Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Today I will be interviewing Harlequin Blaze romance author Karen Anders. She contacted me about scheduling an author interview, author guest blog as well as a book review of her upcoming release for Harlequin Blaze. I recently finished reading her upcoming March 2009 Harlequin Blaze novel called Up Close and Dangerously Sexy and will be posting my review for it tomorrow. I had fun reading it and I was so happy to have the opportunity to interview her as well as having her guest blogging this Thursday as well. I learned a lot about Karen's writing process and how she got into writing romance and I hope that you all have fun reading this interview. Leave your comments as well as questions to this post because Karen will be checking in throughout the day to answer them.


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Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?


Karen Anders: I’m not sure that I’ve ever thought of it that way. I knew that I loved to read. It was and is still my greatest passion. Spinning out the stories I discovered I had in my head just came naturally and once I started, I didn’t want to stop. So I guess the first time I realized that this was my talent, my passion was when I got my first book, Jennifer’s Outlaw, published by Silhouette. The author that most influenced me is Nora Roberts. Her stories are so amazing. Of course, I wanted to be her when I grew up. But, now I understand who I am and what I enjoy writing.


Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?


Karen: I discovered romance in my teens and fell in love with it. I read it in many genres: Historical: Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale Science fiction: Star Commandos by P.M. Griffin, Startide Rising by David Brin Fantasy: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip, Gandalara Series by Randall Garrett and Vicki Ann Heydron Gothic: Kirkland Revels by Victoria Holt, The Black Swan by Phyllis A. Whitney Suspense: A Coral Kissby Jayne Ann Krentz, Hot Ice by Nora Roberts With all these books I read, especially the gothic and suspense books, I discovered a taste for action/adventure and after looking in vain for what I wanted to read, I decided to start writing it myself. I was always interested in romance mixed with danger. So my first book was a historical about a young woman who goes into the desert and it was bad. I also found that researching a historical book just wasn’t my cup of tea. Then I discovered contemporaries. My first book was about 500 pages and got me the interest of an agent. From there I got published by Silhouette.


Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?


Karen: As I mentioned, the first book I ever wrote was about a young miss and a desert sheik that was inspired by the book my grandmother gave to me when I was sixteen, The Sheik. It took me ten years to finish that book. But, I’m afraid as my first attempt, it was quite bad. I destroyed that book at the end of the eighties and gave it a fitting burial.


Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and did it take you a long time to gather that research?


Karen: I do a lot of research on every aspect of my novels. First, I do up front research when I’m fleshing out an idea. I explore different avenues to make my story richer. Then as I’m writing the book, I do ongoing research to go into more depth and to make the story as real as possible.


Phoebe: How did you come up with the concepts for some of your upcoming novels?


Karen: Up Close and Dangerously Sexy starts my Undercover Lovers Miniseries. For the second book, I decided to create a brother for my twins. I sandwiched his book in between theirs. In this series I have a villain called The Ghost and he runs through all three books to tie them together.


Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?


Karen: I’m a synopsis girl, so when I go to write my stories, I consult my synopsis. I open the synopsis with a scene that puts the reader right into the action. That’s where the story starts—and it’s the most interesting and thrilling part.


Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or writing stand alone novels? How is writing each different for you?


Karen: I like writing both types of novels. A series has to be carefully thought out before writing. Since the books interact, I want to make sure that all my ducks are in a row and I have all the characters worked out. In a stand alone, I don’t have to do as much up front work.


Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?


Karen: To get my first book published, I pretty much just started sending it one at a time to agents. When I realized how long that was going to take, I started doing mass mailings. That worked out well for me because on my fourth try, I got an agent. He then sold it to Silhouette within a month or two. I will say that my first time out of the gate was blessed. I didn’t know how hard it was to get an agent and I didn’t know how hard it was then to get published. So ignorance is bliss as they say.


Phoebe: How did you feel when you finally saw your first published book came out and how do you feel about your other novels being published?


Karen: Seeing my first book in print with the beautiful cover that Silhouette did was a dream come true. I felt so satisfied, so validated. Other than the births of my two children, it was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.


Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?


Karen: That is a challenge as I work a full time job and do my writing on the side. It’s all about focus. I have a certain number of pages that I must do per week and I stay on track as much as I can. I juggle everything else. When I need support, my youngest daughter helps me out tremendously. I don’t know what I would do without her.


Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing?


Karen: I watch TV or read. I especially love playing an online game called World of Warcraft. Its loads of fun.


Phoebe: Do you have any hobbies?


Karen: Yes, I paint in watercolors and Chinese brush paintings. I will eventually have stuff up for sale on my website in the future. As soon as I have some spare time in my writing schedule to paint.


Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Karen: Study the craft and hone that craft every day. Read, attend workshops, online classes. Write everyday if you can manage it and find a good critique group. Don’t be discouraged and keep persisting.


Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?


Karen: Writing tips: Learn how to write a good, thorough synopsis. Study goal, motivation and conflict and make sure that it’s in your story. Research tips: Don’t skimp here. Do thorough research on what you’re writing about. It adds realistic flavor to your character and your story. Promotion tips: See the blog that I did for Caren Johnson. Its chock full of suggestions, but mostly for category books. Marketing tips: Discover who you are within the industry. Brand yourself. Take a look at my new revamped website to see what I mean. I’ve branded myself as a romantic suspense author writing urban stories.


Phoebe: Now for a question that I have been meaning to ask an author. Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?


Karen: I love reading romantic suspense, action/adventure, and science fiction/fantasy. Some of my favorite authors are Karen Rose, Nora Roberts, Lisa Scottoline, Donna Kauffman, Amy J. Fetzer, Kim Harrison, Patty O’Shea, and Laurell K. Hamilton.


3 comments:

  1. It's always so interesting to hear from writers and how they approach their work.

    Thanks, Karen and Phoebe for a great interview.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm really pleased I found this blog, as an aspiring writer myself I'm facinated by what authors have to say for themselves. I learnt the importance of knowing where you're going by plotting a synopsis many years ago, I got to about 10,000 words with a book then realised I had no idea where I was going with it, disheartened I didn't write again for years!
    Andrew Culture

    (my siggy)
    Badges are my thing...
    Photos are also my thing...
    My good living/ eating blog...
    Writing random stuff is also my thing...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Patricia - You're welcome. I'm glad you found it interesting.

    Karen

    ReplyDelete

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Phoebe Jordan
I'm a part-time aspiring romance novelist, book reviewer and blogger. I've always wanted to travel the world and learn everything I can about other countries. Learning the Italian language is one way of trying to make that dream come true. Traveling will help me with my writing because I'll be learning about the history of the U.S., Latin America, England, Italy, and Ireland, the countries I find so fascinating while reading the romance genre.
 
I read and review romance novels of almost every subgenre along with erotic romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy and young adult novels. You can find the reviews at my blogs, Talk About My Favorite Authors and Phoebe Jordan's Reviews. I’ve also started a live podcast show called TAMFA | Phoebe Jordan hosted on Blog Talk Radio. This show is dedicated to everything I love about romance and young adult novels. I love having romance and young adult authors live on my show to be interviewed and showcase their books.

I plan to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, paranormal romance and young adult when I get my writing career started with help from Keta. I'm not sure what genre I'll write to begin with since I love to read so many different romance genres.
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