Welcome, Karin. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
The first heroine in my first novel (which is unpublished and needs a complete rewrite if it ever wants to be published) was the most autobiographical. I wrote what I knew, which were my own struggles and issues. Since then I’ve tried to incorporate different characteristics into each heroine, though most of them will probably love some type of sports team (because I love sports!).
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I did some weird things in high school and college, but I wasn’t streak-through-the-neighborhood crazy. I did have a pretty quirky job, though! I worked on the S.S. Badger in
, during the summers when I was in
college. It’s a coal-fired car ferry that used to carry train cars across the Ludington, Michigan Great Lakes. Now it’s a passenger vessel. It’s still one
of my favorite jobs—I could tell stories about that job for hours!
My crazy college job was in Longhorn Cavern in central
I worked down in the snack bar in the cave. People were only at that spot once
an hour. When did you first discover that you were a writer? Texas
I’ve always written stories. I wrote my first novella in high school (during class!), then I got my degree in English because I couldn’t imagine not reading or writing for a semester. I didn’t really start writing, though, until 2006 after my husband’s cancer diagnosis. I wrote a novel manuscript and wanted to see if I could get it published. As I continued to learn about the publishing process, I also learned about different kinds of writing. I think it was 2007 when I started to consider myself a professional writer because I had my first article published. I’ve been writing ever since.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My preference is romance novels—I read a lot of historical and contemporary romance. But I also read speculative fiction, mystery, young adult, and suspense novels. However, if someone tells me that a book is well-written, I’ll read any genre. (But I’ll like the book better if it includes a romance.)
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My husband taught me the value of honoring the Sabbath. We make sure to take a day off together to relax and recharge. It might mean that we have to miss a fun event, but that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make to ensure that we don’t wear ourselves out.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I go online and search for names that were popular around the time my main characters would have been born. I usually have a few names that I’m considering; when I search for names, I find one that has a similar quality that stands out to me. Sometimes, though, I find one completely different that grabs my attention.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fact that I kept writing after so many years of struggling and failing. I finished my first novel in 2007 and submitted it in 2008. Since then, I’ve written several manuscripts, entered contests, queried agents and publishers, learned to edit, read craft books, attended conferences, and so much more. I watched other people succeed where I failed. I taught other people things they needed to know to polish their manuscripts, but mine still didn’t garner any attention.
I wanted to quit so many times, especially after I started writing and editing professionally and struggled to get clients. I’m an extrovert, so I wanted nothing more than to get a “real job” some place where I would be around people all day and earn a regular paycheck, but every time I prayed about it I felt like I was doing what God wanted me to do by writing. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t quick, but I grew so much throughout the process (emotionally and spiritually). I’m proud of myself for not taking the easy road.
Actually, those who don’t take the easy usually become better writers than those who do. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dog with a big family. That way I could be around people all of the time and get lots of back rubs!
What is your favorite food?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Focusing. I’m easily distracted, and I tend to do everything else before I write, so it’s not uncommon for me to go days (or weeks) at a time without writing on my manuscript. Once it’s written, however, I can focus on the editing.
A couple of years ago, I realized that I need to set aside a month to write my first draft. I forgo all events and activities to focus on writing. The first draft doesn’t have to be good, I just need to get at least 60,000 words down. If I can do that, then I can print it off and edit it anywhere (which is how I prefer to edit).
Tell us about the featured book.
Summer Plans and Other Disasters is the third incarnation of the second novel that I wrote. I created some characters and picked a setting that I loved, then started writing. It was early in my career, though, and I was learning a lot. I had about 45,000 words written when I realized how flat and uninteresting my characters were, so I scrapped the plot and started over. About 45,000 words later, I discovered plot holes big enough to drive tanks through, so I started over again. On the third try, I finally created a story that I liked. It took a lot of editing and help from other people to polish it, but I think it was worth the effort.
My favorite part of this story is the setting. The majority of it takes place at Old Mission Lighthouse in
Years ago, the township’s park superintendent used to live in the lighthouse.
If he ever had to be out of town, he would recruit someone to cover his basic
duties while he was gone (mostly emptying garbage cans and making sure nothing
bad happened). My husband and the superintendent were friends, so my husband
covered for him a couple of times, and I was able to stay with him at the lighthouse.
I included some of my experiences there in the story. Traverse City, Michigan
Interesting setting. I’m in a Barbour collection that will release in November, and all the stories take place in and around lighthouses. Please give us the first page of the book.
“Need a hand, sweetheart?”
Callie peeked over the top of her sunglasses. A slick-haired young man in a lime green polo shirt stood bent over, grinning at her through her open car window. She flashed him her best Julia Roberts smile as she inwardly groaned, then flicked her left wrist, popping the car door open and into his forehead.
“Sorry.” She slid out of her car. “My older brother will be here any minute now. He can get some ice for that. Would you like to stick around? I think he went hunting. I could introduce you after he skins something.”
The tall, tanned pretty boy shook his head and walked toward a group waiting nearby. Callie rolled her eyes.
“Nice technique.” A familiar baritone voice rumbled.
“Lying’s a sin.”
Callie spun around. “Didn’t you go hunting?”
Her brother stood twenty feet away with his arms crossed, but he chuckled. “I don’t hunt.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m glad you’re here.”
So was she. Callie launched herself at Jack, aiming for the waist.
He laughed as he moved, and she shot past him, but he grabbed her belt and pulled her back, wrapping his arms around her and squeezing until she giggled. “You never would have survived on the football field. You telegraph.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m all over! I have a dedicated author website and Facebook page at:
You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram:
And you can find writing and editing tips and tricks on my business website and Facebook page:
Thank you, Karin, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read my copy.
Readers, here are links to the book.Summer Plans--and Other Disasters - Paperback
Summer Plans and Other Disasters - Kindle
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