Author Interview: Karen Wiesner: Our first Featured Author (Originally 2014: August)
This month we start with massively prolific author, Karen Wiesner. With over 100 books published she is no novice at her craft, in fact she has even written books ABOUT writing.
Now let’s learn a bit more about Karen…
I’m too much like a mother with my books and series to choose favorites. They’re all close and personal favorites. I love them, and each one has its own special merits and places in my heart. Some of my series I wrote because doing so was a challenge for me as a writer (i.e., Falcon’s Bend Series, which contains in-depth police procedural, and Incognito Series and the upcoming spin-off Shadow Missions–highly technical and by far the most complicated series I’ve ever undertaken). Some were to fulfill a need that I found lacking in literature in general. There are so few horror, gothic and paranormal books that I can get into obsessively and love all throughout a series. Therefore, I created my own with the Woodcutter’s Grim Series and Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series. Some series I wrote because I love creating small town and family and relationship dynamics and expanding the fiction world I’m developing one book at a time, such as those in my Family and Friendship Heirlooms series’, Denim Blues and Red Velvet mysteries’, Adventures in Amethyst, Kaleidoscope and Cowboy Fever series’.
Would you say that any of the characters you have created is a mini-you? If so, which one, and how?
Trust me, that’s a situation most authors try hard to avoid (everyone who personally knows a writer usually asks with relish, “Is this character you, me, someone we know?”–arrgh!)…all the while refusing to admit out loud that inside every single character they’ve ever created has a tiny fragment of themselves instilled. I believe that sliver is the difference between developing a character who’s cardboard and one who steps right off the pages of a book.
If asked which is my favorite character I’ve ever created, that one I can answer definitively: Zoë Rossdale, who made her first appearance in GLASS ANGELS, Book 4 of the Family Heirlooms Series, and got her own book in CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO FALLING IN LOVE, Book 1 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series. Look for her next appearances in CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO HAVING A BABY and CLUMSY GIRL’S GUIDE TO HAVING IT ALL, Books 6 and 8 of the Friendship Heirlooms Series (though she’s minorly involved in all the books in this series).
Is there a story you would love to write but for some reason have never been able to do so? If so, what is it, and what would allow you to write this?
THE RUINS. This is a futuristic romance novel I’ve been kicking around in my brain for many long years. It initially started as a dream I had. When I got up, I wrote down the details and put it in my story idea folder. In May 2013, I had some ideas about setting this story idea in the same futuristic “world” as my novella, “The Amethyst Star” (which is currently published in my 2-in-1 Supernatural collection with “Creatures of the Night”), with the same races inhabiting the earth but new devastation wreaking havoc. THE RUINS will take place probably 10 to 20 years after the events in the novella. Someday when I’m not so busy, this story might rise to the surface enough for me to write a back cover blurb for it, and from there I can progress it to the production stage.
Tell us a bit about you. Who are you in real life?
Probably Miss Boring. 🙂 Honestly, I live vicariously through my characters and plots and feel little if any need for adventure, per se. I despise traveling (and a good part of the reason for that is because most of my childhood was spent being dragging around the country from one place to another, and all I ever wanted to do was go home). I’m happy to use my free time reading books, watching movies, taking long walks. My only quirk is that I’m obsessed with writing…writing a lot. In that way alone, I’m extreme.
Did you always want to be a writer? Or is this something you found as an adult?
I wrote my first book when I was ten years old. That was the summer my family was in Oklahoma (for my father’s job), and we discovered this abandoned old trailer with photographs all over the trashed floor. Both my sister (author Linda Derkez) and I got a ton of ideas from looking at these pictures, speculating about who had lived there, what happened that they left all these photos behind. That was the summer I knew I was destined to be a writer. All those daydreams I’d had all my life were about to pay off. I started brainstorming romances, thrillers, and mysteries in my head. By the time I was sixteen, I’d written almost a dozen books, short stories, and countless poems. Unofficially, I had my own fan club in high school and had a dozen publishing credits to my name (all poems).
Getting my fiction published was the hard part, and, ironically, I got so tired of the whole rejection thing, I’d just made the decision to quit writing for anyone but myself. I don’t remember whether it was a day or week after I made this decision that I received my first book contract. Talk about turning a corner and coming face-to-face with a dream! In any case, my first novel (LEATHER & LACE, Book 1 of the Gypsy Road Series) was finally published in June 1998. I’ve been on a roll and, in the past 16 years since then, I’ve had 150 books published.
Who are your favourite authors?
A few that make the top of the list: J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, and Michael Crichton.
Do you recall any specific books you read as a child that impacted you so much, that you still remember them now?
I’ve been a huge reader all my life. You don’t want to hear about the massive stacks of books I’d check out from the library when I was in elementary school (toppling towers!), but I was a favorite of the librarian and worked in the library all my years of being in elementary and high school. The librarians always let me check out new books first. Some favorites books that stand out to me even now: How to Care for Your Monster by Norman Bridwell (yes, the Clifford the Big Red Dog author!), everything by Ruth Chew, Astrid Lindgren, and Betty McDonald.
As a teenager, I loved a series of teen horror called Twilight: Where Darkness Begins, You’ll Like My Mother by Naomi A. Hinze (gothic horror, which I adore and there are so few published anymore), Hardy Boys mysteries, everything by Edgar Allan Poe, and Dracula and Frankenstein, of course. But I was also starting to read some romance by then, which led me toward writing in that genre.
You write many Christian books, so one assumes you are Christian. Can you tell us how this faith has affected your writing and/or career? Is it harder to be a Christian writer do you think, or does it in some way make it easier?
I am a Christian and it’s had a huge impact on my writing. For many years, I didn’t feel it should, though I was certainly open to the Lord’s guidance. About five years ago, my son started asking if he could read my books. At that time, my books were intended for adults–no two ways about that. But the Lord started to impress on me strongly that the graphic sensuality, violence and language I was writing into my work was wrong. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to “take it back”…until many of my contracts with certain publishers started to expire. I realized I could take back my rights, revise the books to take out the graphic elements and have them reissued. At this time, I’ve done that with all of my books (though of course earlier copies of them are unlikely to ever disappear totally).
After this happened, I faced another struggle: I believe romance novels need sexual tension. Otherwise, there’s not point to writing them for me, or to anyone reading them because, without the sexual tension between a man and woman falling in love or already in love, there can be no realistic quality. I’ve had to find ways to balance subtle, vague sensuality (in other words, not mentioning specific body parts and sexual acts but alluding to them in a generalized, sensual way) with the limitations I feel the Lord has rightly placed on my writing. But in general, I do feel even my Christian fiction is edgier than most inspirational fiction available. I don’t see any way around that if I want to maintain the realism in my fiction (which really isn’t an oxymoron).
I am sure many readers, who also feel that they may be prospective writers want to know, “how do you get your inspiration”?
Inspiration is everywhere. Everything I see, hear, dream, experience…these things can lead to a story or, more like me, a series. When I write one book, I tend to write a whole series around that book because something new and exciting has opened up for me and I want to explore it fully. I have very few single title stories. Even the ones I’ve had published that can be considered single titles have connections to my other books. For instance, HOME and DESTINY are set in the fictional small town featured in my Family and Friendship Heirlooms series’ of Peaceful. Wisconsin.
Check out Karen’s Author page for purchasing information for all her books (both direct from the WEE site or from Amazon):
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