A Conversation with Kara Isaac

Today, the INSPY Awards warmly welcomes author, Kara Isaac. Her novels, Close to You and Can’t Help Falling (Howard) are on the 2017 shortlists in the Debut Fiction and Romance /Romantic Suspense categories, respectively. Please join us in welcoming Kara.

Kara shares the inspiration behind BOTH of her shortlist novels, we learn about the US TV show she’s binge watching, and see her TBR shelf (look at all those amazing books!) – plus more!


Close to You | A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand. – Goodreads

Can’t Help Falling | A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England. – Goodreads

Interview Questions

INSPYs: What inspired your debut novel, Close to You (Or Can’t Help Falling – or both! Whatever you’d like to share)?

Close To You was inspired by a conversation with an editor I had from a publishing house while at a writing conference in 2013. She asked if I had ever thought about writing a story set in New Zealand around Lord of the Rings. It had never crossed my mind but I immediately had this idea of a disillusioned tour guide and an American entrepreneur drop into my mind. They became Allie and Jackson and the rest of the story came from there!

Can’t Help Falling was inspired by a combination of things. As part of my research for Close To You I learned about J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis meeting at Oxford University and becoming friends. I’ve always been a fan of C.S. Lewis and the Narnia series so when my editor asked if I had any ideas for a second book that could be linked to Close To You I pitched her the idea of a story set in Oxford with a Narnia theme. Thankfully she loved it 🙂

What are some of the things you found most interesting or challenging about the publishing process?

One of the most interesting things has been getting an up close and personal insight into all of the things that go into the traditional publishing process. From the outside, it often being up to two years between contract and publication can seem crazy long. But when you’re in the process and juggling editing deadlines with rounds of cover design input with providing information to marketing and sales teams who are pitching your books to retailers six months before it releases it suddenly starts to feel short!

I’ve been challenged by how becoming an author makes you a (very minor) public figure and what can come with that. I don’t proactively go hunting for reviews of my books but every now and then I stumble over one in my travels around the internet and I’m always bemused by people who turn their opinion of a book into a personal opinion or assumption about the author. I read one recently where someone stated that they had been on my website and from one paragraph had surmised that I’m not really a New Zealander but a discontented American ex-pat longing for home and all I could think was “How on earth did you get that from me saying that I love Double Stuff Oreos???” I’ve gotten well practiced at reminding myself that what really matters is the person my friends and family know and that life is too short to worry about the assumptions of strangers who have never met me!

  1. What are you Watching?I am enthralled by Designated Survivor. I am literally sitting here waiting for my husband to get home so we can watch the next episode! I’m very grateful that right now my next release is current out of my hands with the proofreader and I have the luxury of time to catch up on episodes.
  1. What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? My nightstand is bookshelves filled to the brim with my TBR books. I wish I could say that is all of them but alas there are also piles lined up under my bed! I’ve got Katie Ganshert’s, Life After waiting for me. I’ve heard so many amazing things that it’s one of those books that I’m reluctant to start because then I will be a step closer to it being finished.
Faceoff Questions:
  1. Print or Ebook? Print. Unless I’m travelling 🙂
  2. Comedy or Action? Comedy
  3. PC or Mac? Mac
  4. Cookies or Cake? Ooh now that entirely depends on what kind we’re talking!


Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two children.Visit her on KaraIsaac.com

Thanks so much for joining us on the INSPYs blog today, Kara. It was a pleasure to host you and spotlight your shortlisted novels, Close to You and Can’t Help Falling.