Thursday, July 14, 2011

BROKEN WINGS - Carla Stewart - Free Book

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I’ve always been intrigued with relationships and the quirky twists in life, so I wanted to write stories that reflect the human condition – both the tragic and the victorious. Because the past influences the people we are today, I wanted to tell nostalgic stories from the eras of my parents and my own childhood. So far I’ve been fortunate to be able to do that.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My birthday a few years ago. We went out to eat with our neighbors to a restaurant that had a jazz band playing. The band leader asked for requests so I asked him to sing Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” since it’s my husband’s favorite song. A little later in the evening, the singer came to our table and sang the song to us, complete with the trumpet part. It was like magic in the air, surrounded with people we loved and being perfectly contented. That night I realized it’s not the big events or turning points in our lives that bring happiness, but the small moments that take our breath away. It really is a wonderful world we live in.

How has being published changed your life?
Very interesting question. Before I was published I fretted over whether I would EVER get an agent or a contract. Now I fret over whether I will have time to cook dinner or clean the house. It’s become a very consuming thing with marketing, networking, and juggling the different phases of each book. I don’t think I realized how many technical things I would have to master as a published author. Yet, when I get a letter from a reader I’ve never met, and she tells me she heard her father’s voice in my writing or that it made me her smile to remember forgotten things from her youth, it’s so rewarding. And there’s always Arby’s for dinner or the Merry Maids if I have company coming and no time to clean.

What are you reading right now?
 I’m working on edits at the moment, but the last book I read was Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. I met this talented debut author last winter and loved her book. I’ve also just finished Patti Lacy’s upcoming novel, Reclaiming Lily, which I read for endorsement.

What is your current work in progress?
Stardust, a story set in East Texas in 1952 during the height of the polio epidemic. I just received the content edits for it and have a proposal in to my editor for a nostalgic “girlfriend” story tentatively titled Sweet Dreams.

What would be your dream vacation?
Spending three months in a cottage in England where I could walk my little dog on cobblestone streets and stop at the green grocers to pick up fresh produce for our evening meal.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
At the risk of sounding cliché, they actually find me. When I start thinking about a new book, I usually have a premise and a character or two. I put them in the setting that best fits their situation and the story they have to tell. In Broken Wings, I knew I wanted an aging jazz singer to tell her story to someone. I’d read an article in the Tulsa paper about the possible renovation of an old jazz hall. I did a little checking and found out Tulsa has a rich jazz history so it was only logical that this would be the setting. All my other contracted and published stories have been set in different parts of Texas. Someday I’d like to step away from “what I know” but we’ll see.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
It would be a couple – George and Laura Bush. We have a Texas heritage in common as well as having twins. We wouldn’t discuss politics but favorite memories, children, places we’ve been, what matters most to us.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Traveling with my husband. Word Puzzle Books. Collecting antiques. Music. I used to quilt, paint folk art, and sew, but alas, those have gone by the wayside when I took up my proverbial pen.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Finding the balance between marketing and actual writing. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to manage that, but since I’m most creative in the afternoons, I try to keep those hours sacred for writing and tend to the marketing and editing chores in the morning. I rarely get on FaceBook until in the evening as I’ve found I spend too much time there.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Join a writing group and read books on craft. Don’t wait until you think you’re “set” to start writing. What you’re writing will become infused with the craft as you practice. Also, I think it’s a good idea to follow your gut and write that which is burning inside you. Agents and editors want fresh voices and yours might be the one they’ve been waiting on. That said, you have to follow some guidelines and know your genre and what is acceptable and what is not. It’s an ever-changing process and a noble calling. For a beginning writer, magazines and anthologies like the Chicken Soup books are also a good way to dip your toes in the water. And those publishing credits are like gold on your writing resume.

Tell us about the featured book.
Broken Wings is the story of an unlikely friendship between two women who end up being dependent on one another through some difficult situations. It’s a “framed” story so a good part of it is nostalgic and told as flashback which dovetails with the contemporary story. Here’s the back cover copy: 

Onstage, the singing duo of Gabe and Mitzi Steiner captured America's heart for more than two decades. Offstage, their own hearts have throbbed as one for sixty years. Only now, Gabe has retreated into the tangles of Alzheimer's, leaving Mitzi to ponder her future alone.

On the other side of Tulsa, everyone believes Brooke Woodson has found the perfect man--a handsome lawyer with sights on becoming Tulsa's next District Attorney. If only Brooke felt more sure. If only her fiancé could control his anger. If only love didn't come with so many scars.

When an accident lands Brooke in the hospital where Mitzi volunteers, the two women quickly develop an unlikely friendship birthed by providence and bathed in grace. And with Mitzi's help, kindness, and insight, Brooke learns how to pick up the broken pieces of her life.

Please give us the first page of the book. 


St. Louis, April 1935              
When you’re six years old and the only ocean you’ve seen is in a picture book at Public School No. 16, you don’t have a big view of the world. And the other kids running up and down your street in ragged knickers and hand-me-down dresses don’t know beans either. To all of us, a mountain was the pile of rocks along the banks of the Mississippi, one we clamored around, spouting truths about the universe as we knew it. And about our Huck Finn dreams of building a raft that would take us all the way to the ocean.

Sometimes when Mama sat with her arm around me on the wood steps of our two-room row house, I’d tell her my ocean dream. And how, if I couldn’t have that, I wanted to live in one of those houses on the other side of the green park. The ones that could hold a family our size six or seven times over. I’d fill it with children and get a pony for the backyard and two Great Danes for the front, I’d tell her. And it would ring with laughter and singing for everyone who passed by.

 “You’re a dreamer, Maggie,” Mama would say and twist my chestnut hair into two ropey braids. “But don’t you stop spinning those golden tales, ’cuz as sure as my name’s Lorna Beth Poole, I’m going to take you to the ocean, dumplin’. We’ll cross the mountains, dip our toes in the water, and collect sea shells by the dozen. And that’s a fact.”

Then Papa would be there, his moonshine jug hooked in the thumb of one hand, a black cigar puffing smoke like a locomotive in the other. And he didn’t allow such talk of the mountains or the ocean. Or much of anything.

How can readers find you on the Internet?  
Follow me on Twitter:!/ChasingLilacs
Amazon link to Broken Wings:

Thanks, Lena, for having me on your wonderful blog!

And thank you, Carla, for giving us another peek into your life. Come back anytime.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Judy said...

Enjoyed the interview with Carla.
"Broken Wings" sounds like a great read and I would love to win a copy of it. Thanks for the giveaway!


Judy from Indiana

Lorna Faith said...

Carla...your book sounds like a wonderful read. Can hear my own parents telling their stories in my head when I read your first page:)
Love to win a copy of "Broken Wings"...please enter my name.

Lorna from Alberta
lornafaith at gmail dot com

peachykath said...

I have had that unlikely friendship between another person that blossomed in to a life long friendship. This sounds like a great book to read. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you

Katherine from Northern California


Unknown said...

Thanks, Lena and Carla for a great post and giveaway. i would love to win this book, even if one of the characters didn't share my nickname! mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

carla stewart said...

Good morning, everyone - so happy to be here!

Judy, thanks for being the early bird here. Doesn't Lena ask great questions?

Lorna - I have people's voices in my head, too. Part of Broken Wings is inspired by my dad and my MIL's recollections of the Dust Bowl and Black Sunday. Curious, though. Did they have dust storms in Canada? You might have to ask your parents and let me know.

carla stewart said...

peachykath - Thanks for sharing about your unlikely friendship and that it is one that has turned into a lifelong one. I love that! I think you'll really enjoy Mitzi and Brooke's story!

Marianne - Wow! Do people call you Mitzi? That gives me goosebumps. And I think you'll really love Mitzi in Broken Wings. Hope you get a chance to read it soon. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Katie Marie said...

I've heard a lot about your books, Carla. This one looks very intriguing. Please count me in!

~ Katy from Florida

Christa Allan said...

Terrific interview. Thanks, Lena and Carla.

And Carla, I so relate to what you shared about worries pre and post pub. Like you, I never expected marketing to chew up so much time.

Would love to win a copy of your book to donate to my school library. It's a public school, but since I teach there, I slip in lots of inspy books!

Gina Conroy said...

Great interview, Carla!!

Jo said...

Enjoyed the interview, Carla. Your book sounds like it is a very enjoyable one and would love to read it. Please enter me.


carla stewart said...

Hi Katy! Great to know that people are talking about my books. Hope you get a chance to read them soon and will tell others. I love when that happens.

Christa - you said it perfectly - marketing chews up a writer's time, and yet, I love connecting with readers. I'd love for you to get my books in your school library - thanks!

Gina and Jo - glad you stopped by. Lena is a great interviewer.

Cheryl Barker said...

Would love to win a copy of Carla's "Broken Wings". Loved her debut novel "Chasing Lilacs". Thanks for the giveaway!

Cheryl from Kansas

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Judith Leigh said...

It was so nice reading Carla interview. "Broken Wings" sounded like such a great read I hopped over to Amazon and bought it! I know all the readers love these giveaway's. I do too.

Judy from Florida

Anonymous said...

please enter me in the drawing.
angela from ky

Sandee61 said...

Thank you for the nice interview. I'd love to win Carla's book, it looks great. Thank you for the entry. Have a blessed day!



carla stewart said...

Thanks Cheryl and Linda for your interest in Broken Wings. I wish you could all be winners!

Judith!!! Thank you for buying Broken Wings. I'd love to hear what you think when you've read it. There's a contact link on my website at

Anonymous Angela - thanks for coming by!

carla stewart said...

Sandee - great to have you stop in and I appreciate your kind words about the interview. Lena does a great job and I love what she does in promoting other authors. Good luck!

Sheri said...

I enjoyed reading the interview with Carla. She had great advice for aspiring writers. Broken Wings sounds very interesting and I love the cover of this book. I would love to win a copy to read!

Sheri from Georgia

hspruitt (at) frontiernet net

Patty said...

Loved "Chasing Lilacs." Can't wait to read "Broken Wings." Blessings and congrats to Carla!

apple blossom said...

I'd love to be included in this giveaway thanks

I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This sounds like a great book. I would love to read this. Thanks again.

I live in Oklahoma.


carla stewart said...

Sheri, I'm glad you found the aspiring writer question useful. Hope it helps you in your writing. My publisher makes great covers - I'm very fortunate in that. Thanks for stopping by.

Patty, I'm thrilled that you liked Chasing Lilacs. Let me know how you like Broken Wings, okay?

Thanks, Apple Blossom, for stopping by. I'm always glad to hear that people are interested in my books.

Good luck, all. And Lena, thanks so much for the opportunity for me to connect with your readers. You're the best!

Carol N Wong said...

I have heard some many good things about "Broken Wings". You have a wonderful talent for writing memorable stories.


Carol from Texas

Joyce said...

Enjoyed the interview.

Joyce in TN

Joyce.Williams2 at yahoo dot com

Myra Johnson said...

What a fun interview, Lena & Carla! Oh, how I miss my best writing bud! I was so blessed to be able to read most of BW during its "formative stages," and Carla has a true gift for storytelling and characterization.

Girlfriend, you are destined for greatness! Forget the cooking and cleaning!

Ms. Mona Greer said...

Please enter my name to win this book, it sounds wonderful and you are a great writer...

Ms. Mona

Anonymous said...

Good article here
I would love a chance to win this book to read.

Bluerose said...

I have heard wonderful things about Carla's books!!


Krista said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Please enter me.

Krista from Gresham, OR

Unknown said...

This is a new author to me but would love to read this! Thanks for the chance to win!
Kari in Oregon

Angela Carpenter/Ohio said...

Would love to win this book.It sounds wonderful...
Angela C.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy W. said...

I have wanted to read "Broken Wings" from the first review. It sounds like a wonderful book that I would enjoy reading. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! Please enter me! I'm a subscriber and follower gfc.
dancealert at aol dot com

Brenda from Michigan

Bakersdozen said...

I love the interview. The story sounds great. I live in S. CA.

holdenj said...

What a wonderful interview. I really like the premise of the book and how the past intertwines. Thanks for the chance to win.
Julie in MN

carla stewart said...

Thanks, everyone! Your interest warms my heart more than you can know! And Myra, still missing you something fierce - thanks for your support and wonderful critiques as I wrote this book.

Good luck all in the drawing!

Rachel Christine said...

Carla, congratulations on your writing achievements. I remember the first time I heard your name at the ACFW convention. Please enter me in the contest. Sounds wonderful.

Rachel from Gentry, AR

lorlyn63 said...

I enjoyed the interview Carla and Lena - great questions! Your book sounds like a good book to curl up on my couch and read, please enter me in your drawing!


Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

sarahw said...

i don't think that i've ever read a book by Carla, but this one seems really interesting. i would love to win a copy of it. thanks,
sarahw-Mt.Lake, MN

Susan H said...

I loved Carla's book, Chasing Lilacs. I can't wait to read her new one. I had the pleasure of meeting Carla in Jefferson, TX. Such a sweet person and a great writer!

Susan from Fort Worth, TX

Kristie said...

Wow! It's intersting that you picked George and Laura Bush. I dislike politics so I would not have picked them. Of course we could talk about other stuff. I'm a librarian like Laura so that actually would be pretty fun. I love talking "library." I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.