Thursday, December 16, 2010

Terrific Thursday with Jamie Carie:)

(Jamie's the one in black:) The other lady is responsible for getting her hooked on historical romance!)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I am Jamie Carie and I write inspirational, historical romance. I fell in love with historical romances when I was fourteen and have been reading them ever since. When I was a stay-at-home mom of two little boys I decided to try my hand at writing a romance novel. I'm a preacher's daughter and have been close to God all my life, so adding the inspirational element just came naturally. Although, I have to say, I try not to be preachy or let my characters be too "saintly." They have real problems and struggles. Some fail and some succeed. But they grow and change and turn to God in their place of need.

My latest release is The Snowflake, set in Alaska during the gold rush. It's the story of Ellen Pierce and Buck Lewis. Ellen has been taking care of her mentally ill brother all her life and has never had a story of her own. She lives a pretty lonely existence. Then she meets Buck, the kind of man that folk-lore is made of. The kind of man she hasn't even had the courage to dream about. But Buck isn't going to Alaska for the gold like everyone else. He's going to find his wife's killer so that he can put some closure to the hole in his heart. When he meets Ellen he is torn, conflicted and a little angry with himself that he feels something for another woman. They both have some issues to resolve before they can even think about being together. That's where Christmas comes in! It was so much fun to put a Christmas spin on a story!


Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Yes! Each story is scary at some point. Can I pull this off? How do I make such and such happen without it being cliché? How can I keep improving my craft? How can I keep that reader turning the pages and staying up into the wee hours of the night because they can't put it down? Did I pick the right theme and do I even want a "theme?" Whew! Writing is as close to cliff diving as I will ever come.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Yes and no. I've incorporated scenarios that are similar and bring out the same emotion and conflict. Isabelle in Wind Dancer is captured by Indians. That hasn't happened to me (duh) but I have felt "captured" and trapped by circumstances that have brought fear into my life. Emma in Angel's Den is beaten by her husband. I haven't experienced that (thank God!) but I have been abused by authority figures at times and have had to deal with the fall-out of that. Issues like that happen all of the time in my books.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

Both! J I research a great deal before beginning to write and then I have to stop now and then to look up things as I go along. Historicals are a lot of work (and fun!) when it comes to the research side.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

How much God loves us. If we can all just get a revelation of that . . . it can change our lives and change the world!


Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

All of my stories take on a life of their own and trash my attempts at being a plotter. I do character studies and outlines but then the characters wake up and becomes whatever they want to become. Same for plot. I plot out a few chapters ahead and then end up revising them along the way. It's a very loose, intuitive process for me.

How long did it take for you to be published?

I started Snow Angel in 1995. It took two years to write and nine more years to break in. It was a long, arduous process for me and I gave up several times. The thing is, I really believed in that story. I just couldn't let go of the dream of seeing it published. There were lots of rejection letters, blood, sweat and tears. But it was worth it! It was the beginning of my dream career! Kudos to you for not giving up:)

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Don't be so terrified of editors! LOL! I obsessed about every word I said to them in queries and proposals and in person. They are busy, harried sometimes and human. Just relax and talk to them like you would anyone else.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

I'm still chained to a desk top but my hubby is getting me a laptop so I'll be making that adjustment soon. My must-have is quiet and music! When I'm really in the writing "mode" I've got my ear phones on, the house is dark and my fingers are flying over the keyboard. Those are the good days!


Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

I love the classics and many of those authors but my favorite romance novelist of all time, the one I have studied and studied by reading her books countless times, is Laura Kinsale. It's my dream to meet her in person so I can grovel at her feet!! Sounds like myself and Lavyrle Spencer, lol!

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Hmmm. Okay . . . you know that the photo on the back of my books? It was taken at Glamour Shots! Ha! And yes, I did opt for the "Glamour Touch" (i.e. air brushing). I should probably get a new one taken that is a little more, er, lifelike, but I'm just not ready to let go of it yet. ROFL! I have my own 'Glamour Shot photos! But thankfully, I haven't had to use them yet:)


For Fun:

Favorite Christmas memory?

I remember one Christmas in particular where my dad built a huge Barbie house for me. It was two stories high with a spacious attic and taller than I was. My mom lovingly furnished it with carpet samples, wall paper, and creative furniture. I remember a lovely toothbrush holder as the bathroom sink, made from swirled blue glass on the bottom with a bronze colored top where the toothbrush slots circled the basin. There was a bed with real sheets and blankets, curtains at every window and kitchen appliances that I don't know to this day how she made so real looking. She sewed clothes for my dolls out of fabric scraps and let me buy plastic high-heeled shoes to complete their outfits. (Hmm, I think that was the beginning of my love for shoes!)

I adored my Barbie dolls and now they had a real home and lovely clothes so that I could make believe all sorts of stories for them. Sometimes I even let my brother play with me, but not very often. He liked to give the baby a cape and make it fly, which drove me crazy. Or, just to hear me howl, he would pop off Malibu Barbie's head and chuck it across the room. Brothers! I'm jealous! I sooooo wanted the Barbie Townhouse when I was 7 or 8!



Have you written any Christmas-themed stories or woven the holiday into any of your books?

My Christmas novella, The Snowflake, just came out! See the book trailer and read reviews and the back cover blurb on my website here: http://www.jamiecarie.com

Best Gift ever received?

Wow! That's a tough one. Of course the gift of my Savior being born is the best gift, but here on earth? I'm not sure it qualifies as a "gift" but my husband let me buy my dream car when we were newly married. It was a Pontiac Grand AM - white, with all that lovely side panel molding. (For some reason it reminded me of the storm troopers in Star Wars!). When we drove up to the dealership to look at cars it was the one outside, in the front, displayed on a tall ramp. I fell in LOVE! I'd never had a brand new car, and I felt like I was in heaven as we drove it off the lot. I always did have a thing for nice cars.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

My website http://www.jamiecarie.com has links to lots of online stores that carry my books. You can also find them at Borders, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, some Wal-Mart stores, Christian bookstores like LifeWay and your independently owned Christian bookstores. Pretty much anywhere books are sold.

You can follow me on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/jamie.carie

And on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/#!/jamiecarie

Sign up for my newsletter (it only comes out a few times a year) on my homepage http://www.jamiecarie.com to hear all the latest news and enter contests to win free books!

Thanks so much, Molly! Great questions!

Click here to buy:)

Blurb:
Christmas 1897. Ellen Pierce and her brother are determined to reach the Alaska gold rush. But when ice stalls their steamship, all seems lost, until Buck Lewis makes a decision: he'll lead all who dare to follow on foot toward Dawson City.

Buck is determined to leave behind a heartbreaking past. No amount of ice or weather will stop him. But he never counted on a woman joining a dangerous wilderness trek--or on falling in love with her.

As their journey unfolds and Christmas approaches, Ellen and Buck discover that the greatest gift of all can't be wrapped in paper and tied with a bow. It comes from, and is received in, the heart.

Come share in a soul-deep romance that gives a joyful reminder of a redeeming God who makes us each unique, yet loves us all the same.

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Alaska, 1897

Be there, be there, be there, be there.

The words thudded in time with my heartbeat as I let myself into the cold, tiny cabin aboard the steamship. I turned and shut the door with a soft click. Only a few minutes, that’s all I had before my brother would find me missing and come looking for me. Only a few precious minutes alone.

I rushed over the rocking floor to the side of the lower bunk, knelt down, and reached underneath to pull out my heavy trunk. My fingers shook with fright and cold as I fumbled with the latch and lifted the lid.

I shoved aside dresses and stockings, a petticoat that had seen better days, and a pair of shabby pink slippers, then dug down to the bottom of the trunk. My fingers crushed around the feel of tulle as tears sprung to my eyes.

It was still there.

My heart lurched, as if it had long forgotten this wave of bliss. My eyelids dropped shut as I lifted out the long veil, stood, and clutched it to my chest. I stroked the delicate fabric, unable to look at it yet, savoring the blindness that heightened my touch as my fingertips ran along the silken crown at the top, each faux pearl against the lace a seed of delight. A laughing sob leapt from my throat, and I opened my eyes.

The veil was already two years old. What would happen when I lifted it out and found it yellowed with age?

I’d first seen it in a dressmaker’s shop window on a windswept, autumn day in San Francisco. I walked inside that shop without thinking what I was doing.

A woman with gray-and-black streaked hair rushed from a back room, smoothing down her skirts as she stepped into her showroom. She smiled at me, like I could be a paying customer, and I pretended I was.

“How can I help you, my dear?”

I stood mute for a moment and then pointed toward the window. “May I—” I swallowed hard and rushed out the rest before my courage failed completely. “May I see that veil?”

“Of course.” The woman turned to fetch it. She was round in a motherly way that made me feel better somehow. “You must try it on.”

And I did.

I let her arrange the tulle, so long that it flowed from my head to the floor behind me. She fussed over the combs in the headpiece, placing them into my thick crown of curls I was forever trying to manage, trying to conceal the full glory of. Rich brown hair as to be almost black, curling all the way down my back but never to be seen—always caught up and away into a hat or cap or knitted net that kept it from any temptation of man. It was understood that I would never let it down.

The woman finished positioning the great white veil on my head, as if it was a normal day’s occurrence, and I supposed for her it was. But I’d never had a day like that. She fluffed up the gauzy poof in the back and then gave a great sigh and stood back, her hands over her wide bosom.

“It’s perfect.” She beamed, gesturing toward a mirror.

I turned toward the wavy glass, my stomach seizing and trembling. As my face came into view, my hand, too, lifted to my chest. I blinked but the image didn’t fade; it only grew stronger. Brown, wide-set eyes, round and startled, a thin face, pale against the walnut hue of my hair. The veil was white and stark and beyond beauty. My heart pounded so loud I was sure the woman could hear it. But she only looked at me, over my shoulder in the glass, with a kind smile.

“It’s lovely on you, dear. When is your wedding?”

Had the woman spoken? I couldn’t hear beyond the roar of my blood. I stared and blinked at my image in the glass. A bride?

Never.

I jerked my gaze away from the glass, unable to see my reflection for another second. My hands clawed at the delicate combs, frantic to free them from my hair.

“Never,” I whispered, thrusting the delicate piece into the woman’s arms. With tears blinding my eyes, I stumbled from the shop—out into the cold nothingness of my life.

Weeks passed but I couldn’t forget. Symbol, talisman, covenant, promise…hope. It took months of hoarded pennies, lies when questioned about the rise in the cost of flour or milk, and the shattering of my pride to go back to that shop. I knew the woman would look at me with pity in her eyes, but the need to have the veil was greater than any of that. And it was still here in my trunk. Jonah hadn’t found it yet.

The door swung open and crashed against the wall.

“Oh!” I turned and faced him, my brother, crushing the veil to my chest. My breath froze as he advanced.

“Where have you been?” His voice was reed thin with a grasping, clawing undertone that I knew only too well.

“I was tired.”

“You’re up to something. What do have there?”

He advanced on me. I took a step back and then another until my legs bumped into the room’s narrow bench. “It’s nothing. Please, I was only going to lie down for a little while.”

Panic rose in my throat, suffocating me as his eyes went black. His thin arm struck out like a coiled snake and snatched the delicate tulle.

“No!” I held tight to my precious hope. “Please, it’s nothing of value. Let me keep it. Please, I’ll do anything.”

“A veil.” Shock lit his eyes, and then he made a low sound that was so hollow, both terrified and angry—an eerie, mad, moaning sound. “Ellie, you can’t leave me. I won’t let you leave me.”

He tugged harder as his gaze darted around the cabin, as if looking for a place to crawl in and hide. His gaze, suddenly sharp in focus, snapped back to mine. He inhaled. “It’s that man, isn’t it? You’ve been talking to him. I saw you.”

His grip on the veil tightened as he stepped so close to me our noses nearly touched and his breath came and went in quick gasps across my face.

“There is no man, Jonah. Please, it’s just a memento. It was mother’s. I keep it to remember her by.” The lies flowed easy and vivid, but I could tell by the trembling of his lips and the rage eating up his eyes that he did not believe me.

He grasped my wrists in a searing hold, his hands, so frail and weak looking, were stronger than a steel trap. The cloth of the veil twisted around my hands and his. With one hand holding one of my wrists against the wall, he jerked my other hand up and out.

I cried out in pain as the veil made a long ripping sound. My eyes clenched shut as sobs escaped my usually tight throat. “Noooo.” I turned my face away from him toward the wall and wailed.

Loud footsteps rang across the floor, and then Jonah was wrenched away from me. My eyes blinked open, pools of heartbreak rolling down my cheeks as the man of my dreams held my brother’s arms behind his back.

I watched, unable to utter a word, as he hissed into Jonah’s ear. “What is the meaning of this? If you ever lay a hand on her again—”

He didn’t finish the threat, but Jonah’s eyes went blank, dead. He looked like a little boy again. The boy I’d always protected.

“Don’t hurt him.”

Buck Lewis shook his head at me. “No one deserves to live like this.”

“I’m all he has.” My voice was a whisper. Everything in the room went deadly quiet as Buck studied my shattered, pleading eyes.

An enormous crash interrupted my horror. The ship lurched and tilted as a great splintering, the groaning and cracking of ice, exploded in sound. I fell back against the wall as Jonah used the moment of distraction to slither away from Buck’s hold.

“Come on!” Buck turned toward the opening in the doorway. “The ship may be damaged. We can’t stay down here.”

The three of us rushed to the top deck.


Jamie's graciously decided to offer a free copy of The Snowflake to a lucky commenter:) Merry Christmas!

19 comments:

Grace Elliot said...

A really interesting post. Glad you did persevere in your writing and kept going over the years!
best wishes for your future career,
Grace x

Kristal McKerrington said...

Those look like good reads and its something I will be checking out! Kristal x

Casey said...

I have heard great things about Jamie's fiction and have been wanting to read The Snowflake since I first saw it. Please enter me here, thank you so very much!

Email in profile.

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'd love to read Jamie's book!
Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

Jaime said...

Great interview!!! I took a long shot a while back and ordered Jamie's Snow Angel off of Amazon just 'cause the cover was cool. Now I have a bookshelf of all her stuff. :) :) I'm such a sucker for a good cover and when it comes with a great author then its a slam dunk. :)

Martha A. said...

Wow! I have really enjoyed your books as they don't touch on easy topics...there is a lack of books dealing with the mentally ill and I am really going to have to read this book! Good job! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Jaime said...

oops I forgot :) jamida(at)charter(dot)net

Norma Doles said...

Hi, Jamie!
I haven't had the good fortune to read your work as yet, but The Snowflake sounds so good!!
Hope to read it soon, but finances are tight right now, as I recently retired.
Hope your books continue to do well
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

misskallie2000 said...

So glad you didn't give up. I love your story line and would love to win your book.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

charlie said...

I love snowflakes because each one is unique and different and to think the creator of our world created them and each one is different, because of that the title "The Snowflake" attracted me to the title when I first heard of it and also because I love historical fiction! I would love to be entered in the contest!
Christina
charliebear@rogers.com

Anne Payne said...

This one sounds sweet. I've read all Jamie's books. My favorite is The Duchess and the Dragon :) Merry Christmas from NC!

homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

Wendy said...

I have really enjoyed Jamie's past books. Thanks for offering this one.
wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

Cleda said...

Molly that was an awesome interview, Everything was covered and so appreciated Jamie's link and that excerpt... I would love to have the book, sounds great. Thanks for the opportunity to be in the give away... The best CHRISTmas ever..smiles and hugs... going to go check Jamie's link out....

cedson76255(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sandee61 said...

I would love to read The Snowflake, I've been a fan of Jamie's books for awhile now and this one would be a great Holiday read. Thank you for the entry!
Enjoyed the interview very much.

Christmas Blessings,
Sandee61

Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

Debbie Clark said...

I would love to win your book The Snowflake. Thanks for the chance to win it.
debbiemcla@msn.com

Jamie Carie said...

Jaime - wow you just made my day!! And thanks to all for so many lovely comments. It's folks like you that make all the hard work worth while! Merry Christmas and God bless us every one!!

Molly Daniels said...

Thanks for being here today Jamie:) I've got my own copy of The Snowflake and am saving it for the trip north Christmas Eve:)

Anne, I think Duchess is also my fave:)

Cleda, thank you so much:)

I'll announce the winner on tomorrow's blog:)

Ellen Tevault said...

Jamie,
I would love a copy of Snowflake. It sounds great. I hope you autograph it too.

Thanks,
Ellen Tevault
http://ellentevault.blogspot.com

Liz Flaherty said...

Your book sounds great and I can STILL feel pangs of envy over that dollhouse!