I had always been an avid reader, and as I grew to adulthood, I toyed with the idea of putting my own stories to paper. I'd daydream romantic plot lines and jot down my ideas in a journal, but I never committed myself to writing. First, college kept me busy. Then kids entered the picture. But in 2003 when my husband learned his job was being cut, the urge to turn someday into this day became too strong to ignore. The busyness didn't disappear, of course. I started working full-time outside the home, and the kids were still young and in need of my attention. However, the Lord had sent me a wake-up call, and I knew I had to answer. I sold a couple of short pieces along the way, but my first contract for full-length novels came in January of 2009.
What made you decide to write fiction?
Fiction is what I most enjoy reading, and it's so much more fun to write the kinds of stories you enjoy reading. I also believe that story is a powerful tool to reach people. Jesus spoke in parables in order to reveal truth to his listeners. I hope to entertain with my books, but more importantly, I hope to minister through them, sharing nuggets of God's truth with my readers.
What made you choose this particular genre?
I am an historical romance reader through-and-through. It is all I read and, therefore, what I prefer to write, truly my passion. I love the 19th century American west, but I also enjoy regency stories, and medieval settings. Rugged cowboys, dashing lords, fierce warriors—what's not to love?
How did things change once you became a published author? Did you lose friends? Make friends? How did it affect your family?
Life as a published author is still very new to me. My first book has only been out a few weeks. My family has been wonderfully supportive. My husband, who is a sci-fi guy and wouldn't touch a romance book with a ten-foot pole, chats up my books to his online and work friends. And for the most part, my kids are taking it all in stride. My middle kiddo is the most enthusiastic. He grins and hugs me and tells me how proud he is of me every time we see something in a catalog or in a store. It's fun. And when my hubby took my youngest to Sams the other day, they cruised the book aisle. When the little guy saw my book, he asked if they could buy it. Never mind that we have a couple boxes of them at home. Too cute! My daughter just turned 12, and she's asked for her own autographed copy. I'm still deciding whether or not I want my little girl reading a romance novel - even mine. She's not supposed to be interested in boys yet, is she? Something tells me this denial technique isn't going to work for much longer. LOL I'm also making contact with readers, which brings great joy and encouragement into my life. So far, the blessings have been rich indeed.
Where do you spend your time writing? Do you have a favorite place? A favorite time of day?
I write whenever and wherever I can. I work full-time, have three kids, and am involved in many church activities, so finding time can be tricky. Thankfully, the Lord provides, and the books get written. When I'm at home, I usually write in my bedroom, sitting propped up on the bed with my laptop. Not very glamorous, but I can close the door and keep the kids out. Well – most of the time.
How did you come up with the story for A Tailor-Made Bride?
It all started with a question: What happens when believers disagree about what the Christian life should look like?
Hannah Richards believes she is being a good steward of the talents the Lord has blessed her with by turning her needle to creating dresses that are pleasing to look upon. She is imitating the Creator God who designed wildflowers, rainbows, and sunsets.
Jericho Tucker, on the other hand, believes that fancy dress goods encourage women to focus their attention on vain, superficial beauty instead of the inner attributes of a gentle and quiet spirit that Scripture promotes as true loveliness.
Both are right. Yet both see the other as wrong. By throwing Jericho's sister Cordelia into the mix, I forced these two characters to face their differences and learn from each other, to mend those tears of condemnation with threads of grace.
What are you working on now?
My second release, Head in the Clouds, will be hitting the shelves in October. Since I enjoy Regency romances as well as those set in the American West, I thought it would be fun to blend the two by bringing an English nobleman to Texas. In Head in the Clouds, a recovering romantic takes a job as governess for the mute daughter of a sheep rancher and soon learns her heart is not the only thing in danger.
My current work in progress is a story set in the late 1880s that asks the question – what happens after the prodigal son returns? So many times, we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received from his father, but have you ever asked what life was like for him after the celebration was over? How did he relate to his bitter older brother or the servants and townspeople who were only too aware of his past arrogance and wild living?
In my third book, I play on those very questions. My hero is a man recently released from prison who has returned to his faith roots and rededicated his life to the Lord. The heroine is a woman who has been disappointed by men in the past and has little tolerance of those who don't meet her high standards. In an effort to make a clean start, Levi hides his past and Eden believes she has finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when his secret is revealed will both their futures be shattered?
What is your favorite scene in the whole book? If it's a reasonable length (not an entire chapter), feel free to share an excerpt!
Oooh – that's a toughie. That's like asking a mom to pick her favorite child. Ha! There's a fast-paced action scene involving a flash flood, a spooked horse, and an upturned buggy that I like quite a bit, but I also love the scenes where J.T. and Hannah are sparing. Here's a brief excerpt of one of my favorites:
THAT was one of my favorite scenes! Thank you for sharing that one with us.
Karen, it was great to have you join us today. Thank you so much for being willing to share a little bit of yourself, your life and your book!
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GOOD LUCK TO THOSE THAT ENTER! It's a book you'll thoroughly enjoy!
(Please forgive the strange formatting and font background colors. Blogger had its own ideas and didn't want to cooperate.)