Author Spotlight and Give away: Romantic Comedy novelist, Carla Caruso…

It’s a pleasure welcome  RWA Hearts Talk co-editor, and romantic comedy author Carla Caruso. Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Carla, and congratulations on the release of ‘A Pretty Mess ’! Can you give us the blurb, please?

Sure thing! Here goes… A neat-freak professional organiser – Celeste Pretty – gets caught up in a messy mystery with a sexy builder (Lenny Muscat)! It’s set in the ritzy side of town. Celeste has just started a business de-cluttering people’s homes and offices for a living and her first client is a health and fitness guru in the vein of Lorna Jane and Michelle Bridges, who isn’t quite as clean-living as she seems… It’s actually the first title in my ‘Astonvale’ rom-com mystery series.

A Pretty Mess by Carla Caruso

You write Romantic Comedy, where did your love of the Rom Com come from?

I think it’s because my parents liked pretty fluffy movies and sitcoms themselves (and the ABC). I never watched scary, dark movies at home – The Wizard of Oz was about the scariest! I remember going to see The Fugitive at the cinema with school friends once and I was terrified. I couldn’t believe that was the type of thing other people willingly watched. Yes, I was a little sheltered… From there, my love for rom-coms, starring Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson and co., just bloomed!

What are the elements of a strong Rom Com? How do the characters/plots differ from contemporary romances?

Humour! There’s got to be a good dose of the funnies in rom-coms. I think it’s also the style they’re written in – they’re a little lighter and less emotionally-heavy, but more like real-life in that way. The emotion is understated, but maybe even hits harder because of this. I guess the characters can still be the same as in contemporaries – a sassy female and an alpha male, but they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a certain amount of cheekiness to them.

Unlucky for Some by Carla Caruso

In your opinion, what is the difference between Romantic Comedy and Chick Lit?

I think rom-coms still centre around the romance and can include the points-of-view of both the hero and heroine. With chick-lit, career, family and a whole bunch of other stuff might come before the romance, and they’re usually only told from the woman’s point-of-view. And chick-lit doesn’t necessarily have to finish with a happy ending either, especially if it’s hipster-cool ha!

‘Cityglitter’ and ‘Second Chance’ have elements of fantasy/magic in them (Romagic!), from where do you get your inspiration to write these stories?

It’s funny because I don’t read or watch anything that is ‘high fantasy’, but in the early days I kept coming up with these chick-litty stories with a sprinkling of magic in them. (Cityglitter is about a glam city-slicker fairy who does the one thing she swore she’d never do: fall in love with a human. In Second Chance, the heroine accidentally time-travels back to the nineties and has a chance to correct her past.)

It wasn’t until I recently read about ‘romagic’ that I thought, ‘Aha! That’s where those books fit’, because I veered away from that kind of style as I didn’t really know how to find the right audience. They didn’t seem to fit a neat box. But I do love romagic films, like 17 Again and Big, and my favourite author, Sophie Kinsella, has dabbled in the style, and knowing ‘romagic’ is hot now, I feel ready to revisit it!

snd chance        city glittle

List your top 5 Rom Com movies or TV shows, and tell us why they are your favourites.

  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey – out in 2003, this was when rom-coms really surged in popularity and I was 24 (you do the maths haha!), so it was a prime time of my life.
  • Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas – this is such a ‘comfort’ flick for me… the cityslicker going back to her hometown… and I love the theme song!
  • The Wedding Planner – love-love Jennifer Lopez!
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic – because I adore writer Sophie Kinsella (and Isla Fisher!)
  • Any Sex & the City movie or TV show – not technically a romcom, but they all have humour and romance, and SATC was really influential for me!

You are a busy mum to twin boys, co-editor of the RWA Hearts Talk and an author of 6 books. How do you manage to do everything?

A few things! My boys are currently 14 months old and now do a three-hour day nap. Simultaneously. It’s insane. So I’ve finally got a good chunk of time to write. And I’m starting to see the benefit of having twins, now they’re a wee bit older, because they’re happy to babble to each other and look at books in their cots for a while before yelling out for me.

Then I do a little more typing at night once they go down at 7pm. My hubby also works out of home as a freelance photographer, so we share the parenting, which helps my energy levels! Plus, I think because I only have limited time to write – i.e. when the boys sleep – it makes me more diligent about using the precious time I do have. (We’re not using childcare currently.) I wouldn’t want to work like this forever, though, because I miss watching trashy TV shows and socialising more at night!

Can you tell us about your WIP?

I’m actually writing the third book in the Astonvale series, involving Celeste Pretty and Lenny Muscat again. Book 3 also provides the points-of-view of Celeste’s nemesis, Imogen Karmel, and Imogen’s love interest! It’s called Pretty Famous and involves a prestigious high school, a mystery that harks back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, a Grace Kelly wannabe, and a possible secret prince!

Pretty Shore by Carla Caruso - out Dec

Are there any other genres you’d like to move into? What does the future hold for Carla Caruso?

I would actually like to try young-adult or middle-grade. I’ve been told I have a ‘young’ style of writing voice (immature some might say) and I’ve had a series idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while, which I wouldn’t mind giving a crack once I meet my next few deadlines!

Thanks so much for joining us today, Carla. Before you go, could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘A Pretty Mess’, please?

Okay, this is a little bit from the ‘meet-cute’. Right after Celeste Pretty – a neat-freak professional organiser – gags on a mouthful of dust from an industrial extraction fan on her way to meet her first client…

‘Power-walking anywhere in particular?’ a deep voice cut through the air. Through the banging and hammering.

Celeste looked up and into the coal-black eyes of an Adonis. An Adonis in a dirt-stained grey tee, cargo shorts and steel-capped boots. The coal-black eyes — which matched the healthy head of mid-length, wavy hair and faint stubble — were shielded by clear safety glasses. He was pushing a wheelbarrow of bricks, flaunting biceps like Rafael Nadal and sturdy, muscular legs like, well, Serena Williams — in an entirely good way. The mouthful of dust lodged in Celeste’s throat. She couldn’t decide whether she wanted to scrub the guy or jump him, even though clean-cut men were her usual type…

Author Bio

Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, she plays mum to twin boys Alessio and Sebastian with hubby James. A Pretty Mess is her fifth novel.

Carla Caruso - author pic

Web links

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Buy link

Carla is kindly providing a give away of one ebook copy of ‘A Pretty Mess’: An Astonvale Novel #1 (an ITunes voucher)

To be in the running, all you need to do is answer the question below:

 What area of your house do you find most difficult to keep clutter-free? And how do you hide it from guests?

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week from posting date. The winner will be notified via email so please ensure that we can contact you!

 

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Blog Bites with Carla Caruso

 Introducing the lovely Carla Caruso.

I write: Romantic comedy (and yes, I’m a sucker for a Jennifer Aniston movie, too)

I’m from: Adelaide (recently returning from a three-year stint in Sydney)

Three words to describe me: Creative, easy-going, humour-loving

At home I cook: …Actually, I burn! My hubby’s the household chef. (Who knew you could burn couscous? I found out I could the other day…)

My worst habit is: Being easily distracted from knuckling down and writing

It’s a bit daggy but I love: Retro music like ‘90s R&B, ‘80s pop and easy-listening (my parents always had the radio on at home). Oh, and I treat my cat, Luca, like my baby…

My first job was: as a check-out chick (a pretty hopeless one, too)

My day job is: a freelance journalist

Saving for: a house extension – we’re doing up an old bungalow, which could do with a nice, airy, open-plan extension out back

Three things people might not know about me are: I have a super scent, a salty tooth (as opposed to a sweet one) and I’m a dunce at speaking Italian despite my name

Favourite author: Sophie Kinsella hands down

Favourite movie: The Vow (Channing Tatum’s doing it for me at the moment!)

Plotter or pantser: Plotter, but not a hard-core one – I keep the plot points brief and write copious notes as I go along

I would most like to meet: Ex-magazine queen-turned-novelist Maggie Alderson – another author crush. I think she’d be cool!

Why I write: Because it makes me happy – and it’s the only thing I’m good at (as opposed to check-out operating and cooking)


Latest project:
Cityglitter (Destiny Romance) – it’s a fun romance about a gorgeous fairy living a glam life in the big city, who does the one thing she promised herself she’d never do: fall in love with a human, www.destinyromance.com. Oh, and I have my first short story coming out with alfiedog.com called The Grass is Greener on November 18

Thank you Carla for sharing a bite.

If you would like to learn more about Carla and her novels, go to her site http://www.carlacaruso.com.au/blog.html

 

RWA members can take a bite. Contact Kerri Williams to schedule your Blog Bite feature on blogbites@romanceaustralia.com

 

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