Interview with Carla Stewart

» Posted on Jul 16, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview with Carla Stewart

This week I’m hosting Darlene Franklin with Prodigal Patriot, Elizabeth Ludwig with Love Finds You in Calico, California and Carla Stewart with Chasing Lilacs. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (July 18th) evening.

Interview with Carla Stewart:

1. What made you start writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated with words and stories and immersed myself in books at an early age. I always dreamed of one day writing a book like those I loved to read. When I turned fifty, I realized time had crept up on me and I’d better get started if I was to realize my dream. The next year I wrote my first novel (the one buried in the bottom of the closet).

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I began writing with serious intent of being published nine years ago. My first book sold in November of 2008 in a two-book deal. I had to wait nineteen months after that for its release.

3. How do you handle rejections?

They’ve never really bothered me that much. Maybe a twinge when I first read, “Sorry, this isn’t for us,” but I knew going into this that rejections would come. I allow myself time to pout and think disagreeable thoughts about the agent or editor who rejects me, but I don’t obsess about it. However, by the time I had thirty rejections from agents on my novel which eventually sold, I was getting pretty discouraged and didn’t know what to do. That was the year I discovered American Christian Fiction Writers. It was like this wonderful organization just waiting to welcome me. I’ve still had numerous rejections, some which stung more than others, but I’ve learned that rejections may be God’s way of directing my career.

4. Why do you write?

Partly to fulfill my lifelong dream, but also with the hope that what I write might resonate with readers and give them hope.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

I’ve thought about that a lot. In the past I’ve quilted, taken gardening classes, worked on scrapbooks for my kids (still waiting to finish those), and collected antiques. None of those have the appeal they once did before I started writing. I would probably have my grandchildren visit more or hang out with friends at coffee shops if I weren’t writing, but for now I can’t imagine doing anything else. The wonderful thing about writing is that I can still fit in time to visit the grandkids and travel.

6. What are you working on right now?

Copy edits on my second book, Broken Wings.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

My first book’s setting is like the place where I grew up and the premise stems from my childhood curiosity, so I guess there’s a personal connection. I’m sure my characters say things or react in ways that I would, but it’s not intentional. I do like to write about topics and situations that interest me.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Chasing Lilacs is the coming of age story of a young girl’s search for her mother’s love. Elvis is on the radio. Summer is in the air. Life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for Sammie Tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother’s “nerve” problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Learn as much about craft as you can and read voraciously, even in genres other than your own. While you’re doing that, write with abandon and don’t be afraid to be unique. Editors and agents are always on the lookout for the next great “voice.”

10. How important is faith in your books?

Faith is the gentle breeze in everything I write, and I prefer to let characters exhibit their faith through their actions rather than preach about it. My belief is that a well-told story with faith and values at its core has the power to heal and change lives.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Perseverance and peace in dark times. The power of friendship and mentoring relationships. In the book that I’m just starting, there will be a theme of sacrificial love by a character who’s been betrayed. In all my writing is the underlying theme of hope in Christ and His love.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

No fair! I’ve only written four complete books—two unpublished and relegated to the bottom of the closet, Chasing Lilacs which is on bookstore shelves now and is the story of my heart, and Broken Wings which comes out next summer and is the “best” piece of writing I’ve done. I actually like things about each of those four, but to answer your question, I’m going with Chasing Lilacs. Why? Because I’ve tended to its care the longest, and it’s been exhilarating to finally see it in print and being well received by readers.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

I’m not a morning person, so I like to do email, blog reading, and editing tasks in the morning while I sip my coffee. My most creative writing time is from two to six in the afternoon so I try to keep that spot open for making my word count. The last three months my schedule has been completely disrupted with promotion of Chasing Lilacs and doing content edits on my next book. I’ve traveled some in that time, too, and feel a little off balance at the moment. I cannot wait to get back into a routine! In the evenings, I write blog posts and visit FaceBook or read.

Thanks, Margaret, for hosting me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed being here and am always excited when I can connect with readers.

Chasing Lilacs is available wherever books are sold and online at:


Barnes and Noble