Tour Wars by Carla Luna

For episode 39, host Y. M. Nelson interviews Carla Luna, author of Tour Wars, her latest release in the Romancing the Ruins Series. We talk archaeology, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and slow burn rivals to lovers romance. This book is the essence of what Nerdy Romantics is all about!

Topics We Discuss (Click to jump to transcript’s section) :

About the book:

Ten days, two rivals, and a busload of tourists. How bad could it be?

For archaeologist Emilia Flores, landing a fellowship to work at the ancient ruins of Pompeii in Italy is a dream come true. The only catch? She’ll be digging alongside her infuriating nemesis, TJ Mayer, who’s been a constant thorn in her side.

TJ isn’t about to pass up the Pompeii project. Sure, he’ll be stuck working with Emilia, but he thrives on challenging her. And he hasn’t forgotten that secret kiss they shared at an archaeology conference last winter.

Though unearthing Pompeii’s treasures might be a dream, student debt is a nightmare that never takes a vacation. So, when TJ and Emilia are offered a lucrative side job to lead a ten-day tour through Southern Italy, they grudgingly agree to tackle it together.

Forced to set aside their animosity and work as a team, they forge an unexpected camaraderie. As the sparks between them ignite, their rivalry gives way to passion, making it easy to forget their years of fierce competition.

But what happens when the tour ends and the real world steps in?

Content Warning: Profanity, alcohol use, sexuality (open door heat level), backstory involving the loss of a parent; one scene of sexual harassment.

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About Carla Luna:

Carla Luna was born in Los Angeles but spent most of her childhood on Vancouver Island, B.C., surrounded by beaches and forests. Her love for writing started at the tender age of eight when she wrote a short story about three witches who debated the best way to spend Halloween (riding broomsticks vs riding vacuum cleaners). In college, she studied history and archaeology and was fortunate enough to work on digs all over the world. She still dreams of traveling to far-off places and now channels that wanderlust into her stories.

Her love of romance began when she discovered the rack of Harlequin romances at the library where she worked as a teen. From there, she moved on to steamy historical epics and Gothic romances set on windswept moors. At present, she writes contemporary romance and romantic comedies with a dollop of humor and a pinch of spice.

When she’s not writing, she works in a spice emporium where she gets paid to discuss food and share her favorite recipes. Her passions include baking, Broadway musicals, whimsical office supplies, and listening to pop culture podcasts. She currently resides in Wisconsin with her family and her feisty Siberian cat.

Website: https://www.carlalunabooks.com/

Carla Luna’s Social media:

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Episode Transcript

Y. M. Nelson: Hello, nerdy romantics. Today on the podcast, we are talking with Carla Luna. Carla’s book, or her newest book in the Romancing the Ruins series, Tour Wars it is out this month, as of this recording, it came out March 5th, and we are going to talk Tour Wars, we’re going to talk archaeology, what’s it all about, and why are these people so cutthroat?

Wow, I didn’t know it was going to be like that, and you know I’ve got to get a little of my nerd pop culture in, so we are going to talk a little bit about Indiana Jones and maybe The Mummy?

Carla Luna: Yes, please.

Y. M. Nelson: Possibly. All right. So, stay tuned with us.

Y. M. Nelson: This is the Nerdy Romantics Podcast and I’m your host, YM Nelson.

Y. M. Nelson: Okay. Carla, welcome. Welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

Carla Luna: good. Thanks.

Y. M. Nelson: Awesome. So, we are talking about Tour Wars and talking about the romancing the ruins. Did I get that

Carla Luna: Yep. That’s yeah, that’s the serious name.

Y. M. Nelson: And we are in book three of that series right now, right? Okay.

Carla Luna: Yes.

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Who is Carla Luna?

Y. M. Nelson: So, first off, for those nerdy romantics out there who may not know who

Y. M. Nelson: you are, Carla, tell us a little bit about yourself.

How did you get started in this whole writing romance novels, anyway?

Carla Luna: So, I started writing when I was eight, but my first, and this is kind of a joke that I tell a lot of conferences. My first actual book was biblical fanfic. So, it was Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and I wanted to sort of change the course of history and give Jesus a happy ending and give him some romance. So, I wrote this when I was 14, this like epic saga. I never published it, but that was my first official book. Then I wrote a lot of fantasy.

Y. M. Nelson: love this! So, yeah, and so, I’m sorry, you wrote your first official fantasy, I’m sorry, I just got really giddy right there.

Carla Luna: is pretty funny. I wrote fantasy in my twenties. I find for fun. I was in a sci fi fantasy group in College writing group, so I did a lot of, like, just fun stuff and then I tried for years to get an agent when I was, like, in my 40s. I had 1 for a while. I tried additional publishing. It didn’t quite work for me. And so, in 2021, I decided to self-publish. My romances and that’s when I kind of got started with with that.

Y. M. Nelson: Awesome. Awesome. And so, you are writing this particular series from the perspective of archaeologists, but you are an archaeologist yourself, yes?

Carla Luna: I’m a while. I’m a former archaeologist. So, I got my degree from UCLA. I went on a bunch of digs. I work for a museum called the Getty in Los Angeles. I had a lot of great experiences, but eventually, but I had to leave. Kids, I was like, I wanted, I didn’t, I couldn’t really work in the field. So, I kind of gave it up and then I really always missed it.

And I decided when I was writing romance that I really wanted to set romances in the world of archeology because there was always a lot of shenanigans when I went on my digs, like a lot of stuff happened that was personal or behind the scenes. And I thought, Oh, this would be a great focus of a series.

Y. M. Nelson: Right. Oh my gosh. And you know you can tell that in this book that there’s like Serious shenanigans going on people do a lot of stuff on digs And I’m like I’m like, oh my I’m in the wrong profession But so you’re writing this actually from a place of yeah, you are writing what you know This is the life out there

Carla Luna: did. I went on used to go on digs every summer, usually for like 6 to 8 weeks in different countries and had lots of different experiences. And so, I know about the day to day nitty gritty. But to be honest, the actual sort of fact part of it kind of got boring to me. Like, didn’t want to write about pottery types or, you know, soil levels or reconstruct stuff. I wanted to write about the fun stuff, which is why fiction was a lot better for me than becoming like a PhD in teaching or whatever.

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How I found Carla

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, okay. Yeah. Cause I was, I was going to say you know, doesn’t that kind of lead towards teaching or maybe your own Nat Geo show or something like that? But yeah, but writing romance, you know, I’m, I had to have you on the podcast when, I okay, so y’all, y’all know, I tell a little bit of a story of how I found different authors and I did a newsletter swap with Carla. That was last

Carla Luna: Yeah. I think.

with star date, maybe

Y. M. Nelson: yeah, “Star Date” was mine and yours was I can’t remember what the name of

Carla Luna: I’d have been, I don’t know if it was Field Rules or choice. One of my archeology ones maybe.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. I think it was, I think it was Field Rules. I think it was Field Rules. So Yes, that was it. That was it. And so y’all see, this is why you got to be on my newsletter, y’all, you know, because I, you know, I do these swaps now and I am actually not just saying, Hey, here’s a cool book.

I’m actually saying, Hey, I might want to read this book. Let me talk to the author. Let me figure this all out. And so here we are, you know we did an author swap and I just really like the fact that you come from a nerdy and romance perspective. I was like, oh my gosh She’s one of the nerdy romantics.

She’s she’s one of us. I love it. I love it And you know, the fact that you know, it’s an archaeology band is you know, so cool. But before I get to getting into myself, you have another series out there, right? Is that also archaeology as well, or is that something different? Tell us about your other series you have

Carla Luna: Blackwood Cellers series is my first series. And now those are three books. All set at destination weddings. And I started with that because as an inroad to romance, I wanted to write something that people love. And I feel like people love like wedding rom coms and wedding movies,

and it’s just a good entry point. And so, I, one of them is set in Maui, one’s in Door County, Wisconsin, which is a big fall destination, and one is at Christmas. So, they’re all wedding romances, the first three books I wrote.

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Traveling in Italy and the settings of Carla’s books

Y. M. Nelson: So, yeah, so with those you’re bringing in the I know about these places, yes, and, you know, and see, this is what I really liked about Tour Wars, y’all, without doing too many spoilers here, I’m, I’m trying not to do any spoilers, I love the fact that you are describing this place from Like I want to go there.

You know, I’ve already wanted to, I already wanted to go to the Amalfi Coast. So, this is set in Pompeii, y’all. Well, most of it is set in Pompeii or near the Pompeii site there. And but they do take a tour of Italy and I wanted to go to the Amalfi Coast. And what you said about the Amalfi Coast from a tour guide perspective, I thought, hmm, Okay, maybe I want to plan this whole trip a little bit more, where I don’t get caught in the tourist trap, because it’s very much a touristy kind of city, versus I’m going there to relax kind of place, and you know, whatever kind of place, which is kind of what I was thinking.

It was kind of a chill kind of place, and not too touristy. But You know, as you talk about that in Tour Wars, I was like, okay Let me rethink my trip

Carla Luna: It is beautiful. I mean, it’s such a beautiful area that it’s, it’s worth going to. I just would say, I went to Italy as research for this trip and I went in April of last year, and it was still really busy, but this is the, that isn’t even the high season.

And so, I mean, I was surprised at how busy like Pompeii was and the Colosseum and the Amalfi Coast and isn’t the high season, but I think a lot of people are traveling now

because they couldn’t. So, I feel like if you go off season, it’s still a much better bet. And you could go just about anywhere and it wouldn’t be too bad. Like if you go maybe April or October, just kind of not in the summer. Summer is when like, it’s like anywhere. It’s like where a lot of tourists come.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, right, right. So yeah, so off season for them is like fall winter Okay, because they’re kind of Yeah,

Carla Luna: not Easter. Don’t go at Easter because everyone goes to

Y. M. Nelson: I definitely wouldn’t in. Ha ha ha

Carla Luna: and all that

Y. M. Nelson: Exactly. That’s a no. That is a no, y’all. Oh, gosh. And so, you’re kinda, so, This is, you’re kinda just tapping into all my loves here. I mean, I’m, you know, I love, even though I don’t, Monetarily, they have enough money to do a lot of traveling.

I love travel and the idea of traveling and the idea of going and seeing new places. I mostly, like, love the landscape part of it. And, of course, the the nerd pop culture part of it. You know, when I saw archaeology and I saw people going on digs, you know, the first thing I thought was, Indiana Jones, and I love Indiana Jones, y’all!

That’s so nerdy to me, I love it! And and then the second thing was, in which this made me want to go back and get your earlier books, because I think, I think Field Rules I’m, I can’t remember where Field Rules is set. One of them is set in, okay, Cyprus. One of them is set kind of like in Turkey or kind of like in that area.

Carla Luna: Troy Story is set in Turkey. It’s in Istanbul and Troy. And I was there in November, 2022. And then Field Rules is Cyprus, which a lot of people don’t know where it is. It’s actually really close to Turkey, but it’s the culture is Greek. The

food is Greek. The language is Greek. It’s like, It was, I don’t know if it was, it’s its own country, but originally part of it was part of Greece, I think. And so, it’s a lot like Greece in terms of the culture and the food and everything.

Y. M. Nelson: Right, right. And so, kind of when you when the characters are kind of talking about that area, it also kind of made me think, you know, cause you’re kind of in that Mediterranean area, so of course it’s making me think mummy and Egypt, and making me think about that, and I And I love The Mummy! y’all who doesn’t love The Mummy, you know?

So, you’re just you’re just hitting on all these, and then the the fact that your first series is destination weddings! You know my my #WeekendDIYGirl side loves a good wedding.

Carla Luna: yeah. Yeah,

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Tour Wars’ Main Characters

Y. M. Nelson: I’m all about a good wedding, so I’m gonna pick those up as well, so yay. Yeah, you’re just hitting on everything that I really like right now. But and I’m hoping that everybody else is out there nerding out about this and loving this as well. What I want to get into now is a little bit about Tour Wars and about how you came up with this and are you, we are going to talk to her guys because wow. So how did you come up with this whole with the whole premise of this story? Did these characters come to you first? Were they talked about since this is book three?

Were Your fans already saying, Hey, we need this Amelia TJ connection here. What are they, what, what happened? How did this happen?

Carla Luna: Okay. So, in Field Rules, I introduced TJ as the obnoxious secondary character who bragged and was kind of annoying and he was like the comic relief. So anytime things got too tense, TJ would show up and start bragging or boasting. And he was sometimes over the top, but it was kind of likable. He and in the end of that book, he gets A little more humility, and then in Troy Story, he is on the Troy dig, and that’s when we meet Emilia.

She’s his rival and they’re stuck together. And he’s from Harvard. She’s from Yale. And she’s from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s from Chicago. So, they have all these built in rivalries. So, in Troy Story again, they’re kind of comic relief. They’re arguing a lot. They’re battling with each other. They had this misunderstanding over a hotel room. So, I knew that I was sort of setting them up because I really wanted to write a rivals to lover story. And I was like, okay, I’m going to set them up in Troy Story so that when people read Tour Wars, you know, you can read it as a standalone. But if you’ve read Troy Story, you’re like, oh, there’s TJ and Amelia. Let’s see what happens when they’re stuck together.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah. And boy, what does happen when they are stuck together? I love this because I love a good, I love a good enemies to lover. Well, they’re more, like you said, they’re more rivals to lovers versus enemies to lovers. And I think I like that dynamic better because it’s like, it’s like built in. I’m supposed to argue with you, but built in.

I really love

Carla Luna: yeah, yeah,

Y. M. Nelson: with you. This is like what we do, you know, kind of thing.

Carla Luna: it gets them excited. And they and they respect each other. That’s part of the key to me was that they respect each other. And they know that the other person is smart. And capable, but they’re really frustrated by them. And this person is competing for the same jobs there. Had they have different theories, archeological theories. So, I had a lot of fun building that up.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah. And and it, it shows. Because they have a lot of fun arguing with each other. Oh, gosh. But, you know, to me, at, at heart, TJ is, he’s kind of a little bit of a beta hero to

Carla Luna: Oh yeah. Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: of, I mean, you know, he’s protective. He’s, he’s got a soft spot. I mean, he’s got a little bit of cinnamon roll energy there, but you know, it’s, but it’s very, but he’s very beta,

Carla Luna: Oh, definitely. And he’s

very nerdy. I mean, he’s

the one who wants to watch Gladiator and likes those old school movies, like Clash of the Titans. And I think at one point he uses a Star Wars reference and he’s definitely really nerdy.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah. He is, he’s totally nerdy for everybody that loves those nerd easter eggs. This is full of them. Full of them.

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Old Action Movies

Y. M. Nelson: I had to, I had to think cause I was like, Clash of the Titans, is it, is that the one with the Kraken in it? Like the new one? The

Carla Luna: no, this is the original that came out in the 80s and it’s really terrible. When I decided to include it, I watched the trailer for it and it has Harry Hamlin all like oiled up with no

shirt on. I think it has like Laurence Olivier as Zeus. It’s really old. The it’s got stop motion animation. It’s really dated, but

Y. M. Nelson: oh my god.

Carla Luna: It’s it’s and I saw the theater, so I’m not that old. I remember being excited about it. And after thinking, well, that wasn’t very good. And it really is

Y. M. Nelson: But you know, a lot of that stuff really doesn’t age very well, though. It just doesn’t, especially when they have to do, like, you know, And like, the stop, you know, animation kind of things. If they have to do anything to make it look good. You know, it’s supernatural or, you know, not quite right or whatever it, it, it doesn’t age.

Well, so far CGI has been okay, but, but, you know, now with you know, with 4k, you know, with 1080P and 4k you know kind of resolution. You can even see, like, in the older, not so older pictures, but you know, when they started doing CGI, you can kind of tell sometimes that it’s CGI. It’s,

Carla Luna: I don’t always like, that. And I actually, when I watched, I am a huge fan of the original Star Wars trilogy.

And when I watched it with my son the first time, I was like, okay, all this stuff is models. So, there’s no CGI. And my son’s like, are you serious? I’m like, seriously, no CGI. They had to do all this by hand.

And I was like, he was just blown away by that. He was like, really? Wow.

Y. M. Nelson: You know, and to me you know, aside of the controversy and stuff that the Mandalorian had, oh gosh, I hated that it had that, it looks so much like the original Star Wars.

Carla Luna: Yeah,

Y. M. Nelson: It’s like, I’m like, wow, it looks that way. But then at the same time is very here now new, you know, but it very much gives you that that old school Star Wars feeling like when you were watching, you know, the first Trilogy that was made, you know, it’s giving you all those vibes and I’m just like, I just love

Carla Luna: I do. I really liked it. I like that the Tatoine stuff. I like the way it was just like, he was salt going into small towns and like, helping, helping out

Y. M. Nelson: yeah

Carla Luna: that sort of like, almost like the original incredible Hulk, where it was like, every episode, you do something different in a different town.

Y. M. Nelson: Yes! Yes, exactly! Exactly! It was very ep- it’s very episodic,

but then, you know, it, it does have that, you know, kind of back there arc, you know, with Baby Yoda and everything that actually keeps you watching. I’m so loving this! Y’all! Oh, my goodness! You know, if you are just listening to this on audio, y’all, y’all gonna have to just go to YouTube and look at it.

And she just showed us a baby Yoda! Oh my gosh, little Grogu. I love it. I love it so much. But yeah, I mean, you know, when I was thinking, you know, getting back to Tour Wars, when I was thinking about Clash of the Titans, I was thinking about, like, the newer one with the Kraken.

Carla Luna: Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: And I was like, I know it’s not that one.

And then when you said Harry Hamlin, you know, I’m a real Housewives fan. That’s one of my guilty pleasures, and I watch the Beverly Hills one. So, you know, I’m always, you know, watching Lisa Rinna, you know, Harry Hamlin’s wife. And she calls, and she calls him, she actually calls him by his whole name, Harry Hamlin. And I’m like, I’m like, that’s your husband, right? And she calls him by his full name, Harry Hamlin. So, it’s like, you know who that is.

But, you know, he’s a star in his own right. So, you know, that, that’s what it is. But But yeah, when they were watching you know, when they’re going and they’re watching all these, or when you’re talking about all these old movies and Tour Wars, I was thinking, wow, you know, even though I may not have, like, for instance, Clash of the Titans, I don’t remember watching that one, but even though I haven’t, Watched a lot of these I know them and I’m like, I feel like okay I’m a bigger nerd than I thought I was But I’m so happy that I’m in this spot because you are just totally immersed and you are loving The, their whole vibe, especially, well, TJ’s whole vibe.

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Tour Guides and traveling with them

Y. M. Nelson: One thing that I thought was very eye-opening in this book was and I, and I lowered my voice. Like I was really getting serious there. Right there, there is a serious point, but but this is not it. , however it was. It’s interesting to actually see them go be tour guides and to hear it from that perspective.

I wanted to know, are you a tou— have you ever been a tour guide? Is this like how we act as tourists?

Carla Luna: You know, not really. I have lived in tourist towns for much of my life. I grew up on Vancouver Island in Victoria, which is very touristy and worked a little bit in the tourism industry there. And then where I live now, Cedarburg, Wisconsin is a huge tourist draw. A lot of people come from. Chicago and Illinois and they come here like for the weekends because we have a cute small town.

We’re like a hallmark town and they come and I work in retail. So, I deal with a lot of tourists, but the idea actually came when I was in Italy traveling. I went to on a tour of Pompeii and the advertisement is tours archeologist. And so, the guy was, you know, giving you spiel. He didn’t seem very into it.

And I said, well, you know, Are you an archaeologist? And he said, well, yes, of course. And I was like, well, how come you’re not in a dig? And he said, well, this is just my side job. I, I’m an archaeologist of, in an Italian accent. Of course, I, you know, I can’t

do Italian, but of course I’m an archaeologist. I just do this on the weekends. I am part of this dig. I’m working at Pompeii. And I met another one like that too. And I was like, well, this is like a whole side hustle for these people because archaeology doesn’t always pay very well. It’s not always. consistent work. There’s a lot of archaeologists out there. And I, I got the idea like, oh, that would be interesting.

Like T. J. and Emilia start at Pompeii, but they get this side gig as, as tour guides. And then they have to deal with all the tourists and questions and all kinds of issues.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh wow, yeah, because I, you know, as, as I was reading that part, you know I was where they’re taking them on the big tour. I was thinking Hey, I’ve never really been on a big tour like that where you are hanging out with the same people for like 10 or 12 days. I didn’t know that.

Carla Luna: I’ve never done that either. I’ve only done like three-day tours, but I actually fall, I watched a lot of like Blog or like vlogs or YouTubers who had been on these, who ranked them and talked about them and took notes so I could find out what it was like and then I read some people’s blogs to get a sense. ’cause I don’t think I’d wanna be with people for 10 days that I didn’t know.

I think the longest tour I ever did was a maybe a five-day tour of Egypt about years ago. And it was great ’cause I got to go to places I’d be nervous to go to on my own. I got really tired of being around the same people and some of them

were more obnoxious than others.

Yeah, right. Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: And yeah, some of these people, they’re just a little bit too much to handle in, in this book. I’m like, oh my but with Yeah, I’ve never been on a tour. I’m trying to think if there’s any time that I have done that, but no, I’ve never been on a tour that’s been like that long, but I do have some friends that have been on, on tours, like destination tours that long, and these people are really invested.

I mean, they are really like, we want this certain type of experience. We are, You know Trying to you know, we’re we’re trying to see this place that place and we want to do it this way and that way and And and then people sometimes are coming back on the same tours I’m, I’m like, what did you did you see it before? I’m like, Really? Oh

But yeah, but some of the dynamics there with the tours the fact that you have to keep up with other tour guides, their schedules. So, you have that dynamic, and wow, some of these at least one of the other tour guides is very special in this book.

And then you also have to keep up with whatever the regulations are of the area. I did not realize that the tour buses wouldn’t be able to wait in certain areas. Is that like an Italian thing? Is that, is there that much pollution

Carla Luna: Yeah. I actually had to research that because I, I was reading articles about like tour buses and I found out that they’re not allowed to linger by the monuments. Actually, for a while they weren’t even allowed to drive by the monuments, but they can’t linger because of the air pollution and the air pollution in Rome isn’t terrible, but It’s not great.

And there’s a lot of people. I’m like something like the Coliseum is right out there in the open. Like it’s exposed to the air. It’s exposed to like all the bus and auto fumes. And the traffic in Rome is like really crazy. There’s tons of scooters and motorcycles and buses and cars. So, it’s a lot of, you know, bad environmental pollution for this ancient site.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. You see these areas on TV and it’s like, it looks like it’s just out there in the open and nobody’s around it and everything like that. And now as I’m thinking about it, it’s like, and as I’m reading, in Tour Wars, I’m like, this is a really, it’s a bustling city.

 And a lot of areas, that you are showing in the book are bustling city areas that just happen to have, like, thousand-year-old histories, you know, that you can, historical things that you can see. That kind of combination is really, is cool, but at the same time, it’s like, wow, I didn’t know that.

I thought I would, you know, like if I was going to Italy and seeing the Colosseum or whatever, and for some reason, in my mind, when I’m thinking Pompeii, I’m thinking Italy. It’s just somewhere where there’s not a lot of people, it’s like, , black and then there’s cavernous areas where they’ve dug out the city that, got covered by the volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius, you know, exploded , and in the background, there’s a volcano, structure there. But as I’m reading, I’m like, okay. I’m rethinking how I look at this, not as like some kind of barren land, or , this historical thing is just out there, by itself, and you can just walk up to it. This is more like, , trying to get into a Taylor Swift concert. This is serious!

Carla Luna: I mean, it’s more like Disneyland or something. When I went to Pompeii, there were huge lines to get in and I was with the tour guide. So, we got to cut those lines, but even still we’d gather around one area and there’d be other groups all gathered around, like there’s certain points of interest and there was just so, and we had to wear those little wireless headsets and the person had a microphone because it was so hard to hear with all the people and they have constant tours going through there.

So, it’s more like it’s And it was, again, it was April, not even the summer. And it’s a really neat area because so much is preserved. There’s like shop fronts and like stores and villas and beautiful architecture, a lot of stuff’s well preserved, but there are a lot of people.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. I’m really going to have to rethink and, and prepare myself when I go there, because if I want to do the tourist thing, I need to make sure that I’m ready for Disneyland everywhere I go.

Carla Luna: but not everywhere is like that. I will say when I went to visit Cyprus where Field Rules is set, I went in. What was 2022. So, things were still opening up, but I went to the site where I had worked, where it was just called the house of Papos, which is. Like a Roman villa and it was practically empty. There was maybe like a dozen other people there. It was March. It was kind of rainy, but still it was pretty empty. And there are places in Turkey that I went, I went to Troy in November, again, almost empty. So sometimes it just depends on where you’re going. I think Italy is always going to be popular, but there are a lot of places that aren’t as crowded, especially in the off season.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah. So yeah, so everybody, you know, make sure that you research your, where you’re going, if you’re going to, you know, any of these places that we’re talking about, or any of these places that Carla has written about. Make sure you research before you go, and don’t go in you know, high tourist season if you don’t like crowds.

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Slow Burn Rivals to Lovers Romance

Y. M. Nelson: Because It’s not what you think. But now I want to get to a little bit about the romance and about just about romance in general and you writing romance in general. So first off, y’all, this is considered to me to be a steamy romance. Would you agree?

Carla Luna: Well, some people have said, because my books are kind of slow burn, it. That they’re not like high steam. They’re open door, but they’re not like high heat. And I, And I,

have friends that write high heat and my books are not close to theirs in steam levels.

Y. M. Nelson: Right, yeah, I would agree that Steamy is a spectrum, y’all, and, and, and Carla’s on the lower end of the spectrum of Steamy, but there is, there, just like she said, there are open door scenes I’m kind of thinking you’re kind of in, like, the camp with with like, like a Talia Hilbert, or you know, a camp like a Christina Lauren,

Carla Luna: That’s yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: a camp like

Carla Luna: Yeah, not, but not like Tessa Bailey

Y. M. Nelson: No,

Carla Luna: Katie Roberts or anything like

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A note about Covers

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, exactly, exactly, yeah. And this is obviously, it’s not dark romance, it’s very much rom com. And it’s so cute, totally cute rom com. Not only cute story, but I do have to mention, even though Carla has been sharing the covers if you’re on, if you’re on YouTube, you get to see the covers, but if you’re not on YouTube the covers are totally cute.

You know, for someone, and we do have a, we do have a few writers out there who listen. So, for someone who is an indie author did you have a cover designer, or are you just,

Carla Luna: Well, I’m not artistic. Not at all. I found her through Reedsy and. Her name is Bailey McGinn. She lives in Paris, and she’s done all my covers, and the first one was kind of a test to see if we would work well together, and I loved it, and that one is actually this one. It’s Blue Hawaiian. This is my first book, and I really loved it, and I was like, well, I want you to do my covers, and so she’s done the covers for the first series and the second series.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, and, I love the covers. I love them. So, with that, , do you have kind of a theme? Cause I noticed like you have you have a lot of pink on this one, but you do a lot of, you do like, there’s some areas where you have pink on, on all of them, is it? Or is it more so, or is it a, or is it a blue more so on

Carla Luna: I think I’m not sure that’s sort of a mix but usually that is my designer picks the background color, and I’ve liked that. I mean she picked the orange for Troy Story and the pink for true wars I didn’t ask her for a specific color, but I really like them. I really like the color that the colors stand out like that

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. I like them too. I, they, and they kinda and they all are kinda, you know, going towards maybe a brand for

Carla Luna: yeah, yeah, I would

definitely say what I’m Set up at like a book fair, people will notice them because they really work well together,

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah, I love that. So yeah, for all those Indie authors out there, we need to have a good relationship with our cover designer if we don’t know how to design our

Carla Luna: you

Y. M. Nelson: because that, because I think, I think that is what attracted me first. You know, first, you’re, I mean, you’re talking about archaeology and then I’m like, well, Is this going to be, am I going to be watching a PBS special kind of thing, but your covers are already just drawing us in and making this feel like we are going on a real adventure here.

This is like, yeah. It’s like, it’s, it’s a little bit, it’s a lot romcom, but you’re a little bit action-adventure romance as well. I mean, especially with Tour Wars, because, yeah, cause a lot of stuff, yeah, exactly. There’s a lot of stuff going on.

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Archeology, Sexism, and working in a foreign country

Y. M. Nelson: Some of the not so fun stuff, though, that goes on. Is with the, the Italian tour guide, owner, tour company sort of owner, maybe wanting to be owner.

And just the tour, the tour company itself that you had written in there. And it kind of made me think, okay, this is, it’s not. America, but even in America, people do shady stuff like that all the time, but it’s not America. So, you know, maybe the rules are a little bit different there. I just, I wanted to know kind of where you were coming from with that place.

Did you just like, I just wanna write a villain or is this like. From, you know, kind of an experience in different countries and how they do things like that because it was, it’s sort of not

Carla Luna: no. And I, I mean, sexism in the workplaces is definitely an issue. And I think in this case. You know, Amelia is she’s on there on a visa. She’s not a part of the country. And when she, when things happen that are batch, there’s not much recourse. She can take versus if you were in the United States, maybe you could go to HR, or you could take it to a higher level.

And this is even just her side job. She’s not even really. Legally supposed to be being a tour guide. It’s just sort of a little side job. So, for her, it’s, it’s a tricky situation, but I will say there’s a villain in, in my books in, in Field Rules. The villain is the assistant dig director who’s very sexist.

And I had someone like that when I worked in Jordan. And I was always like, well, one day, dude, I’m going to write you in a book. I’m going to change your name, but you’re going to get your comments in a book because he actively discouraged me from being an archeologist

Y. M. Nelson: Oh

Carla Luna: and said, like, women’s, you know, archeology is no place for a woman. You should just be studying coins.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh my

Carla Luna: was pretty bad.

Y. M. Nelson: is awful. Right. Oh, wow.

Carla Luna: and there was two of us in the, on his team. And we, we were working in the desert. If we wanted to go off and like, you know, relieve ourselves, we had to go kind of to the bush. You’d be like, well, you need to ask my permission.

You can’t just wander off. And I was like, Dude, I’m 25 years old. I can go to the bathroom by myself. Thanks. And we were friends with the Bedouin workers that were there. And we talked to them in Arabic and he would get really mad because they would make jokes about him. And he was just awful. And I, I was like, well, I can’t do anything now professionally, but

Y. M. Nelson: exactly.

Carla Luna: in Field Rules, a lot of stuff I got was from him. Yeah. Now for the guy in Tour Wars, I never had anybody like that directly. Doing stuff like that, but I think like every woman I’ve had my share of unwanted male attention people saying and doing things inappropriate and having to kind of especially like in the 80s and 90s, just kind of smile and laugh and pretend that you’re cool with it when you’re not. So, yeah,

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah, and you know, to kind of piggyback off of that a little bit is, not just, you know, in these tours, you know, there’s sexism and, you know, with your dick, I mean, the archaeology profession in general, it, it seems like it’s very cutthroat.

Carla Luna: yes.

Y. M. Nelson: And it’s also very, it has the potential of being more sexist than maybe, you know, beauty products.

I don’t know. Something else, you know, something that I’m not doing. I’m, I’m in an industry right now the energy and power industry, and it’s very male heavy and white male heavy and very Yeah, it has a tendency more so than other places that I’ve worked to be to be sexist. Nobody’s been overtly sexist or anything towards me, but it favors kind of that area.

So, is that kind of how you feel about archaeology? Is it, it, or is it? Becoming more diverse because to me, it seems like if you’re going on these digs in all of these different countries, it would be a very, you know, diverse, very, you know, welcoming place and very collaborative kind of place. And it kind of isn’t in this, at least in Tour Wars. So, I was just kind of wondering,

Carla Luna: So, I would say usually it is like I’ve been lucky I’ve worked for. Female dig directors and male dig directors. I’ve worked with different groups of people. Like I said, I worked with the Bedouin in Jordan, which was a great experience. I’ve had a lot of really good experiences and I, I think archeology in general, there’s a lot more women. There’s a lot more women who are like, especially in Canada, there’s a lot more first nations people working on the digs of like Haida and Inuit and things like that, where. They’re, they’re doing their own, they’re studying their own people. Which is really pretty amazing. And there’s a lot more of that in Canada than there ever used to be.

And I think there’s a lot more indigenous people involved in archeology just all over the U S which is really, really cool. And there’s a

lot more respect for other people’s cultures and museums, not just taking stuff that doesn’t belong to them and grave robbing, which is what they

Y. M. Nelson: Right, right.

Carla Luna: There’s a lot of ugly stuff in archeology. You know, but I think with, with a dig, there’s, there, there can be some misogyny just because you’re. Isolated you’re in a, you know, your place for 2 months in general, though, the camaraderie of archaeology is the 1 thing I love. Like, when you’re on a good dig and you have a good director. It’s like, really great experience. And we would have nights where we’d sit and drink beer and we talk about our experiences and share share things that we’ve learned and that we’ve done. And I loved it. But I will say to like to be a professional archaeologist like to be a museum curator or a professor that is cutthroat. There are not many jobs available on the very few for the people that get their degree. So, a lot of archaeologists go into contract archaeology, which is fine. But for those people like TJ and Amelia, who maybe want that brass ring, that professor job, those are tough to get.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah. And yeah, I can agree with that firsthand. I think a professorship, being a full-time professor anywhere, anywhere in any discipline is Those are coveted jobs. They’re very hard to get. I’m an adjunct professor and yeah, to go from adjunct to full time, it, it’s hard. It’s like they always need somebody to teach that one class where a teacher is dropped out, but are we going to, ask the state to pay you, you know, whatever it is for a full-time salary? No. Yeah. Those are hard jobs to get. I think the last time I applied for one, it was like, there were like a hundred

Carla Luna: Oh, gosh.

Y. M. Nelson: yeah. Almost a hundred candidates. And of course, you know, some of them have doctorates, you know, which I only have a master’s at this point, but how do you compete against somebody with a doctorate when that’s like one of the major qualifying things in that profession? But Contract Archaeology, when you mentioned that in Tour Wars, I thought, Wow, I didn’t even know that that was a thing and that existed, but it also explains I was reading a historical romance by Beverly Jenkins and she was talking about The reason that she kind of started writing this particular romance was she found an article that was talking about Black people in Oklahoma or something, and they were doing a dig.

Yeah, they were, they, they were doing a dig of something and, you know, like they were finding all of these old artifacts and they, were talking about how they , found these artifacts about, black people out there in the, in the old West. I can’t remember if it was actually in Oklahoma or where actually it was.

I can’t remember exactly where they did the dig, but it was out in the west. And I thought to myself as I was reading Tour Wars, I thought to myself, Oh, so this is kind of how they find some of this stuff. There’s contract archaeology. And they don’t just go and just start, You know grading off a site without actually having somebody come in and say well, is this a burial site?

You know or what happened with the house that we tore down here, maybe we need to figure out what’s underneath the foundation or whatever I’m kind of in an area right now where they’re doing a lot of Reconstruction and I that’s also kind of made me think now about you know, wonder if they are actually bringing in a contract archaeologists to, to do this, right.

To actually, look at this site before they start, you know, building a new Starbucks or whatever it is, is that something that normally developers do? Or is it just when they, Find out something about a site. They’ll bring in somebody. How does that work?

Carla Luna: Well, I I had work. I worked in California when I had my when I was working getting my master’s, I was working in the archaeology records office. And so, we had these sort of giant maps. We call them topographic maps of all these. Different counties in California and archaeologists would come to us because California has strict rules about things like doing record searches and studying areas before they have construction projects.

I don’t know about other states. So, the archaeologist would come to us, and they would look at the maps and they’d look and see if there’s any records of sites that was where they’d start. And then they might survey the area, like. Do a walking ground survey, and then if they find stuff, they might do a small excavation and it might become a bigger excavation.

And in theory, that’s supposed to happen before the big construction or grading. But I don’t know what the, I think it might vary from state to state, but California

was pretty strict about that.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah. And who knows about our state but but you always kind of think about that. So that’s part That’s like even like pre survey process like when you see the surveyors come out, They’ve probably already done they probably already have an archaeologist actually come in.

Y’all, we are nerding out here about this. But when you say archeology, the first thing you think of is Indiana Jones and finding, you know, some kind of rare jewel or something like that. And it is, and it is not always, it is not always like that. But to me, still pretty interesting and still pretty cool.

Carla Luna: it is. It is. And I really never found like any thing you’d call treasure. People would always say,

do you find anything cool? And I’d be like, yeah, but it isn’t like treasure. It’s not like a golden artifact or an idol or an arc of the covenant.

Y. M. Nelson: Right? This would be a very different discussion if you had found the Ark of the Covenant. I’d be like, Carla Luna, my employer.

Carla Luna: no, that would have been cool. But no, and actually too, when I would work in other countries, the stuff stays there. So, if I worked, in Cyprus, everything goes to the Cyprus department of antiquities. It doesn’t go back to, even though I was on a dig with United States, you know, university or college or whatever, everything stays in the country, which is awesome, and they didn’t use to do that.

They would, the British, especially would take stuff back to Britain. They would take the

Y. M. Nelson: Right.

Carla Luna: The museum of fine arts in Boston is full of Egyptian artifacts.

Y. M. Nelson: Yes.

Carla Luna: now, now they stay in the country, which is much better,

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah, that’s good. And I’m glad that that’s happening. I think, too you know, too, it gives people who are actually there a chance to learn about their own history. It’s like, you know. You know, this is the way that it needs to be. But yeah, so so yes, I’m finding out all of this stuff about archaeology.

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Nerding out about Sci-Fi, Adventure, and Heist Movies and shows

Y. M. Nelson: I’m rethinking Indiana Jones, but I’m loving Indiana Jones still, and I love The Mummy still. So, you’ve gotta tell me about some nerd out moments that you’ve had with these. Now were you please tell me that you, At least one, like, mummy like experience. Like, you’ve had an experience where, you know, you found something and it was, like, creepy or something.

I mean, it didn’t have to be, like, The Mummy, but you know what I’m saying.

Like,

Carla Luna: wish I did. I mean, I’m trying to think of all the places I’ve worked. There was a lot of fun. There was a lot of, again, shenanigans. There was a lot of bonding, but I can’t think of anything where I think if I dug like in the jungles of Mexico and stuff, there’s like, they’re still finding lost cities there. But you know, where I dug, most of it wasn’t anything. That you would be like, I don’t know. That’s really amazing. Or, I mean, I love the Indiana Jones movies. I love the mommy too, but nothing that I experienced was like that. I’m sad to say, I’m just trying to rack my brain for digs that I’ve been on. And. Not really. I mean, there was one time when we were in Jordan and we were having dinner at a restaurant and Arabic numbers and writing is different and we

paid the bill and then we were going out to the truck and this guy came with the giant cleaver coming after us because we had underpaid because we

had read the numbers wrong in Arabic and he was like, you know, yelling at us in Arabic that we had had to pay more money. And that was on us, but it wasn’t really part of the dig. It was just kind of a funny experience.

Y. M. Nelson: That’s an Indiana Jones experience right there. That is totally Indiana right

Carla Luna: because the guy had

this big knife and he had, like, he was like the cook or whatever. And he’s coming after. We’re like, oh, my gosh, what do we do? So,

Y. M. Nelson: So, when you look at, movies like that and Treasure Hunter kind of things and these kinds of shows like that, are you picking them apart and saying, well, they’re not doing this

Carla Luna: no, I’m having fun. I– Raiders of the Lost Ark is my all time– Favorite movie of all time. I have most of it memorized. My brother and I recite the lines to each other. I love Indiana and Mary. And I’m like, I’m 1 of my favorite couples as far as couples go. I also love the 1st mummy. I mean, the character, I think his guy’s name is Rick Rick is the hero, the name of this guy.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow, really? Oh my gosh, I love it.

Carla Luna: love that movie. So, I don’t, look at them that way. I did watch Raiders once when I was on a date. We were on a naval base and we had a theater room and we watched it and we’re all, like, yelling things at the screen, but it’s in good fun. And I think that a lot of archaeologists enjoy the fact that Indiana Jones is hot and cool. And just, he’s such a badass, so it’s like, how could I not like him, even if he does destroy temples, and mess things up occasionally, and steal stuff, and

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, cause I was gonna say, I’m like, well, he does a lot of stuff that you probably shouldn’t be doing on a day.

Carla Luna: To be fair, those movies are set in the 30s, and like 40s, the first ones, and so it’s a different, it was a different time, and that was when, There was a lot more of that going on where the countries would just take stuff and they wouldn’t record it. And now you couldn’t get away with that. But yeah, it was a totally different time.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. And same thing about The Mummy too, I think that was set in what the 20s and the

Carla Luna: Oh, yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: like that. So, yeah. So, , having, you know, these British people taking stuff and,

Carla Luna: Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: and, and uncovering you know, some ancient mummy kind of thing. It’s just, wow. You know? Yeah. But

Carla Luna: to ask you has have you seen The movie dune? The newer one.

Y. M. Nelson: seen Dune or Dune 2 yet, but my plan is to see both of them very soon. Because I have heard good things.

Carla Luna: I really like them a lot. So, the reason I mentioned is because I believe they were filmed in Jordan in the Jordanian desert, which is where I worked. And so, like, we would drive out to the desert and we spent the night in the desert and the

light there and the, the hills and everything that you see in June. It’s so beautiful. And that’s what it’s like. So that’s really cool.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. That is awesome. Oh, man. Okay, now you make me want to see it even more. Okay.

Carla Luna: really, really pretty visually. It’s pretty stunning.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah. But so, what are some other so what are some other movies like that or tv shows like that that you kind of nerd out about or you kind of think wow they’re really making

Carla Luna: There aren’t too many other archeology ones to be honest. Like really there’s Indiana Jones and The Mummy for archeology. I mean, I like nerd culture in general. I love the original Star Wars trilogy. I love Lord of the Rings. Big fan of just science fiction and fantasy in general. I mean, I watched a lot of it growing up. So, but I can’t think of any other sort of adventure seeking treasure hunting characters offhand. I never really played the video game with, I think it was Lara Croft or whatever.

Y. M. Nelson: yes

Carla Luna: never played that to me.

Y. M. Nelson: I was gonna I was gonna ask you I was gonna ask you if you if you watched any of those movies because that was Angelina Jolie and I

Carla Luna: those.

Carla Luna: Okay. Yeah.

Carla Luna: so, I haven’t seen those. But I love, I love movies where there’s like heists or where they’re looking for treasure. They’re trying to like get a crew together. I love that kind of thing. I would love to write a heist book, but that’s really hard. That would be a

Y. M. Nelson: Yes. You know what? I, you know, I feel, I feel kind of the same way. You know, it with the heist book, it almost, you almost have to I’m thinking you’re almost going to have to reverse engineer it, kind of like a mystery.

And I’m not good with that, but I love heist movies. I love, I love reading stuff. There’s this show and we were gonna do well, I was going to do a podcast episode on it, but it kind of The show kind of kept going and and the hype kind of died down for it But there’s this show on Netflix.

It’s called Lupin.

Carla Luna: I’ve seen it. Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: Do you love that show or what?

Carla Luna: I’ve only seen the first season, but I loved it. I thought it was awesome. Really

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, yeah, you have – I think, I think they dropped the third season. I’m not sure if they’re gonna have a fourth. I can’t remember if they said they’re gonna have a fourth, but yes, you have got to see, you have got to finish watching it. It’s so, it’s so awesome, but it totally gives you that heist moment, right?

It totally gives you that, you know, that whole feeling of, You know, I’m going to put together this elaborate scheme and all of this other kind of stuff going on. Yes, I love, in some lifetime somewhere. We are sisters. But but yes, I, I love, I love The Italian Job, I love, I love all the oceans movies. I wouldn’t, yes. I mean, I love a good heist movie, and you’re right, writing that is got to be difficult.

Carla Luna: Oh, I imagine. Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: But yeah, but you know, for all the nerdy romantics out there, if you are totally into high stuff like we are, and you’re totally into to all of these little nerding out mentions that we are, , if you’re watching this on YouTube, put in the comments.

If you are just listening to this, send me an email, tell me all of the lovely heist things that you love. If you are nerding out about The Mummy and Indiana Jones like we are, tell me what you think because I just want more. It would especially be good out there if you knew some good heist books.

Carla Luna: Yeah. Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, cause I am trying to rack my brain now about some good heist books. You know, cause, that, that would be, that would be awesome. You know, I’m always into a good mystery thriller.

But,

Carla Luna: write them though. I’m not I don’t have

that look chops

Y. M. Nelson: yeah, exactly, but I love the lane that you are in, Carla. The, this lane of the nerdy romance.

Okay? You are officially a nerdy romantic. I have knighted you or whatever they do. Yes, you are official. And I love that you’re in this, in this space writing this. I ,will say too, I love the fact that you’re writing steamy

Carla Luna: Oh good.

Y. M. Nelson: Because that, that’s also, that’s also a thing I really like too.

Even though it’s a slow burn, but I like a slow burn steamy though.

Carla Luna: Me

Y. M. Nelson: Because if I know that it’s steamy going in, I know at some

Carla Luna: You’re gonna get it. Yes,

Y. M. Nelson: Yes, right exactly they are going to have some fun at some point And the fact that it’s robbed that this one is rivals to lovers y’all It makes the slow burn even better because you can feel the tension between them And it’s just yummy.

It’s just totally yummy and delicious, but there are a lot of other Because they do so much stuff y’all there are a lot of other really cool characters in this book.

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Any more Romancing the Ruins?

Y. M. Nelson: I’m wondering what characters out of this book are we gonna see in a next book, or are

Carla Luna: Well, I think this is the end of the series for now for now. I’m

taking a break So I could write a novella about someone like Cesca, who’s the other guide or Davis, who’s the sort of want to be influencer and actually Sophia,

Y. M. Nelson: That’s what I was

Carla Luna: a little bit. Sophia is the foodie travel influencer. She is in a novella called lost and found in Mexico. That is, with my newsletter, so if you sign up for my newsletter, you get a novella featuring Sophia Sanchez, who part of it takes place in Vegas and part of it takes place on a date in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. Tell us where to get your

Carla Luna: Just you can go on my website and there’s a sign-up link there and yeah, and you’ll get this, this fun novella featuring Sophia and she’s this younger sister of. Olivia, who is in Field Rules, but she also makes an appearance in Tour Wars.

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Rapid Fire Round

Y. M. Nelson: Okay, cool. So usually with all of my authors, I do a rapid-fire round. I have some rapid-fire questions. And so Just tell me the first thing that comes to mind, or whatever and hey, if you don’t know, just say you don’t know. It’s cool. So, here we go. First question. We already know the answer to this one, though.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Carla Luna: Star Wars for

Y. M. Nelson: Obviously! That’s okay. Everybody knows I’m a Trekkie, but I do have much love for Star Wars, so that’s, I’m totally cool with that. First romance that you read and you thought, I want to write romance. What?!

Carla Luna: reading Victoria Holt Gothic romances, which were always like on windswept moors. And there, the woman was always like a governess or something. And there was a

Y. M. Nelson: Yes.

Carla Luna: you know, Chateau owner. And I love those. I think I read most of her books, these Gothic romances.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. I love that. So, third: favorite trope.

Carla Luna: So probably I love, I would say fake dating is one of my, or fake engagement. I love that. And I also like like only one bed, only one tent, that kind of thing. Those are

my two faves.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, forced proximity.

So, are those your favorite to read or to write or both?

Carla Luna: say to read, I like, I mean, I, I like reading, I like, I only written one fake dating and one forced proximity, but I love to read them.

I mean, to write, I don’t know. I’ve, I’ve written friends to lovers and I think rivals lovers was really fun though. I want to do that again.

I would definitely do that again.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, cool. Your best book boyfriend that you wrote.

Carla Luna: Oh boy. I think, I think of all of them. I was thinking about that one. It would be this guy, Rafael Sanchez, who is the, a chef. He’s a hot Mexican American chef. And he’s just really, he’s a good cook, which is amazing. And he’s sort of used to be a bad boy and now he’s trying to come clean and he’s just can cook amazing food.

So, I would, of my books, that would probably be my pick.

Y. M. Nelson: Okay. And for those who are not watching, what’s the name of that

Carla Luna: Oh, that is White Wedding. So that is a Blackwood sellers book, White Wedding. And it’s about a wedding planner and a chef, and it’s set at

a Christmas wedding extravaganza. So

Y. M. Nelson: Awesome. Your favorite book boyfriend that you didn’t write,

Carla Luna: this one’s kind of old school, but I read this fantasy when I was years ago called Poison Study that I just love by Maria V. Snyder. And the guy in that who’s like this assassin, his name was Valak. He was like the hottest book boyfriend ever. And for a long time, he was like my number one. I don’t know if people will have read this book.

It came out a long time ago, but it’s, it was a really popular fantasy novel. But he is my, my number one book.

Y. M. Nelson: Alright. And tell us okay. Oh, one more question. I’m sorry.

Carla Luna: Yeah.

Y. M. Nelson: Don’t know where I went with that. One more question. What is your favorite fantasy sci-fi slash nerdy se series or scenario.

Carla Luna: I don’t know. I mean, I mean, I will say I love the original Star Wars trilogy. I have seen those movies so many times. That I don’t even know, like, I can’t even count. I’ve seen the original Star Wars. I saw that one. I’m so old. I saw that one 10 times in theaters, the new hope.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. But, you know, it didn’t, but didn’t it come out? It came out and it got rereleased

Carla Luna: yeah,

I saw

Y. M. Nelson: didn’t it get.

Carla Luna: in 77 when I was 11, then I’m I’m pretty and I saw it like in the theaters over and over again.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. So

awesome. I

love

Carla Luna: I actually was, I was at our theater had the one of the world premieres of return of the Jedi. And at that time, nobody knew the truth about Luke. And his father, nobody.

So, we were all we spent 3 years debating after Empire Strikes Back came out and we have the reveal. I am your father 3 years. We waited to find out what the answer was.

Y. M. Nelson: And now that’s like a culture

Carla Luna: Yeah, everyone

Y. M. Nelson: like something that’s right. Everybody knows it and everybody knows when they say, Luke, I am your father. Everybody knows where that’s from. It’s so ingrained in our culture. That is

Carla Luna: But at the theater, when I saw empire the 1st time, it was like, the whole theater went silent. We’re like, what? What? We couldn’t believe it. We just

were like, stunned and then we were arguing. No, no, it can’t be true. Darth Vader’s line. It can’t be true. We wouldn’t believe it.

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What’s Next and Carla’s contact info

Y. M. Nelson: Oh my gosh, that is so wild! That is cool! That is, I’m sorry, you’ve said a lot of cool things here, but it’s gotta be the coolest. I would love to be a flower on the wall for that. Oh my gosh, that’s wild. Okay, so tell us what you have coming next that we can look forward to.

Carla Luna: So, right now, I don’t have anything immediate plan. I’m doing a lot of in person events and I have to write a lumberjack short story for an anthology. That I have to start very soon and I haven’t started it yet and never written about lumberjack. So that’s going to be a new one for me. So

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, awesome. Yeah. I have, I know at least one person that’s also writing about lumberjacks as well. So, yeah.

Carla Luna: yeah,

Y. M. Nelson: the whole, is the whole anthology gonna be lumberjack boyfriends?

Carla Luna: and rugged. It’s mountain men and lumberjacks and it’s for this. Event called Meet Me in Milwaukee in August. So, we’re, I, I’m one of the authors for that. And I’m, so I have to get started on that like this weekend. Cause it’s due in a little under a month.

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, wow. Okay.

Alright, so, so we may need to cut this short so she can get writing, everybody! So, Carla, tell us tell all of us where to find you online, or how to connect with you, how to get your books,

Carla Luna: Okay. So, my books are everywhere. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords, anywhere. I’m, I’m all over everywhere. I don’t, I’m not just on Amazon.

My website carlunabooks.com is where you can find out info about my books and events. And I have like little blog entries about my travels too. And then I’m on my, my social media handles are really bad because I joined social media at different times when, before I had an actual brand. So, most I’m on Instagram a lot is I’m at I’m at Carla Luna Cullen. That’s my full name Cullen is my married name, but I like Carla Luna because I don’t people thinking that I’m like a Twilight person because of the

Y. M. Nelson: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, Cullen! Yeah, okay,

Carla Luna: used to get that a lot about the vampires but so, if you go on my website, it has the links to all my socials and I guess that Instagram is good. I’m on Facebook. I’m on X sometimes, but yeah, my website is a good starting place.

Y. M. Nelson: All right, great and so we will look for you there and we will look for those lumberjack mountain men as well because if you can if you can write TJ, then yes, we need to see what else is going on out there.

And everybody, you know pick up this is book three; sounds like it might be a trilogy at this point. So, pick up books one and two I will say as a reader You you’ll be happy with book three, if that’s the only one you’re gonna pick up, but you’re gonna wanna pick up one and two, cause that’s exactly how I felt at the end. I was like, I want more of these

Carla Luna: Yeah. Yeah. They’re all standalones, but they’re fun to read together.

Y. M. Nelson: Yeah, yeah, they are. And Carla, it was so great meeting you. It was so great having you on here. And good luck to you with, with all of these books. But we may have to have you back on. So, thanks for hanging out with me.

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