BTSCelebs: Who is Carla Laureano?
Carla Laureano: Wife of nineteen years. Mom of two boys. Author of nine books (two about to be published). Obsessive reader. When-I-can-manage-it yogi. Knitter. Home improvement addict. Organizational fiend/minimalist. Serious home cook and baker.
What was the first dish you ever made, and how did it turn out?
The dish I remember best was a dessert I cooked for my parents’ anniversary. I might have been twelve or thirteen. I attempted to make an apple pie from scratch for the first time. It turned out golden brown and tasty, but I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as cooking apples and eating apples, and so the filling was still raw and crunchy when it came out! My parents ate it, though. With enough sugar and cinnamon, even raw apple pie filling is tasty.
Which one of the dishes described in The Saturday Night Supper Club is your personal favorite to make at home?
While I’m capable of making most of the food in The Saturday Night Supper Club, I’m a lot like Rachel in that I cook very simply at home. Between my work schedule, my husband’s, and my two sons’ activities, I’m just happy to have us all sitting down to eat at the same time. That said, Rachel’s spring veggie frittata is from my personal repertoire and one of my favorite things to serve with fresh fruit when I have friends over for breakfast/brunch. It occasionally makes an appearance at dinner with a side salad and homemade bread, too.
How do Melody and Ana compare to your friends in real life?
I loosely based the relationship between the three women on a cherished friendship with two writer friends, without whose support I probably wouldn’t have made it this far. Rachel is like my friend Evangeline, who is incredibly single-minded about her craft and has never once considered being anything but a writer. She’s one of the most creative people I know, and I’m inspired by how easily these amazing ideas come to her. Melody is similar to my friend, Brandy—she’s a Bohemian free-spirit who has lived in a number of places and always puts things into perspective for us with her unique outlook. She’s also an accomplished baker. Ana is most like me—I’m the driven, tough-love member of the trio, though I’m also the cook.
That said, Rachel, Melody, and Ana are very much fictional—I took my inspiration from our general personality types and what our friendship means to me, but that’s about it. I would never break confidence by revealing anything truly personal about them in print!
Did your personal road to salvation inspire Rachel’s story?
Rachel’s salvation story is unique to her and very different from my own. I was raised in a supportive, loving Christian family and my parents just celebrated their forty-eighth anniversary. I’m happy to say that while my upbringing was relatively conservative, it was neither fundamentalist nor abusive in any way. What I did borrow from my own life was my realization about how much God has guided my life behind the scenes when I couldn’t even conceive of what He was doing. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve really been able to surrender my dreams to Him with the realization that he is a much better career- and life-planner than I am.
Can you give us a little sneak peek about her friends’ conversion to Christianity as well?
I don’t want to go too much into their stories because I don’t want to spoil anything! Let’s just say that Melody was raised as a Christian but will have to come to terms with the reality of her faith and whether or not it’s as solid as she’s always thought. Ana was raised in a large Catholic family and her faith is incredibly important to her, but she’s going to have to face up to her own perfectionism and how that affects her relationship with God.
Besides the supper club novels, are there any other writing projects we should anticipate from you in the near future
Right now, I’m focusing on novels (and possibly novellas) related to the Supper Club series. However, Tyndale is re-releasing my first contemporary romance series, the MacDonald Family Trilogy, including the long awaited third book, Under Scottish Stars. That will make at least six new releases or re-releases in three years, so between writing and promotion, that’s going to keep me pretty busy.
*BTSCelebs sends a special thank you to Tyndale House Publishers and Carla Laureano for the interview and image*