Literary First Love – Carla Stewart

Today’s Literary First Love comes from award-winning author, Carla Stewart | @ChasingLilacs | Carla on Facebook

Carla Stewart

Update: Thanks to everyone who entered! Constance is the lucky winner of our giveaway. She has been notified by e-mail. We’ll be giving away books all summer so make sure you stop by again!

I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading, but the first book I remember owning and loving was The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink. I ordered it from the Weekly Reader Book Club which was something of a splurge for my family at the time, so I must have considered my options carefully. It had a cute pink cover and was about a mom who inherits a motel in Florida where the children are drawn into solving mysteries. For this Texas country girl, it was very exotic and adventurous. And the beginning of vicarious living and traveling with fictional characters.

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys followed, but by seventh grade I was swept away to Tara in Gone With the Wind and the Canadian wilderness in Mrs. Mike. A Gothic romance phase followed with the Brontë girls and Mary Stewart. I still love British settings and stories with a bit of mystery in them.

My dad was the reader in our family, and not by coincidence, both my sisters and I caught the bug from him. Honestly, what’s not to admire about a man who saves up to buy his girls a set of World Book Encyclopedias and then proceeds to read them cover to cover starting with Volume A? He also devoured dime novels like they were Tic-Tacs.

Books have served me well not only as an escape, but also my yardstick for measuring life and its deeper meanings and yearnings.

As I’m writing this, I realized my latest release is about a woman who inherits a rundown tourist court in the bayou country of East Texas, and there’s a whisper of mystery in the tale. Ack! I’ve channeled my very first literary love. But, oh what a journey!

We’re giving away a signed copy of Carla’s latest novel, STARDUST. To be entered, simply leave a comment on this post  telling us the first book you fell in love with. We’ll choose a winner at the end of today.

In the bayou country of East Texas, the neon sign of the STARDUST stands silent, no longer beckoning visitors to its cozy cottages. But two days after Georgia Peyton buries her unfaithful husband, a curious thing happens: the STARDUST sign sputters to life and winks at her. Sustained by a memory from the past and determined to build a new life, Georgia acquires the STARDUST with hopes of breathing new life into it too.

But the guests who arrive aren’t what Georgia expects: her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband’s mistress; an attractive drifter who’s tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia’s past. Dreams of a new life are crippled amid the havoc. Georgia’s only hope is that she can find the courage to forgive those who’ve betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxie to face the future. One thing is certain: under the flickering neon of the STARDUST, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Carla Stewart’s writing reflects her passion for times gone by. A child of the fifties and sixties, she recalls it as a glorious time when the summers were lazy, colors were brighter, and music filled her heart. Carla’s desire is to take readers back to the times when they knew they were loved, to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called “home. ”

Her award-winning novels include Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings. Stardust is her newest release. She loves readers and participating in book club discussions. You can learn more about Carla and ways to connect with her at www.carlastewart.com.

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30 Responses to Literary First Love – Carla Stewart

  1. Kris C May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Hmmm…the first book I fell in love with. It’s a toss-up between Les Miserables, To Kill A Mockingbird, or Gone With The Wind, I think. Those all became my favorites in high school. Although, I also LOVED the Nancy Drew books and Pippi Longstocking long before then! 🙂

  2. Marilyn May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    My fourth grade teacher read us ,The Boxcar children. To this day, I love all of those books. Later on, I read a ton of Nancy Drew books (the pink ones 🙂 ) Love tons of others.

  3. jill hoke May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I fell in love with Charlotte’s Web in the 3rd grade.

  4. Karen Carter May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    The first thing I remember falling in love with was the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.

  5. Ruth May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Little House on the Prairie

  6. Carmee Ross May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    It would have to be Nancy Drew mysteries, and I would love to win this book.

  7. Jan May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    The first book I fell in love with was Helen Keller. I was in the 2nd grade and remember being totally enthralled by her life and what she overcame. I have never forgotten the feeling I had as the book came alive. It’s then that I learned to love reading. It’s over 40 years later and I still always have a book in my hand.

  8. Sue B May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I remember reading and loving My Friend Flicka as a child in elementary school. I might even have to read it again!

  9. Shannon Brown May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    My first book that I fell in love with was the Nancy Drew book the first in the series, the Hidden Clock… I remember being probably 7 years old, and even then feeling that quickening of my heart, as the suspense built, I was hooked on books ever since! Now that I have a Nook, I read even more… Love Love Love reading!!!

  10. deb whis May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Oh my gracous! I read THE PINK MOTEL to my grandson last summer! We also read CROSSBONE HILL from the Weekly Reader Book Club! “Oldies but goodies”, he enjoyed both books and finished them himself. (I had to sneak the endings later!)

  11. Sarah May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Carla, what a fun trip down memory lane. Not only were my parents voracious readers, but they encouraged us to use what little of our allowances we were actually allowed to spend (most of it went in our college funds) on books. So when those catalogues came around at school, I was also very careful about what I chose.

    While I have great memories of many of the books that have been mentioned, I think my greatest find in the Scholastic Reader was The Trojan War by Bernard Evslin. Between the cheeky tale and the beautiful art deco wood cuts, it captured my imagination in the way no book ever had–and few have since.

  12. Kandra May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    OH, what a tough question! There are so many dearly-beloved titles! I remember when my Mom recomended “The Secret Garden” to me, and I found that I loved it as much as she had when she was a girl. But soon afterward, I loved The Rim of the Prairie…Tuck Everlasting…Gone With the Wind…The Borrowers…so many more!
    This new book sounds truly intriguing!

  13. Linda F May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Reading has been something I’ve enjoyed since I was tiny & my mom read Bambi & Charlotte’Web to myself & my siblings. As I grew I still loved the books I just mentioned but the Little House series by L Ingalls Wilder has been a favorite for years & so has the Anne of Green Gable series (which I own). Thanks for giveaway!!!

  14. Laura May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    My favorite books when I was young were the Trixie Belden mystery series. I was addicted and would stake out the bookstore waiting to get the next one. Still can’t believe my mom gave away the whole series that I had collected. I think that is where my love for a book series really began. Now I devour Earlene Fowler or Sue Grafton mysteries and can’t wait for the next one.

  15. Sharon M May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    My dad was an avid reader and his example taught me to enjoy reading. So many books from my childhood were read over and over again. But I think the first novel I really loved was “Little Women”. But I also loved mysteries with the great sleuths – Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes.

  16. Jenny Blackmon May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I loved the Anne of Avonlea series, Little House series, and Trixie Belden series. Now my oldest is getting old enough to read the Little House series on her own.

  17. Linda May 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    My first love of books that I can remember was a thick Bible Story Book that my dad read to me and my brother each night before we went to sleep. It was a different story each night and we went through that book many times before we thought we were to old to be read to. When I started reading on my own, it was Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys series. I never owned any books, except the Bible, until I was a married. I have been known to wear out a number of library cards.

  18. Susan G. May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Looks like another great read! The book that always comes to mind for me is “The City Under the Back Steps”which I read in grade school…and all the mystery books back then too! 🙂

  19. Myra May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I loved so many books, it’s difficult to remember which one was my first favorite! I loved Little Women. I also remember a book about a girl, named Marcy, who went on summer vacation and fell in love with a cowboy. Marcy’s First Love, maybe? During my childhood, we had a summer reading program, that would let you check out books through the mail. I know that I kept out mailman busy all summer long!

  20. Teresa Ahrenholtz May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    My literary first love is a tie between “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret?” or the Amelia Bedelia stories.

  21. Carla Stewart May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you all for sharing your first literary loves. You’ve reminded me of some I’d forgotten (Trixie Belden – yes!). Little Women. And I’m glad to hear that The Pink Motel is still beloved today.

    Thanks, too, to all of you at She Reads for continuing to introduce us to so many amazing books. Bless you.

  22. Linda N May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I love to read and have read Nancy Drew and many other mysteries, I would love to win your new book also..

  23. karenk May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    i grew up w/ nancy drew 🙂

  24. Constance May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I don’t know which was the first book I ever loved but I know I LOVED to read. I went to a two room elementary school and I read every book they had in the 1-3 grade room and before I had finished 4 th grade I read ALL the books they had in the 4-6 grade room! I just had to keep reading them over and over for the next two years.

  25. Janet May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    When I was in fifth grade, I received a copy of “The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew” in the class Christmas exchange. I wasn’t too thrilled at first but began reading it over vacation and loved it. I read it several times over the years and am so indebted to that long forgotten person who gave me the book and open up the joys of reading for me.

  26. Carla Torrijos May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    My first love was a childrens bible story collection book. It was blue with Jesus walking with children on a dirt street. We checked It out from the library. I would keep it he allowed time and it would be the first book I’d look for the next trip there. I would be so bummed when it wasnt available.

  27. Pauline May 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    My earliest favorite was “Summer of Little Rain.” If my memory is accurate, it’s about a family of deer and one of beaver, and the challenges that a dryer summer brings to them. This book, and living in a small town where the countryside was just a five-minute walk away, gave birth to the nature lover in me.

    Your new book sounds fascinating, Carla!

  28. melanie May 22, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    The Secret Garden

  29. Melinda K Taylor May 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a good read. I like books about adventures in the hotel, motels and bed and breakfasts.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Stardust Blog Tour Wrap-up - Carla Stewart | Carla Stewart - May 22, 2012

    […] Georgia and Peter who are in the Character Spotlight on Relz Reviews or join in the conversation at She Reads as we talk about our first literary love. LAST THING – Have you entered the STARDUST RETRO […]

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