Carrie Turansky ~ Author Interview

Jun 12, 2015 by

Welcome back to Rachel’s Back Talk! Another Friday interview!

Today’s interview is with Carrie Turanksy. This past Monday, I had the opportunity to review her book The Governess of Highland Hall.

So without further ado, on to Rachel’s Back Talk – Special Edition! 


RR: Hi Carrie! Thanks so much for being here with me today. To start off today’s interview, could you tell us when you knew you wanted to be a writer.

CT: I’ve always loved to read and wrote my first book, by hand, at age 12. But after that I followed my interest in art and graduated with a BA in Fine Art. I homeschooled my five children and we read a lot of historical fiction aloud. That stirred my interest in writing that genre.

RR: I have to say homeschooling is great! And read-a-louds were something that sparked my interest as well. So how would you describe your writing process? Are you more of a planner or freewriter?

CT: I wrote my first few books without a plan, just pouring out the story as it came to me. That was fun, but I ended up with very long novels that wandered around quite a bit. Those were my “learning how to write books” and they’ll never be published. When I became more serious about publication I started plotting out my books in order to present proposals to agents and publishers. I’ve had fourteen books published now, and I’ve learned to plot out the main points and know my characters well before I start writing a book.

RR: We all have those books. I think it is so amazing to see how books progress with more work. There is always more learning to be done! When is your best time in the day to write?

CT: I am a morning person, so my best time to write is in the first half of the day. But when I have a contract and a deadline, I usually write into the afternoons many days. My creative brain is pretty tired in the evening, so I rarely get much writing done after dinner.

RR: That is true. Best to do the writing right away! How do you know when you have a great story idea?

CT: Reading widely for a number of years has helped me learn what type of stories and elements in those stories have the deepest impact on me. When I’m reading or watching a movie I always take note of those elements and file them away in my mind. Through writing and reading, I think writers gain a sense of what makes a great story. Your characters must be likable and relatable and have a cause or goal that makes readers want to cheer for them and see them succeed. There needs to be believable conflict and a meaningful resolution to the story. My books include faith elements, so those have to be portrayed in a realistic way, weaving together truth about God and relationships that provides hope and inspiration for readers.

RR: Reading IS so important, especially for writers! Out of all your books, which has been your favorite to write?

CT: Each book is my favorite when I am writing it, but I think the Governess of Highland Hall stands out in my mind for a few reasons. I wanted to write longer historical novels for a number of years, and signing a three-book contract with WaterBrook was a huge boost to my confidence. That story just flowed and I was able to write it more quickly. I could “hear” the characters and I knew just what to write. It doesn’t always come that easy. The next book in the series, The Daughter of Highland Hall, was probably the hardest book I’ve written. I think that was because Kate’s personality was so very different than mine. It was a real stretch for me to get inside her head and understand her.

RR: The most recent one is always the favorite. I love how that works out. 🙂 So moving on to this book in particular, how did you come up with the story idea for The Governess of Highland Hall?

CT: Early in 2012 I attended a conference and had a conversation with an editor. I asked her what type of proposal she’d like to see. She told me she enjoyed Downton Abbey, which was just becoming popular, and she said, “I’d liked to see a book set in England during that time period with a noble governess and brooding hero – a bit like Jane Eyre.” I thought it was a great idea, so I jumped into the research for Edwardian England and fell in love with that time period. The characters and plot rose out of the research and the story came to life in my mind.

RR: I absolutely LOVE Downton Abbey! Probably why I love this book so much! Are the characters Julie, Sir William, or Sarah based off of anyone you know?

CT: The basic idea for the hero and heroine came from that conversation I mentioned above, but I wanted to give my heroine a unique background. I read the biography of Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India, and I used some elements from her life as the back-story for Julia. William and the other characters are all from my imagination.

RR: That is so cool that you based Julia off of Amy Carmichael. It makes her seem even more real. So tell us, why do you like writing historical fiction?

CT: I love history, and I enjoy learning about other times and places. I enjoy the research that goes into writing historical novels. It’s a fun challenge to learn enough about another time and place to craft a story set there. Hearing from readers who have enjoyed the stories is a blessing and encouragement to me.

RR: Research is a lot of fun. How much time was spent researching verses writing in this book in particular?

CT: I spent about three months researching the Edwardian Brides Series and creating the proposal and first three chapters. It was a completely new time period and setting for me, so I needed to continue the research while I wrote the book over the next nine months. When you are a working with a traditional publisher on contracted books, you are usually researching one book, revising another book, and promoting a third. Each of those activities is on going!

RR: What fun! So as we close here today, is there one tip that you could share that has really benefited you in your writing?

CT: The best advice I received was to join American Christian Fiction Writers in 2000. ACFW provided me with a network of fellow authors and connections with agents and editors, as well as helping me learn and grow as a writer through their online groups, email loops, conferences, and critique groups. I am very grateful for all I’ve learned and for the friendships and encouragement of my writing friends.

Thanks, Rachel! I enjoyed answering your questions.

I love to connect with reading friends through Facebook, Pinterest, and my website. I blog there and also offer an email newsletter every other month with book news and recommendations, recipes, encouraging articles, and contests. The signup is on my website:

RR: Thank you, Carrie! It was great talking with you!

If you have any questions for Carrie, leave a comment or visit her through one of her web “homes” which she mentioned above.

And don’t forget to read my review about The Governess of Highland Hall!


cturansky-2low (1)Carrie Turansky is the award winning author of nearly a dozen novels and novellas, including Snowflake Sweethearts and Along Came Love. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, counselor, and the author of several parenting books.


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