Today I have the pleasure of having Carrie Turanksy on my blog today! She has just released a new book “Across the Blue! This book was fun to read! I briefly met Carrie last summer at the Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat. It was wonderful meeting her! One of my favorite things is to get to know the authors behind the books I love to read. Join me today as we sit down and visit with Carrie. -Becca
Hi Carrie! I am excited to have you on my blog today. I’d like to start off with some questions so your reader’s can get to know you a little bit better.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
I am originally from Oregon, but have lived in New Jersey for thirty years. I’m married to Scott, who is a pastor, counselor, and author of several parenting books. We have five adult children and five grandchildren. My first book was published in 2005, and I’ve had eighteen more published since then. I have written contemporary romance and historical romance, all with inspirational themes. Now, I write mostly English historical romance, and I love to travel for writing research.
What hobbies and activities do you like to do?
I enjoy working in my flower gardens; walking around the lake near our house; traveling with my husband for ministry, research, and pleasure; and spending time with family and friends.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am a morning person, and that’s my most creative time for writing.
Growing up, what did you see yourself doing as a career?
I’m from a family of artists, so I majored in art in college, but I also enjoyed journalism and creative writing. After college I worked as a graphic artist and a preschool teacher. When our children reached school age, we decided to homeschool them, and that became my full-time job. I started writing after our family returned from spending a year in Kenya, Africa. I missed it so much I thought I could relive some of my experiences by writing a story set there.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
When I was a young my Great Aunt Francis gave me an award-winning book each year at Christmas. I still have my copies of Little Women, Little Men, and The Bronze Bow. My parents encouraged creativity. They took me to the library often, and I always came home with big stacks of books. I think those two things sparked my love for reading. When we homeschooled our children I enjoyed reading historical fiction aloud, and that inspired my interest in that genre.
Thank you for these great answers! I have some questions about your writing and books.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My most recent books are set about one hundred years ago in Edwardian England. It takes quite a bit of research to understand the culture and events of that time. I usually spend a month or more in research before I start plotting out a book. I look online for articles and books that cover the setting and events I want to include. I use Google Image search and Pinterest quite a bit too. I like to find articles, diaries, and books written in that time period as much as possible. They give you a true flavor for what people were thinking and doing at that time.
Is anything in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Across the Blue includes several true historical events—the Wright Brother’s first flight demonstration in France; the race to be the first to fly across the English Channel; The First International Air Meet in Reims, France; and Women’s suffrage demonstrations were all happening in England in 1908 – 1909, and they are included in Across the Blue. Some of the secondary characters are real people from history, but Bella and James, the heroine and hero, are fictional.
What weather inspires you the most, in terms of bringing out your literary best?
When the weather is cold and I’m spending most of my time indoors I’m able to focus more on my writing. But I do love sunny days, and sitting outside to write as well.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Since I write for a traditional publisher I have to give them a plot summary as part of the book proposal, but I like to leave room for creative twists and turns as I write.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with again?
I’ve thought about going back to the characters in the Highland Hall novels and writing more about William’s two children, Millie and Andrew, and finding out what happens in their lives in the 1920s. I love that series, and it was very hard to finish the third book and say goodbye to all those characters.
If you had the choice to rewrite any of your books, which one would it be and why?
I’d love to go back and rewrite my very first novel, Kenya Calling. It was never published, and I’m sure that’s because I was still learning how to write fiction. It would be fun to return to that story and use the skills I’ve learned to revise it and be able to share it with readers.
Which book would you want adapted for the silver screen?
I think there are several of my contemporary novels that would make great Hallmark movies – Along Came Love, Surrendered Hearts, Seeking His Love, A Man to Trust, and Snowflake Sweethearts. I was contacted about making Surrendered Hearts into a movie, but I wasn’t happy with the changes they suggested, so we ended that discussion. It would be especially fun to see one of my English historical novels become a movie, especially the Governess of Highland Hall or Across the Blue.
Your latest book Across the Blue came out in February. I enjoyed it very much! This book centers on the early days of airplanes.
Can you tell us a bit about your novel?
Set in Edwardian England, Across the Blue tells the story of Isabella Grayson (Bella), an aspiring female journalist in a male-dominated field, and James Drake, a daring aviator in the race to make the first flight across the English Channel.
When James crashes his flying machine on the Grayson’s palatial estate, Bella, having her own interest in aviation, is immediately intrigued. Bella’s father, the owner of three London newspapers, reluctantly allows her to write a series of articles following the race across the English Channel, but at a price. She must accept a marriage proposal from a respectable suitor by the end of the year, and with James’s shameful past, he is unlikely to win the approval of her parents.
As Bella and James grow closer, their conflicting goals threaten to destroy their chance for lasting love. Can they learn to balance pursuing their own dreams and accepting wisdom and direction from the Lord? And can her parents ever approve of a life they didn’t prescribe for her?
What inspired you to write this story?
When I visited the Air and Space Museum I saw a life-size model of the Wright Brother’s airplane. It was so interesting to hear about their experiments and how the improved their design until they made a successful flight. There was also a poster about the First International Air Meet in 1909. That’s the time period I enjoy writing about, so I decided to research early aviation in Europe and the US. I was impressed with the determination and ingenuity of those early aviators, and I thought it would be a great background for a novel.
What is one thing that you learned while researching for this book that was surprising to you?
I was surprised to learn that many people did not believe the Wright Brothers had really achieved powered flight. Some newspaper articles cast doubt on them and said it was a hoax. Finally, when they did their public demonstrations in France and in the US, people believed them. Some of those who watched took their design ideas back to their workshops, and aviation exploded.
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
I hope readers will be entertained and feel like they are swept away to another time and place, but I also hope they will be inspired by my characters’ faith journeys. Each book has a spiritual theme woven in, and I hope those truths will encourage readers to think about their relationship with God and understand His love for them.
What will you be writing next?
I’m hard at work on my next English historical novel based on the McAlister family—four siblings who are separated when the youngest three are sent to Canada as British home children. Their oldest sister sets out to find them and reunite the family. The hero is a lawyer who is investigating the impact of child immigration and placement on farms and in homes as indentured workers. The research has been riveting, and I’m excited to bring this issue to light with a captivating family saga that I hope readers will love.
Do you hide any Easter Eggs in your books that only a few people will find? Would you be willing to share a clue with your readers?
I’m a Downton Abbey fan, and I love writing novels set in that same time period with some of the same upstairs/downstairs character drama. Readers who are a fan of that series will see some reflections of Downton in my English historical novels. The Governess of Highland Hall is also inspired by Jane Eyre, and you’ll see some elements from that story in my novel. Julia, the heroine of The Governess of Highland Hall, is inspired by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India. Shine Like the Dawn has some reflections of North and South as well as Downton. I hope readers have fun looking for those references in my novels.
About the Author:
Carrie Turansky has loved reading since she first visited the library as a young child and checked out a tall stack of picture books. Her love for writing began when she penned her first novel at age twelve. She is now the award-winning author of nineteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. Carrie and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and speaker, have been married for more than thirty years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel together on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and five grandchildren. Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys spending time working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for friends and family. She loves to connect with reading friends through her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.