Monday, October 7, 2013

Interview with Suspense/Romance Author Charissa Stastny

Charissa Stastny was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada...but she has never gambled and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She is married, has four kids, and loves writing, reading, hiking, and imitating monkeys–although when she tried it at the zoo, one of the monkeys spit at her. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho, where she doesn’t have to be embarrassed by her poor card shuffling skills nor worry about being taunted by monkeys.

Welcome back to my blog, Charissa. I love your bio about the monkey incident. There’s nothing better than an author with a great sense of humor. Please tell us about your Eyes of Light trilogy.

This series is clean romance with lots of suspense, action, and emotional turmoil. From Hispanic drug capos and Mormon missionaries in Guatemala to Mossad agents in Israel, these stories take opposites to extremes. Suvi Goldstein is torn between violent men in one world and a forgiving man in another, but must overcome dark secrets from her past to ultimately find redemption and love.

Each book switches between 3 points of view: Suvi - our troubled main character seeking light, James Hinton - a clean-cut, returned missionary, and Austan - an ex-NCS operative who Suvi believes died when she was in high school. He has gone deep undercover, but still secretly watches over and protects her from forces bent on her destruction.

What kind of trials do your main characters have to endure?

Suvi’s trials never seem to end (I feel bad for being so brutal to her as an author—but it makes for a good story). She’s a recovering closet alcoholic, as well as dealing with repressed memories of abuse as a teen and adult. And as if those weren’t bad enough, she has drug capos and a psychopath killer stalking her. Good thing her dad is a Mossad agent.

James’s trial seems to be Suvi, even though he’s smitten by her. The baggage above that she carries becomes his by association...and puts his life in jeopardy.

Austan’s life rivals Suvi’s. Unloved and unwanted as a child, made to play dead as an adult and lose the love of his life, he’s used to life’s gut punches. The secretive life of a CIA-NCS operative isn’t as glamorous as he’d thought it’d be when he signed up; but with Suvi’s life at risk, he can’t quit.

When will book number 3 be ready and what is it about?

My goal was to have it out well before Christmas, but that was before I had a wedding to plan for my daughter. I guess it will be a surprise, depending on how efficient (or not) I am this fall with my writing. In Hands of Mercy, the infinite power of the atonement comes full circle in the lives of my three characters. Life is perfect for Suvi...but then the unthinkable happens. The Dragon returns, and brings tragedy in his wake. Suvi, James, and Austan are tested beyond their limits as death tears them apart and forces them to question their faith, love and convictions.

I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences in this book?

In Eyes of Light, the missionary scenes are almost all taken from real-life experiences my brother had while he served in Guatemala. I found his letters captivating and used them to form my character James. In Secret Keepers, there are several scenes—like the Garden tomb and the Wailing Wall—I described from being in Israel as a college student. I also stayed on a kibbutz and based Suvi’s experiences there on mine. I find as an author that little bits and pieces of real life creep into my writing whether I want them to or not. My sisters always tease me by saying things like, “Ha! James rides his bike like your husband.” or “Suvi bites her nails like you.” Sometimes those references happen on purpose, but usually they don’t.

This was so much fun getting to know you better. My husband has read both your books in this series and really loves them. Thank you for an awesome interview, Charissa.

Enter more giveaways at I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.


Unknown said...

Congrats! This seems like a powerful book.
grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

Anna said...

Seems like an amazing book and it was a great interview :)

Charissa said...

Thanks for interviewing me, Linda. I'm glad your husband liked my books, and will work hard to get the 3rd one out soon.

Becky said...

Great interview! This sounds like a very interesting story. Charissa is a new author to me. I am going to get this series to read.

Mozi Esmes Mom said...

Having lived in Asia and Africa, I like the international flavor!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Mary Preston said...

This sounds like a very exciting series.


Vicki said...

It sounds pretty good!

Rebecca Lamoreaux said...

I really love interviews like this where I get to meet a new author and learn about their books! Thanks for sharing this with us! I'm going to go check her out now!

Beedubbs said...


Serena Clarke said...

These books sound really exciting! I would love to read them!

BookLady said...

Fascinating books! Thanks for the great giveaway.

rhonda1111 said...

sounds like a good series of books to read. finding lots of new books I want to read.
Rhonda rlrlaney at yahoo dot com

ErikaBee said...

Sounds really interesting!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read these books.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Megan Parsons said...

What a fun interview! I love monkeys!! Would love the chance to read this book. Thanks!
makeighleekyleigh at yahoo dot com

amanda whitley said...

the part about the monkies was funny :p this sounds exciting..cant wait to read achadwick22 at yahoo dot com

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations Book Lady, Anna, and Mary. You are the winners of this awesome book. I know you'll enjoy it. It's full of suspense and intrigue.