AWW Feature: Carla Caruso, Starcrossed and Shadow Signs

Carla Caruso, author pic, HarperCollins


I’m delighted to welcome Carla Caruso to Book’d Out today to talk about her novel Starcrossed.

Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, Australia, and only ‘escaped’ for three years to work as a magazine journalist and stylist in Sydney. Previously, she was a gossip columnist and fashion editor at Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser. She has since freelanced for titles including Woman’s Day and Shop Til You Drop. These days, she plays mum to her twin boys and writes fun frothy reads.

Starcrossed is her tenth book.


“Is love really written in the stars?

Fledgling romance author Simona Gemella is hoping the rugged wilderness of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island will help reignite her creative spark after her husband walked out on her (calling her a workaholic and filing for divorce).
She’s joined her best friend, Nessie, on a health and wellness retreat at a mysterious old manor on the island, run by an astrology guru.
Though Simona’s sworn off men, she can’t help being distracted by a darkly dangerous man with a scorpion tattoo – Denham Cobalt – who’s also staying at the manor. Then strange things start to happen, including uncanny accidents and even a possible murder.
It all culminates at a masquerade party on the night of a total lunar eclipse. Will Simona survive – with her heart intact?”

My review of Starcrossed will appear today, in the meantime please read on to learn more about this novel fun contemporary romance…

Shadow Signs

by Carla Caruso

I’ve always wanted to write a novel with an astrology theme. My mum (though Catholic) loves her New Agey stuff and has passed on the fascination to me – I always read my daily and monthly horoscopes via and consider myself the quintessential Capricorn.

Hence, my novel, Starcrossed, was born. It surrounds four women who go on a cosmic retreat on rugged Kangaroo Island in South Australia…and strange things start to happen. The main character, Simona Gemella, is a newbie romance author – don’t know where I got that idea from 😉 – and on the island, she meets a darkly handsome guy, Denham, who has a scorpion tattoo on his neck. Hello, Scorpio! The story blends romance and suspense.

In researching the novel, I came across the idea of ‘shadow signs’, which became an integral part of the story. Your ‘shadow’ being the dark side of your Sun sign, or the negative traits that could overtake your astrologically-determined positive qualities…if you let them.

Queensland astrologer A.K. Leigh (who also happens to be an author with a debut novel out, See Her Run) says: “The sun sign represents your core self, who you really are deep down. So knowing this from the get-go will tell you who a person really is.”
So how do we stop our murkier traits from overshadowing our good points? Leigh reckons: “Balancing your positive and negative traits is the greatest challenge of life, isn’t it? However, being aware of the placement of planets, houses, aspects etc. in your birth chart can give some insight into this. For instance, the north node (a mathematically-derived location on your chart, not a physical object) shows the lessons you are supposed to learn, Pluto’s placement represents areas that need to be transformed, and the asteroid, Chiron, indicates where you need to be healed.”

Below is a list of ‘negative’ personality traits for each sun sign, according to Leigh. See if you recognise any of your own mannerisms in there – or your lover’s 😉
Aries: Selfish, quick-tempered, impatient, impulsive, takes foolish risks.
Taurus: Stubborn, possessive, resentful, inflexible, self-indulgent.
Gemini: Superficial, inconsistent, cunning, anxious, low tolerance for boredom.
Cancer: Moody, overly sensitive, emotional, clingy, prone to deep depressions.
Leo: Pompous, bossy, patronising, interfering, intolerant.
Virgo: Perfectionist, fussy, critical, self-denigrating, worrier.
Libra: Indecisive, gullible, too flirtatious, beliefs easily swayed by others, lazy.
Scorpio: Jealous, compulsive, obsessive, secretive, obstinate.
Sagittarius: Preachy, overly optimistic, careless, irresponsible, tactless.
Capricorn: Too pessimistic, miserly, manipulative, rigid, workaholic tendencies.
Aquarius: Unpredictable, unemotional, detached, eccentric, rebellious.
Pisces: Escapist, too idealistic, vague, weak-willed, deceitful.

Despite this list, though, Leigh says: “It’s important to remember that every person is more than their sun sign. In the ancient days, people exchanged information on their rising (and/or moon signs) rather than their sun signs. This was because the rising sign tells you characteristics that are observable in a person straightaway. The rising sign shows who somebody is on the surface.”
She continues: “The other benefit of knowing someone’s rising sign is: once you have it, you can work out what their 8th and 12th house signs are. The 8th house will give you a glimpse at their attitude towards life, other people, sex and death. The 12th house is where you are going to find their secrets, inner darkness and ‘skeletons in the closet’. Both of these houses explain a person’s shadow side better than the sun or rising sign.”
As an aside, Leigh adds: “The rising sign (surface personality) is the reason when you meet a shy person and they tell you they are Leo, you think ‘but aren’t Leo’s extroverted?’ Watch that person once you get to know them, then you will see their Leo sun (core personality) firing!”


Star-Crossed is available to purchase from

HarperCollins I Amazon I GooglePlay I Kobo I iBooks


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lifelovenlaughs
    Sep 15, 2015 @ 11:54:57

    Thanks for having me, Shellyrae!



  2. Madeline Ash
    Sep 15, 2015 @ 13:23:26

    Such an interesting post, Carla! Those traits hit a little too close to home 😉



  3. Trackback: Review: Starcrossed by Carla Caruso | book'd out

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