Carla Kelly’s Marian’s Christmas Wish Blog Tour Interview & Review

Please help me welcome Carla Kelly to the blog today. This is the last day on the tour. She has been kind enough to answer some questions for us.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I suppose I have. I wrote my first novel at 6 years old on my mom’s Olivetti Underwood typewriter. It had two sentences (the construction-paper cover was great) but there was a plot. I concentrated on journalism in high school, and majored in Latin-American History at BYU. I have an MA in American History (emphasis on the Indian Wars) from the University of Louisiana-Monroe. I rangered for several significant years in the National Park Service, worked as a PR writer for a medical center and a hospice, taught off and on at the university level, served as a contract researcher for the state of North Dakota, and wrote for a small daily newspaper in Nodak. All the time I did all these things, I was writing novels and some history in the early morning, late at night and on weekends. There are five kids and a husband in there somewhere, too.

But yes, I’ve always wanted to write a variety of things, from newspaper columns to histories to memoirs to fiction.

What would you like your readers to get out of Marian’s Christmas Wish and all of your books?

Basically, a good read! Maybe just more understanding of human nature, and the foibles with which we are all so amply endowed. Jane Austen liked that, too, and you can’t go wrong with Jane. I’ve identified a few themes through the years that seem to pepper my writing. One is that when life hands you a lemon, you had better by darn make lemonade, and fast. Another is that so often the best things come out of the worst events. Marjorie Hinckley, a lady I admire, once said, “Things generally just turn out all right.” I happen to believe that, too.

Do you have a current project in the works?

I’m booked up solid until August 2012 with projects. I’m currently finishing the third book in my current Harlequin contract, a story set at Fort Laramie in 1876. When I finish that, I’m writing a story for Cedar Fort about the Winter Quarters/Scofield Mine Disaster of 1900. Then comes a novel about the Mormon exodus from Mexico in 1912, when Pancho Villa romped and stomped over them. And then I tossed in another project that has no home yet, but should find one. I was in Santa Fe and Taos two weeks ago, and am writing a sort of tongue-in-cheek Spanish story in the fable mode about a juez de campo (a brand inspector in today’s language), a yellow dog and a blue-eyed girl in 1725. That’s my early-morning book. I work on the Harlequin book in the afternoon. I’ve never written two at the same time before, but it’s fun.

Do you have a ritual when you are writing?

Not really. I sit in front of my computer, put my a** in the chair and begin. Over my desk I have a photo of a trail drive in 1948 in Wyoming’s Sunlight Basin, near Cody, where my dad was from. I look at it a lot because it makes me smile. Sometimes I’ll heat up a mug of Crystal Lite pink lemonade. Not bad, really.

Hobbies outside of writing?

Writing is not a hobby. When I’m not working, I crochet baby afghans. Our LDS church in Wellington, Utah, has a fertile congregation. I like to listen to cowboy music (not country Western), and enjoy Mozart opera. My son Sam – he’s visiting right now from New Mexico – said I should say I’ve been skiing all my life and just took up snow boarding, but that would be a lie.

What book or books are you currently reading?

I’m on an Erik Larson glom. I finished The Devil in the White City, and am currently reading In the Garden of Beasts. Larson is an excellent narrative historian, but not quite as good as David McCullough, whose new book on 19th century Americans in Paris I have next on the TBR pile. I like to read good crime fiction, and am waiting for Robert Crais’s next book, which will be out in January. Never did get into romance fiction, except for Georgette Heyer, years ago.

If you could be one character from one of your books, who would it be?

The rich one! Except, gee, I don’t usually write about rich heroines. H’mm. Tough question. Honestly, it probably would be Julia Darling from Borrowed Light, because I really liked Mr. Otto. He’s my favorite cowboy. We go back a long way, actually, to a dignified rancher named Paul Otto that I met in Torrington, Wyoming, near Goshen Hole, where the story is set. Of the Regencies, it would probably be Mrs. Drew. She married a rich man!

Favorite drink?

Summer slush. It gives me the craziest freezer burn headache, but it tastes so good.

You didn’t ask, but here’s the recipe:

Summer Slush
1 large can pineapple juice

2 large cans lemonade

1 c. lemon juice

3 pkgs. Raspberry Koolaid

4 cups sugar

1 pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed

Mix the above. Add water to make a total of two gallons. Freeze to slush. (approx. 8 hours) Take it out of freezer and let it sit out before serving. You can break it up a little with a fork. Any combination of berries and Koolaid will probably do, but I like the raspberry combination best.

Thank you for the recipe Carla

What is your favorite ice cream?

It’s the Kroger’s cheap-o brand of cake and frosting ice cream: Birthday Party, or Birthday Bash. It’s killer and I love it, but seldom eat it. My daughter Liz calls it dessert by Sauron (you know, the evil genius from The Lord of the Rings).

What is your favorite food?

H’mm. Refer to above question. Favorite comfort food is cheese grits and hot sauce. I do like a good steak, medium rare (refer to cowboy answer). I seldom eat any of these, because I’m a faithful Weight Watcher, having lost 80 pounds in the last few years. I’m an old babe now.

Anything else I would like to add?

Maybe this: in my first hospital pr job, my boss, June, was also a writer, but a truly great nature photographer. I used to chuckle how she labored over stories. She was a good writer, but she didn’t enjoy it much. One day out of the blue, she told me, “Carla, I like to have written, but you like to write.” So true. I like the whole nasty process.

Currently out?

Check out Coming Home for Christmas, a Harlequin Historicals anthology where I wrote all three stories. It was fun and I’m proud of it. Come in January is a sequel to Borrowed Light called Enduring Light. It’s another LDS-themed story, which I know irritated some of my readers. Well, so it goes. I wrote what I wanted, and haven’t abandoned my other writing. There’s enough to go around to satisfy everyone. It’s time I get to suit myself a bit.

Also, Signet is going to be reissuing those moldy oldy Signey trad regencies as ebooks, starting in January. I’ve given permission for five. I know Barbara Metzger and Diane Farr are also involved, and probably others.

 

Thanks again for stopping by Carla and answering questions.  Now it is time for my review:

 

Marian’s Christmas Wish

 

Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she’s certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected—a young and handsome English lord.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 529 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1599559536
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (October 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
My thoughts:

 

Marian is headstrong in certain areas.  She is smart if not smarter than some men she knows.  She has been handling the house affairs as her brother is out and abroad.  When their mother writes to Percy, ( Marian’s older brother ) to come home.  Marian and Aridane, ( her older sister ) are not to thrilled as Aridane is in love with the Vicar in town.  They are afraid Percy will not like the match as he can bring nothing to the marriage.  They are also afraid of Percy learning of Alastar’s early arrival home from school.  This will be their last Christmas in the house  as their father left them in debt.  When Percy shows up with 2 men in tow the girls don’t know what to think except that one of them is going to have to marry for money.    Marian doesn’t want to ever marry and will go with the flow of things.

 

The two men that Percy bring home are Lord Gilbert Ingraham and Sir William who are both diplomats along with Percy.  Sir William reminds me so much of Mr Collins in P&P, although 10 times worse.  Sir William is wealthy enough just like their mom wanted, but thinks he knows everything and doesn’t care who he offends or where.  Lord Gilbert is more gentle.  He helps Marian with her momma cat when she has babies.
Will Marian’s Christmas wish come true?

 

I adored this story, reminds me so much of Jane Austen’s writing and I love the regency era.  Carla Kelly is a remarkable writer.  The book flows well and keep your interest.  Marian reminds me of Elizabeth Bennett in some ways.  The characters are well thought through and enjoyed seeing each of them interact.  This is the first book I have read by Carla, but it will not be the last.  I was very pleased with the book.

 

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done.***

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