Well, we're moving the RV closer to Louisiana today so we can get in and check on our homes but it'll be weeks before we can actually go home. All of the family's homes have damage, some extensive and the utility companies are working around the clock to get our city/cities up and running. Continued prayers appreciated, but enough of my woes.
Our guest today is no stranger to our blog. Carla Laureano shared her Supper Club series with us. Today she returns with the third novel in her MacDonald Family Trilogy: Under Scottish Stars. Welcome, Carla!
- What inspired you to write Under Scottish Stars?
Serena played a small part in the first two books in the MacDonald Family series, and even as I wrote them, I knew there was far more to her than the harried mum that she appears to be. I wrote this book a couple of short years after I was getting started in my writing career after several years away from full-time work, and I was struggling with many of the ideas that I explore in the book: finding an identity away from the needs of my children and justifying my desire for a creative life when it sometimes took me away from domestic duties.
Under Scottish Stars is the highly anticipated third novel in the MacDonald Family Trilogy. How do you expect the novel to resonate with your audience? What are you most excited for your readers to experience through this story?
I feel like any woman, but especially those with family responsibilities, can relate to the struggles that Serena faces in this book. We have the tendency to take care of everyone else’s needs before our own and to feel guilty for carving out a career, a passion, or even just a little me-time from our normal duties. I don’t think there’s a single one of us who hasn’t been shaped by our past experiences and in some way allowed the bad to determine our path more than the good. Serena feels especially relatable to me in that she is simultaneously strong and wounded.
What role does faith play in this story?
All the books in this series in some way have to do with being hurt by people we trust, whether it be a family member, a romantic partner, or the church. So subsequently, all of the books explore how those hurts impact the way we relate to God. In Serena’s case, she has to come to grips with the question of why God allowed so many painful experiences into her life when she had done everything “right.”
As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about writing this story?
Without a doubt, the interaction between Serena and Malcolm. Their relationship starts out antagonistic, changes to flirtatious, and eventually melts into a really sweet, heartwarming romance. I had so much fun any time the two of them were on the page together.
What was the most challenging part of writing this story?
Not being a single parent myself, I had to delve deep into what it would feel like if something happened to my husband and how I would deal with the idea of starting over in a new relationship. How would my kids react? Not necessarily topics I wanted to dwell on, but Serena’s uncertainty and concern for her children became very real to me. Single-parent romances where the kids’ feelings feel like an afterthought never ring true to me; to someone who has lost their partner and their children’s parent, they’re of primary importance. That concern colors the entire dating and falling-in-love experience.
Why did you choose these specific circumstances and location for Under Scottish Stars?
To be fair, it’s been five years since I wrote this book, so I don’t really remember my thought process of how I came to pair Serena with a younger man suddenly charged with taking care of his orphaned niece. I know that Malcolm went through a lot of incarnations before I figured out his character. My engineer husband was a huge inspiration for Malcolm and not just for the fact he is a martial artist/kickboxer. He also gave up a big chunk of his twenties to help raise his niece and nephew after their mother died of cancer. I’ve always admired that about him, and it was that kind of strength of character I knew Serena was going to need in a mate. (That might be because she’s an awful lot like me.) As far as the location went . . . well, who wouldn’t want to spend a little more time on the Isle of Skye?
How do you hope this book encourages single parents?
This book was a love letter to my single parent friends who work so hard to put their children’s needs first, often at the expense of their own dreams and desires. We see you struggle and admire your strength and love for your kids. Your needs are important, too!
What did you most enjoy about developing Serena and Malcom's characters? What was the most challenging part?
Serena and Malcolm are such interesting people, with colorful backgrounds and varied interests. Honestly, the hardest part of the story was coming up with the “black moment,” the thing that threatens to keep them apart. They were so well-suited and so open with each other that I didn’t want it to be a simple misunderstanding or fear of moving forward in a relationship. I knew it had to be a real, solid, insurmountable obstacle . . . which of course makes it a challenge to figure out how they’re going to overcome it! I honestly didn’t know how the book was going to end until I wrote it. I started to wonder if this was going to be my first romance without a happy ending.
What did you enjoy most about the research for this story?
There’s a lot of astronomy, art, and Greek myth in this book. I geeked out over all of it and had great fun weaving it all together. I love when I can learn new and interesting things in the course of researching characters’ interests.
What do you want your readers to take away from Under Scottish Stars? What about it will inspire or encourage their faith?
This story is about faith in the face of seemingly impossible obstacles and painful events. Both Serena and Malcolm suffer loss, upheaval, and doubt. But in the end, they realize that they were unable to see the entire picture and how God was moving behind the scenes for their best interests. The epilogue to this book, and this entire series, was so incredibly satisfying to write, because it’s the glimpse of wholeness coming out of brokenness that can be waiting on the other side of trials.
Carla Laureano is the two-time RITA Award–winning author of Five Days in Skye, London Tides, and the Saturday Night Supper Club series. She is also the author of the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (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.
Thank you for sharing your new book with us, Carla! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it.
Hope you enjoyed the post, friends and that you'll check back weekly for Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.
Until next time take care and God bless.