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Interview With Carrie Turansky

A 10-year member of ACFW, multi-published author Carrie Turansky writes heartwarming stories with unforgettable characters that face life challenges with God’s help. Since the publication of her first book, Wedded Bliss, in 2005, she’s written both contemporary and historical romance and has placed in and won multiple contests.

Carrie, you play multiple characters in your own story: wife, mother of five, mother-in-law to two, grandma of three, pastor’s wife, church planter, and last but not least, writer! How do you manage all these responsibilities and still find time to pen great stories?

My husband Scott and I often joke that life is never boring around our house. When I started writing twelve years ago I was homeschooling all five children, so I was even busier then than I am now. I learned some important skills during those years like how to focus my attention for writing and time management. These days I feel like I have plenty of time to write, be involved with my husband in ministry, and stay connected to my young adult children and grandchildren. I am busy, but I enjoy each of these areas of my life. I try to set realistic deadlines with the help of my agent, and I use weekly word count goals so I know I will finish my books on time. I’ve never missed a deadline yet. That gives me freedom to do other things and still stay on track with my books.

On your website, you give the credit for your inspiration and story ideas to a vibrant and growing relationship with Christ. Tell us a little bit about how your relationship with God influences your writing life.
My relationship with Christ is central to all I do. Spending time in His word and in ministry gives me a wonderful well to draw from when I write my stories. My husband and I have done quite a bit of counseling and personal ministry with people. That gives me compassion and insight into God’s answers for the problems and conflicts my characters face. Sitting under good Bible teachers deepens my faith, and I believe that gives me wisdom for the themes and truths I want to include in my books. Hearing back from readers and knowing that my stories have encouraged them and helped them is one of the biggest blessings I’ve received as an author.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
In 2000 I read a novella written by Beth White that I truly enjoyed. I thought this is the kind of book I want to write, so I emailed Beth and asked for her advice. She responded with an encouraging email and told me about a new group that was just getting started – ACRW. I joined and found it was a wonderful group of likeminded authors who took me under their wings and helped me move toward publication. One of those authors was Kristy Dykes. We met online through the email loop and then at an ICRS Convention. Since our husbands were both in the ministry and we were about the same age, we had a lot in common. Kristy was already published, and she made up her mind that I should be published too. She invited me to be one of four authors proposing a novella project to Barbour. The first one was rejected, but our second, Wedded Bliss, was accepted and published in 2005. I will always be grateful for her friendship and determination to do all she could to help me. The support and encouragement of fellow ACFW authors has made a huge impact on my writing journey. I’m thankful for everyone who reached back to help me, and that’s what I seek to do now as I connect with aspiring authors.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
My biggest challenge is choosing which optional activities I’ll say yes to. I love spending time with friends and serving at my church, but I’m learning to wait a day or two before I say yes to an invitation or new activity. That gives me time to pray, check with Scott, and think through how much time will be required before I make a decision. As part of my quiet time each morning I create a list for the day, plan my schedule, and think through what is most important. Praying about this helps me be sensitive to the Spirits leading. Then when interruptions come, as they usually do, I trust that God is behind those, and I feel less frustrated. I’ve also learned to wear earplugs and put on soothing instrumental music to help me focus during my writing time. I love Deb Raney’s advice to use movie soundtracks as background music for writing. Prince of Tides is one of my favorites.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
One of the greatest moments was receiving that call from my agent telling me I had sold my first full-length book to Steeple Hill. I was floating around the house for a few days after that. Being a finalist in the Genesis and the Carol Contests has also been a huge encouragement to me.

In addition to your faith, who/what spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I love to research a time period or a location and find real people who inspire my characters. I also keep a file of newspaper and magazine articles about interesting people and places. Those have been a great source of characters, settings, and stories. The hero in my current WIP is inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, who traveled west when he was 23 to start a cattle ranch, but the only thing he knew about ranching was what he’d read in a book. His Harvard education wasn’t much help to him in South Dakota. The setting and characters for my newest release, Seeking His Love, were inspired by reading about artists and drama programs in the Fairhaven, Washington.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I think my experiences in life and my years in ministry have shaped me and given me a deep love for the Lord and for people. I believe those come through in my storytelling. My themes are often a reflection of lessons I have learned, sermons I’ve heard, Bible studies I’ve been involved with, or people I’ve counseled or mentored. And my gift of encouragement is often a motivating force behind my storytelling voice.

Finish this sentence. The one encouragement I would offer an aspiring author is …
When you finish your first book, celebrate and take a week off, then jump back in and write your next book. Keep going! Don’t get stuck rewriting and revising that first book forever. That will only slow you down. You learn how to write by writing and reading. Keep doing both and you will make great progress.

Any parting words?
Thanks for giving me a chance to connect with all my ACFW friends. I loved seeing so many of you at the conference! It’s a joy to share this writing journey with you all!

Thanks for sharing with us, Carrie!

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