Monday, June 30, 2014

Carla Stewart ~ The Hatmaker's Heart

I'm thrilled to welcome Carla Stewart to Ink Dots this week. Carla's the award-winning author of five novels. With a passion for times gone by, it is her desire to take readers back to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called “home.”
Carla was the 2011 trophy winner of the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. “Best Book of Fiction”, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award (Faith, Hope, and Love) finalist in 2011 and winner in 2012, a two-time Genesis winner, and an Oklahoma Book Award finalist four times. She and her husband live in Tulsa and have four adult sons and six grandchildren (with one on the way!). Learn more about Carla at
The Hatmaker's Heart ~ For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities. She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon. 
But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is. 
Carla says...
If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be... Cornwall, England. We went to England years ago but didn’t get to Cornwall. I’ve read so many wonderful books set there and have been enjoying Doc Martin on Netflix, so the bug to go there and explore those craggy shores is nagging me. Oh, Carla, I've been bitten by that same bug. Take me to England, and I'll be your best buddy for life. 
The best thing I did today is... spend time with my grandsons who are staying with us for the annual “fun at Mimi and Papa Max’s house.” 
A secret pleasure of mine is...sipping a glass of Chardonnay while my hubby and I sit on the patio and talk about what we did that day. 
I wish I could relive the day when I... got married. I can barely remember anything about the day, and I would love to be more observant and take the time to capture the mood and remember what was said and who came to the wedding. Looking back (forty-two years!), I know it was the day that was pivotal for the remainder of my life (as wedding days should be), and I would like to cherish it more. 
When I was a child I dreamed I would... be famous. Sometimes a radio disc jockey, sometimes an actress on a stage, sometimes an author who wrote books that carried readers on journeys. Obviously, I never became famous, but I do have a treasure trove of wonderful memories as a wife, a mom, a nurse, a traveler, and yes . . . as a writer. Dreams do come true, but they’re not always exactly as we envisioned. And for me, I’m just grateful to be able to share my stories with others. I love it that your dreams have come true, even if they look a little different to the ones you held as a child. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... someday I want to write a really good mystery. It was the genre I preferred to read for half of my life, and I sort of gravitate toward those that have psychological twists. Any ideas?? Oh... I'm not the best one to ask. I don't naturally gravitate to mysteries, but I'm sure your readers will tell you. :)  
If you'd like to win a copy of Carla's The Hatmaker's Heart, please leave a comment below. Tell us about the best/worst hat you've ever worn. I wore an 1850s bonnet on a school camp with my son when we visited the historic Sovereign Hill. BEST fun ever and a day I was sorry to see end. 
How about you? I'll announce the winner in the comment thread on Friday. 
Good luck and happy reading,