I am thrilled to announce that one of my favorite authors-Carla Caruso-has another new novel that was recently published called Starcrossed. Today I am honored to share a fabulous Q&A with Carla herself and an excerpt of her new novel here on the blog!
Interview with Carla Caruso
Hi Carla, a huge, warm welcome to Living Life With Joy! Thank you so much for participating in this interview.
No probs! I’m from Down Under – a small city called Adelaide to be precise. My background’s in newspaper and magazine journalism, but mostly these days I write chick-lit/romantic comedy novels, sometimes with a bit of mystery thrown in! I have twin boys, who are turning two on July 27, and a Maine Coon cat called Luca who thinks he’s their brother.
2. Can you give us a brief overview of your latest novel and the inspiration behind it?
Starcrossed follows four girls who go on a cosmic retreat on rugged Kangaroo Island… and strange things start to happen. There’s a hunky hero with a scorpion neck-tattoo in the mix, and the main heroine’s a romance author… wonder where I got that idea? There’s a bit of an astrology theme to the book, because I’m a horoscope junkie.
3. What other novels have you published and what are you working on at the moment?
I have a few out with HarperCollins and Penguin – some in print, some just digital – including the ‘Astonvale’ romcom mystery series, which starts with A Pretty Mess, beach read Catch of the Day, a fun one involving city-slicker fairies called Cityglitter, and Second Chance (in which a lass accidentally time-travels back to the ‘90s). Oh, plus a few novellas and short stories! I’ve recently just finished another manuscript that draws on my Italian ancestry and market gardening heritage. I’ve been blogging about my research here: http://www.theunitalianwife.com/about.html. [Check out my reviews of Carla’s Astonvale series: #1 A Pretty Mess, #2 Pretty Shore, #3 Pretty Famous and her novellas Unlucky for Some and Secret Santo. Be on the lookout soon for my review of her latest novel Starcrossed!]
4. If you were given an offer to turn Starcrossed into a movie, who would you want to see playing the roles of the female and male leads?
The hero is easy – Tom Hardy from romcom This Means War and the latest Mad Max. Actually I may have even mentioned my hero looks like him in the story, though I try not to spell out the celebrity I have in mind when I’m writing anymore – let the reader picture the hunk as they wish! For the heroine? Hmm… I might go with model/actress Megan Gale, because she also starred in Mad Max, is Aussie, and has long, dark locks to boot. Oh, and she’s gorgeous!
5. Who are the authors that inspire you and what genres do you enjoy reading?
Authors – Maggie Alderson, Sophie Kinsella, Liane Moriarty, Zoe Foster… I could go on! I’m a big chick-lit, women’s fiction lover. I love watching psychological thrillers, though, along with my romcoms.
6. Is there one book that stands out in your mind that you wish you’d written?
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. Utter magic as a child – and an adult!
7. What are the things you can’t live without in your wardrobe?
Skinny jeans, classic hues like beige and navy (I’m a classic-style-loving Capricorn), striped tops, good quality leather heels and boots, statement necklaces and cuffs, and throw-in-your-handbag cardis. I like classic pieces with a fashionable edge! I’m not so big on prints or sparkles…
8. What would we find if we looked in your handbag right now?
Lip balm, lippy, concealer, endless tissues and pens, credit card-stuffed wallet, nail file, hairbands, keys, mini notebook (for whenever novel inspiration strikes), brolly, glasses (sunnies and the other kind), a spare shopping bag, and a good book. Sadly, I carry my bag from room-to-room in case I need any of my essentials!
9. Do you have any pet peeves?
Hypocrites, fakery, online nastiness, any of the ‘isms’ (including narcissism).
10. A few of your favorites…
Favorite scent? Citrusy perfumes
Favorite color? Tan/beige (or white, if it were a color)
Favorite food? Right now I’m thinking roast with gravy (it’s winter over here and I’m a savory girl!)
Favorite word? Marshmallow
Favorite book? Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
Favorite vacation spot? Monaco
Favorite time period in history? The excessive eighties (especially the movies!)
Favorite article of clothing? Jeans
Favorite drink of choice? Green tea (especially in the morning)
Excerpt – Starcrossed by Carla Caruso
One, six, seven… Simona rattled the lock. The curved silver top didn’t spring open as expected. Darn. She tried again. No luck. She fished her notebook, where she’d scrawled the code just in case, from her handbag. Hmm. She had the digits right, so that wasn’t it. Maybe if she turned all the dials back to zero, then tried the code again, it would work. Unfortunately, the lock still wouldn’t budge.
Carmine would know what to do. She should call him. Except … they weren’t together anymore. He wasn’t there at the end of the phone any longer to help her out of dire straits. He might be oversensitive sometimes, but he was also practical. Methodical. What did Nessie used to say? That Simona married him just so she had someone to fix her computer and catch spiders. A little unfair. Though, it was true Simona was more book-smart than street-smart. Or common sense smart. She was an ideas person, not a technically-minded one.
But she needed to get used to doing things solo. She didn’t want a man around messing with her head, leaving her devoid of ideas, wreaking havoc on her childhood dreams. She had to focus. She wasn’t sure when she’d have room for another person in her life again. If ever.
Inspiration suddenly striking, Simona grabbed a nail file from her handbag and jiggled its tip in the lock’s base. Unfortunately, the pointy end snapped off, leaving just the mauve handle in her hand. Cursing loudly, Simona banged the suitcase with her free hand.
‘Everything okay in here?’ a gravelly male voice sounded from the doorway.
Simona’s shoulders hitched up. She’d thought she was alone. Dead alone. Darn Nessie for not shutting the door after herself.
Swivelling her neck, Simona inhaled sharply. A tall, well-built guy with cropped light brown hair, a deep tan and stubble stood staring at her. He was dressed all in black like he was heading to a funeral. One which might well be hers if she didn’t remember to breathe again. Trust her luck to make a fool herself in front of the first attractive guy to cross her path.
He really was a heart-stopper. As ruggedly striking as the windswept island itself. Not the type she expected to see at a health retreat. Of course, attraction was one thing, acting on it was another. That only led to trouble. She’d had enough of that for a while.
‘Sorry about the swearing,’ Simona stammered. ‘It’s just my stupid suitcase lock – the code won’t work.’
Jeepers. She was blushing. She could feel it spreading over her face like a rash. There was just something about his penetrating gaze. Almost like he could see inside her soul. The high-ceilinged room suddenly felt as hot as hell despite the cool breeze coming in the window.
The guy’s face remained expressionless. ‘It’s always the quiet-looking ones you’ve got to watch out for.’
Then he was striding into the room, filling up the space, before she could even try to protest…
Starcrossed by Carla Caruso
Book Blurb: Is love really written in the stars?
Fledgling romance author Simona Gemella is hoping the rugged wilderness of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island will help reignite her creative spark after her husband walked out.
She’s joined her best friend, Nessie, on a health and wellness retreat at a mysterious old manor on the island, run by an astrology guru.
Though Simona’s sworn off men, she can’t help being distracted by a dangerously handsome man with a scorpion tattoo – Denham Cobalt – who’s also staying at the manor. Then strange things start to happen, including uncanny accidents and even a possible murder.
It all culminates at a masquerade party on the night of a total lunar eclipse. Will Simona survive – with her heart intact?