because Kara devours them when writing under pressure, and because . . . wait for it . . . you can't get Double-Stuffed Oreos in New Zealand!! Can you imagine? I try to keep her stocked up by shipping them overseas for her most penny-dreadful moments of writing. So be sure to enter!! and visit Kara's super-de-dooper website

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Um I look forward to EVERYTHING about this book. I mean it's Kara and she is super rad.


  2. Heard so many good things about this book. Sounds so much fun.
    And I love the story about your son and the hospital. Close call, huh?

  3. I remember that day so well! So proud of you, Kara!

  4. I think the cover is adorable, and I've read great reviews of the story :)

  5. I want to read this so much! The LOTR and Hobbit aspect intrigue me totally.

  6. I want to see how she intermingled the LOTR information into the story. So intriguing!!

  7. I absolutely LOVE the cover and cannot wait to read the book... I keep seeing and read fabulous reviews! :)

  8. I really enjoy reading. This looks like a very good contemporary romance. I like to alternate between contemporary and historical romance, mysteries, and women's fiction.

  9. Hi, everyone! So glad I finally made it here! It's early Saturday afternoon in New Zealand and we had a morning packed with birthday parties :)

    Gail - yes, such a close call! All I could think was "Please let her be pregnant, please let her be pregnant!!"

  10. GAH, I LOVE the LOTR and Hobbit elements of the story. The cover is cute. How awesome it must be to have her as a writing seester!

    Congratulations Kara on your debut! :)

  11. I am so drawn to the cover and that she is super best friends with Jamie is so cooool! The story sounds super!
    Congratulations on your debut, Kara!

    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

  12. I am most looking forward to reading the WHOLE story! :)

  13. It should be fun to read a story set in a different country, yet it's a contemporary. Most books I read set in other countries are historicals set in England!

  14. I've been longing for this book since I first heard about it last year. So excited for you, Kara!

  15. I am SO excited for you, Kara. Your post over on Mary Vee's blog blessed me so much--and this one? Oh my gosh, I just love it and I am SO stoked to read your book (that I won off Mary Vee's blog ;) )
    And can I just say to all ya'll blog authors? I adore this blog. SO very much. Ya'll are so much fun and I always leave here after reading with a smile.


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