Monday, October 22, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Author Carla Olson Gade

I've got a fun guest to introduce to you today. Her name is Carla Olson Gade, and she's the author of The Shadow Catcher's Daughter as well as the novella Carving a Future in a brand new novella collection from Barbour Publishing, called Colonial Courtships.

I first met Carla last year sometime. It seems that we both got our book contracts, her for The Shadow Catcher's Daughter and me for Sanctuary for a Lady, around the same time. And that's how we hooked up. Carla will be giving away one copy of Colonial Courtships to a commenter. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment with your email address at the end of the post. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Tell me a bit about your family. How many children do you have, and if they still live at home, how old are they? 

I live in central Maine with my husband, Brad. We have two sons, Brandon (24), and Justin (25) who live nearby, but have their own apartments. Justin is going to be a dad in the spring, so I’ll be a Nana!

Why did you choose to work from home rather than find a job elsewhere?

For the most part I was a stay at home mom while my children grew up. I occasionally had a part-time job, including paid ministry work, and did home day-care for a time. When they were older, I worked from home as a web designer for many years, and taught adult education courses. It was important for me to be the primary caregiver for my children. I also home schooled my children for several years, as it was important to me to be involved in their education. After my boys grew up, I worked part-time for an adult literacy agency. Even though finances were tight, I have never regretted my time spent working “inside the home” and I commend moms who can do so, though I know it is not always possible.

What is the most challenging aspect of working from home while raising children?

When my sons were small, I started writing fiction as a hobby with dreams that perhaps someday I might get published. But, given our family circumstances, I had to put some of my dreams on hold, although I still enjoyed writing occasionally, and wrote a newsletter for young mothers. It is important to keep in step with the Lord for his timing for our goals and specific needs of our family.

Over-commitment is something to be wary of for a mom at home, be it part-time work, volunteer activities, or children’s activities. When I do something, I tend to go into overdrive and hyper-focus and I knew my kids sensed my frustration when I felt they were interrupting me. My “just one minute” mantra didn’t cut it. Children don’t like to be interrupted either, but we tend to disregard that. Practically speaking, we learned to give each other time to switch gears while displaying the proper attitude: they knew they were ultimately my top priority, and they need to show respectful obedience. Balance, pacing, respect. And showing by example how to make a discerning choice by not saying yes to everything that comes along so we can better concentrate on our true purpose and not be distracted by the busyness. It’s also important for them to understand what your work looks like, so they know when mom is working or not, especially true when you do computer work.

Did you ever get your children involved with your home business? What advice would you give mothers thinking about having their children help with their business? 

My children often helped with ministry projects, entrepreneurial activities, and business. I wanted them to feel like they were contributing, too, and that their participation was valuable. Both of my sons were hired to help out on occasion. One of my sons did some graphic design and computer work for me, giving him an opportunity to earn monetary compensation for his talents. And when we directed youth camps, everyone had a job. One son worked in the kitchen, another ran the camp store. As adults they are often complimented–and rewarded–for their strong work ethic and helpful attitudes. That, they learned at home!

If you're married, what challenges did working from home present to your marriage, and how did you compensate?
My husband was more objective than about how much I could handle. I have a lot of health issues, and as I said earlier would sometimes take on too much. My enthusiasm didn’t always match my physical state of being. It is important to consider your husband’s opinion and develop a realistic plan for meeting goals together. Nothing can breed resentment quicker, though I am happy to have a very supportive and considerate huz! I found that communication is really important to coordinate schedules and family responsibilities. When you work at home, it affects your husband, too. One thing that helps is setting work hours that fit your family’s and marriage's style.

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same? 

Be more discerning about how I spent my time and not get so exhausted. But for the most part, I’m happy to have homeschooled my sons for as long as I did, and that I was around when they were teenagers. I’m glad I was able to teach them the benefit of working and serving together with their family and others. One thing I’d do exactly the same is belong a mother’s support group as I did when my boys were young (I was a co-founder and also led a mother’s Bible study). It enriched my life and was invaluable.

Is it worth it? What keeps you home instead of having an outside career?

Yes, it was worth it! I cherish the time I was able to spend at home with my children and now that I have an empty nest, I miss them so much. Since I’m such a homebody though, I’m happy that now I can write full-time as a career from my home office.

Thank you for that lovely interview, Carla! We're so pleased to have you with us this week. Carla will be with us again on Thursday to share a quick recipe. In the meantime, don't forget to leave a comment with an email address for a chance to win a copy of Colonial Courtships. The giveaway will end Saturday, October 27, at Midnight. 
Unexpected adventure has the four Ingersoll brothers rethinking their futures. But will it thwart their plans for good or bring about four colonial courtships? 

Carving a Future - Connecticut, 1753:  Ship figurehead carver Nathaniel Ingersoll has apprenticed for many years under his Uncle Phineas and hopes to become a master ship carver in his own right. Constance Starling was spirited away from England to the Connecticut coast as an indentured servant, arriving too ill for anyone to accept her. When Nathaniel takes pity on her, he purchases her contract. Has he jeopardized the future he has worked so hard to achieve for the welfare of a weakly servant?


  1. Thanks for the interview. I'm definitely prone to overcommittment!

  2. Nice interview. Congradulations on becoming a Nana (that's what I used to call my grandmothers).

    I would love to read your book.

  3. Yes, Melissa, I believe the majority of women are. . .

    Thank you and BW for coming by today!

  4. Totally awesome about becoming a nana, Carla! And goodness, I do not want to think about how many times my kids hear, "Just a minute." I'm trying to get better at it, and as my kids grow older, I'm trying to get a natural feel to blending writing and family. But it's not always easy!

  5. No, it isn't easy, Naomi. It is a work in progress and I think we do need to "pour ourselves a cup of grace" in these matters and just do better as we move forward.I think moms are too hard on themselves, wanting so much to be the perfect mom out of our love for our kids.

    I'm excited about becoming a Nana! I can't believe time goes by so fast and I'm now approaching that grandmother stage. They heard the heartbeat for the first time last week. It's very exciting to see my son looking forward to being a dad.

  6. Wonderful interview, Carla! One thing that struck me was that you would definitely keep going to your moms support group. I have struggled with why I don't have the time to go, but I make the time because not only do I benefit, but I can share my journey with other moms. Thanks for your encouraging words! God bless you in your writing!

    1. Thank you, Jen! So nice to see you here. Sometimes it felt like I didn't have the time or the energy, but with so many energy drainers in live, attending the mom's group always re-energized me and it was a great time for reciprocal sharing. I think the boys even liked going weekly to see their little friends.

  7. a wonderful interview/posting carla...thanks for sharing....and thanks for the chance to read your latest novel

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    1. You are quite welcome, Karen. Thank you so much for visiting.

  8. Hello Naomi and Carla! I would LOVE to win a copy of this book to read and review on my blog. As Carla already knows I LOVE Romancing America! LOL!

    Carla I wanted to ask you what is it like in Maine? I've never been very far north (maybe Tennessee is the highest I've been) and I have always been intrigued by Maine...I would love to go some day (maybe one day I can) :)

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Amada (pronounced: Chavez


    Exodus 14:14

    1. Hi Amanda! Maine is simply beautiful. Fall is crisp and starts early, spring starts late. It is such a big state that is still much uninhabited so it is quite rural with farm lands and lots of forest. The rocky coast is breathtaking. I really enjoy the lifestyle here because it is very relaxed. Maine's a great place to live, or visit!

    2. Wonderful thanks! It sounds GREAT!

      Hug, Amada (pronounced:

      Acts 16:31

  9. I, too, homeschool our children, and I agree. I wouldn't change a thing about spending time with my family either. What a cherished and great blessing God has given us! Thank you or the opportunity to win your book - I always love to meet and read new to me authors. Cheers, and best blessings on your journey!
    amanda38401 at gmail dot com

  10. Great questions, Noami. Thanks for the interview and great giveaway, Noami and Carla. i would love to read these novellas.


  11. Hi Naomi and Carla,
    This is the first time that I have seen your blog, Naomi. I already feel a kinship with you because my middle name is Naomi.
    Thank you for the great interview. I am an overcommitter too but I learned something to help me. When it was a project at work, I always got the longest deadline that I could and the immediately took the pressure off. I beat the deadline each time. I was not so fortunate as my husband, my mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister did not support my staying at home with my son. So I worked 9 hours a day and always wantes more time with my son.
    I did do volunteer activities but always included my son as that was one way to get time with him.
    I am very interested in your new book. I have researched my mother's family and have found many of them in New England in Colonial times.


  12. Great interview! I enjoyed it very much and would like to read Colonial Courtships. Thanks!

  13. I really enjoyed the interview. I didn't home school my children, but they are much older than yours. If they were little now, I'm sure I would consider it. Carla, I love being a Nana, so I wish you all the best with that new journey.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

  14. Naomi thanks for this interview of Carla. Was very interesting. And, I would love to win Carla's book.
    Maxie ( )

  15. I enjoyed getting to know Carla.

  16. I have been a working mother and I home schooled my three sons. I have always been overcommitted but have always gotten it all done:) I wouldn't have it any other way. I would love to win your book.

  17. Carolyn Naomi! How neat to find someone who shares my name! We are so few and far between!

  18. Wow Deanna, working and homeschooling? I think you just became my hero!

  19. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to enter the giveaway!

  20. These both sound great! I love historicals.

  21. And congratulations to Amada! Who won a copy of Colonial Courtships!