It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to my friend Carrie Turansky. I've known her for several years in American Christian Fictions Writers, and I was so pleased when she sold her first book. Along Came Love is delightful. You won't want to miss reading it. Be sure and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Along Came Love and check for the two novella collections in your favorite bookstore.
Carrie, tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I think every writer pulls from the well of their own experience. That is certainly true for me. When I create characters I naturally drift toward occupations, strengths & weaknesses, and personality types that I am familiar with…including my own. In Along Came Love the heroine, Lauren Woodman, has a fine arts degree but found it difficult to get a job. That came from my own experience. I also hope I give wise advice and I am a good cook like Aunt Tilley in that story. In Wherever Love Takes Us my novella in Wedded Bliss? I wrote about a couple approaching their 25th wedding anniversary. Those characters seemed easier to write about, because that it the stage of life I am currently passing through. So you’ll see a lot of me in that story.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
The dictionary says quirky is “unpredictable, strange or unexpected behavior.” So I suppose spending a year in Kenya would qualify. That sounds strange and unexpected to some people, but it was one of the best experiences of my life! We took all five kids and had a wonderful time serving on staff at Moffatt Bible College in Kijabe. We met many wonderful Christians and loved the unique beauty of Kenyan countryside and wildlife.
Wow, Carrie, I didn't know about that part of your life. How wonderful! When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote my first book when I was 13 called Passport to Paris. Thank goodness it has disappeared and will never be found. My focus shifted to art through high school and college, though I always loved to read and write. When we returned from Kenya in 1997, I missed Africa so much I decided to write a book set there to relive some of my experience. Soon after that, I joined a local writer’s workshop and ACFW.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love to read and enjoy many types of CBA fiction and non-fiction and classics. I also enjoy missionary biographies, both historical and contemporary. My husband write parenting books, so I try to keep up with that category as well. This past month I read, Daughters of Hope, by Michelle Ricket (stories of Christian women suffering persecution in various countries around the world); Love and Respect by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs; Expect the Sunrise by Susie Warren; Double Vision by Randall Ingermanson; and On Wings of Deliverance by Elizabeth White.
I have written Kenya Calling, In the Shadow of His Wings, Coincidentally Yours, and Garden of Secrets. These are all unpublished novels. Along Came Love is my first published novel. My first published novella is Wherever Love Takes Us in Wedded Bliss? I also have written another novella Tea for Two which comes out this September in Kiss the Bride.
I love the titles of the unpublished ones, too. I will pray that they will soon sell. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I do several things to guard my schedule and check what I allow in my heart and home. When my husband and I were married twenty-seven years ago, we were counseled not to get a TV for 6 months so that we would spend time talking and being together in the evenings. That was a great advice, and we have stuck with it. We do watch videos and DVDs, but we have to really think about and plan what we will watch. This gives us more time for other things like reading and interacting with the kids, and it also keeps the noise and distraction level more manageable. It has been great for the whole family. I also like to listen to praise and worship music at home and in the car. I try to get out and walk around the lake near our home several times a week. I listen to Scripture songs while I walk, and that helps me keep my focus on the right things. I make lists of things I need to do. I try to go to sleep at the same time each night so I can get up on time and have energy to get in the Word and pray first thing.
Very wise decisions. We should all be more like that. Now back to the subject of writing. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have a name book I look through. I also keep a running list of names that I like. Sometimes I will start out with one name for a character, but by the time I have finished the synopsis, I realize I need to switch to a new name that fits better.
I've had that happen, too. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Raising five great kids and being married to Scott for twenty-seven years. Those relationships are so rewarding and important to me!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d love to be an African gazelle. They are so beautiful when the run and leap. I am definitely not very athletic, but I can always dream!
What is your favorite food?
Chicken Enchiladas! I used that recipe in Along Came Love, and I posted it along with some other recipes from the book on my website www.carrieturansky.com.
Thanks, Lena! It’s been fun to chat with you!
And it was a blessing to spend this time with you. I look forward to seeing you at the conference in Dallas in September.