I met Lisa at MurderCon this past August. We sat together on the bus and got to know a little about each other. I am most familiar with Lisa’s Love Inspired books, so needless to say I was a bit surprised to see her at a crime scene conference. Come to find out, this wonderful romance writer has a suspense side to her. I can’t wait to read her “other” books.
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INTERVIEW WITH LISA CARTER
Where did you get the idea for Stranded for the Holidays? I started out wanting to write another Christmas story and the plot evolved from there. The standalone novel is part of an ongoing series set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The fictional town is Truelove—Where True Love Awaits. And three elderly matchmakers take the town motto a little too seriously. They’ve made it their personal mission to help everyone find their happily-ever-after. Whether the recipients of their efforts want them to or not!
In regards to Stranded for the Holidays, would you think I was weird if I said I heard AnnaBeth’s “voice” in my head?
A former debutante, she is running away from her own wedding when her car breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm on an isolated mountain road. And of course, who happens along to rescue her? Who else, but a handsome cowboy and his young, mini-me cowboy son.
AnnaBeth’s character type is one of my favorite to write. The banter and chemistry between the never-met-a-stranger, social butterfly and the pay-for-every-word, stoic cowboy was fun to create. When the town matchmakers get a hold of these two—by novel’s end, snowflakes aren’t the only thing falling between AnnaBeth and Jonas.
How long does it take you to write a long novel? I love to have eight months to write one of my suspense novels. I don’t always get that, however. I’m usually writing one book, editing another and often marketing yet a third novel.
Who’s your all-time favorite character? I’ve written three dual timeline romantic suspense novels, which is my favorite type of story to read and write. But my favorite character is probably Aaron Yazzie in Under a Turquoise Sky. There was such brokenness in him at the beginning but by the end, his character arc went through such an amazing transformation. Readers tell me that his journey touched them in a profound way. That entire project was such a joy. I may never write another book like it, but the story was a gift and an affirmation to me as an author.
Stranded for the Holidays released December 1st. Do tell! (Shameless plug time!)
Running away led her right where she belonged.
A new mom for Christmas? She’s everything they’ve wished for.
Runaway bride AnnaBeth Cummings needs shelter for the holidays when a blizzard leaves her stranded, and rancher Jonas Stone’s happy to help. But his son’s been wishing for a mommy for Christmas, and town matchmakers are convinced Annabeth and Jonas are perfect for each other. As the storm clears, city girl AnnaBeth will have to decide: does her heart now belong in the country?
We met at MurderCon (A conference offered through The Writer’s Police Academy). I’m used to seeing your romance novels, it’s nice to know you are part of the dark side and write suspense? My ninth suspense novel set in the Appalachian Mountains, A Sound of Falling Leaves, will release in the Fall of 2020.
My contemporary Blue Ridge Matchmakers romance series keeps me busy, too. I’m currently writing my 25th novel—another fun Christmas story also releasing Fall/Christmas 2020.
Tell us a little bit about your typical day. I am a morning person so I do my best writing early. My day usually begins at the computer by eight a.m. I don’t have daily word count goals. My goal each day is to write the next scene or chapter. When I finish the scene or chapter, I stop for the day. Usually, I’m done—creatively, mentally and physically—by three p.m. I may tackle other tasks like marketing or business-related obligations for a short period. Or, most days I have tea and watch the next installment of one of my favorite British mystery series.
When did you receive your first book contract? I received my first book contract in 2011 and a 3-book contract soon followed. Eighteen months later (2013), my first suspense novel, Carolina Reckoning, released and my first contemporary romance, Aloha Rose, released a few months later. It’s been a whirlwind ever since.
What is the hardest part about being an author? Working in isolation. The blank screen, a mocking cursor, and juggling the demands the publishing industry places on authors today. Keeping work and family in their proper order of importance.
Who is your favorite author? It depends on the genre. I read widely. And as soon as I name favorites, I realize I’ve left someone out. But initially in my career, I was inspired by Catherine Palmer’s romantic suspense adventure series, Treasures of the Heart, set in Africa. I still love those books. I continue to re-read them over and over.
Anything you want to brag about? This year one of my smaller, contemporary romance novels, the first in the Bue Ridge Matchmaker series, His Secret Daughter, was on the top 25 best-seller list. I was on the same list as Nicholas Sparks and Debbie Macomber. May never happen again. J But it was fun to see my name there.
Under a Turquoise Sky won the 2015 Carol Award for Romantic Suspense. The Stronghold won the 2017 Daphne du Maurier. Beyond the Cherokee Trail was a 4.5 star Romantic Times Top Pick.
Now for the important questions:
Pepsi or Coke? I like Diet Pepsi because it is sweetened with stevia, a natural ingredient versus the chemical preservatives found in Coke products.
Candy, cookies, or cake? Do I have to choose? My favorite cookies are a cinnamon chip cookie recipe I acquired from the Biltmore Inn in Asheville. My favorite cake is—for real—pig pickin cake. No pigs in the batter, but it is a favorite summer dessert at Southern cookouts. My favorite candy would always involve chocolate and/or peanut butter.
Favorite food? I love barbecue chicken.
Coffee or Tea? I’m an equal opportunity coffee or tea drinker. My favorite coffee is Kona from Hawaii. My husband’s favorite is Blue Mountain from Jamaica where we spent our honeymoon. We’ve spent the last seven years working summers with a Guatamalan orphanage and then several small communities in Costa Rica. Central America is all about coffee so we have definite opinions on what constitutes the best coffee.
My favorite tea varies per season. This autumn I’ve been drinking a lot of pumpkin spice tea and chai. My December favorite is Christmas Eve tea by Stash. My recent favorite tea finds include—a fabulous strawberry tea from France; a delicious, apple, it’s-so-fall tea from Normandy; and two teas I purchased in October from the British tea shop Whittards on a quick trip to Wales—English Rose and a strawberry mint.
Favorite vacation? I love to travel. I’ve had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places over the years. The most exotic—Thailand. The biggest adventure—the Amazon jungle. The greenest—Ireland. The most fun—Hawaii. The most ancient—Egypt. The most awe-inspiring—Macchu Picchu in Peru.
And then there’s the United Kingdom, Italy, France . . .
As Dr. Seuss said, so many places to go. And yet, so little time. I am addicted to travel. J
Favorite TV show? This Is Us and far too many British mystery/detective shows to name.
Favorite Movie? Absolutely any Indiana Jones movie and The Last of the Mohicans
Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? I read, I write, I travel. I quilted for over 15 years. I teach at a lot of writer conferences. I love teaching music at church with the preschoolers. We have a great time. I also love doing lunch with friends.
Connect with Lisa at http://www.lisacarterauthor.com/
Keep up with her new releases and other fun information.