06 May 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Interviews Carla Stewart

Carla Stewart is the author of Chasing Lilacs, Broken Wings, and Stardust, just released in May, 2012.  

I met Carla through some online groups, including My Book Therapy, ACFW, and our mutual friend, Marian Baay.  

Carla, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

I'm not sure I've had a single life experience to overcome, but I have always struggled with trying to fix others - I'm a first-born, choleric with a soft spot for hurting people. I became a nurse. What I've had to learn in my personal life is surrendering control in tough situations - my oldest son's depression/drug and alcohol use/dropping out of school at age 16 (a six-year saga - thankfully with a happy outcome). My mother's battle with cancer and attending her the last two months of her life. My mother-in-law's Alzheimer's. My writing career. All are areas where I've had to surrender myself and those I love to God and his plans. And I've drawn from my life experiences in my writing as I've strived to bring messages of hope to those who are hurting or dealt a tough hand.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Micah 6:8.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
I love that God has given us all of scripture, but this verse sums it up for me. What a blueprint for life!  I stand in awe every day at God’s mercy bestowed on me.

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?
 All of my books are (or will be) available in e-formats – Kindle and others. Both Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings are available in large print with a hardback library binding. Broken Wings is available as an unabridged audio book both as a download or on CDs.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
The first thing I hope readers will find is a cast of characters they will come to care about. I love the nostalgic eras and try to recapture those days for readers. This is especially true in Chasing Lilacs and my next book, Stardust, but Broken Wings has a historical thread, also, that parallels the story. In all of my books, I deliver hope for the future. My hope is that readers will sigh in satisfaction when the last page is read. Although I tie up most threads, I also like to leave enough mystery so that readers will wonder how the characters are doing. Sort of the same way we do with good friends.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I already had a folder of material on Alzheimer’s so I reviewed it, researched current articles, and relied on my past experience as a nurse to bring the character to life. The Alzheimer’s research became very personal when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer’s less than a month after Broken Wings was contracted. She’s a beautiful lady, and it’s been sad to see her spiral deeper into the tangles of this dreadful disease.
But the most challenging part of the research was learning about abuse which, thankfully, didn’t come from such a personal connection. I studied the personality types of victims and abusers and read a lot of personal stories and case studies.

I came to the writing knowing it would be a struggle, but I also knew that, for me, abuse is intolerable. What I didn’t expect, though, was learning that abuse is much more common than I ever imagined. Often there are warning signs that begin before actual abuse takes center stage—irrational behavior, disdain for authorities, getting hot tempered over trivial things, blaming others for their behavior, wanting to be in control of the relationship. The most alarming statistic that I read was that 40% of teens age 14-17 had either been abused or knew someone who had while in a dating relationship. If anything, I hope Broken Wings gives courage to women who are in abusive relationships, that they will realize that it’s not their fault nor their responsibility to stay with an abuser because he “needs” her. Victims, too, have a choice. Help is available.  

Readers, we are posting a Saturday recap.  Carla includes resources at the end of the book, which is wonderful!  As outlined above, she has a great many topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading her books.

Thank you, Carla, for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. Blessings to you and your readers here! 

Carla Stewart's books can be purchased through CBD, Amazon, and other book stores.

GIVEAWAY:  A copy of one of Carla's books!


  1. What a powerful interview, ladies! Thank you, Carla, for being our guest on OTT this week. I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother ( I lost mine two years ago, May 17th), and for the decline of your mother in law's health.

    It's wonderful that you write books that can help people going through "tough to deal with" situations in their lives. What a special calling from God you have!

  2. A poignant interview. Your books sound very moving with important messages. Fiction can be such a powerful tool. Blessings from one Carla to another.

  3. Thanks, Diana. Loss is part of life, but where would we be without God's grace to pull us through those times?

    Carla, what a sweet comment. And I agree - the power of story is incredible. And I've always liked that we "share" a name :-))

  4. Carla, it's so nice to have you on the blog this week!

    Thanks for sharing your struggle to surrender to God. I'm also struggling with that. Probably most christians are. We like to be in control and it's not easy to let go and let God do it. But when we are able to surrender it all to the Lord, it's such a relieve to live in His freedom.
    It's an encouragement to read your story.

  5. Alzheimer's is a difficult journey. My father in law has Parkinson's and it is hard too. My mother in law is amazing! I would love to read this book.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway!


  6. CARRIE AND CARLA thank you both for the moving interview. CARLA I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. My mom is 85 and I am thankful I still have her, even though I know I she won't be here forever. CARLA I can't wait to read your books, thank you for all the hard work that's required when dealing with the difficult subjects you write about. :)

  7. CARLA, it is great having you with us this week. DIANA, you and I and Carla will be getting ready for Mother's Day on earth while our moms are whooping it up with the angels and our Lord!

  8. Thank-you for sharing your struggles Carla!


  9. CARLA GADE, thanks for coming by! It is our CQ anniversary this week, too!

  10. MARIAN, your reviews will be up this week and I am looking forward to them!

    TERESA, glad your mom is with you still. How is she this week?

  11. Hi Marian! Surrendering is a daily struggle - I say that today as I'm getting ready for my next book to release and I'd love for it to soar to the best seller list, but I've learned (am learning) that I can't control that. But God shows me every day how he is working through readers like you. I am so grateful. Love you, Marian, and your heart for reading.

  12. Anonymous, it's so hard to watch our parents and those close to us struggle. Cherish the good moments.

  13. Teresa - enjoy your mom! My dad is nearly 86 and we just had a great weekend celebrating a good time with him. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Carrie, thank you so much for having me! I am grateful for eternity. What a reunion that will be!

  15. Thanks, Marissa. We all have struggles, but we have good times, too. In my books, I try to find that balance and throw in a bit of humor or slice of life that keeps us all from going nuts!

  16. Hi Carla, I have your books on my wish list and looking forward to reading them. Abuse of any kind is a growing practice today which is really horrible. The abuse is not just against children, women and the elderly but also pets. I enjoyed your interview with Carrie and thanks for writing about this horrible practice.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  17. Hi Carla, I have Stardust on my kindle wishlist and want very much to read it. I loved your topic & it's been one I've learned a lot about of late. We've been going through my husband's diagnosis & treatment of cancer. There have been so many, many blessings from the Lord throughout this time & I am so very thankful. He has taught both of us so much. My faith is ever so much stronger since the beginning of this battle.

    I lost my mom 8 years ago & I am sorry for your loss. As time has passed & my grief has changed to more of a longing to see her again when I get to heaven, I have so many good memories & treasure those.

  18. I read Stardust, and was in love with the characters, so Carla succeeded there. I would love a chance to read Broken Wings.
    I also have to say that I enjoy that quote very much, I will need to remember that one. Perfect during the rough days! Good luck with the promo of Stardust, my review will post around the 15th. Thanks!

  19. I've just finished reading Stardust, and it's one of the best books I've read this year. My reivew will post on 18 May.

    I'd love a chance to read Broken Wings if you have it in Kindle format! I live in New Zealand, and while it's a great place to live, the postage costs make 'real' books much more expensive.

  20. MissKallie and Kay - thanks for putting me on your wish list. While the abuse is horrible and was hard to write about, Broken Wings is truly a story of friendship and God's providence. While abuse may take center stage for a season, hope and friendship triumph, and that's what I want people to take away from Broken Wings. Let me know what you think!

  21. Marie and Iola - YAY!!!! So glad you liked Stardust. Not quite as heavy a book as Broken Wings, but characters that have do hard things still. Can't wait to read your reviews. Paste them EVERYWHERE!!!!

    Carrie - what a blessing to be here today.

  22. What a wonderful interview. I love your verse. Micah 6:8 is one of my favorites too. God has been so merciful to me. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Thanks for the interview. My condolences on the loss of your mother. My Mom passed away after a 3 year battle with cancer last month. But we are rejoicing that she is in heaven.
    Looking forward to reading Broken Wings.

  24. LADETTE, I know you don't want to be anonymous. Thanks for coming by.

  25. Thank you, Nancy. Micah 6:8 is a verse that can help through just about anything. I appreciate your stopping by.

    Sharon, I'm so sorry about your mom. Cancer is so devastating for everyone that heaven becomes a much better option than suffering. And we know our moms are with Jesus. Hallelujah! Hope you get a chance to read Broken Wings and let me know how you like it.

  26. struggling with this caregiving of my cousin who became victim to alzheimers at 60.. so sad to witness this deterioration so early in life - all the losses of life and future up close - devastating not only for him , but for me as i now have a full time job in caring and providing administration of his life and needs, unexpectedly..

    thx for writing on difficult life realities!

  27. Faith Hope Cherrytea (what a great moniker!) - Alzheimer's affects the whole family. I had a friend who died in her early 60s from a rapidly progressing type of Alzheimer's, and as a nurse, I took care of people with the disease. And then, after I had a contract for this book, my mother-in-law was diagnosed. It is hard. That's why God gave us each other - to lighten the load.

    So sorry about your cousin. You're in my prayers.


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