Creating the Cover Design & Giveaway


The final cover design

The final cover design

Hi Friends,

Did you know it takes a team of people to create a beautiful book cover? I never realized how many people were involved, but I am grateful for each one who contributed to the process of designing the lovely cover for The Governess of Highland Hall.

I was an art major in college, and book covers are important to me, especially my book covers! So I was pleased when the team at WaterBrook Multnomah asked for my input. They allowed me to choose the model to represent the heroine from a group of three. Then they invited to give input about her clothing, hairstyle and hat. I sent in photos of the manor house that I had in mind as I wrote the book, and the designer was able to use that exact house on the cover!

GovernessGoverness 1



Governess_Comp_7Photographer Mike Heath of Magnus Creative did the photo shoot of the heroine last January, and he sent all those photos to WaterBrook Multnomah designer Kristopher Orr who did an awesome job pulling all the elements together in the final design.


The final cover design

The final cover design









The design on the left looked great, but I asked for a few changes, and they were kind enough to consider those ideas in the final version on the right.

Can you spot the changes that were made to the final design?  There are at least eight. Some are quite small, so click on the cover to enlarge it and look closely. The first two people who correctly list those changes in their comment will receive an Advanced Reader Copy of The Governess of Highland Hall. US addresses only. Good luck!

Discovering the Setting for The Governess of Highland Hall

Early in 2012 when I started working on ideas for The Governess of Highland Hall, I wanted to find an English country estate for my setting. I am a visual person, and finding images for my characters and setting brings the story to life for me. I loved visiting Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed, and I wanted to find an estate that gave a similar impression but was unique. After a short search online, I discovered Tyntesfield, and I was delighted when I followed several more links to other images and articles. It was the perfect inspiration for the Ramsey family’s Highland Hall.

The marble fireplace in the great hall at Tyntesfield

The marble fireplace in the great hall at Tyntesfield

Tyntesfield is a beautiful Victorian Gothic Revival house and estate near Wraxall, North Somerset, England. The house is a Grade I listed building and now is owned by the National Trust of England.

The house is named after the Tynte baronets, who had owned estates in the area since about 1500. The location was formerly a 16th-century hunting lodge, which was used as a farmhouse until the early 19th century. In the 1830s a Georgian mansion was built on the site, and it was bought by William Gibbs, an English businessman, who made his fortune by importing guano (bird droppings) from South America that was used to make fertilizer. Gibbs became the wealthest non-noble in England for a time. Gibbs had a beautiful chapel added in the 1870s. The Gibbs family owned the house until the death of Richard Gibbs in 2001.

The great hall and gallery above

The great hall and gallery above

Tyntesfield was acquired by the National Trust in June 2002 after a fundraising campaign to prevent it being sold to private interests and to ensure it would be open to the public. The house was opened to visitors for the first time just 10 weeks after the acquisition, and over 189,000 people visited Tynestesfield in 2012. I hope to visit Tyntesfield in person next spring.

Several of the scenes in The Governess of Highland Hall are set in the great hall, the gallery, and the nursery. So I thought you would like a peek at those areas of the house.

Julia, Andrew, and Millie spend a lot of time in the nursery.

Julia, Andrew, and Millie spend a lot of time in the nursery.

What do you think it would be like to live in a house like this?

Would you like a sneak peek at the first chapter?

Still eager for more? Here is my Pinterest board with lots more photos.



Amy Carmichael – Missionary and Mentor

Amy Carmichael, missionary to India with two of the children in her care

Amy Carmichael, missionary to India with two of the children in her care

The Inspiration for the Heroine in the Governess of Highland Hall
By Carrie Turansky

As a young believer I often wished I had a mentor who would take me under her wing to guide me and help me grow in my faith. But as the years passed, I never seemed to connect with an older woman who could instruct and encourage me in that way. One day I was bringing that need to the Lord again, bemoaning the lack of mentors in my life, when I suddenly realized I had been blessed and mentored by many women through reading the books they had written. My moaning turned to thanksgiving as I reflected on the lessons I had learned from my unlikely mentors.

I especially love reading missionary biographies, and one missionary I admire is Amy Carmichael. When I read her biography, A Chance to Die, written by Elisabeth Elliot, I was inspired and touched by her faith and commitment to God and her whole-hearted service to the children of India, many of whom she rescued from being temple prostitutes.

Just a little background on Amy Carmichael. She was born in Ireland in 1867 to loving Christian parents, and though she did not have good health, she was determined to become a missionary. She served in Japan first for a short time, and then in 1895 she followed God’s call and traveled to India, where she spent the rest of her life. She went first as an evangelist, but soon started a home for abandoned and rescued children. She also wrote several books and taught many the truth of the Gospel through her example of love and faithfulness.

The Governess of Highland Hall - Carrie TuranskyAs I began preparing to write The Governess of Highland Hall I wanted to weave faith elements into the plot and the lives of my characters to make the story as meaningful as possible. Part of my research involved reading about Christians who lived during the late Victorian and Edwardian time period in Great Britain. As I scanned my bookshelves, I remembered Amy Carmichael and pulled down her biography again.

As I reread her story I knew her life would provide a wonderful background for my heroine. I began jotting down notes and thinking how I might weave some of Amy’s faith and life lessons into my heroine and novel.

As The Governess of Highland Hall opens, my heroine, Julia Foster, has recently returned to England after spending twelve years in India where she and her parents were missionaries and ran a home for abandoned and rescued girls like Amy Carmichael. Julia’s father is ill, and needs medical care, so the family must return to England. One of the issues Julia faces in the story is whether she should stay in England to help provide for her parents and be near them, or return to India and carry on their missionary work alone. As she develops a deep love for the hero and his children, this becomes and even more difficult question for her to face.

How can we understand God’s call? Is the calling to foreign missions a higher calling than staying in your own country and taking on the role of wife and mother? How do we determine the best path to follow in life? These are all questions Julia must face, and I hope as she seeks her answers readers will be challenged to consider their own lives and how they can follow God’s call and have a greater impact on others.

What about you? Have you ever gone on a mission trip or felt called by God to a particular ministry? How did that impact your life? If you haven’t gone yet, where would you like to go, and what would you like to do?

Thanks to Those who Joined Carrie’s Reading Friends

Governess of Highland Hall

The Advanced Reader Copies of The Governess Of Highland Hall have arrived! Would you like a free copy?

Hi Friends,

I am very greatful for the response I received to this post!  Carrie’s Reading Friends is full now. I’ll announce here when I can expand the group to include more friends. Thanks very much!

Carrie’s Reading Friends will receive an Advanced Reader Copy of my book, The Governess of Highland Hall, in early August, two months before it releases. If you enjoy the book, I’m asking you to write a review and post it at one or more of the places listed below and help spread the word about the book through social media and in other creative ways as you are able. You will also be invited to join a private Facebook group where we will connect and share ideas for promoting the book, starting on September 22 and running through launch week, October 13 – 19. This will be a fun and encouraging group, and I look forward to connecting with you there.

Here are some ways Carrie’s Reading Friends can promote the book:

  • The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie TuranskyWrite a review for Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, NovelCrossing, Books A Million, or any other online review site.
  • Talk about the book on social media sites, adding links to my website.
  • Blog about the book, including cover, summary, and purchase links.
  • Share the book video trailer on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Share the 6-minute podcast about the book on social media or a blog.
  • Ask your local library or church library to order the book, or donate a copy to them.
  • Write an article about the book and submit it to an online magazine.
  • Suggest the book to your book club.
  • Write a review for your local newspaper.
  • Purchase copies to give away as gifts to friends and family.
  • Pin the cover on Pinterest and link back to my website.
  • Suggest the book on reading forums, like those on Goodreads.
  • Share your favorite quotes from the book online. If you purchase an e-book, highlight your favorite quotes.
  • Promote the giveaways connected with launch week on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Information about all these ideas will be available through the Facebook group.
  • If you live locally, you’ll be invited to be an honored guest at the Book Launch Tea Party on Sunday October 13th.

Please visit The Governess of Highland Hall page at my website, read the summary, and listen to the 6-minute podcast.

If you like what you see there, and you have time and are willing to commit to reading and reviewing, checking in with the Facebook group, and promoting The Governess of Highland Hall, then please copy and paste the following questions into an email, fill in the information, and send it to:




Email address

Have you read any of my books? If so, which was your favorite and why?

Have you blogged or posted a review of my books in the past? If so please post a link to that review.

Have you recommended my books on social media or personally in the past? If so, which titles, and where, or to whom?

Do you have time to read The Governess of Highland Hall and participate in promotion prior to the October 15th release date?

Would you be willing to participate in a private Facebook group for a few weeks around the release of her new book?

Thanks for your interest in joining Carrie’s Reading Friends. Space is limited in the group, so get in touch soon. Because of the cost of mailing books, the free advanced reading copies will be available to US residents only. But those living outside the US are welcome to join with us and participate in the Facebook group. Thanks so much! I appreciate you and look forward to getting to know you more as we spread the word about The Governess of Highland Hall.

Blessings and Happy Reading!


Are You Feeling Weary Today?

Do you ever feel tired, weak, and weary of the struggles of life? Are you feeling insignificant and alone and wondering who cares and who will help you through another day?

American bald eagle in flight

We can soar like eagles when we put our hope in the Lord.

The truth is you are chosen, loved, and so very special to God. He is the amazing creator of everyone and everything on earth. There is no one like our God. He is awesome, powerful and huge, yet He loves you and me, and He wants to give us the strength we need for whatever we are facing today. How do I know this? Because here’s what I read this morning:

“Do you know know? Have you not heard? the LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40: 28- 31.

How about you? Do you need His strength today? How can I pray for you?