Interview with Kara Isaac & GIVEAWAY

Interview with Kara Isaac & GIVEAWAY | The Engrafted WordKara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Her debut romantic comedy, Close To You, is about a disillusioned academic-turned-tour-guide and an entrepreneur who knows nothing about Tolkien who fall in love on a Tolkien themed tour of New Zealand and just released from Howard Books. When she’s not working her day job as a public servant, chasing around a ninja preschooler and his feisty toddler sister, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. She loves to connect on her website, on Facebook at Kara Isaac – Writer and Twitter @KaraIsaac


Welcome to the blog, Kara. I’m so happy to have you here today. Congratulations on your recent release, Close to You. This story sounds like so much fun! 🙂

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit, Savanna. 🙂

Where and when did you first get the idea for Close to You?

Interview with Kara Isaac & GIVEAWAY | The Engrafted WordAs much as I would love to claim the idea, it actually came from an editor that I met with at a writing conference in 2013. My agent had submitted two of my manuscripts to her and I thought we were going to talk about those, instead she asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book set in New Zealand around the Lord of the Rings movies. I thought it was crazy! But I immediately had this idea of a disillusioned tour guide and a failed entrepreneur and so six weeks so later I started to write the story that became Close To You. 🙂

Have you visited any of locations that your characters visit in this book?

I visited all of the Wellington locations as part of my research. Because I was either heavily pregnant or had a newborn while I was researching and writing I didn’t get to visit some of the further afield locations like Hobbiton, but I had friends who did and obligingly took hundreds of photos for me!

When did you first start writing? We’d love to hear a bit about how you came to be published. 🙂

I first started writing in late 2005/early 2006. I have been a huge reader my whole life and a close friend asked me earlier in that year why I didn’t try writing a book. I laughed her off at the time but over Christmas I had a few weeks off and time on my hands so thought I would give it a shot. I knew absolutely nothing about writing and quickly discovered it was a lot harder than it looked!

It took me a couple of years to finish that manuscript and then I spent a couple more years on numerous rewrites. I attended my first writers’ conference in 2009 and a wonderful agent I met there encouraged me to put my first manuscript to the side and start working on something new. I signed with my agent, Chip MacGregor, with that next complete manuscript in late 2012 and then we sold my fourth, Close To You, in early 2015.

That was a long two and a bit years of a lot of interest from publishers ultimately leading to rejections, including one instance where a contract was in the process of being offered only for the publishing house to rescind it when they decided to review their fiction line. I’m very grateful for Chip’s unswerving belief in me and my writing during that time!

Oh wow! Writing takes perseverance, doesn’t it? I read on your website how watching movies is now part of your research for writing. What’s one of your favorite movies?

One movie that I never tire of is Never Been Kissed starring Drew Barrymore and Matthew Vaughan. That moment on the end when he runs onto the baseball field? I always rewind it and watch it at least three times at the end of the movie. 🙂

Awww, how funny! I thought I was the only one. 😉 I love that part. So sweet!

Interview with Kara Isaac & GIVEAWAY | The Engrafted WordCan you tell us which character you’re most excited for readers to meet in your upcoming release, Can’t Help Falling?

Oh, that is so hard because obviously I love both Peter and Emelia, my next hero and heroine. But one of my critique partners has said that Peter, an English aspiring Olympic rower who’s had his dream destroyed by injury, is her favorite hero of mine yet so I’ll have to go with him. Hopefully readers of Close To You will also be happy to hear that Jackson and Allie are also back as secondary characters. 🙂

Thank you so much for joining us today, Kara! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

Most of my writing time the last six months has been taken up preparing to launch Close To You into the world and edits on Can’t Help Falling. However, I have just started working on a book idea for Katriona McLeod, one of the secondary characters in Close To You. It will probably be a work-in-progress for a while since we’re expecting our third child in late November but I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes as a lot of people seemed to enjoy her forthright nature in Close To You. 🙂

Awww, Congratulations on your upcoming addition to your family! 🙂 That’s so exciting. Wishing you and yours the very best! I’m looking forward to following your writing journey from here.


Kara has graciously offered to give away a copy of Close to You to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU! ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Contest is open to US residents only and ends June 21, 2016.  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!



75 comments on “Interview with Kara Isaac & GIVEAWAY
  1. Alexis says:

    Dear Kara,

    Your book sounds delightful!

    I’d love to win a copy of it!

    God bless you!



  2. Connie Lee says:

    I would like to visit some of the old ghost towns or movie sets out west where the old westerns were made.

  3. Kara, your next book sounds delish, too! Congrats on the expected little one. 🙂 Savanna, I am delighted at your site. I didn’t know about you, but I’ll follow along for sure. Good luck on your own writing journey!

  4. dianne casey says:

    I would like to visit Charleston SC and Savannah GA. Quite a few books are set in those cities and I can picture them when I’m reading. Would love to revisit both cities again for real.

  5. karen says:

    I would like to visit the country side of London to see castles like downton abbey.

  6. Lucy Reynolds says:

    Thank you so much for the chance. I only get to visit towns in books. God bless!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      That’s a wonderful gift we get from books, isn’t it? We get to travel to places we’d never see in person. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Lucy! Good luck in the giveaway.

  7. Sonnetta Jones says:

    I would love to visit New Zealand, Australia and Wales. I love history and reading stories in these setting makes we want to see these places in person.

    Great giveaway

  8. emilee douglas says:

    I just finished Reservations For Two by Hillory Lodge. I would like to visit all the places Juliette went. France, Italy, Portland and Memphis.

  9. Nancy says:

    I’d like to visit Prince Edward Island, the setting for Anne of Green Gables.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Oh me too, Nancy! Love that setting and that whole story. Just thinking about it here makes me want to go back and read AND watch Anne of Green Gables again. 😉

  10. The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance {The Promised Land},
    Within the Veil by Brandy Vallance {Scotland}, plus every one from my goodreads listopia list “Christian Fiction set in US National Parks”.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Yes! Would love to see some of the places mentioned in The Covered Deep. I haven’t read Brandy’s second one yet, though. I’ll have to add that to my list. 😉 And what a cool idea making a list of “Christian Fiction set in the US National Parks”. I’ll have to look that up, Amanda.

  11. Congrats on this release! A love story centered around Tolkien sounds epic! I would love to visit Dublin after watching P.S. I Love You. It kind of irritates me that I can’t go right now actually. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Becky B says:

    I would like to visit England and probably Bath. I believe that was in Persuasion. It just sounds so fascinating. Probably London as well.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  13. Amanda T says:

    Just finished Land of Silence, and it would be interesting to visit Jerusalem to see the place where Jesus walked.

  14. Melanie Backus says:

    I would like to visit Missouri, home of the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Ah, Melanie, I live about 30 minutes from there! 🙂 If you ever make it out here, be sure to let me know. 🙂 It’s a wonderful place to visit and they just added on a new museum recently too.

  15. Rach Merritt says:

    I’d like to visit PEI because of Anne of Green Gables. It’s actually less than eight hours from here, but it’s an expensive place. It’s my dream vacation I hope I get someday!

  16. Cindy Regnier says:

    I have been waiting a long time for Close to You to release. I am so excited to read it.

  17. Becca says:

    Eat Pray Love made me want to visit Italy for the food! 😋

  18. Joan Arning says:

    Alaska is on my bucket list.

  19. Rachael K says:

    I’d love to see the Appalachians, but especially if one could go back in time to the same period as Laura Frantz’s Kentucky novels – can you imagine seeing the vast American wilderness before the Europeans touched it?

  20. Sydney says:

    I would love to visit England or just Europe in general some day! 🙂

  21. Amanda R says:

    I would love to visit New Zealand to see the places where they filmed the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit along with Narnina casting locations…Practically I would love to travel everywhere 🙂 🙂

  22. Brenda Arrington says:

    This book sounds great. I would love to visit England some day.

  23. Patty says:

    I would love to visit Alaska!

  24. Kara Isaac says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for dropping by! I’ve been fortunate to visit a few amazing places in my life but I would love to visit New York and Great Barrier Reef 🙂

    Good luck with the draw!

  25. I heard the words Tolkien tour, and I was hooked regarding the subject of this book. 🙂

  26. Donna B says:

    I would love to visit England someday.

  27. Diana Guz says:

    I would love to visit the Lowlands in Scotland, where most of Liz Curtis Higgs’ books take place. The way she described them is breathtaking! Awesome interview, and thanks for the giveaway!

  28. Annie JC says:

    Hogwarts for sure, so London, that would be. But I’m also partial to Derbyshire, from guess where?!! It’ll be a England trip for sure!

  29. carylkane says:

    Hello Savanna and Kara! I would love to visit New Zealand and Israel. Thank you for the wonderful interview and giveaway. 🙂

  30. Karen K. says:

    I just finished Love & Gelato. Now I’d really like to go to Italy and eat a crap-ton of gelato! Lol

  31. I’d love to visit castles in England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, etc!

  32. Bree Herro says:

    My the world is full of fabulous places for stories to be told. I adore anything French and would love to visit France. Not just Paris but small villages and towns.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Bree! I like your thinking… even the quiet, off-the-beaten-path places are worth visiting. Hope you get to make that trip someday. 🙂

  33. Bonnie Roof says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Holy Land, Scotland – the land of some of my ancestors would be next.

    Enjoyed the interview, Kara and Savanna – thank you!! I’m so looking forward to reading ‘Close to You’, I’ve read numerous many wonderful reviews. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, looking forward to meeting you in Aug., Kara!!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      So glad you could join us, Bonnie! That is so neat you’ll get to meet Kara this summer. Give her a hug for me! 😉 Good luck in the giveaway too!

  34. lexie says:

    Right now I’d love to visit the Isle of Skye. I’ve also wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand since I read a series of books in middle school set in Queensland and Christchurch.

  35. Connie Saunders says:

    I read Gone With The Wind when I was 13 and countless times since then. I would love to visit Charleston and other Southern cities and visit some Civil War museums. Thanks for a great interview and giveaway!

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Ah, I love visiting Civil War sites and museums. I hope to visit Charleston and other Southern cities like that someday too, Connie. If you go, be sure to get lots of pictures! 😉

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