With her trademark blend of action, suspense and down-to-earth, realistic characters caught up in extraordinary circumstances, her novels never fail to take her readers on an exciting journey.
Carla began writing as a youngster, when she’d grab a pad and pen and climb a tree to spin her stories. Growing up in western Massachusetts, she is the third of seven children. Just before she was born, her Dutch immigrant father and Southern-born mother packed up the car with two kids and all their belongings and headed north to start a new life. They settled in an eighteenth-century carriage house on ninety acres and began a long process of renovation.
After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class, she went on to major in journalism at Boston University, graduating magna cum laude. She enjoyed a brief stint as an arts and entertainment writer, then turned to writing fiction full-time and now has more than fifty books to her credit.
Travel and research both play a large part in Carla’s writing. She can often trace the germination of a plot to the exact moment of inspiration. “It’s part of the fun of being a writer—you never know what will spark an idea. For example, on a trip to the Netherlands some years ago, we did a tour of a canal-like waterway,” she says. “I kept thinking—what would happen if a dead body floated by? What if it was an American? It’s the way my mind works—around me, everyone else was admiring the quaint countryside. I was devising a murder.”
Once a plot is hatched, the real researching begins. Her novels have taken her atop the northeast’s highest peaks, onto a shooting range with a police academy instructor and across the world as she scouts out locations and seeks the authenticity that imbues her novels.
The author’s greatest pleasure comes in those moments when she feels she’s gotten the story just right—when it all comes together on the pages of her book, exactly the way she’s envisioned the tale in her mind. Then, when readers connect with the story, her satisfaction is complete. “Everything comes down to the finished book,” says the author. “When I hear from a reader that the story resonated, and that he or she had a great time reading it, I know I’ve done my job and done it well.”
When she’s not working on her next book, Carla enjoys traveling, hiking and kayaking. She’s set out to become a “four-thousand-footer” by climbing all forty-eight peaks over four-thousand feet in the New Hampshire White Mountains, and she’s always planning the next trip—and the next adventure—either of which just might inspire a new story.
Carla lives in Vermont, where she and her husband have recently renovated their mountain house not far from picturesque Quechee Gorge.