BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

CARLA LAUREANO - FUN Q & A GIVEAWAY NEW NOVEL BRUNCH at BITTERSWEET CAFE


BOOK BLURB: Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country—an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS WITH CARLA LAUREANO


ABOUT AUTHOR: Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and 

What inspired you to write Brunch at Bittersweet Café?

CARLA: Typically, I can pinpoint one moment that inspired the direction of a story, but this book came along far more gradually. I knew after writing Melody in The Saturday Night Supper Club that her relentless positivity and cheeriness hid some deeper issues, so it was really just a process of exploring what those might be—particularly after the hints I gave about her mother in the first book. 

The spiritual themes, however, came from growing up as a Christian and how often I’ve seen outward happiness mistaken for true joy. The fake-it-’til-you-feel-it mentality is prevalent in some Christian circles, even today, and it’s one that Millennial Christians are rejecting in greater numbers.

NORA: I'm glad you started a conversations about this matter in your novel.

How do you expect the novel to resonate with your audience? What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this story?

CARLA: I feel like Melody is a character that most of us can relate to in some way. She has all the ingredients to have her dream life, but she still stumbles along because she’s so inwardly conflicted on what she wants. It can be so tempting to live your life in a holding pattern, especially when the Bible emphasizes patience, but that attitude can also lead us into the trap of simply waiting and hoping without taking any steps of our own. That, combined with the pressure to always show a cheerful exterior, can lead us to magical thinking, where we just know that everything will be all right if we keep going as we are, rather than to a deeper faith in which we are tested and strengthened by trials.

NORA: Great Point!

What role does faith play in this story?

CARLA: Through both Melody’s and Justin’s journeys, I explore the meaning of faith and the different—and erroneous—ways we can look at God. I think without meaning to, we can start to view God as the magical gumball machine in the sky: put in a quarter (your prayer), get your gumball (your wish). But our experience with God is not transactional; it’s a relationship. Both characters have to learn that true faith is releasing your dreams, hopes, and sorrows to a God who loves us and trusting Him to give us what we need, not what we think we want.

NORA: I like who you deal with this matter.

The first book in this series, The Saturday Night Supper Club, introduced us to Melody Johansson. What will we discover about Melody in this book that may surprise us?

CARLA: I don’t want to give away all the fun details, but one thing that you definitely wouldn’t expect is her educational background. She was home schooled, entered college at sixteen, finished at twenty, and promptly abandoned her plans of further literature degrees in favor of something she loved more—baking. 

I actually borrowed the details from my own history: I turned seventeen shortly after high school graduation and finished college a couple of months before my twentieth birthday. I never intended to become a professor like Melody, but I did at the last minute decide I had no interest in grad school and decided to go into the workforce instead. I was afraid that studying literature was killing my love for it, and I’d rather write it than analyze it. As for the rest, you’ll have to read to find out!

NORA: Readers are glad you followed your heart!

Why do you think it’s important that this series talks about the intersection of culture, feminism, career, and faith for the Christian woman?

CARLA:  It’s downright difficult to be a modern Christian woman! We pursue career aspirations, but we often have traditional plans for our personal lives. We are dedicated to paving a way for the women after us, but we want to be open to God’s detours. So often, we are told that not only can we have it all, we must have it all . . . and if we’re struggling with keeping it together, there must be something wrong with us. In this series, I wanted to show that everyone struggles at times, and although Rachel, Melody, and Ana share similar beliefs, their paths are all incredibly different. It’s okay if your life looks different than everyone else thinks it should, because God’s plan for you is as unique as you are. 

NORA: I'm thrilled you started this dialogue and talked about these struggles. It's refreshing.

What lessons or truths do you hope people take away from Brunch at Bittersweet Café?


CARLA: I hope that readers will be encouraged by the idea that they can trust God in both their best moments and their worst, because He knows what lies ahead when we can’t even begin to anticipate. I’m a bit of a control freak, so this is a lesson I have to learn over and over and over again. I’m sure God looks down on me with exasperated amusement from time to time, like “This would go a lot faster if you’d just let me steer.”

NORA: Thanks for sharing your heart and passions with us.

PLEASE ANSWER ONE 
of the Following Questions to be Entered into the drawing for chance at a copy of this book.

1. What are the three movies, three books, and three albums you'd take with you on a very long trip around the world?

2. Describe your dream job?

3. On your journey around the world which foods would you make sure you had with you? Which would you like to try on your travels?

LAST DAY to Enter Drawing FEB 5th
PLEASE remember to include your email address!


Nora: Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books Carla. Looking forward to sharing this book and your interview with readers. The only thing I wanted to see in your book was a recipe or two for readers to try at home or to make and bring to book club! I'm Excited about the giveaway opportunity. Grin!

Sincerely,

Nora :o)

Nora St. Laurent The Book Club Network Inc. http://www.bookfun.org
You can read author interviews, reviews, learn about book signings, TBCN giveaways, she created called The Book Club Network (TBCN) blog, http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com

Nora has also run book clubs face to face and TBCN On-Line Book Club. She enjoys working part-time for the Public Library as a CSA.

24 comments:

  1. My dream job would be proof reader or editor for to be published books!
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com
    Gail Hollingsworth

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  2. Lord of the Rings, Twister, Lethal Weapons
    The Count of Monte Cristo, Learning to Breathe and The Negotiator
    Casting Crowns- Greatest Hits, Rascal Flatts- Greatest Hits and Mercy Me-Greatest Hits
    C

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  3. 3) I think I would make sure I had a bog box of granola/meal replacement bars just in case the local cuisine didn't appeal to me!
    I would love to try true Italian and Mexican food, not just the americanized versions we get in the states.

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  4. My dream job is to be a professional genealogist! It’s my favorite hobby, and I’ve found that it’s fun to research other people’s family trees for them too!

    Mylittlebirdiebooks [at] gmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  5. My dream job would be to own a small book/craft store combining both of my hobbies.

    redeemedreaders(at)bellsouth(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  6. 3 movies Dirty Dancing,Pretty Woman,Sixteen Candles(I am oldschool)3 books My Bible, a Lauren Carr McFaraday book and and Brunh at cuz I ..my dream job Volunteer Coordinator for a non profit..am gonna win one! 3 albums Neil Diamond, 3rd Day and Casting Crowns..foods Dr. Pepper,tacos,chocolate
    .to try Pasta in Italy! Pick Me! slegan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh this is a tough one, I'd love to be able to travel for a living as a tour guide!

    alander87(at)allcom(dot)net

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  8. On my trip around the world, i would like to sample French cooking and pastries and Italian cooking. Being fortunate to live in Germany for 6 years, i am familiar with German food, their bread and pastries. Love German food! Vivian Furbay jtandviv (at) q (dot) com

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  9. Three movies: The Greatest Showman, Pride and Prejudice, Letters to Juliet.

    Three Books: The Lady and The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof, A Me And You Thing by Taylor Dean, Ilsa by Shanna Hatfield.

    Three Albums: The Greatest Showman Soundtrack, Set You Free by Gary Allan, Mamma Mia Soundtrack.
    brit(dot)haueter18(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I’d love to own a bookstore with a reading area/cafe. kellyliberto@gmail.com

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  11. My dream job would be to decorate food in a bakery. Cookies, cakes and all that fun yummy stuff! douglas(dot)emilee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  12. I am living my dream job! Being a mother is one of the most important and most fulfilling jobs in the word.

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  13. Oops - my email: nicnac63 AT hotmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would love to have any job that would allow me to interact with people. A librarian seems likes a wonderful career!

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  15. I actually had my dream job. I was a librarian for 22 1/2 years and I truly enjoyed going to work! My only regret is that I didn't begin it a little sooner!!
    This book sounds lovely and I appreciate the chance to win.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. Chocolate is a food, right? I’d be packing that for sure. I would like to try some local cuisine of each country I’d visit. Not sure I’d try everything though. Some things just don’t look appetizing.

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  17. 1. This is a hard one! Only 3 books?? I read that many in a week, so this trip better be very interesting. Now, I might cheat a bit, and take The Chronicles of Narnia - 8 book set, as one. Then, I think I'd choose The Lord of the Rings trilogy - 3 books, and, my Bible, because I always find something new there - and, added bonus, it's actually 66 books in one. Movies? I think I'd actually go with the 3 Chronicles of Narnia movies that are out - The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Albums? I think I'd take a Kristene DiMarco album, anything by Chris Tomlin, and something by Casting Crowns.

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  18. #3 Oh my I'd go to Italy and have Italian pizza, gelato,pastries,lasagna, manicotti, tortellini...lol Too many things! I'd gain 100 pounds LOL

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  19. My dream job was to be a nurse which I was. I now am a retired RN.

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  20. Oops...forgot my email address...
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  21. A dream job (besides me already having it raising my own kids) would be to be the cuddler/rocker of babies in hospital maternity wards. I want to do that all day long! lattebooksAThotmailDOTcom

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  22. I'd have to have some chocolate with me while traveling, unless I was going to the Switzerland area. Their chocolate is wonderful. I like to sample foods from different countries, as long as it's not too far-out. I draw the line at snails, chicken feet, etc.

    whthomas13 at yahoo dot com

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  23. 2. My dream job is to work in a quilt shop that sells coffee and books. It would also have a resident cat or 2. This would be my dream job because it combines a few of the things I love most in the world. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book. It's on my TBR list. My e-mail address is boxtopscrazy@gmail.com.

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  24. Books to take: Bible, any 2 books I have not read. 3 Albums: Kurt Kaiser's Legacy, The Best of Celtic Thunder and any Andrea Bocelli album
    Movies? Some old musicals.
    Bonnie bjk4292@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete