Wednesday, May 12, 2010

MISSING: MAX - Karen Young - Free Book

Welcome, Karen. I've really looked forward to this interview ever since I read your book Blood Bayou. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

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?

I have thankfully never experienced writer’s block, but in every book there is always a point—a roadblock?--where I’m stuck…just facing a brick wall. I have been known to call a writer friend more than once and say, “This is the hardest book I’ve ever written!” I’ve learned I must just push on through, keep writing and eventually I’ll overcome that roadblock.

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.

Chapter One

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.

Readers, check out this wonderful book trailer:

Here's a link to the book. By using this link when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


pupita said...

Thanks for encouraging beginner authors.AND how do i get in to the contest?

Katrina said...

I would love to win this book. I would just love to read it.

Mark said...

sounds great, I'd like to enter. Thanks

Deborah Raney said...

Great interview, Lena! I LOVE Karen's writing! Her Blood Bayou was a favorite of my daughter's and mine.

Anonymous said...

Lena, your interview is terrific. I have recently discovered Karen Young and think she is a wonderful writer - a real pro. VERY emotional books. I hope to read more from her in the future.

Anonymous said...

from a fan and a friend: Great interview. Very Informative. Karen is a terrific writer.

Robyn said...

I love 'love at first sight'. Glad your marriage was so blessed after saying yes on your first date. :-)

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Casey said...

I would love to be entered to win this book, thank you!

Genre Reviewer said...

Sounds like an interesting novel. Please enter me.


Dee said...

Your first page really roped me in. Would love to read more. Hope I win!

Karen Young said...

Lena, I am stepping in later than I would have wished as I've been held up in a long lasting brunch meeting. Just ended. So glad to be here now and hear from other readers, which is my favorite thing!

Anonymous said...

Karen, if you are still around, can you tell us if you are working on another book now?

Karen Young said...

Yes, and I'm on deadline (June 15th) to finish it. Title: LIE FOR ME. It deals with questions of morality when a woman is asked by her fiance to lie and furnish him an alibi when his ex-wife is murdered.

runner10 said...

You've got me hooked!

Crazy for books said...

I just realized this is Karen's only second Christian Fiction book but that she has thirty something other books published. What made you want to write these books?

Anonymous said...

Is it easier to write one way or the other?

Anonymous said...

i'm interested in reading this fabulous book...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Deborah M said...

Sounds like a book filled with twists and turns. Please sign me up.
Deborah M.

Anonymous said...

What made me write these books? My plots are still similar, but I now add a faith journey. My own spiritual journey has been enriched in the last few years. Writing Christian fiction was natural outlet.

Anonymous said...

That came out Anonymous! It's me - Karen

Rachel Hauck said...

Great interview Karen! You picture is gorgeous too!

Blessings on your book and it's release!


Anonymous said...

Wow! Mardi Gras music and shrimp po boys. I can't wait to get my hands on your book. I'm from New Orleans and I'd love to see your portrayal of New Orleans

Anonymous said...

Wow! Mardi Gras music and shrimp po boys. I can't wait to get my hands on your book. I'm from New Orleans and can't wait to see how you portrayed New Orleans.

Nick G.

Cindy W. said...

I enjoyed the interview and MISSING: MAX sounds like a great read. Please enter me.

Cindy W.


Karen Young said...

All of this has been such a delight to me. I just wish I hadn't been so pushed on deadline so that I could have replied more often. I will next time! Thank you all for posting. And maybe at my next blog, I'll know how to do it well.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a really great book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

debbie said...

I would love to read this book.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Desiree said...

Good interview. I will enjoy this book. Thanks for entering me.

davidndes at comcast dot net

hippmom said...

Sounds intense. Love to win.)
angelahipp (at) charter (dot0 net

Abi said...

please include me thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Wendy said...

I loved the story about how Karen agreed to marry her husband on the first date!
Thanks for offering the contest.

Wendy said...

I loved the story about how Karen agreed to marry her husband on the first date!
Thanks for offering the contest.

Marla said...

Sounds like a good storyline. Thank you for the entry.


Judylynn said...

Sounds great! Please enter me.


kristen said...

What a fantastic cover!
Please enter me:)

Carla said...

Would love to read this book.

earlymorn23 said...

What a great sounding book--I'll add it to my want to read list. Would love to be entered in the contest.

grannyvon said...

This sounds like a great book. The author is not only a beautiful lady but good writer too. I can't hardly wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win it.

Nancye said...

Wow! This book looks awesome! I would love to win/ read this! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Brenda said...

I would love to read this book!

dancealert at aol dot com

Edna said...

Another new writter to me would love to win the book when it come out


Anonymous said...

I would love to read this one...please enter me. Thanks!!!

rbooth43 said...

I went to New Orleans for my 25th wedding anniversary and have enjoyed reading about the Cajun's and love a suspense mystery. Count me In.


A J Hawke said...

Sounds like a good suspense novel.

Thanks for the opportunity to receive a copy.

A J Hawke

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Megan (Inspired by Fiction) said...

I really want to read this one. It would be fun to win for my birthday which is later this month :)

We posted about it at Winning Readings.

debbie said...

Please enter me, I have always wanted to see New Orleans. It sounds like a great book.

Maureen said...

Great interview!!
Scary concept being kidnapped!
Please enter me!

misskallie2000 said...

Great interview Karen. Wow after reading this I am hooked. I love mystery and suspense so I know this is my kind of book. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

RoseMillsOhio said...

After enjoying the light-hearted interview I was expecting a light-hearted book. But after reading the first page I see I couldn't have been more wrong. I want to know what happened to Max!

Caroline said...

Lena & Karen, this book sounds fantastic. I've not read any of Karen's books yet, but I'm looking forward to it now. If, by chance, I should win the book, well, that would be the icing on my cake. :)

Thanks for the opportunity.

Naasom A. Sousa said...

Hi, I'd love win a copy yhis book. Please enter me. Thanks.


Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. I'd love to read it. The book has a really nice cover. Please enter me. Thanks!


Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

This looks really good! I'm not sure I've ever read a Chrisian Fiction book centered around a kidnapping! Please sign me up!

XOXO~ Renee

earlymorn23 said...

Would love to win a copy of this book. Looks great.

Mark said...

I'd like to enter, thanks

Megan (Inspired by Fiction) said...

Hi...I'm writing to re-enter based on your post today...thanks for the opportunity to win!

Cindy W. said...

I would really love this book. I commented earlier in the week and it appears here but I know you said all the comments disappeared and to re-enter.

Cindy W.


Judylynn said...


Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!


Edna said...

I have the book and read it also left a comment on my blog and this is a great book. I thought it would be really upset but it wasn't as bad as I thought and it really is a great suspence book.