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Author Interview - Cara Ruegg + Giveaway

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Today, I'm interviewing Cara Ruegg, who recently self-published her first novel First, to Dream of Love! I adored her book when I first read it on Inkpop and am still as much in love with Eliza and Michael's epic romance as when I first read the book.

Book Synopsis
The Luminarium princess, Eliza, a devout Catholic, visits the dreams of Michael: a dark, satanic prince. Tragedy and fate bring the two of them together, only for malevolent forces to attempt to tear them apart. As their struggle progresses, their love is tested. Both face the prospect of being ostracized from their respective families. In order to secure peace, the lovers make great sacrifices. As their bond grows the powers who seek to destroy them become more and more determined – the attacks upon them more brutal and dangerous.

Together they must rule, or divided, the darkness will encompass all of Secretum.

Author Bio
Cara Ruegg is the author of First, to Dream of Love, a YA fantasy romance. Born and bred in Maryland, she’s been honing her craft as storyteller since she was old enough to speak. She enjoys reading and photography, but most all she enjoys playing her hand at the impossible task of trying to put into words emotions that are too strong to describe.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

Would you tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?
How I became a writer…that’s a hard one. I can’t really say. Sometimes I like to think I was just born that way, that it was like in my blood or something. From my earliest memories, I had wanted to write. In fourth grade my teacher would always tell the whole class about my stories, encouraging me to read them aloud, and even inviting a poet to class to come talk to me. I think it was then, because of his encouragement and belief in me, that I decided: I’m going to become an author.

What was the inspiration behind First, to Dream of Love?
Well, one day I was driving to a camping site in PA with one of my friends. Her mom had turned on Loreena Mckenitt’s music. I have a tendency to direct my thoughts to whatever music I’m listening to; so, like, if it’s romantic, I think of something romantic. If it’s dark, I think of something dark. Well, I started playing out in my head this medieval Romeo and Juliet with princes and knights and soldiers, and all that cool stuff, because that’s what the music sounded like, like it came from a medieval era.

I also need to give credit to my Guardian angel. He was super influential too, and I think the main reason this book is what it is. I used to actually talk to him about plot ideas, etc. etc. It probably sounds a little crazy, but it really helped, and while Eliza isn’t based at all on me, her guardian angel, I like to think, is based a bit on how I imagine mine to be.

What experiences did you draw from while writing the story? Was there anything that required research?
I did have to research a bit to try and get a feel for the medieval scenery, the clothes, the way they talked, and so forth. It’s fantasy, though, so I used that as my excuse to throw away rules whenever it fit my whims.

First, to Dream of Love is filled with political intrigue and forces working against Michael and Eliza's relationship. Tell us how you worked this into the story.
Well, it’s very Romeo and Juliet. Two kingdoms, two families, and two sides – good and evil. So, of course, with opposing sides, there’s got to be political drama. It’s pretty much a requirement. Without it, the book lacks its spine.

Michael is a "dark, satanic prince," yet Eliza falls for him. What do you believe makes him so endearing?
In the beginning, I don’t think there are any endearing qualities about him. It’s mainly just divine intervention that brings them together. At an early age, before they even know if the other exists or not, they start to dream of each other. It’s these dreams that really play a role in messing with their emotions, hence the title of the book.

If you were to take readers on a tour of Eliza and Michael's world, where would you take them and why?
I’d probably have to say St. Michael’s Mount in England, not necessarily because of the outward scenery, but because of the symbolic meaning I think each detail gives. First, the vision of the Archangel Michael, which makes me think of the angel Ducaminis in FtDoL, and second because it’s surrounded by water, which makes me think of the look of impossibility regarding Eliza and Michael’s relationship. Throughout the entire novel, it’s doubted that they will stay together. The life of their relationship is in the middle of the water, seemingly impossible to reach, but then the water dies down and leaves a path to their love, like how at low tide St. Michael’s mount is accessible on foot but at high tide, you’ll drown.

Would you share a short excerpt for readers? Why did you choose this particular excerpt?
Love. That is how I plan to save them. That is the weapon I wield. I wield the weapon of love. Like blood it drips down the sword. It knows not hate; it knows not anger; it knows not envy or pride. Love can change hearts. Love can take a stone and mold it into gold. Hatred is love’s curse, but hatred holds no grounds. Love comes at it like fire and smothers it before it can breathe. Love is more powerful than any of the virtues; it is hard to attain and even harder to hold onto, but love is God and God has made all things that have been made. With God all things are possible.

Michael, only twelve and yet more wicked than any man on earth, lays breathing under the blade. It might not work. Striking a mere mortal with a love that is destined does not change the fact that they still have free will – that they can still do as they please, turn their back and walk away into the darkness. Still, I know what I was called here to do. I strike down hard. I watch him bleed. He does not feel. He won’t yet feel. When he awakes there’ll be no blood; his shirt will be white and his hands will be clean, but on the inside I pray I would have sparked something.

This excerpt is from the first two paragraphs of the novel, told from the angel’s perspective, so I didn’t exactly dig very deep, but I feel like it gives a clear picture of the novel. It shows how the love is destined more than it is chosen, which, personally, I think is the most romantic of loves. In our own hands, love can die pretty easily, but in God’s, it’s going to last.

What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m working on a general fiction novel. It’s about a girl whose father is at war and whose mom is dating someone else. Urged by depression, she starts living a fairly bad life, relying on drugs and temporary pleasure that don’t really do her much good in the long run. She seems pretty hopeless, but then she meets a cancer patient who inspires her to dig a bit deeper to find out who she really is. I haven’t gotten very far into it. It’s just a skeleton without skin right now.

Thank you so much for this, Kris! I really had fun answering these questions.

I enjoyed interviewing with you as well. Congrats on your publication and thanks for joining us today!

Cara has generously offered two copies of First, to Dream of Love. The giveaway is open through August 14th for residents in the United States, Canda, or the United Kingdom.

To enter, follow Imaginary Reads and leave a meaningful comment on the interview. You can receive extra entries each for tweeting about the giveaway and commenting on my review of First, to Dream of Love. Then fill out the form below. Do not include your email in the comments section.

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18 comments on "Author Interview - Cara Ruegg + Giveaway"
  1. Great interview! First, to Dream of Love sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. This actually looks pretty good. I never got a chance to read it on Inkpop, so I might have to pick it up sometimes. I like the aspects of religion in this. As a Christian, I think this might resonate a bit more than many other romances where religion plays no part. I think I'll have fun with that.

  3. I remember reading a little bit of this on inkpop. At least, I think it was this. Even then, this sounds great and I can't wait to read!

    1. I know! I just don't remember if it was this, or the other book Cara wrote. I remember reading something by her. ^_^

    2. Oh, right! She did post something else! Regardless, Cara has a beautiful writing style :)

  4. wonderful review and interview and this book sounds great have never heard of it before but now I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks!

  5. Great interview! I love hearing about how writers discovered their passion for writing. I joined inkpop several years ago but was never very active on the site...wishing I had been so I could've read gems like these early on. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I enjoyed reading your interview and was able to relate to your early stages very much. Your new idea is intriguing. Can't wait to read First, to Dream of Love!

  7. Great interview and review. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good.

  8. Great to hear from Cara after all this time. Good luck with the publication, Cara!!

  9. Proud of you, Cara! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and I hope for all the best for both you and your book's futures. <3

  10. Cara, I can not wait to read First to Dream of Love.

  11. Cara, I can not wait to read First to Dream of Love.

  12. I love authors who are brave enough to include religion. Its like including gay characters as normal (sadly this is VERY rare) they exist in real life, and worlds feel more real when they are included. Same goes for religion, race, and other such stuff.

  13. This book sounds really good! I loved hearing about the author's obviously christian perspective, and I feel this added aspect of angels and divine intervention will shape it into a really interesting, unique plot.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Thanks for the great interview :D I see that a lot of writers get ideas from listening to music, or doing something and unconsciously getting their idea for the book. I can't wait for her next book - depression's always a sad topic, but when flushed out, it could make a beautiful novel(:

  15. Wonderful how much a teacher can affect a child's life. I think teachers are so important in developing children into who they are.


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