Sunday, May 13, 2012

STARDUST - Carla Stewart - Free Book

God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I’m amazed at God’s graciousness in allowing me to write the stories of my heart. I just turned in my fourth book which will release in 2013, but after that, it’s wait and see. I have a couple of stories I’d like to write, but for now I’m in marketing mode for Stardust and waiting for edits on my next book. One thing for sure, there’s never a dull moment!

Tell us a little about your family.
My husband, Max, and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on May 26. It doesn’t seem possible. Our four sons have married amazing girls and blessed us with five grandsons and one granddaughter. I’m also honored to celebrate good times with my dad who will be 86 this summer and am close to my two sisters.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Yes. I read with a more critical eye, which takes some of my former enjoyment of reading away. I’ve been surprised at the number of endorsement requests I’ve received, and I’ve loved that—reading books before they’re released. Some of them have been wonderful! I wish I had more time for guilty reading pleasure so when those times come, I choose carefully, trying to find books that give me an escape or which have come highly recommended. Two great sources for that have been the She Reads Book Club and the Pulpwood Queens Book Club. I’ve also started reading more e-books on my iPad, but it’s not my preference.

What are you working on right now?
I turned in Sweet Dreams the first of April so I’ll be writing discussion questions and doing edits on it soon. It’s a story of two close-knit cousins who attend an exclusive Texas finishing school in 1962, a time of turbulent social change. 

What outside interests do you have?
We’re active in our Adult Life group at church, and occasionally I volunteer at the Caring Center which provides food and clothing to the underprivileged and homeless of our community. We like to attend the ballgames and special events of our grandkids, but none of them live here, so we make a lot of weekend trips.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Setting and era are huge for me – creating a story world so that this particular story could not have taken place anywhere else or at any other time. The bayou setting in Stardust was something new for me, but I made several trips to East Texas and took the riverboat ride down the bayou and asked the tour guide a lot of questions so I could portray an authentic setting. Settings and having a “backdrop” helps me create a fresh story. In Chasing Lilacs, I used the way depressions and mental illness was treated in the fifties and chose the setting where I grew up. In Broken Wings, the jazz culture of Tulsa intrigued me, and since I live in Tulsa, I wanted to pay homage to the town I love. I like to have intimate knowledge of the setting by visiting the area, to experience the way people talk and note sensory cues like smell, the foliage, a bit of the history. 

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Jimmy Stewart, the actor. He’s always been a favorite, and I’d love to hear his voice in person and hear him recite his off-beat poems and stories. 

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That I would have to become a technology wizard (and I’m not). I still get frustrated on a daily basis.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
To give it my all and leave the results in His hands. There is nothing I can do about sales or reviews or people whose taste doesn’t include what I write, so I’m learning not to fret about that. Have I arrived? Absolutely not, but God is in control, and for that I’m thankful.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
One: Follow your heart and write from the deep places within yourself. In other words, don’t follow trends. Good, well-crafted stories written with passion will sell – maybe not tomorrow or even next year, but they will sell.
Two: Write another story while you’re waiting. Stretch yourself in ways you didn’t think possible.
Three: Learn the value of social networking and building a platform, and by this I don’t mean a “sell, sell, sell” mentality, but making genuine friendships and sharing your life with readers, other writers, even strangers.

Tell us about the featured book.
Stardust is the story of a young mom whose unfaithful husband drowns in the bayou of East Texas in 1952. Shortly after she buries him, Georgia Payton inherits the derelict Stardust Tourist Court from a distant relative. Faced with opposition from the aunt who raised her and others in the town, Georgia breathes new life into the cottages.

The guests who arrive, though, aren’t what Georgia expects: her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband's mistress; an attractive drifter who's tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia's past. Dreams of a new life are crippled amid the havoc.

Woven throughout is the presence of polio, both as a fearsome possibility and a stark reality for some. When polio strikes close to home, Georgia's only hope is that she can find the courage to forgive those who've betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxie to face the future. One thing is certain: under the flickering neon of the STARDUST, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Please give us the first page of the book.
My marriage to O’Dell Peyton was already over when he washed up on the shores of Zion. Of course, no one knew it was O’Dell when the little boy came running from the bayou, bellowing to Cecil at the tire shop that he’d discovered a drowned body. Fact is, no one even knew O’Dell was missing. If someone had asked where he’d been keeping himself, I would’ve said, “Oh, you know O’Dell. He’s got The Book of Knowledge encyclopedia route for all of East Texas. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s sold to half the people in Tyler by now. Goes over to Kilgore some too.”

The truth was O’Dell left me and our two girls the second week in February. I found the note tucked in the sugar bowl, telling me he’d met a woman who appreciated him. I’d spent two months chewing on that, hot as a pistol one minute, crumpled in grief the next, trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong.

Aunt Cora said, “Georgia, there are plenty of men out there. You’re lucky you found out now, while you’re still young and have your looks.” Aunt Cora, bless her, had yet to find a man in Mayhaw suitable—or willing—to marry her. And looks had nothing to do with it. She could still be a movie star pinup.

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

Thank you, Carla, for the interesting interview.

Readers, ;
eave 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.


Marianne said...

Carla, would having known you'd have to be a technology wizard in the writing world have stopped you from writing?
Thanks Lena and Cara for a great interview and awesome opportunity to win a great sounding novel.

Marianne from Northern Alberta
mitzi underscore wanham at yahoo dot com

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win/read this book. It sounds terrific.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

carla stewart said...

Marianne - That's a great question! I've always liked learning new things (how to quilt, how to run a bandsaw, etc.) and we've had computers in our home forever because of my husband's work, so I think I would still have written. It's just overwhelming at times and takes time away from the real love, which is writing :-))

Thanks for a great start to the conversation!

Linda - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love it, too, if you read Stardust!

Hope everyone is having a great Mother's Day!!

Pam K. said...

The first page left me wanting to read more. I like the first person point of view; Georgia sounds like a great character to tell the story of Stardust.
Thanks for giving a way a book.


Liz R said...

Sounds like a good read!

Liz R in AL

carla stewart said...

Pam and Liz - thanks for your comments! Pam, I'm glad the first page caught your eye. I like that Lena has authors give the first page for that first taste of story.

Good luck in the drawing!

Lindsey said...

I am reeeally intrigued now - gonna put this on my wishlist for sure! Thanks for the giveaway!


marybelle said...

STARDUST looks wonderful. What a collection of guests!!!

Mary P


CarlybirdK said...

I adore Carla's books and I pre-ordered this one from Amazon, but when it arrived, it had gotten messed up during shipping. I would love nothing more than to have a copy that is in good shape and signed by the author. Thank you for the giveaway!
Carly in Burlington, NC

Kandra said...

I love first-person point of view! This sounds like a great new read!
Kandra in Tennessee

apple blossom said...

Thanks for the chance to win live
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patty said...

This is set in a time period I haven't read much about. Not to long ago, but just a bit before my time!

Patty in SC

Joanna Richmond said...

Would love to win/read this book. it looks very interesting.
Joanna Richmond
Blanch NC

Jo said...

I enjoy reading books from this time period as I was a little girl at the time. It brings back memories for me!


Carol N Wong said...

This is Carol from Texas.

I loved the little promo, especially the accent. I love to books like this that can face adversity and disappointment with a fountain of hope.


carla stewart said...

Thanks, Lindsey! Hope that you're able to read Stardust soon. (maybe you'll win!)

Marybelle! Thank you. Lena always has interesting writers here - I'm honored to be included.

CarlybirdK - No! I'm sorry your book got messed up in shipping. I've had that happen a couple of times. You've been a faithful reader. Check out my blog for LOTS of chances to win Stardust in the next few weeks.

Abigail Richmond said...

Sounds interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing!
Blanch, N.C.

carla stewart said...

Kandra, good to have you stop by. I'm partial to first person, too. Georgia has quite a story!

Apple Blossom - so glad you stopped by. Good luck!

Patty - it was fun writing about this time period. I admit I don't remember it as I was only 2 years old, but I have pictures!

Thanks, Joanna, for your interest. I wish everyone could win a copy.

carla stewart said...

Jo - we'll have to swap memories sometime. As I said earlier, I don't remember quite this far back, but soon after.

Carol - I'm thrilled that you liked the video. The accent is pretty true - I love the way the people in East Texas and the Piney Woods have their own drawl. And I love to write about adversity where the characters grow and give hope to readers.

Hi Abigail! Thanks for coming by. I appreciate your interest in Stardust.

Katie G. said...

Sounds like a GREAT book! Please enter me! I'm from NC.

Sarah said...

Looks and sounds interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing!
God Bless!
Sarah Richmond

Merry said...

I enjoyed the interview with Carla. The sneak peek at Stardust made me want more! Please add me.
Merry in TX

Faye said...

What a wonderful interview! Stardust sounds terrific! I love the time period that it is set in :)

Faye from SD :)

Thank you so much for the opportunity!

carla stewart said...

Katie, Sarah, Merrie, and Fay! Thanks for coming by and for your kind words. Let me know what you think about Stardust if you get a chance to read it. Blessings!

Nancee said...

The time period of this book takes place when I was very young, and I'd love to read it simply bacause I can relate to the events of that time period. Thank you for this offer.
Nancee, Western Michigan

Krista said...

Oooh... this sounds like a really good book. Please enter me!

Krista in Oregon

carla stewart said...

Nancee - I think you'd love Stardust and the memories! Thanks for coming by.

Krista - welcome. And good luck in the drawing.

Lena - thanks for introducing Stardust to your readers. I'm honored to be here.

rubynreba said...

Stardust looks like a great book! I'd love to be entered.
Beth from Iowa

Jackie Tessnair said...

I would love to win and read this book...Thanks...

Diana Gardner said...

Looks great. Please enter me in the drawing. Portsmouth, VA

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Janet Kerr said...

Hi Carla,
Your book "STADUST" sounds like a very interesting read. Pease enter me in your draw.
Thank you,
Jan from B.C. Canada