By Deena Adams
I’m thrilled to host Lisa Carter, my friend and one of my favorite Christian Suspense authors, to the blog this week. Along with writing romantic suspense, Lisa also writes contemporary romance with Love Inspired. Her newest novel, A Chance for the Newcomer, just released May 25. Be sure to comment on this interview by June 1 for a chance to win a copy!
Welcome to the blog, Lisa! Tell the readers a little about yourself and your family.
I am a wife and mother of two adult daughters. I taught at the secondary and college levels before switching to full-time writing. As an inspirational romance writer, I pen happily-ever-afters for pretend people. And as a suspense author, I kill people on paper.
The descriptions of your writing made me smile. What hobbies do you enjoy? What do you do for fun?
I love spending time with family. I have a travel addiction. I love reading. Before I became busy writing books, I spent about a decade of my life making quilts (about 100 in total), most of which I gave away to friends and family. I also like to unwind by watching eccentric British people get murdered in quaint English villages via Britbox.
My mom has made lots of quilts, too, but nowhere close to 100. That’s amazing. Let’s switch gears and talk about your writing. How long do you spend on research before you begin writing a book?
I spend a few weeks heavily researching setting, theme, plot and/or characters, including their occupations, for my Truelove Matchmaker series. For my romantic suspense titles, I can spend up to three months on research alone. I adore research and learning new things. With a Master’s in History, I can lose myself in research. Often I have to forcibly remind myself to stop the research and to write the story.
How many hours a day do you spend writing?
My goal is to write 3-4 mornings a week. I try to devote the other two days of the week for personal errands and family stuff. Mornings are my most creative time. I spend my afternoons doing other writing-related activities like marketing.
I usually run out of energy around 3 p.m. so over the last few years I’ve instituted what my youngest daughter calls, “tea o’clock.” I stop working; fix myself a cup of tea (this month is a fabulously delicious strawberry blend from Whittards I picked up in Wales); and recharge my mental batteries by reading for a little while before I make dinner.
I think you made some tea lovers a little jealous just now. Share about what God taught you through writing your newest Love Inspired Romance, A Chance for the Newcomer.
Sometimes it’s hard to leave the past behind—both the good and the bad. For me, change has never been easy.
In this story, it seems as if everyone in Truelove is undergoing a season of change. I’ve had seasons like that—when I felt beset by conflicts within and tumults without. On their journey of faith, Kara and Will must let go of the past if they hope to truly embrace the beautiful future God has planned for them.
Will has a difficult time letting go of his regrets and failures. It’s hard for him to forgive the person who wronged him the most. But he has an even harder time forgiving himself.
This is the spiritual truth I am learning right now—that every day, in every situation, with every relationship—we are given the opportunity to choose love and forgiveness. Or not.
Forgiveness can be so hard. That’s a great lesson for us all. Aside from that, what do you hope your readers take away from the book?
None of us are an island, living only unto ourselves. We wear a lot of relationship hats—daughter, mother, grandmother, spouse, friend, sister, aunt, co-worker, child of God.
Oftentimes living within the contexts of our life relationships, we find it a challenge to live in peace with each other, with ourselves and with God. Yet we must not only choose to love our neighbors whoever they may be, but to also show our love in practical, visible actions.
Like the little cat in the story, Soufflé, once upon a time you and I were strays, too. Until our great, good God made a way for us to become part of His family. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is the ultimate expression of love. And it is through Him, we find our forever Home—the true Happily-Ever-After for which we were created.
This is why I wrote this story. It is my prayer that readers will walk in this truth about who they are in Christ Jesus.
I love the comparison with Soufflé of being a stray before we knew Christ. What’s next from you?
The next Truelove Matchmaker book, A Safe Place for Christmas, releases in October. My editor said about this book, “Super romantic ending . . . A perfect book to read right before Christmas . . . Such a lovely story.”
Here’s a quick preview—With an impending snowstorm bearing down upon the tiny mountain hamlet, a lonely Christmas tree farmer runs across an old childhood friend stranded on the side of the road with her infant son. Shayla begins to make a place for herself on the farm, but she’s also harboring a dark secret. Amidst the snowy splendor of an Appalachian Christmas, the Truelove matchmakers get involved to ensure Luke, Shayla and adorable baby, Jeremiah, find their happily-ever-after family.
Sounds like another winner! Besides posting comments on your website, how can your readers and fans support you?
The best way to support me is to leave reviews on Amazon, BookBub and Goodreads. A sentence or two about why you liked the book helps other readers find my books. It’s great when readers follow me on all three of these sites and mark my upcoming books as Want to Read.
Pre-orders are also extremely important because those sales numbers are reported to publishers who use them when deciding whether to continue a series and/or offer subsequent contracts to the author. Pre-orders are logged on release day, and counting them together with release sales makes it easier for librarians, readers, bloggers, reviewers, and bookstagrammers to find the book.
Also, readers can send a request to their local library to buy a copy of the book. Librarians love requests because it shows them what patrons want to see on the shelves. And it’s a sale so the publisher is happy, too. Even just putting the book on hold can make a difference. The number of hold requests influence a library’s purchasing decisions.
Do you have to do any of this? Nope! But these are great ways to make it more likely that you’ll continue to see future books from a series you enjoy. It’s also much appreciated by me and your favorite authors.
Yes, all fabulous ways to support authors! Any last words for your readers?
Readers who want to stay in the loop for my upcoming releases, behind-the-scene book info and what’s going on in my life should sign up for my newsletter. I love interacting with readers there.
Many of you have taken the time to share with me about what my books have meant to you. Your stories are a blessing and source of encouragement for me to continue along the writing journey. Thank you for reading my books. Happy reading.
Thanks so much, Lisa. It’s been great learning more about you and your writing. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.
Join the conversation. Do you enjoy stories with the theme of forgiveness and God’s love? What about stray animals? Do you have any questions for Lisa?
Be sure to comment by June 1 for a chance to win a copy of Lisa’s book, A Chance For the Newcomer!
A Chance for the Newcomer by Lisa Carter
Click the book cover for purchase link
She’s stirring things up…
A big-city chef. A small-town single dad.
And matchmakers with marriage in mind…
Chef Kara Lockwood didn’t think changing a small-town diner’s menu would cause a boycott, but the locals sure do love their apple pie—especially fire chief Will MacKenzie. Kara’s not sure she and the single father can ever learn to live peacefully as neighbors. But even as they clash over pastries, local matchmakers and Will’s little boy are determined to bring their stubborn hearts together.
Multi-published author Lisa Carter likes to describe her romantic suspense novels as “Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder.” The Stronghold won a 2017 Daphne du Maurier. Under a Turquoise Sky won the 2015 Carol Award. Beyond the Cherokee Trail was a Romantic Times Top Pick. She also writes contemporary romance with Love Inspired, the popular Matchmaker series, set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Lisa enjoys traveling and researching her next fictional adventure. When not writing, she loves spending time with family. A native North Carolinian, she has strong opinions on barbecue and ACC basketball.
Please share this interview on social media to spread the word about Lisa’s latest release!
If you missed last week’s interview with Steven Rogers, find it here.