by Ina Carter
GENRE: Contemporary romance
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?
NOTE: The book is on sale for $0.99.
I was taken to another room with a big table and many chairs. A woman came in, sat across from me, and started telling me things about how Mamma was not my real mom and neither was Daddy. She said Mamma told Stacy she stole me when I was a baby from some hospital in the California State. I knew those were lies, and I told her Stacy is a liar. All I could think of was Kevin, not about Mamma and Daddy. She was trying to tell me he was not my brother, either. When I heard that I had to go with her and stay for a while with some nice people, I started crying.
“Is Kevin coming too?” I sobbed.
“No, sweetheart. He would have to stay in another place.”
I tried to run away from the room. All I wanted was to get back to my brother. The officer must have been guarding the room from the outside because he grabbed me before I could get away from him.
At the same time, I saw another man taking Kevin out of the doctor’s room. My brother looked at me, and I would never forget his eyes. Desperate, fearful, broken. His whole face was distorted by the pain. It was radiating from his whole being.
I kicked and screamed. Called Kevin’s name. I bit the hand that was holding me prisoner. Kevin was also pulling away, trying to kick the policeman keeping him captive.
I don’t know why, but they let us go. We ran to meet in the middle of the corridor and collapsed down to our knees, wrapping our arms around each other. And we cried.
“You are my sister, Jules. My friend. My… everything,” Kevin sobbed, and his words were echoing my exact thoughts.
“Please, Kevin! Don’t let them take you away from me! Please!” I begged him.
But they were already pulling him from my arms, breaking our souls, ripping away from me the one person I loved the most in this world.
“I’ll find you, Jules! I’ll come for you!” Those were the last words he said to me…
Welcome Ina Carter! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
My name is Ina Carter. I was born in Bulgaria and moved to the US in my early twenties. I am bi-lingual, but English became my predominant language since it’s the one spoken at home, work, etc. I live in California with my husband, two kids, and one rescue cat named Rose. I graduated from college with a degree in Psychology and Social Studies, and later when my kids were born, I went back to school to study Graphic Design. I always had a creative side, and writing was part of it. I started writing as a teenager, but for many years it was just a hobby. This year I finally made the decision to share two of my novels with the world. Both Crimson Snow and my romantic comedy Big Gray were released in May 2020 through Amazon KDP publishing. I am still finding my way as an independent author and trying to navigate the marketing side of promoting my books.
Is Crimson Snow a single title, or part of a series?
Initially, Crimson Snow was supposed to be a standalone novel, but after I published it, many of my readers reached out to me, asking for a second book for one of the secondary characters– Liam Tanner, Kevin’s brother. What can I say – I love my supporting characters as much as my main cast, and they need their voices heard too? 😊 I finished Liam’s story, and the novel is called “The roots of Love.” I sent it to my editor, but I don’t have a release date set yet. I have a few ideas to expand further on the series, which is tentatively called “Lost and Found” The future stories might not be connected to the first two books but will be based on a similar theme of lost love and second chances.
What were your inspirations for the story?
With Crimson Snow, I wanted to explore the healing power of love. The final idea didn’t come to me at once but evolved organically during the writing process.
A few years ago, I was looking through some old books and stumbled upon one of my childhood favorites – Astrid Lindgren’s “The Brothers Lionheart.”
It was a heavy story exploring the ideas of loss and grief, something not typical for a children’s novel. The love those two brothers shared was one that defied death and reunited them in the afterlife, to embark on another adventure together. Initially, I started writing Crimson Snow based on that premise – a story about two kids who shared a love so deep that they spent years searching for each other when fate tore them apart. I wrote the first three chapters, but I didn’t have a complete plot outline, so I left it unfinished.
At the beginning of this year, I reread those chapters, and the idea evolved into something else entirely. I remembered from my college classes the Greek philosophical concept that there were seven or eight forms of love we feel. It somehow clicked for me that the love between Kevin and Lauren in Crimson snow was what the Greek’s called Philia – the type of love you feel for parents, siblings, family members, and close friends. I asked myself – Is it possible to feel more than one type of love for the same person? What about experiencing all of them with someone?
I continued writing Crimson Snow with that idea in mind, and at the end of it, Lauren and Kevin’s story stole my own heart. Those two heroes became an expression of what people may call “true soulmates.”
Please share your setting for Crimson Snow. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
Most of the Crimson Snow is set in my home state of California. I like to write about places I am familiar with because it gives more authenticity to the story. During the research stages of my books, I like to visit the places I am describing, feel the vibe of the city, and meet the real people who live there. I like to travel around the US and abroad, so writing a book is always a great excuse to pick destinations. Don’t tell my husband, but using Paris as the setting for one of my paranormal romances was not entirely coincidental.
For Crimson Snow, I had a vacation booked to visit a few small towns around Dallas, Texas, but it never happened because of the pandemic. This made me change some of the scenes in the book and rewrite the parts where my heroine went back to her home town.
For my latest project, parts of the story were set in Moscow, an impossible travel destination during the pandemic. I searched far and wide to find a native Russian consultant who lived in Moscow during the time period of my books. She was really gracious to chat with me on Skype, describe some of her favorite places around the city, share specific details about Russian culture, and even send me pictures from her country. After I had specific locations I wanted to include in the book, I did a virtual “drive” on Google maps, which was silly, but it was the second-best option to visiting the places important to my heroine.
When did the writing bug first bite?
My first memory of getting bit by that writing bug was likely in second grade. My teacher gave us an assignment to write a story and describe what’s happening in the picture she showed us. I stared at that image of a house, a garden, a kid, and a dog, and nothing came to me. Then suddenly, I felt the literal spark of my imagination, and the scene in the picture became “alive.” That house became haunted by a ghost, the flowers in the garden spoke in some strange language, the kid was searching for a lost treasure, and the dog was his guide in their adventure. I don’t remember the exact story I came up with, but I’ll never forget that feeling of letting my imagination take me on an incredible journey and allow me to “see” the invisible world hidden inside an image.
Who are your favorite authors, book/series?
Oh, God! Too many to list. I read at least three books/ week and not from any specific genre. Not all are memorable because sometimes I get a book from the library, and three chapters in, I realize I’d read it some time ago and forgot about it. Thank you, Amazon, for keeping track of my Kindle history, so I don’t order the same book multiple times!
If we are talking about all-time favorites, the one author I’ll never tire of rereading is P.G. Wodehouse. His dry sense of humor, his books’ historical setting, and absolutely brilliant characters can’t be beat. Jeeves is my man!
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like to cook, and I am pretty inventive in the kitchen. I experiment with ingredients and recipes, and the results are mostly successful 😉 During my “international cuisine” period, my kids went to bed hungry more nights than not, but my husband was a brave soul and tried all of my “exotic dishes.”
He is not thrilled by my latest “hobby,” which is mixing my own fragrances from organic essential oils. He is not a fan of strong odors, and those concentrated scents do linger in the house for days. I read somewhere that our sense of smell is so powerful that we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell than something we see, hear, or touch. There is so much truth in that statement, and to this day, I remember the “smell” of summer nights at my grandma’s house, and have a memory of a specific fragrance attached to my parents or my children. It would be great if I manage to recreate at least one of those scents before my husband bans my experiments.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
Two years ago, we were on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was on Christmas Eve, and I woke up in the middle of the night for some reason. Our hotel was in a remote area, surrounded by woods, and there were no visible houses on both sides. I was on the balcony when I saw a shining object that came between the trees, shot to the sky, and lingered in the air for a while. Then to my shock, it was followed by another one and another one. A total of seven orbs flew into the sky, and stopped mid-air forming a line. Then they started moving fast and disappeared behind the clouds. I was in complete shock and didn’t have time to run back to the room, grab my phone, and record what I witnessed. Full disclosure, there was no alcohol or other substances involved since I took antibiotics that week, and didn’t drink any cocktails during the vacation.
The next day, I asked the hotel staff if there were houses on that hill where the light objects came out. I was trying to find a logical explanation because I am a pretty skeptical person. My rational mind was trying to figure out a plausible scenario for what I witnessed. The one thing that made sense was that there were many celebrity villas in that area, and maybe some had helipads, and those were private helicopters of guests leaving a Christmas Party. The two staff members of the hotel, who spoke decent English pretty casually said to me. “Ah, you saw the UFO’s last night. They are a common occurrence around here. There is nothing behind those hills but forest.”
I think they were on a joke at my expense, but I am planning to stay in the same hotel next time we go to Mexico and go on further investigation to figure out if my rational theory had merit. If not, I’ll admit that maybe the aliens linger around Puerto Vallarta 😉
What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?
The advice I would give to an inspiring author is to write stories that they emotionally connect to. Emotions bleed through the pages. When readers reached out to me and shared what scene in my books made them laugh or cry, I realized those were the exact scenes that made me chuckle or bawl my eyes out while I wrote them. You can always tell if an author is just a good storyteller or if they write from their heart. Don’t doubt yourself, because in my opinion, the two most important elements of a good book are honesty and authenticity. You are the only person who can tell your story.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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. You can find more about Ina and future book releases at www.InaCarter.com.
Amozon purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088KQKNZJ
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Ina Carter will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.