Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister.
She’s a pastor’s wife, mum (or mom) of two preschoolers, public servant, and book lover from before she could talk. She’s living the dream of writing books that (hopefully!) make people laugh, cheer for the characters, and sigh when they turn that final page.
She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two Hobbit-sized children.
The following is a June 2016 interview with Kara Isaac.
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Be in to win a copy of the following:
Close to You
by Kara Isaac
(TWO copies to be won, one print copy US only, one autographed print copy NZ only)
Contest ends June 24, 2016 EST
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the mum (or mom) of two preschoolers, pastor’s wife, public servant by day and writer by night. I live in beautiful New Zealand and yes it really is as gorgeous as it looks in the movies! I love Doubt Stuf Oreos, all food Mexican and my most interesting claim to fame is I was once almost crushed by a flying porta-potty.
What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?
I was inspired to start writing at the end of 2005. I have always been a huge reader and had been reading general market books for a couple of years because I struggled to find Christian novels that I could relate to. God convicted me of some of the content in some of the general market books that I was reading and so I decided to try my hand at writing the kind of book I wanted to read. I soon discovered it was much much harder than it looked ☺
What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?
I think the element of hope is significant. No matter how messy a story may be, how broken a character, or how dire the circumstances, the reader is never left with a hopeless ending.
How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?
Most of all I hope they find themselves lost between the pages, cheering my characters on and thinking about them when they’re not reading as if they were real people! My stories seem to revolve a lot around the theme of second chances so I pray they speak to the truth that there is no situation that God cannot be found in.
What has been the most surprising aspect to becoming a published novelist?
For me the most surprising has been the amazing community of readers who have gathered around me over the last year on this journey between signing my contract and Close To You being published. Having people who I don’t know and who haven’t read the book (yet) signing up to my newsletter, talking about Close To You on social media and telling me how excited they are for it has been an amazing privilege.
How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
There are so many ways. In particular, it has grown my trust in His timing and following the path that is before me even if it doesn’t make sense. Before I signed my book contract with Howard Books there were a number of times where it looked like there would be a contract coming only for it not to happen. While it was difficult at the time, when I look back I can see how perfectly God’s hand was in bringing about the right contract at the right time.
Other than being a novelist, what other goals do you have for your life?
As a mum I want to raise children who love Jesus and view the world with kindness and compassion. If, at the end of my life, people say that I loved God and loved people then everything else is gravy.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
SLEEP! With two preschoolers I feel like I’m playing perpetual catch up ☺ I always have a teetering pile of books that I am desperate to get to. I also love great movies, discovering new places, baking, and almost anything that involves adventures with my husband and little people (except camping!).
What can you tell us about your latest novels?
Close To You is a romantic comedy set in New Zealand around the Lord of the Rings location tours. Allison Shire is a disgraced academic with a PhD in Tolkien who has taken a job leading tours while she tries to put her life back together. Jackson Gregory is a failed entrepreneur who knows nothing about Tolkien but is accompanying his great-uncle on the tour in the hope of convincing him to invest in his next business. The last thing either of them is looking for is love.
What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?
My next novel, Can’t Help Falling, releases in October this year. It’s set in Oxford, England, and is about an elite rower who’s had his dreams of being an Olympian destroyed by injury and a tabloid journalist trying to make amends for the tragic results of a story she wrote. Like Close To You has a Lord of the Rings theme, this one has a Chronicle of Narnia theme. People who enjoy Close To You will hopefully be excited to hear that Jackson and Allie are back in this story too ☺
What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?
Thank you for everything you do to support Christian authors. This writing and publishing journey can be a windy and lonely gig sometimes and it’s being able to connect with readers that makes such a difference on the tough days when you’re not sure if you have another book in you!
Do you have any parting words?
Thank you for this opportunity, Ellie. It’s been a dream of mine for years to be featured on Soul Inspirationz ☺
Close to You
by Kara Isaac
- Howard Books
- April 2016
- ISBN: 9781501117329
A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.
Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.
Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.
When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?
Can’t Help Falling
by Kara Isaac
- Howard Books
- October 2016
- ISBN: 9781501117343
A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.
Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.
Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.
When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.
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Winners of a copy of the following:
Close to You
by Kara Isaac
US Winner: Donna B
NZ Winner: Michelle Mawson Evans
Two copies were won, one print copy US only, one autographed print copy NZ only, and ended June 24, 2016 EST