Kara 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?
As 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!
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!
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!