Thursday, 2 August 2007

Interview with Carolyne Aarsen

I have just finished reading Canadian author, Carolyne Aarsen's latest novel, All In One Place, releasing from Faithwords this month. It is a wonderful story and you can read my review at TitleTrakk shortly.

It is my pleasure to welcome Carolyne, a fellow Princess Bride and 24 fan to RelzReviewz.

Here are Carolyne's thoughts...


Please share some of your writing/publishing journey with us

I wrote my first stories for friends who wanted me to write out their fantasy with their favorite boyfriend. Guess I was always destined to write romance. I liked reading romance and often thought I should write one of those books. But I lived in the middle of nowhere and didn't know where to begin. So I took a correspondence course which lead to a slice-of-life column that ran in a number of weekly Alberta newspapers which payed for another correspondence course. from which came my first novel. This book took over five years to write and was rejected by over 11 publishing houses before being picked up by Steeple Hill/Love Inspired. Since then I've written 16 romance novels for LI, am contracted for one more, have written four women's fiction books for Guideposts and am contracted for one more and wrote two women's fiction books for Faith Words, a division of Hachette Books, formerly Warner.

Why Christian fiction?

Because it is in Christian fiction I can be who I truly am - a Christian who likes to write about the struggles of other Christians.

What kept you busy before the writing bug bit?

My husband and I raised four wonderful children and took in foster children. I also spent a lot of time working in our large vegetable garden, canning, making jam, baking and taking care of the bookkeeping for the various businesses my husband has undertaken over the years. I had housewifely hobbies, knitting, sewing, and stretching out beaver pelts for my husband. You know, the usual. (I'm serious on the beaver pelts by the way )

What project or book are you working on now?

Currently I am supposed to be editing a book that will be coming out next year, for Love Inspired and trying to remind myself that when this book is done, I am taking the rest of August off. We'll see how that pans out. Work isn't really work when you enjoy it.

What does a regular writing day look like for you?

I get up early, have breakfast, do devotions, check e-mail and then get to work by about 9:00 or 9:30, depending on whether or not I decide to stop by Facebook or update my blog. Lunch is eaten either on the deck overlooking our forest of trees on our property, or on the couch with a good book, or a mediocre book, or a magazine. If the night before was late, a nap, then back to work until 5:00. My husband is self employed and will, from time to time, wander into my office, sit in 'his' chair and chat. Sometimes I'll bounce ideas off him, sometimes I'll just complain out loud. Sometimes I'll give him a vacant smile and he knows I'm probably not going to be much company.


What inspired you to write Terra's story

Terra was a character from the first book, The Only Best Place, that intrigued me. But I really wanted to write more of Leslie's story. My editor and my agent both suggested that I should write about Terra, so I figured that was good advice. Once I got hold of her, she kind of grew on me .

What was your favourite scene to write?

Great question!!!! I really liked doing the scenes in the diner with Terra, Cor and Father Sam.

If the series was made into a movie, who would you cast?

Evangeline Lilly for Terra, Kiefer Sutherland for Jack DeWindt, Michelle Pfeiffer for Leslie, Brad Pitt for Dan. Can you tell I've been thinking about this?

Will you take us back to Harland again?

I'd love to, but that will depend on Warner and whether they want more Harland stories.

What impact do you hope this book has upon the reader?

I hope it shows that God loves us in spite of some pretty huge mistakes we can make in our lives - that we need family and community to help us through those mistakes and to keep us on track.


Do you read Christian fiction yourself? If so, some favourite authors or books both Christian and/or secular?

I run the risk of the cliché by saying I like Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, but I will go on record to say that she was a favourite author before R L. Some of her previous so-called secular historicals have a lot of redemption in them as well. I love Vinita Hampton Wright, Angela Hunt, Elizabeth Berg, Jodi Picoult, Harlan Coban, James Scott Bell, Elizabeth George. My all time favorite book is The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton.

What are you reading at the moment?

Prayer, by Philip Yancey

Favourite movie and favourite line from a movie?

Princess Bride and The Lord of the Rings trilogy - I know that's two, possibly even four, but I never did obey rules very well.

Favorite line from a movie - That seems to depend on my mood

I guess it would be, "Have fun storming the castle".

Who inspires you?

My husband who always manages to get past the disappointments life has thrown our way and my friend, Linda Ford, who writes in spite of and because of all the turmoil in her life and her extended family.

Please share some of your faith journey...

I have been blessed to have grown up in a family that have been Christians for many generations. I learned to pray as a young child, learned to read my Bible regularly. My parents prayed before every meal and when they and their friends got together, they would discuss Sunday's sermon, theology and share a lot of laughs. To me the two have always dovetailed. Laughter and faith. When I started moving outside of my Reformed circle, and met other more evangelical and charismatic Christians, I used to worry because I didn't have a testimony. My faith and relationship with God was always there. I even toyed with the idea of rebelling so that I could come back to God, but it seemed like too much work. So I stayed a child of God, thank goodness and thank God. My faith has been tried and tested by life and disappointments, death and loss and encouraged by my family, my husband, our community and by the multitude of blessings we have received in so many parts of our life.


When/if you make the trip Down Under what do you want to see first? A platypus or a koala?

A koala. I had a stuffed one as a young girl. It was so adorable, I always wanted to see one for real.

Barrier Reef or Uluru (Ayers Rock)?

Barrier Reef. We are not far from the mountains so rocks wouldn't really be a novelty to me.

You are visiting Australia ~ do you say yes or no to some vegemite on toast?!

With people I don't know, I would say yes because that's polite. After all, if I can choke down octopus egg soup, I could probably eat vegemite. However, if I was with my husband in a restaurant, I would make him order it and take a taste.

Any last words.................................

Thanks for letting me into your space and world for awhile. Thanks for making me think about my answers. Blessings on your own work.

What a fun and interesting interview, Carolyne! Thanks so much for taking the time with us. Tell your publisher we would love to read more about Harland! And readers..pick up a copy of All In One Place - you won't be disappointed!


Fiona said...

Great interview, thank you both!!!

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