Friday, October 18, 2013

Historical Romance Writer Carrie Turansky

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft Carrie! Congratulations on your new releaseIs there a story behind your book The Governess of Highland Hall?

When I attended the American Library Association Convention in Philadelphia in 2012, I had a discussion with an editor about the success of Downton Abbey, and she encouraged me to create a story with a heroine who was a governess and set it in England on an estate similar to Downton. That got my mental wheels turning. I was hesitant to follow up on the idea at first because I knew it would take a lot of research to create a story that rang true for that period. But one of my author friends, Cathy Gohlke, had just published a wonderful book (Promise Me This) set in early 1900s that started in England, so she loaded me up with research books and helped me believe I could do it.  I am very grateful for her help!

What started you on your writing journey?

Our family spent a year in Kenya, Africa in 1997. When we returned to the US I missed Africa so much that I decided to write a novel set there to relive my expereinces. I had written essays and articles, but I knew very little about writing fiction, so I just poured out the story. The writing quality was not too grea, but it was a lot of fun! I started connecting with other writers, attended a writers conferece, and began reading writing craft books. In 2000 I heard about a new online writers group that had recently formed, ACRW (which later became ACFW), and I joined. There were less than 100 members at that time. Becoming a member of ACFW opened up the door to many wonderful friendships as well as giving me some great training and professional connections. I am very grateful!

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy contemporary and historical inspirational romance. I’ve recently read and enjoyed: Promise Me This and Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke; The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen; Undeniably Yours, by Becky Wade; and The Cadence of Grace Series by Joanne Bischof. I wish I had more time to read! There are so many great books out there.

I agree. If only we had more hours to read. Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?

The heroine in The Governess of Highland Hall is inspired by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India. I’d read Amy’s biography, A Chance to Die, a few years ago, and when I wanted to write a book set in England in the early 1900s, I remembered Amy’s story and read it again. That provided the perfect background for my heroine, and I enjoyed bringing some of the elements of Amy’s faith and character into my story.

Let's have some fun. If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?

I come from a family of artists and was an art major in college. I don’t do a lot of painting these days, but I do enjoy getting out my watercolors. I would love to paint like Monet. I love his impressionist style and the series he painted of his gardens.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Probably the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done is chase giraffes and zebras across the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. Of couse my family was with me on that adventure. Giraffes are amazingly graceful when they run!

Now I'm really wanting to get to the Africa trip on the bucket list. What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My grandkids often make me smile and laugh out loud. They say some of the cuties things, and I love them so much. Being a grandparent is a wonderful blessing.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

My favorite season is spring. I love seeing the world come back to life after the cold and dark days of winter. I have a some beautiful spring flowers that I enjoy seeing come up each year – daffodils, tulips and grape hyacynith.

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

I grew up in Portland Oregon. It’s a truly lovely area. You go up to the snowcapped mountains or down at the rugged Oregon Coast in just two hours. There are some really pretty waterfalls, historic sites, and lots of roses!

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

One of my favorite childhood memories is laying on the porch swing on a warm summer afternoon and reading a book. I loved to read, and we took regular trips to the library and brought home big stacks of books. Another favorite memory is baking cookies with my childhood friend and neighbor, Shirley. We loved to take over the kitchen and bake up a storm.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

I have been blessed to travel to many places all around the world. I loved visiting Kenya, Africa, and Hawaii. But I suppose my favorite place to travel right now would be England.

England is wonderful - especially the scones. Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

Last summer my husband and I traveled to England. We rented a car and he drove over 400 miles on the wrong side of the road, seated in the wrong side of the car. He is an amazing man!  We toured the Oxford area and visited Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed. That was the highlight of the trip for me. Then we toured the Cotswold area that has several lovely little villages that look very much like they did 100 years ago. We ended our time in England up in the Peak District and attended a country fair at Chatsworth which is an amazing estate with a very large and elaborate house and gardens. It was used as Mr. Darcy’s home in the latest version of Pride and prejudice.  All of these travels were great inspiration for my current books: The Edwardian Brides Series. 

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

I often write about forgiveness and the power that has to heal our hearts and lives. Another theme I like to include is God working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are committed to Him. I love showing how God is at work even when we don’t see it, working out circumstances in a way that is best and according to His plans.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

We live across from a park with a man-made lake. I love to walk around the lake in the cool of the morning, listen to praise music, and talk to the Lord. He often uses the things I see in nature to speak to me and lift my spirits. I am so thankful He directed us to our neighborhood and house so that I could enjoy those walks and time with Him by the lake.

Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands you will remain in my love. I have told you this that your joy may be compete and my command is this: Love eachother as I have loved you.” John 15: 9 – 12
These verses are special to me because they remind me that my happiness and fulfillment comes from remaining (abiding) in God’s love. That connection is what really fills my heart and soul. Jesus loves me, and I am to receive that love and share it with others.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I am working on Book 2 in the Edwardian Brides Series. The tentative title is The Daughter of Highland Hall. It continues the story of the Ramsey Family that started in The Governess of Highland Hall. The young cousin, Katherine, from book one becomes the heroine in book two. The year is 1912, and eighteen-year-old Katherine Ramsey is going to London for her debut in society and to enjoy her first season, with the hopes of meeting and marrying the “right” young man, but her goals and dreams change when she gets to know a handsome and dedicated medical student intent on caring for the poor in London’s East End. That book comes out in the Fall 2014.

We'll look forward to it. Thanks for sharing today, Carrie!

Connect with Carrie Turansky at:

Carrie Turansky is giving away a copy of The Governess Of Highland Hall. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


Patty said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway ladies!

Carrie, I have family in Washington state and fly into the Portland airport when going to visit them. I haven't had much of a chance to spend time in Portland itself, but last trip did get to make a trip to the famous Powell's Books...


Lis said...

I enjoyed the description of your trip to England. Visiting England is one thing on my bucket list. Looking forward to your book! On a side note, I loved Cathy's book "Promise Me This" as well!

Amy Putney said...

I loved reading about your trip to England, Carrie! I was able to go (briefly) a couple years ago, but I was only able to see some of London and a bit of the Lake District. I absolutely loved it there! Hoping to go back and see more someday! Especially Oxford and the Cotswolds! :)
Can't wait to read "The Governess of Highland Hall" soon (hopefully)!


aeputney [at] liberty [dot] edu

Boos Mum said...

I also wish I had more time to read. You are correct that there are so many great books to read. Thanks for sharing your trip to England and for the giveaway.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Patty, I hope you do get to explore the Portland area some time. It's wonderful. The Rose Gardens and Multnomah Falls are two of my favorites to see.

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Lis, I hope you do get to tour England one day. That was such a great trip. Happy memories!

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Amy, Highclere Castle is just south of the Oxford area. It was such a highlight for me. I hope you are able to go again and see some more of England!

karenk said...

a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

sam said...

I have to agree with you that Oregon is beautiful-waterfalls, especially along columbia river gorge; beaches; Crater Lake NP; covered bridges; to name a few things we've visited. Love to win your book. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Merry said...

I would love a vacation in England, it sounds perfect. I am looking forward to reading Carrie's book and so glad there is more to come.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

bonton said...

Loved the interview, Carrie, & learning more about you, your writing, & your books! Love what I've read about The Governess of Highland Hall - would love to read it, & looking forward to the next book in the series.

I have always wanted to see Oregon - have heard it is beautiful, one of the few states I haven't seen!

Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your book!


Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie. This was a very interesting interview. I would so much love to visit Oregon.Sounds like a wonderful place. I would love spend time with you and see what makes a person like Africa and want to live there. i know some missionaries who are serving in that part of the world. I would love to see all of the Castles. I would love to win this book of yours. As to reading and would have more reading time if I weren't so hooked to my computer, especially since I have so many authors to check in on. So many interesting sites. Thanks Karen for having Carrie visit. Thanks for the give-away. Please add my name to the drawing.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Rebecca DeMarino said...

Loved the interview, Carrie! We share a lot in common with our love for England! I LOVED The Governess of Highland Hall! (I own a copy, so no need to put me in the drawing!) and I love the behind the scenes story about your inspiration! Cant' wait for book #2!

KayM said...

What a wonderful interview! I love hearing about all the places Carrie has visited and about how she came to write The Governess of Highland Hall. It sounds like a good book to read. Thank you for offering a copy.

Anonymous said...

What an informative interview.

I would also love to to visit England. The books sounds very interesting, thanks for the giveaway.

arieljo12(at) hotmail(dot) com

Joy Hannabass said...

Sounds awesome and I love the cover!!

Diana montgomery said...

I would love to visit England someday. Your book sounds great love to read and review it.
Diana Montgomery

Kelly O. said...

I loved hearing about England! I would love to visit there some day.

I would also love to read your new book! -Kelly

kosterbind (at) gmail (dot) com

Susan Johnson said...

This book sounds like one I would really like to read.

Anonymous said...

It looks like a fascinating book not to mention its set in my favorite time period. :) Been wanting to read for quite some time.

reetchampion at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway! cclark207 at gmail .com

Sonja said...

Wonderful sounding book. It is fun to read different authors, different types of writing. I would really enjoy this, I think and would love to also write a review!

Sonja said...

I always forget to send my address! Here it is, sorry! Sonja.nishimoto (at) gmail (dot) com

R Merr said...

This looks like a great book! On my wish list. Ewe_r_merritt(at)yahoo(dot)com

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