Carla Gade writes: articles, blog posts, and website content. Oh, yes. She writes stories, too, including inspirational historical romances. A web designer, she’s owned her own business, CompuStyle, for twelve years.
In addition to writing, Carla is passionate about reading. One of her favorite pastimes being curling up in bed with a good book. In addition, she has a burning desire to help others learn to read and works part-time for an adult literacy organization. She has taught adult education classes on Internet Genealogy and Website Design.
New Englanders with two grown sons, Carla and her own Hero husband live in Maine with their two spoiled cats. When she’s not designing websites, working at the literacy agency, or writing, Carla enjoys photography, home design, and genealogy. She also is a rockhound who loves geology and gemology and would love to discover some fossils or gemstones. History and archaeology interest her as well, and she has a dream of exploring ancient ruins and staying overnight in a castle.
Carla has been active in ministry for many years serving as small group leader, Bible study teacher, and program director. She enjoys her current role as a conference planner and creates marketing materials for bi-annual women’s conferences at her church and for the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers, further putting her creativity to use.
Carla, congratulations on your First Sale! What wonderful news.
Let’s start by catching up. What’s taken place since I interviewed you in November 2009?
Keli, it’s been a whirlwind! After spending so many years working toward my dream of publication the doors began to open right up for me. In January 2010 I was invited to join a critique group with my mentor Susan Page Davis. Before I knew it, fellow “critter” Darlene Franklin asked me to participate in a series book proposal. I laid down my existing projects and began to write a brand new historical novel based on the theme she presented, a western at that, set in the Four Corners region.
And then you received The Call. I love call stories, so tell us all about yours. When did it come? What were you doing? And how loudly did you squeal?
This experience has been an interesting progression of squeals for me! Our proposal was submitted on July 12th, and by the 31st we were notified that the publisher wanted to buy our series. There was an expected caveat, though, since I was a new author: the editor still wanted to see my full manuscript. Reserved squeal and much rejoicing with my author partners and my family.
Two months later, October 1st, I turned in the finished manuscript and by October 28th it was official! I got an email in the late afternoon from our representing agent with the news that my debut novel would be published in January 2012. Darlene’s and Susan’s books would be published in February and March. A long way off, I know—14 months to be exact! But the timing is relevant to the series’ theme as the centennial of events featured in our stories will be celebrated then. It’s perfect.
I was home alone at the time. A little bit in shock I think when I read that email. I just roamed around the house for a few minutes in disbelief, and as I praised God, the floodgates flew open. I could barely stop crying from 4 pm until I went to sleep. (Oh, did I even sleep that night?) The first person I called was my husband, who was on his way home from work with our son who works along with him. Within minutes I received two great big congratulatory hugs, with many more to follow (including from my other son later). I called my Mom (who does all my first editing), and it was a very emotional celebration for both of us to see this dream come true!
You got The Call, and life as you knew it changed. I’ve gathered one’s plate suddenly becomes very full as she embarks on her new career as a published author. Please share with us what’s going on now, what you’ve been learning, and how you’re adjusting to living with deadlines?
First off I’d like to share the bit about deadlines. The hardest lesson learned was that the professional author must go on no matter what. I was initially supposed to complete my manuscript between July 31st and September 15th (Six weeks! I had already done all my research and had about half done in draft—grateful that my word count was only 50,000.)
But then my step-dad, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in April, passed away from complications on August 20th. He was my “call guy”—whenever I had a question about my story’s southwest setting and other details, I went to him. So he’s very much a part of my book. I was able to negotiate a two-week extension and somehow found the strength to finish the novel, as he would have wanted me to.
Now you know why all the crying. But having gone through that extremely difficult and bitter-sweet season I learned some disciplines that are helping me as a writer . . . an author. Self-discipline, time-management, focus, partnering with God—I’m merely the glove, He’s the hand inside the glove.
Now I’m in transition. Adjusting my priorities and reducing activities and my workload so I may focus more on my writing career. My release date is still so far off and I just signed the contract this month. I have until June to get my final edits in. This is top priority.
Your good news didn’t stop there. What happened next?
I decided to use this year before my first release to develop a strategy for my writing and continue to find more opportunities for further publication. In December I gathered a team of authors (Laurie Alice Eakes, Amber Stockton, and Lisa Karon Richardson) and submitted a proposal for a novella collection. Within a few weeks we learned that Colonial Courtships sold, with a release date in May 2012. I received my second contract first and my debut novel contract a few days later, signing them both on Valentine’s Day.
I can hardly believe that I have two books releasing in 2012! Now I have new tasks to manage, in addition to writing, that include providing input for my book covers, developing marketing strategies, getting my professional photographs taken, and the list goes on. I’m also writing another book proposal and am working with my literary agent on my goals.
Your agent? Wow! Can it get it any better? How did your offer of representation come about?
Representation from my new literary agent, Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary came as a result of my involvement with this project. During our first phone conversation I bravely asked if he would be willing to represent me on future projects and he graciously agreed. So everything happened for me pretty much all at once.
Carla’s Debut Novel
Please tell us about The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter and your novella in Colonial Courtships.
The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter by Carla Olson Gade
New Mexico, 1875: Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant on an expedition to survey and document the placement of a marker at the intersection of four southwest boundaries. Living in the shadows of his native heritage, a half-Navajo guide, Yiska Wilcox, is thrown off course when The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart. As they travel through dangerous terrain in New Mexico and overcome barriers of culture, faith, ideals, and secrets that they both keep, they at last discover common ground and stake a chance on love.
Carving a Future by Carla Olson Gade
Connecticut, 1752: Ship figurehead carver Nathaniel Ingersoll has apprenticed for many years under his Uncle Phineas and hopes to become a master ship carver in his own right. Constance Starling was spirited away from England to the Connecticut coast as an indentured servant, arriving too ill for anyone to accept her. When Nathaniel takes pity on her, he purchases her contract. Has he jeopardized the future he has worked so hard to achieve for the welfare of a weakly servant?
Questions for Carla
Carla, it’s been wonderful having you back at Romance Writers on the Journey to share your wonderful news with us. Congratulations again on your first sales and offer of representation!
I invite your visitors to ask you any questions they have about your sale, your debut novel, and what life is like after receiving that long-awaited contract offer. And, of course, feel free to squee with Carla all you’d like.
Thank you, Keli! It’s been great to be here. As a thank you for having me I’d like to offer two commenters a copy of one of my forthcoming books. And thank you everyone for visiting!
Carla’s generously offered to give away a copy of one of her books to each of two winners.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Carla by midnight March 4th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)
On March 5th I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)
Congratulations to the winners: Kathleen L. Maher and Sonia Ballew.
Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Learn More About Carla
Visit her website ~ carlagade.com
Visit her blog ~ Writing to Distraction
Friend her on Facebook ~ Carla Gade
Follow her on Twitter ~ carlagade