Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Although I never intend to do that, many readers have said, “Karen, I could hear your voice in this or that character.” But I never purposely create a character’s personality that I recognize as my own. My ego’s not big enough for that. :-)
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
As a writer or as a person? I’m pretty buttoned-up, if you want to know the truth. So change that from quirky to reckless and I admit to agreeing to marry my husband on our very first date. He asked and I said yes. It lasted 43 years…when he died of a heart attack. And if I had it to do over again, I would.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I had my first job as part time secretary to a lawyer when I was a senior in high school. He realized I could write his correspondence as well as he could. And I was stuck with doing it.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m far more adventurous than I used to be. Giving you an idea: I’m reading, My Stroke of Insight, The Help, Black Hills (Nora Roberts), Almost Forever, (Deborah Raney), Same Kind of Different as Me, and To Kill a Mockingbird, (the selection of my book club).
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
Too many to be listed here. I’ve been published since 1981 and my body of work includes The Silence of Midnight, for which I won a Rita and Blood Bayou, my first work of Christian fiction, May 2009. Coming up, Missing: Max in the summer of 2010. I’ve actually published 36 books. All of this is on my website.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My personality keeps me pretty much grounded. But I do get a little crazy as a deadline approaches. In the past, I tended to freak out over publicity/marketing responsibilities, but now I have a full-time publicist and I let her do the worrying. Oh, one more thing, computers and how they work are beyond my pay grade. I am technically challenged, but again, I have professional help in three daughters who aren’t technically challenged. Thank goodness.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
That’s a big thing with me. I actually think long and hard for just the right name. In the book I’m writing now (untitled as yet), I named the hero “Brody,” but it just never seemed right. Now he’s Tucker Kane. Isn’t that cool? The wrong name for a hero can make him seem “un-alpha.” I tend to like classic names for my heroines: Rachel, Camille, Anne, Erica, Claire, Suzanne.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I was very proud to win a Rita for one of my books. Being recognized by my peers was heady stuff. But being signed by Simon & Schuster to write Christian fiction is pretty wonderful, too.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cat. Dogs have masters; cats have staff. (That is not original. Someone else said it first.)
What is your favorite food?
I love a good hamburger. I also like fish a lot. I could live on fish five days a week. Then I’d want a good ‘burger.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Read a lot in the genre you choose. Write a book or article or short story (whatever), finish it and go on to the next one. Every project contributes to learning your craft. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. It happens to every writer and, like adversity, it builds character. (That last one is a joke.) Seriously, however, I’m always struck by the sheer determination of unpublished writers, how they persevere in the face of the challenge of getting published today. I so admire that.
Tell us about the featured book?
Missing: Max is a kidnapping story. I know that’s a hard theme for some readers. There’s that age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” My hero/heroine as a couple are having marital problems. Each is focused inwardly. Their teenage daughter is devastated and in therapy. But her solution to their problems is almost as shocking as the kidnapping. As they work to put their lives back together and overcome this horrendous loss, the heroine suddenly finds herself being stalked by the kidnapper. Will Max be found?
Please give us the first page of the book.
They say some people have a premonition about calamity before it strikes. But Jane Madison felt only irritation when her cell phone rang as she waited in the Mardi Gras crowd to order shrimp po’boys. Checking caller ID, she decided to ignore the call when she saw it was Melanie . Her stepdaughter probably wanted to change her order, but after standing in line for more than twenty minutes, Jane was finally up, so changing was not an option.
The man ahead of her received his order of fried shrimp, calamari and beer. Loaded down, he turned suddenly and almost crashed into her. Not for the first time that day, Jane wished she were elsewhere. Ordinarily, she avoided Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans, but Melanie was at the age to be enthralled by the uninhibited and often near-depraved behavior all too common at the event. So Jane had reluctantly agreed to take her, even though it meant having to take Max. The other possibility for Melanie calling was that Max was awake. If he was, Christine would know what to do. Having her best friend along made the day a bit more tolerable for Jane.
Teething had made Max cranky and restless lately, but so far he’d been surprisingly docile just watching the goings-on around him from his stroller.
Her cell phone rang again. Apparently Melanie wasn’t giving up. Now loaded with two large bags and three soft drinks, Jane looked around for a place to set everything but there was no open spot, just hordes of people, literally a crush of humanity. Grumbling, she turned back to the vendor’s cart and with a murmured apology transferred the load to his counter and fumbled to click her phone free of her purse. Sometimes Melanie could try the patience of a saint. “What is it, Melanie?”
“Mom, Max is gone!” the girl cried. “Come quick! He was here a minute ago and now he’s disappeared!”
I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Karen, for taking time out of your busy day to spend with us.
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