Romance author Ina Carter joins me today to chat about her new NA contemporary romance, Crimson Snow.
During her virtual book tour, Ina will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!
Ina Carter has always been an avid reader. She discovered her love for writing at an early age when her first poem was published in a literary magazine at age twelve. As a lifetime collector of inspirational stories, Ina believes that love is the most powerful force in the Universe. She writes in multiple genres – romantic comedies, contemporary and paranormal. Ina lives in Southern California with her husband, two kids, and one very temperamental cat.
Please share a little bit about your current release.
My latest release is Crimson Snow. It’s a new adult (NA) contemporary romance.
Blurb: “The Greeks had seven words for LOVE. I felt all of them for ONE MAN…
My name is Lauren, and I was a stolen baby.
They found me in a trailer park in rural Texas when I was eight years old. My childhood wasn’t perfect, but then I had Kevin. He was my everything…
When they returned me to my biological parents, we were torn apart. My new family desperately tried to fix me, make me forget him… My father kept me on a short leash and controlled every aspect of my life. The one thought keeping me afloat was to find Kevin, but he vanished without a trace.
I searched for him for twelve years, but the man I found was not the boy I lost. He is a college baseball star, tattooed, moody, and dark… And he hates me.
Can Kevin help me defeat my demons, or does he have too many of his own?…”
What inspired you to write this book?
The original inspiration for Crimson Snow was to explore the complicated relationship and love between two kids who grew up believing they were siblings. When the girl was eight, they find out their mother stole her from the hospital, and Julie (Lauren) was returned to her biological parents. I wanted to explore childhood trauma, but also the power of deep and profound love between my two heroes, which helped them survive and overcome their painful past.
Even though the book is a heavy emotional journey, one of my favorite scenes is a bit lighter and funnier. It is the moment Lauren realizes she might have feelings for her best friend. They are on their way to the library, and the topic of conversation is not helping Lauren’s predicament not to show her attraction to Kevin. His speculations about women’s preferences in books, and the conclusions he draws about their sexuality are hilarious.
Excerpt from Crimson Rose:
…. “We got in his car, but there was silence between us. Kevin broke it, and his voice sounded light, completely at peace.
“You know I always loved libraries…” He said matter of fact. I exhaled the breath I was holding because this was something we had always shared, and it was good to bring the conversation back to normal friend stuff.
“Me too, Kev. I could stay for days in a library if I had the option. It’s so quiet, especially when you find an empty room where no one can disturb you, and get lost in a book…” I said wistfully.
“Really, Lauren? In the library? I know some people totally do it, but you?” He smirked.
Jesus! I was about to kill him. I reached over the dash and slapped his chest, not finding this funny.
“Shut up, Kevin. I don’t masturbate in libraries. Books are not a fetish for me.” I fumed. He was leading my mind in the exact direction I was trying to avoid. I was totally overreacting because, in the last few weeks, I discovered that Kevin had a dirty mouth, and said provoking things all the time. Just a few weeks ago, I wasn’t reading anything into them, it was simply a friendly banter between us.
He was totally enjoying watching me this flustered, and his grin widened. “I personally like to watch… People in the library, I mean.” He kept going with the innuendo, “You can tell a lot about a person by their reading choices.”
“Really, like what? Avoid every girl who reads Jane Austen and drools over the book since she is obviously a clinger?” I hit back because this was a game two could play.
“Why not? If the girl likes Darcy, it means she might be into the silent type, so it works for me,” he countered me.
“You are not always the silent type, Kevin. And honesty, I am not a big fan of Austen.” I lied, “The way she sees love is too trivial. Human relationships are a bit more complicated than suddenly have a change of heart and fall for a man you hated a few pages ago. Elizabeth Bennet is a total gold digger if you ask me. Bookcase, in fact.” I was totally projecting my feelings into Austen, who I didn’t hate at all. I think she captured the history of her time perfectly and was a social critic of the English higher class, but I was trying to prove a point to Kevin.
Kevin started laughing, giving me a side glance. “You want to hear my theory behind people’s reading choices and sexuality?” he asked.
“Okay, go ahead. Enlighten me.” I waved a hand, wondering what other buttons he might push.
“So, here is my theory – if a girl reads nonfiction – she is totally grounded in reality and curious about the world, but still not my type because she might lack imagination in bed. Whimsy is like a big checkbox on my list. If she is into a murder mystery, possibly means she has a boring life and is looking for a thrill, which can be a fun wish to fulfill. I still won’t risk it though. There is always the possibility she might be plotting an actual murder and is reading the book as a reference.” He paused because I couldn’t help it and started laughing. His speculations about people’s choices in literature were actually hilarious and typical Kevin.
“Keep going. I need to hear about horrors?” I urged him.
“Oh, that girl I might like a lot. If she is not afraid of monsters, I won’t scare her when she sees my…” He grinned, not finishing his sentence, totally leaving it to interpretation. And considering where my mind went, a sound between a growl and a moan escaped my lips.
“You are either bragging about your dick or overcompensating, so either way, it explains why you won’t do underwear ads.” I did go there, and this time he squirmed, his hand tightening on the steering wheel.
“Keep on going, Kevin. Why did you stop?” I kept pushing him; this was not innocent whatsoever, but totally entertaining.
“You want to hear what I think of a girl who reads romance novels? If she reads those books in a public library, she is totally into smut in private, and I am all in,” he blurted.
“What happened to being a relationship guy?” I teased him.
“I didn’t say I was a good boy. Those are not mutually exclusive things,” he said quietly.
“Oh, and there you go, movie Mr. Darcy. I hope your quirky Bridget Jones is waiting for you in the library.” I nodded towards the building in front of which we had just parked.
“I’ll make sure to be on the lookout,” he joked. “How about you? What books are you picking up today?” He turned the table on me.
“Oh, you know me. Whatever falls off the shelf. I am totally indiscriminate towards books because there is something valuable in each one. As I was telling you earlier – people are more complicated than being put in a box, and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. In your case, literally.” I said in a bit more serious tone because the question of what books I liked after the sexual innuendo was dangerous territory.
“If we leave the jokes aside, I can tell you one thing I do notice about a person. The book in their hands doesn’t matter. It matters if they smile, or cry, or feel anything while reading it. People show their true emotions when they are engrossed in a story. Books reveal a lot about who we are inside, especially when we think we are not being observed.”
He was saying this to me since I noticed he’d been watching me when I read a book. His admission tugged a string in my heart that sang a familiar melody. Kevin saw under the surface, cared for my emotions, and wanted to know who I was deep down.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
My next novel is called “The roots of love,” and is next in the series, follow up on Crimson Snow. Many of my readers asked for a story about one of the secondary characters from the first book – Liam Tanner. He is the brother of my main character, Kevin, and also has a very interesting past. On the surface he is a lucky guy – successful and famous athlete, but under the mask Liam also hides dark secrets, and ghosts from the past that haunt him. I don’t want to give spoilers, but the heroine in this story is also someone my readers had met before in the previous book. I am not sure what way I would like to go for this book, and if it’s going to be independently published or traditionally. It’s currently in editing stages with my editor, but I don’t have a release date set yet.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My first published work was a love poem I wrote when I was eleven. My sixth-grade teacher caught me scribbling verses in class and not paying attention to his lecture. He “confiscated” my notebook, and the next day told me I had a talent, based on the creative essays I wrote for his class and the poems in my journal. He encouraged me to submit my work to a young writer’s magazine, but I was too shy to give it a try. Behind my back, he submitted one of my poems, and to my shock, the magazine published it. It didn’t go well with my parents, who were strict and conservative, and didn’t think writing about my first crush was an age-appropriate subject. Even though I didn’t follow my dream when I was a teenager, for years, I collected ideas that I wanted to put on paper one day. I write in multiple genres, but to this day, romance is my favorite. To me Love is the strongest force in the Universe.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
All of my jobs are “part-time,” including writing. A few years ago, I left my job as a marketing coordinator to dedicate more time to my family. Since then, I accidentally became an executive producer for two short films because our teenage son embarked on a journey to become a filmmaker. As a minor he needed someone to handle the business side of his productions, so I had to step into the role. I was not entirely out of my depth in the entertainment industry because both my kids acted professionally for years.
For many years, I wrote in my free time, but I was never too serious about publishing my work.
This crazy year, with the COVID quarantine writing became a full-time endeavor. I finally got the courage to publish two of my completed novels, edit a paranormal book series, and write a brand-new book.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I have a writer’s block, my cure is reading historical fiction. For some reason, it disconnects me from reality and transports me to another time period. When I finish my binge on history and return to my work, I have a brand-new perspective, and renewed creative drive. While writing my last novel, I got stuck in the middle, which led to devouring 20 historical romances in a week. I am a fast reader, but still, it was a crazy reading spree, with very little sleep in between.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a hot air balloon pilot. My best friend and I spend months in the library trying to find schematics of how to make our own hot air balloon. I learned how to sew and even took skydiving classes. Reality set in on my second jump when I hit some high wind, and barely landed safely, thanks to my skydiving instructor. Sadly, to this day, I’d never taken a hot air balloon ride. It’s on my bucket list.
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!