I’m thrilled to introduce you to the talented author who has stepped into our romantic spotlight this week. Get ready to dive into the world of indie romance as we chat with Kristina Carmela, the creative genius behind the captivating Nelsonville series.
Kristina’s journey from DIY enthusiast to accomplished author is as inspiring as her characters’ adventures. She’s here to share her insights, inspirations, and the story behind her book, “This Time Around,” the first installment of the Nelsonville series.
In this interview, you’ll get a glimpse into Kristina’s writing process, the charming setting of her book, and how her love for animals weaves into her storytelling. Plus, she’ll provide a sneak peek into her upcoming book, “So It Goes,” and share valuable advice for aspiring indie authors.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your book “This Time Around.” What sparked the idea for the story and the character of Georgia Fields?
This Time Around was created in some ways, as a way for me to live this alternate life. The character of Georgia Fields is based on me in a lot of ways. We share the same anxieties & insecurities, we look the same, process things the same and we share a lot of the same memories. It was this fun outlet to see how a character who is like me in so many ways experience a very different, wild life! I really let myself have fun with seeing where the story was going to go, so at some point, I stopped planning and let my creativity take over!
As a multi-talented creative who’s tackled various DIY projects, what made you decide to take on writing a book? How did you overcome the fear that initially held you back?
I grew up loving books. I was the kid who read a book a day during summer breaks. I loved writing short stories & actually, songs! As a kid, I always knew I would have loved to publish a book. Only, it seemed like this impossible task. Between that and my insecurities telling me that I simply wasn’t good enough to be an author, I put this on hold for so long. I even started writing this book years ago and stopped, not having the time or confidence. When I stumbled upon those first few chapters in 2021, things kind of clicked. I think I found the story again when I needed it most. Even though I didn’t have the intention to publish, when I finished the first draft, I realized that it was actually pretty darn good! I also realized I was worthy enough and capable enough. My excitement once I realized all that really fueled me to go for it!
Georgia Fields is a character who’s stepping out of her comfort zone. Can you share a bit about your own experiences stepping out of your comfort zone and how they influenced the development of the story?
I wish I had Georgia’s level of bravery to really step out of her comfort zone the way she did! I think writing in general for me and challenging myself is very much out of my comfort zone. Putting myself out there with my books is big for me! But it was fun to push her and I think that will keep pushing me!
The setting of your book seems to play a significant role. Could you elaborate on how the beach house and its surroundings contribute to the atmosphere of “This Time Around”?
The fictional town of Nelsonville is based on my favorite place ever! It’s this town that has a knack of pulling people in who need a fresh start. This idea really helped me create the basis of the series as a whole. All of these characters came to Nelsonville to start over and they meet each other on various points of their fresh start. So we spend a lot of time at the beach, which is my favorite. Georgia’s beach house especially is home base for lots of the characters. It’s safe, it’s homey. As the series continues, we spend more time on Main Street and in the different businesses. It brings a lot of different people into play and a lot of different situations present themselves! My goal is for you to feel at home in this special place and always want to come back.
Georgia’s journey involves discovering truths about her life and embracing love in unexpected ways. How do you balance themes of self-discovery and romance throughout the book?
Balance is the perfect word for this question! Georgia is always seeking balance in her life, she knows that’s what’s going to help her get through these huge issues. As a writer, I ended up choosing a much simpler love story. I wanted her to find somebody who was going to be that instant balance instead of somebody who was going to bring drama and confusion. There’s enough of that already in the story. I made the very conscious choice to add more love and understanding instead of more craziness. For this couple, it works beautifully! And for Georgia, this love story helps her gain the confidence and self love she always wanted to find.
Your upcoming book “So It Goes” is part of the Nelsonville series. Could you give us a sneak peek into what readers can expect in the next installment?
So It Goes is a great continuation of This Time Around! I love it for a lot of reasons but I also love how much my writing progressed! But this story gives us a lot of answers we don’t get in This Time Around. So It Goes shows how much Georgia has grown and you really see her feel much more settled in her new life. We spend a lot more time on Main Street so it begins to open up the future of the series in a lot of fun ways! The vibe of this book overall is still very similar to This Time Around, so you’ll jump right in perfectly!
It also introduces us to the next main character in the series, Penny Carson who will take over in her book, Violet Wildflowers!
From writing in various locations to crafting stories in different mediums, how do these experiences influence your writing process and the stories you create?
Leaving myself open to get creative anywhere at any time really helped the story, I think. I’m not a big planner when I write because some of my best ideas have sprung out of nowhere at the most random times. I let myself lean into that. Being open and letting myself experience lots of different writing sessions only made me better. Giving myself a break from writing to turn my brain off doing other creative projects is huge for me! Sitting in front of an oil painting and creating on canvas clears my mind. So I often find myself either there or in front of my sewing machine to help work through a storyline. Both of those things are incorporated into Georgia’s character, especially painting. She does the exact same thing to pause her mind and give herself space to think.
Your love for animals shines through your personal interests. How does your connection with animals weave into your storytelling, especially in “This Time Around”?
I love, love animals! My own dog, his name is Asher, has an easter egg. The road the beach house is on is named Asher Lane! There are also two dogs in the stories right now who are this big part of creating a welcoming, homey environment. They have their distinct personalities and I know I’ll continue to add more pets into the books. I think it’s this little detail that a lot of people connect to and appreciate!
In today’s digital age, social media plays a crucial role in connecting authors with readers. How has your online presence on platforms like Instagram and TikTok enhanced your relationship with your audience?
Social media is so hard and I feel like every day I have to relearn it! I think the biggest thing I am always reminding myself about is sharing my favorite pieces of Nelsonville and my books knowing that it’s going to be somebody’s favorite thing too. I have to stop being afraid of not talking about Nelsonville and letting people get to know me a little more! Every time I do that, it’s so nice hearing from people who felt a connection to me as the author. I love making those connections with readers and I find the more I do it, the more fun we’re all having.
Finally, what message do you hope readers take away from “This Time Around”? And as an indie author, what advice would you give to others who are considering taking their writing journey to the next level?
I hope when readers finish This Time Around, they have that feeling of community and chosen family. Georgia only gets through everything she does because she has this incredible community of people who are there for her in every way imaginable. I hope that people think of their own community and continue to be a supportive piece of their community and chosen family!
Right now, I feel like I’m starting to throw away all the writing and publishing rules I thought were so necessary when beginning this journey. I would tell any indie author who is at any part of their journey to not be afraid to break the “rules”. Such a big benefit of being indie is the ability to create your own path, so don’t be afraid to do it! Break the rules, be unconventional, do what feels right for you! If you’re confident in it and if you are creating the space for it, your readers will follow!
Thank you for joining us in this fascinating interview with Kristina Carmela. To stay connected with her and explore more of her literary world, be sure to check out her Website and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Keep an eye out for “So It Goes,” the next exciting instalment in the Nelsonville series, and remember Kristina’s valuable advice for indie authors: don’t be afraid to break the rules, be unconventional, and create your own path in the world of writing.