Kathy: Joining us today is author Carla Caruso. Thank you for stopping by and chatting with us today. I am infinitely curious about what motivates an author to begin their writing career. What prompted you to try your hand at writing? How long did it take for you to become a published author?
Ms. Caruso: Well, I’m a print journalist by trade, so writing is something I’ve always done. I tried many other jobs as a youngster and failed miserably, from check-out chick to shoe salesperson, gift wrapper, bank teller and amateur theater actor. Writing’s the only thing that’s ever really fit! I think I wanted to write a novel from about age five, but it took me a lot longer to pen anything publishable. I probably took the whole fiction writing thing seriously about three years ago before reaching publication.
Kathy: Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Ms. Caruso: I love-love-love Sophie Kinsella, who is, of course, behind the Shopaholic series (and the resulting Confessions of a Shopaholic film starring Isla Fisher). I’ve heard Sophie’s got a new book, Wedding Night, coming out next year, so I’ll be one of the first in line for that! I also adore magazine-queen-turned-novelist Maggie Alderson, and have recently discovered some new debut authors who I’m loving: Nicola Doherty (behind The Out of Office Girl) and Lisa Walker (Liar Bird). I’m a romantic comedy junkie!
Kathy: What is a typical day like as author Carla Caruso? Do you write every day? How long does it usually take you to complete a book?
Ms. Caruso: I’m a freelance journalist and work from home now, which you would think would give me plenty of time to write, right? Wrong. Work assignments, emails to friends, the laundry, working out what to have for lunch, errands and letting the cat out come before me actually sitting down and tackling the fiction work. I’m about to start a new manuscript once I finish a big work assignment and I’m hoping to do about 1000 words a day and finish it in four months… well, I can dream, can’t I?
Kathy: LOL, I am sooo bad about using Facebook to procrastinate!
What do you like most about being an author? What do you like the least?
Ms. Caruso: I love being able to escape into another world. As a writer, I think you look at the world in a different way, so everything is sort of magical and has the potential to be a story. For example, a financially-minded person might look at an old cottage and think ‘that could make a good investment’, while a writer will look at the same cottage and go ‘that place is so quaint – imagine if this young heartbroken woman moved in, and the place was actually haunted by this hot ghost…’ and so on and so forth. Writing provides many layers to my life – and makes it more exciting! Sometimes I prefer the fantasy to the reality haha. The downside? It would be great if I could take my laptop out in the sunshine and type, but the two don’t seem to go together. Any suggestions, dear readers?
Kathy: Where do you find inspiration for your novels? Are your characters purely fictional?
Ms. Caruso: Everywhere and anywhere! I’m inspired by everything from throwaway lines I hear people say to postage stamp-sized articles in the newspaper, experiences that happens to me or someone I know, and beyond. I think the characters are often a blend of yourself, people you know, and fiction.
Kathy: Do you write your books from beginning to end or do you write out of sequence? Are you a plotter or pantster? Do you work on multiple novels at a time?
Ms. Caruso: I write chronologically. I can never understand those who write all the exciting scenes first, then have to pad out the rest later – it would do my head in. I don’t think I could get the ‘flow’ and the characters right, but that’s just me. I’m also a ‘mild’ plotter. I write brief one-sentence plot points, then take lots of notes along the way to remind myself what needs to happen next. A lot seems to get written in my head first when I’m lying in bed or going for a run! Often you need a bit of quiet to get the creative juices really flowing. Regarding the multiple novels at a time… I wish! I would find it too hard to keep up with the plot, generating fresh ideas for the story, and keeping the character motivations and ‘voice’ true. I have to write and edit a whole manuscript before I can move onto the next one. I wish I was such a multi-tasker, though!
Kathy: Could you please tell us a little bit about Mommy Blogger? How did you come up with the storyline?
Ms. Caruso: Mommy Blogger was inspired by my once applying to write for a parenting website, pretending I was a mom – when, in truth, I’m not (yet). My clueless story ideas, needless to say, didn’t make the cut. Mommy Blogger revolves around young Stella who lands a great job as a mommy blogger. The catch is she’s never had children. Plunged into a world of insanity every mother faces, she must learn to cope as her lies build upon one another. A sexy ex comes into the picture, forcing her to choose between him or the job and a handsome ‘keeper’ of a co-worker. It can’t last forever!
Kathy: Your latest release, Cityglitter, is a bit unusual-your main character is a fairy. Can you tell us a little about how you came up with the story concept and if you found it challenging to write?
Ms. Caruso: It was a lot of fun to write actually! The book’s based in Sydney, Australia, where I worked for three years in the magazine world (now back in the smaller city of Adelaide). The idea for the story came about because I got to attend a ton of fabulous media parties through work and never felt so frumpy in my life! Night after night, manicured socialites and celebs would be on parade and I used to joke to my hubby that maybe they used magic to look so polished all the time. (Cityglitter being about a gorgeous fairy living a glam life in the big city, who does the one thing she promised herself she’d never do: fall in love with a human! The fairies look like Victoria’s Secret Angels – with actual wings.)
Kathy: What projects are you currently working on? What does your publishing schedule for the rest of the year and 2013 look like?
Ms. Caruso: I’ve just had a ‘90s time-warp novel accepted – another romantic comedy. A friend called it Hot Tub Time Machine for girls! I’m also working on a suspense-style one involving zodiacs and another that’s a rural romance in a coastal setting. Not sure of the release dates yet, but keep an eye on www.carlacaruso.com.au!
Kathy: I have enjoyed chatting with you today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Ms. Caruso: To those reading who are aspiring writers, keep writing! It can feel like a lot of blood, sweat, tears – and rejections – at times, but it’s well worth it in the end. It’ll happen!
Kathy: Ms. Caruso, thank you again for visiting with us today. Please feel free to stop by anytime you’re in the neighborhood!
Title: Mommy Blogger by Carla Caruso
Publisher: Eternal Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 191 pdf pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Blog Tour Company
One baby, one lie–and a whole new career. Stella lands a great job as a mommy blogger. The catch is she’s never had children. Plunged into a world of insanity every mother faces, she must learn to cope as her lies build upon one another. A sexy ex comes into the picture, forcing her to choose between him or the job and a handsome ‘keeper’ of a coworker. It can’t last forever.
Carla Caruso’s Mommy Blogger is a fast-paced and entertaining romance. Stella has just landed a much needed job as a mommy blogger. The only problem? She is not a mommy. Further complicating her life is her attraction to her sexy co-worker and single dad Noah and the unexpected return of her ex.
I must confess: I have a love/hate relationship with Stella. For much of Mommy Blogger, she is shallow, immature and dishonest. Granted, she did not plan on deceiving her boss and co-workers, but she sure did not hesitate to embellish an elaborate story about her life as a single mom. Yes, she felt guilty about being a fraud, but not guilty enough to come clean and own up to her dishonesty. It is only a matter of time before someone discovers her lies and exposes her deception.
Equally uncomfortable for me is the storyline surrounding her ex. Once again, Stella knows what she is doing is wrong, but she continues on her destructive path. I wanted to strangle her on more than one occasion as she makes one bad decision after another. I had faith that she would eventually do the right thing, but she sure kept me guessing how far she would go before she realizes there are some lines that she would be better off not crossing. Was my faith in her justified? You will have to read Mommy Blogger to discover that answer for yourself!
The secondary cast of characters is well-developed and for the for the most part, likable. Some characters are quite quirky while others are mildly annoying but rather humorous. I enjoyed Stella’s friendship with Rose quite a bit. While I really liked Stella’s friend Pamela, my feelings about their friendship are rather ambivalent due to some of Stella’s actions. But the character I liked best and felt the most sorry for is Noah. He genuinely cares for Stella and I think that of all the people she inadvertently hurt, he is the one who suffered the most.
All of my frustration with Stella pays off in the end. Her experiences give her insight into her life and she makes some startling discoveries about herself. She does a great deal of maturing and I respected how she handled herself after her deception is revealed.
Mommy Blogger is a well-written romance with an interesting and unique plot. Carla Caruso does a beautiful job redeeming Stella into a more mature woman who finally takes responsibility for her actions. A light-hearted read that fans of contemporary novels will enjoy.