Monday, July 17, 2017

Love's Compass by Carla Gade ends July 24th

 Please welcome Carla Gade to my blog today. Carla has some fun an interesting facts she's shared. Be sure to read on down to find out how to enter for her giveaway!

Picturing my Stories
I once walked into an antique store and found a box full of old photographs with a sign in front of it that read, “Instant Relatives.” When this writer looks inside a such a box, she sees instant characters! I’ve always enjoyed looking at old fashioned photos, especially the ones in sepia tones. These are the tintypes and daguerreotypes that were made in the in the 1800’s. It’s fun to browse online to find these kinds of photos for character inspiration. I have done this each time I have written a story set in the 19th century.

As I browse, I imagine the individual’s personality, which seems kind of silly, doesn’t it? After all, since quite often you will find that the subject of the photograph smileless and therefore depicting little personality at all. There is a reason for this, I found.  The process for picture taking took a relatively long time so the subject had to remain perfectly still to avoid a blurry outcome. Nevertheless, I usually manage to find a little nuance in the demeanor of the person that creates enough interest to spark my imagination.

But when I have a specific character in mind, I will enter a Google Images search for the specific physical traits that I had chosen and see what surfaces. That’s how I found Eliana, the heroine in Love’s Compass. As I was looking a photo after photo, one suddenly came up and I knew it was her. Everything about it was right, her coloring, her expression and even her attire, which was perfect for the southwestern locale. 

Next, I found Yiska, the half-native hero of the story. I needed a smart, good looking guy, with an attitude. I found him all right, but the joke was on me. This was a tintype, but it was made in the 1970’s! It a teacher’s website, showing himself as a teenager when he had the photograph taken with the special camera. So, I emailed him and asked if I could use it for character inspiration and he generously agreed.

I found the rest of my characters to inspire me as I wrote Love’s Compass, which included one of Eliana’s father smiling! A rare photo, but true to the character. Some of the other photos I used were not only for inspiration, but for authenticity. To write an authentic setting I research using books and photographs, especially ones from the specific time period. I find this essential to my writing as setting is a very important component of every story I write. 

I set up a story board on Pinterest for readers to enjoy for each of my stories. It is also a reference and inspiration for me while I write and blog about my novels and novellas after they are written. For book signings, I like to show readers a photo collage to give them a visual idea what’s inside the book. Here’s the collage for Love’s Compass that shows the main characters and some scenes from the story. You may like to check my
Pinterest Story Board for Love’s Compass sometime.

Carla is generously giving away a copy of her book, Love's Compass. If you'd like to be entered be sure to answer one of her questions below and leave your email address. If you are a feedburner follower be sure to tell me for an extra entry! 

Do you like to see visuals of how an author perceives her characters or do you like to leave it to your own imagination?
Photography is a personal hobby of mine. Do you enjoy photography? What hobbies do you have?
Colorado Territory, 1875 -
Daring Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant--disguised as a young man--on a survey expedition to the remote Four Corners. Living in the shadows of his native heritage, trail guide Yiska Wilcox is thrown off course when the
shadow catcher's daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart. As they travel through dangerous terrain in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and New Mexico, Eliana and Yiska must learn to overcome the barriers of culture, faith, and ideals to discover common ground. Though they are worlds apart, will they stake a chance on love?

New Englander Carla Gade writes from her Victorian home in central Maine. With ten books in print she enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla's great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at an historical museum, it's easier to connect with her online.


  1. I love taking photos of birds, my gardens, etc. I would love to take a photography class. Thank you for the chance. Blessings

    1. I keep thinking about taking a photography class, too! Might be a good idea. :)

  2. this is really interesting how you go for what the characters look like. I have always liked using my imagination about the characters. My husband used to love photography. My hobbies are count cross stitch, quilting, sewing and making greeting cards with rubber stamps. oh and I dabble in making jewelry.
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

    1. I hope my method doesn't spoil it for you. I like to do paper crafts too, rubberstambing and scrap booking.

  3. Thank you for sharing your interesting post. I think it is great to have a visual of a character when possible. I love taking pictures and looking at pictures. I just told my grandson that pictures would be what he would have to turn to one day when his granddad and I were gone. Pictures and the written word...priceless!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  4. I like to use my imagination on the characters and I love photography! I had several hobbies but have given them up except for reading of course.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. What hobbies do I have?

    Crocheting, Knitting, Cooking, Book reviewing
    moma3homeschool (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. I never got the hang of knitting and crocheting. Good for you! Authors really appreciate book reviewers like you! :)

  8. I know authors have pictures in their heads as they write their characters. After all, how could you not? But often I find myself picturing something quite different, especially reading e-books where the cover doesn't greet you as you open the file to read it. As far as hobbies go, I enjoy taking pictures but never got quite the knack for it I wanted. It became my husband's territory. I actually love reading, so I guess my hobby is writing reviews for the books I read. I also would like to dive into quilting at some point. I just have to put down the facebook and computer games. I also love to plant flowers and herbs.

  9. I love old photos and to envision what their lives were like. Authors need a picture of characters to put their personality, faith and work into the story. I enjoy taking pictures of children, cats, family and beautiful landscapes. I had a photography project when I was in 4-H. Hobbies are walking/jogging, tending to flower gardens, reading and spending time with family and friends. Thank you for the giveaway. marilynridgway78 [at] gmail [dot]com

  10. I like to leave the characters looks to my imagination. I have seen where some authors have posted pictures & it kind of ruins for me, lol!

    I would say for hobbies; I really only have one and that's reading :-) The only picture taking I do anymore is when we go on a trip, which isn't as often as we'd like. There are boxes full of pictures of when our kids were growing up, though!

    Thank you for the giveaway chance!

    1. Oops forgot my email and say I am a feedburner follower too!

      teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Oh no, I forget to say I'm a feedburner follower, too.
    marilynridgway78 [at] gmail [dot]com

  12. Congratulations, Marilyn! You are the winner. Carla will be contacting you shortly.