Author Carla Rossi
Photo credit: Carla Rossi
Carla Rossi has written everything from Christmas Pageants and school newsletters, to poetry, stage plays, and Christian music. After another thousand pages of humorous essays about friends and family, she completed a novel. In 2004, she joined RWA and her local chapter, and set about the business of learning to write romance. When she’s not squirreled away in her office with her writing partner – a Main Coon cat – she’s adding piano, bass and vocals to her church’s worship band. She has three grown children and lives north of Houston with her husband and the muse cat.
Carla is the author of two inspirational romances, Limited Light and Almost Home, and two inspirational short stories, Under the 5th Street Bridge and It Happened One Hurricane. Under the 5th Street Bridge was a winner in White Rose Publishing’s Easter Lilies Contest, and Almost Home, a holiday romance, landed in the HOLT Medallion Top Five and was a finalist in the WisRWA Write Touch Readers’ Award Contest.
And now, it's time to Take 5 with Carla Rossi
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
A: First I have to identify if it’s true writer’s block or just life getting in the way of writing. I think authors are too hard on themselves and declare writer’s block when really they just have things going on that have their minds too busy to be creative. People get sick, have large life events - weddings, grandbabies, aging parents, stressful work situations, etc. - and find they can’t focus on writing. I don’t think this is being blocked. This is just life interfering with writing. Sometimes you can’t fight these situations and have to give yourself permission to put the pen down and let it rest. I had two children get married in seven months – one is a girl. It was an endless parade of planning and executing all things wedding. It scared me that I couldn’t get a decent word on the page and I finally had to step back and decide “I’m not blocked, I just don’t have the time or energy to create!” That said, if you do have trouble getting the process going when things are as normal as they can be, I suggest short, cheap excursions to reignite the creative flow. Take a day trip to the museum – journal in hand, of course . People watch, study art, let your mind go. The zoo is also a great place for this, and don’t get me started on airports! Oh, the people you can observe. The dog park, the beach, the nearby national forest. Take a short drive somewhere you don’t usually go – take it all in and let the ideas flow.
Q: How long does it take to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A: Right now I would say I complete a book a year. I write slow, but I tend to take a lot of time to get it done to my satisfaction so I rarely do major revisions. I write by scene or chapter, submit to critique group, let it rest a few days, make corrections/changes, move on.
ALMOST HOME by Carla Rossi
Photo credit: White Rose Publishing
Q: Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A: I am a plotter. I sketch out the beginning, middle, end as well as the major conflict and big black moment and resolution. I plan scenes a few at a time to make sure each one is propelling the plot and revealing information as I go. I confess I’ve been known to have a poster board with a story grid on it.
Q: Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?
A: There is no feeling in the world like typing “the end” at the close of a project. I try to celebrate in some way, like buying a charm for my charm bracelet that represents a character in my book or an item from the story that has special meaning.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a fledgling writer?
A: Do something every day that furthers your writing career. From reading a short article online or attending a writers’ group meeting to major conferences and queries… just do it! Big or small, there is something to be done every day and it will make you feel you’ve accomplished something. Other ideas: prepare to launch website/blog, download writing exercises from leading teachers in your genre, make character sketches and develop their history, visit writers’ blogs and leave comments, investigate publishing houses you’re interested in submitting to and learn their submission guidelines, spend a day as a character in your book and see what you learn about them, read a novel in the genre you’re writing, plan the promo for when you’ve published…the possibilities are endless.
Q: What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
A: Anything those lucky Jetson’s had.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The perfect road trip: 2 strangers, 1 truck, and 1500 miles to fall in love.
Detective Justin Hatcher and Cameron McAlister are in a hurry to leave North Carolina-for totally different reasons. He wants to confront his family about a five-year-old betrayal. She wants to escape the remnants of a failed marriage.
Thrown together as unlikely and unexpected travel partners, their trip is filled with both dramatic and humorous situations along the road. But, with God's constant hand in their journey, can Justin and Cameron discover that...
Yes, you can go home again...especially at Christmastime.