Hi everyone, it's with GREAT pleasure that I welcome my friend and fellow author, Lisa Carter, to the Suspense Sisters blog. Be sure to leave a comment and one lucky entrant will win a free copy of Carolina Reckoning.
Lisa Carter is a writer, teacher, speaker and musician whose articles have appeared in FamilyFun, Thriving Family, MomSense and Christian Parenting Today. Carolina Reckoning is her debut romantic suspense novel, but she was always the child who made up epic tales involving prairie schooners and/or interplanetary voyages for the neighborhood kids to re-enact during summer vacation. Without realizing it, at the age of ten, she may have inadvertently invented steampunk. Now, she and her husband, David, have two daughters and make their home in North Carolina. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, quilting and researching her next exotic adventure.
How did you come up with the idea for this novel?
Years ago, I worked as a staff docent at an antebellum house. Being an avid fan of mysteries and romantic suspense, I began to wonder what if a murder were to occur in this uniquely Southern setting. Scratch beneath the surface of the polite Southern drawl and hospitable sweet tea, there is a layer of the gothic—Southern Gothic—in our history. Family stories of lost causes, tragic love, and quirky Aunt so and so's, we've all got them.
My parents divorced when I was nine year’s old. In many ways, I am Claire in Carolina Reckoning. And like Claire, I was angry at everyone, most of all God, when my world fell apart.
I wrestled with feelings of anger, abandonment, forgiveness, and faith. I longed to find Someone upon which I could rely. At the foot of the Cross, I discovered a Father God who is always faithful and true. He is enough for every need, past, present and future.
As a teenager I came to a crossroads—to carry an anger that in the end harmed me more than anyone else or to choose to forgive, to forgive someone who’d never asked for my forgiveness nor deserved it. But to forgive anyway, like God had forgiven me. Because unforgiveness brings its own reckoning. It isn't how God wants us to live. And God's way is always the best way.
Tell us about your tagline: Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder. How did that come to be?
I was driving to pick up my teenage daughters from youth group on a Sunday evening and pondering the kind of stories I seem to weave. I realized that most of my main characters are southern and/or many of my novel settings take place in the South. That plus my penchant for killing people on paper characterizes the type of fiction I write. And the phrase "Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder" immediately popped into my mind. I can't tell you how many people come up to me and can't remember my name, but they remember me as Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder. It was a God thing that happened right there on Glenwood Avenue (yeah, kind of scary to be on the road the same time as me); I take no credit at all for the phrase.
What is the draw for you in writing Romantic Suspense with a southern flavor?
Would this sound weird if I said this is how the "pretend" people sound in my head?
Television has reduced Americans to a mind-numbing blandness. Southerners do not fit into that cookie cutter mold. And I love that. We are unique and proud of it.
A native North Carolinian, from the mountains to the sea, I am so proud to call this state home. We're a fun group and filled with real life quirky characters for which the South has a well-deserved reputation. And don't even get us started on such hotly debated topics like ACC basketball, Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola or Nascar.
What is your favorite televisions show? Do you watch crime shows?
I love The Amazing Race mainly because I like re-visiting via television many of the places I've experienced. My current crime show favorite is Longmire. I love, love, love that show. And I also watch NCIS, Hawaii Five-0 (in honor of my second novel, Aloha Rose, releasing in November), In Plain Sight, and Castle. And, harkening back to my unknowing childhood fascination with the yet-to-be-invented genre of steampunk, I'm always into sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian stuff like Falling Skies and Lost.
What kind of research do you do for your novels?
I read everything I can get my hands on regarding factual topics and law enforcement issues before I ever speak with LE officials. Once I've done this and feel I'm ready to ask semi-intelligent questions, I turn to various experts in their field.
Aloha Rose, a romance in the Quilts of Love line, involved a consultation with a member of my church who flies helicopters as well as a lot of interviews with families who've gone through the adoption process.
Beneath a Navajo Moon (releasing 2014) and Carolina Reckoning included manuscript reviews by two Sheriff's deputies.
Under a Turquoise Sky (2014) was an interesting research situation as it involves WITSEC. And that's all I'll say on that; loose lips sink ships, etc . . .
Can you give us a peek into what you are working on right now and when it will be published?
I just turned in the edits for Beneath A Navajo Moon, which releases Spring 2014. Here's the back cover copy:
What happens when danger and love collide under a Navajo moon?
The search for a woman who disappeared in 1906 has lead cultural anthropologist Erin Dawson to Cedar Canyon, where the iconic terrain of red rock walls and mesas keep Navajo traditions—and maybe criminal evidence—well hidden. When Erin’s search leads her to cross paths with tribal policeman Adam Silverhorn, it’s hardly love at first sight. But everywhere she turns, Adam is already there. And sparks fly.
Fighting their feelings for each other, the two are suddenly thrust into a battle far more dangerous—a common quest to rout an insidious drug cartel that has spawned the recent rise in gang violence on the reservation. Adam gives Erin a rare glimpse into Navajo life few outsiders ever see—and into a crime ring that no one dares to imagine. As danger mounts, Adam and Erin begin to wonder if they will live to tell how they really feel.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS FOR READERS?
My ultimate desire is to proclaim the truth of God’s Word, His redeeming love as seen in the life of Jesus Christ and to help readers know for themselves this great, awesome God of all comfort and wisdom. He is enough for every need.
Carolina Reckoning is for those who’ve ever felt alone or faced an unknown future. For those who've felt abandoned and betrayed by a friend, spouse or family member.
It is the story, in a small way, of my life. The story of my own journey toward faith.
I hope readers will enjoy Carolina Reckoning—a little bit of sweet tea and a whole lot of southern magnolia.
Where can we find you online?
Readers can find me at www.lisacarterauthor.com; on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, too.
I also have a Carolina Reckoning board on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/ where readers can get a behind-the-scenes look at the setting and characters. And I'd love to hear from readers.
THANK YOU, Lisa, for stopping by. What a GREAT interview.