Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Author Carla Olson Gade, Day 1

This week we welcome Carla Olson Gade to our Novel PASTimes author spotlight. Carla is a native New Englander and writes from her home in rural Maine. Her novel The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter was just released, but she has several other projects in the works for later this year and in 2013.

Welcome, Carla! Tell us a little about your road to publication.
 For over twenty years I had aspirations of getting published. Although I’ve had a number of articles published on family life and adult literacy, my journey toward publication of my fiction work was long. I had to lay down my dreams at times and entrust them to the Lord. There were many seasons in my life filled with other priorities, but writing was always something I had to do. Hard work and prayer go hand and hand and when the timing was right, God opened the door. He  provided me with fabulous mentors and critique partners, a novel request, and a literary agent. I signed 3 book contracts before my first one, The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter, was even published. I’m still in awe.

Speaking of The Shadow Catcher's Daughter, can you tell us a bit about it and how you came to write it?
The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter is my debut novel, released through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents book club. It’s set in Colorado & New Mexico in 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.

The concept was presented to me for the historical series Love in Four Corners by Darlene Franklin. She invited me and Susan Page Davis for this series, each of us setting our novel in a different time period relating to the Four Corners Monument at the intersection of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter is first in the series as it takes place during one of the earliest surveys of the area. When I did my research, I became fascinated with the idea of my characters joining a survey expedition, fictitiously of course, though the survey is an historical event. I appointed Yiska as the guide and Eliana as a photography assistant. By the way, shadow catcher is what Native Americans called photographers, thus the title!

Copies are available through Signed by the Author.

When you first entered the publishing world, what surprised you the most? Was there any aspect of the business that caught you off guard?
 I must say that authors were expected to do so much of the marketing themselves. When I discovered this, in addition to actually writing and honing my writing for publication skills, I began learning everything I could about the industry, marketing expectations, how to build my platform, and make worthwhile connections. It was time well spent and helped me enter the world of publishing.

Why historical fiction?
 I’m in love with history! I love being swept away to another time and place. You’ve heard people say they were born in the wrong era? That’s how I feel, but I just can’t decide which one!

Do you have a favorite historical novel?
It’s a toss up!  The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall and Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz. Both authors write riveting adventures.

Great choices! Is there anything or anyone that inspires your writing?
Probably just about anything! But mostly, historical persons, places, events, and even items fascinate me and often trigger ideas.

What do you enjoy most about reading historical fiction?
 Being transported back in time to historical settings and getting to experience life through the eyes of the characters in the story.

Historical fiction requires a lot of research! How did you go about researching your work?
 The whole thing is like a treasure hunt for me! I love it so. Since it wasn’t possible for me to go to the four corners region in person I had to let my fingers do the walking through the internet. Historical setting is about location and time period and one of the best resources I find is historical societies. The state of Colorado archives and the town societies gave me a tremendous amount of information. This is where I came across the names of real events and people that I sprinkled throughout the tale. Google Books is also a valuable source I used. I did specific searches in the time frame of the novel that provided me with real life experiences of people that helped me authenticate what my characters encountered such as travel, culture, temperature, etc. One was a book written by Rev. George Darley in the late 19th century called Pioneering the San Juans. I got so much information from his accounts that I made him a character in the book!

What is the craziest/most fun/most surprising thing you've done in the name of research for one of your books?

Visitors, come back tomorrow for Carla’s answer to this one, and a photo to prove it.

Carla will be giving away one copy of The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter to someone who comments this week. Here’s the question you can answer to be eligible for our drawing:

If you could visit any historical place, where would it be?

We’re looking forward to your answers! Please remember to leave your name and email with your response (spelling out ‘at’ and ‘dot’ to help avoid spam). The drawing will be held at Friday at 8 a.m. ET.


windycindy said...

Ireland! I have a long time fascination with castles, moors
of Ireland and the struggle between
Northern Ireland conflicts...
Your books sounds wonderful!
Many thanks, Cindi

Rhemaword said...

I choose Germany... they say every writer has their place, and mine is during WWII... I know it would be intense but I would love to tour Berlin and gather ideas and info.
Congrats to Carla Olson Gade on her novel! It sounds really interesting... I love reading about Native Americans.

4readin said...

Vienna. Vienna, Austria. I am just so intrigued by the rich history there. The famous Lipanzaners horse school is there. Mozart, Hayden, Handel, Bach, and almost every other composer has written and performed there! It's involvemant in WWII is so interesting to me.
Thank you so very much!!

ks4readin (at) yahoo (dot) com

apple blossom said...

Ireland or scotland. love to visit the castles

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Carla, I have posted your blog tour on CQ up top!!! Congrats on your DEBUT novel, which I am loving so far!!!

Angela Holland said...

I would choose to visit Stonehenge. I have always wanted to go there.

Thank you for the chance to win.

griperang at embarqmail dot com

Carla Olson Gade said...

Thank you all! I love hearing about your favorite places. Blessings!

Christy Janes said...

I'd love to visit London, England one day, but while I'm over there, I might as well take in a few other cities. One day, I hope the hubby and I and do one of those European cruises...gone for 2 weeks, no stress, lots of relaxation, and some beautiful scenery. Sigh... :o)

Carla, your book cover is beautiful! So glad to see that Heartsongs are still being published. :)

southernsassythings at gmail dot com

Carla Olson Gade said...

Thank you, Christy! I'd love to visit England some day, too. I'd like to see Devonshire, where many of my ancestors came from. That cruise idea sounds delightful!

Yes, it is great that the tradition of Heartsong Presents will continue on with their new publisher, Harlequin.

pwnmom said...

Scotland. we are of Scottish descent and I would love to see the castles and pasturelands there.