The RenovationTerri Kraus FROM TERRI:
What I’d like to tell you about the featured book, THE RENOVATION: CARTER MANSION (Book 1 in the Project Restoration Series):

You may be, like me, HGTV fans who watch the many shows about fixing up old houses. You find yourself glued to the glimpses of contractors and owners engaged in the process. You live vicariously through the rehabbing, renovating, and restoring.I can relate. The idea of renovation is in my family’s blood. I’m an interior design professional. My brothers are rehabbers.

My husband, Jim, and I have survived the renovation of three houses.So writing a novel set in the world of the restoration of old buildings has always been a dream of mine.I love the metaphor of restoration, which is why I came up with the idea for the Project Restoration series-stories that would follow both the physical restoration of a building and emotional/spiritual restoration of a character. The Renovation has forgiveness as its theme.  Ethan, Cameron, and Chase, whom you will meet in the book, are just the beginning.

Perhaps in one of the three books in the series, you’ll find a character who mirrors your own life, defining an area where you struggle, and points you toward the kind of restoration you long for.

After all, we all are in need of healing.  God is in the business of restoring lives-reclaiming, repairing, renewing what was broken and bringing beauty from ashes. The light of his love shines on all those dark places deep within us, exposing what needs his healing touch. This is the type of restoration I’ve become passionate about too.   

Other books I’ve published: The Treasures of the Caribbean SeriesTyndale (Pirates of the Heart, Passages of Gold, Journey to the Crimson Sea) The Circle of Destiny Series–Tyndale (The Price, The Promise, The Treasure, The QuestStories from MacKenzie Street -Barbour (The Unfolding, The Choosing); Scattered Stones-Capstone (Coming in 2008)   

Favorite Food:  Anything Italian-especially risotto, lasagna and pizza (ricotta and sausage).  

Quirkiest thing I’ve ever done: Hmmm…probably marry my husband.  He’s pretty quirky-but in a good way.    

Kinds of books I read: I belong to an amazing book club with 13 other Christian women, and we read widely…all secular books, intentionally.  Of particular interest are those about women in other cultures, but we also read biographies, meaty classics (like Les Miserables and The Brothers Karamazov), historical fiction and non-fiction.     Favorite books:  A Prayer for Owen Meany (Irving), Alias Grace (Atwood), Peace Like a River (Enger),  A Thousand Splendid Suns (Husseini), Atonement (McEwan), Jane Austen’s books.    

Music I listen to: Josh Groban, Andrea Boccelli, Michael Buble, James Taylor, Shania Twain, Elton John, U-2, Eagles, Classical (Mozart, Bach), Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman    

Favorite Movies:Casablanca, Rear Window, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Life is Beautiful, Being There, Cars   

Hobbies:I am hooked on travel.  If I am not planning the trip that’s on the calendar, I’m researching the next one, or one for “someday.”  I’ve always been the type who’s curious about what lies just over the next hill-thus, my husband’s nickname for me: “The Shark.” (If they aren’t moving, they die.)  And because of my passion for restoration, the trip will almost always involve visiting an historic building at some point along the way.

I’ve always been captivated by old buildings. Poring over books about art, architectural styles, and decoration from all over the world has always been one of my favorite pastimes. As I’ve traveled internationally and visited many of the places I’ve studied independently and in the course of my education in design, I’ve become even more passionate about restoration. (I’m the woman you might see sitting on a bench along the wall of the Sistine Chapel, silently weeping as I take in Michelangelo’s magnificent masterpiece in the simplicity of that sacred space.)      

 I can talk forever about the importance of preserving buildings that are testaments to the creative impulse, the hours of painstaking effort, the motivation and dedication of artists, designers, craftsmen and artisans from previous eras. All were, no doubt, imperfect people-but people used as instruments in God’s hands to create perfectly rendered works of art that endure and can stir our hearts so many, many years later.

Along with being passionate about interior design and historic building restoration, I’m passionate about cooking.  I like to joke about having “worked” with the best chefs in America…while I’m making a meal, I watch the Food Network on my kitchen TV, and cook alongside them!  I love to experiment with tweaking existing recipes and creating new ones.

Being 100% Italian, I’m mainly interested in the cuisine of Italy, varying greatly from province to province.  I learned from two amazing northern Italian cooks-my mother and grandmother.  I particularly enjoy finding new combinations of flavors for pasta dishes that work together and enhance each other-a little of this and a lot of that (which is usually garlic).

I delight in seeing how my resident guinea pigs-my husband and son-rate my creations.It’s a lot like writing a book.  You start with a basic idea, composed of a few novel structural elements (the simple sauce made with the freshest ingredients), then flesh it out with some spunky characters (like you add just the right amounts of seasonings and spices), around which you design plot surprises (the new twists in the recipe), and bathe it all in romance (find the perfect blending of flavors) to tantalize your readers. It’s a lot like adding layers of flavors to a dish to wow the taste buds.  

I love to write historical fiction-books set in the framework of a past era. Likewise, it’s fun to use family recipes from Mom and Nonna when I cook as the springboard for a new culinary delight. The joy comes when the reader, like the diner, digs into my work and-hopefully -come away not just satisfied, but having had a sumptuously memorable experience.       

How I keep my sanity:   I’m getting better at creating boundaries and exercising my “NO” muscle. I’m learning the spiritual disciplines of contemplation and silence. Also hobbies-travel, reading, photography, knitting and quilting-are relaxing and renewing.     

If I was an animal, which one would I be and why? A horse.  I admire their beauty and strength-the image of one running free, with the wind in the mane, snorting with pleasure, the sun glistening off the magnificent coat with each exquisite movement, inspires me.    

When I first discovered that I was a writer:As soon as I began to read, I began to write, so I was very young. I would invent intricate stories walking back and forth to school.  My first big endeavor was a neighborhood “newspaper” when I was 8 years old.  In high school, I had an awesome English Literature teacher who really inspired and mentored me.  Thanks, Miss Fina.  

VISIT TERRI AT: www.terrikraus.com You can download Chapter One of her new book while you’re there!  


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