Sunday, July 31, 2011

Author Karen Wiesner

Joining me this month is the wonderful Karen Wiesner. Karen is an accomplished author with 82 books published in the past 13 years, which have been nominated for and/or won 111 awards, and 15 more titles under contract. Karen’s books cover such genres as women’s fiction, romance, mystery/police procedural/cozy, suspense, paranormal, futuristic, gothic, inspirational, thriller, horror, chick-lit, and action/adventure. She also writes children’s books, poetry, and writing reference titles such as her bestsellers, First Draft in 30 Days and From First Draft to Finished Novel {A Writer’s Guide to Cohesive Story Building}, available from Writer’s Digest Books. Her previous writing reference titles focused on non-subsidy, royalty-paying electronic publishing, author promotion, and setting up a promotional group like her own, the award-winning Jewels of the Quill, which she founded in 2003. Jewels of the Quill produced two award-winning group anthologies per year published by Whiskey Creek Press from 2005-2011. All were edited by Karen and others. Along with her writing, Karen enjoys designing Web sites, graphics, and cover art.

Be sure to comment throughout the month for a chance to win one of Karen's books!

[Anne] Name one of your favorite books as a child.

[Karen] How to Care for Your Monster by Normal Bridwell (of Clifford fame). I’d never known anyone else to have read it until I met my husband.

[Anne] Do you have a favorite author?

[Karen] Yes—for every genre. Some of my favorites are J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, Angela Hunt, Terry Brooks, Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (pre-Detective Aloysius Pendergast series).

[Anne] Out of all the books you’ve read, which one comes immediately to your mind?

[Karen] The Lord of the Rings (a brilliant concept so beautifully executed in Peter Jackson’s films).

[Anne] If there is a favorite scene you remember, please share.

[Karen] The scene where Eowyn realizes she’s fallen in love with Faramir. Men tend not to be great at romance scenes, but this one was so poignant, it stands out in my mind.

[Anne] Your favorite vacation spot (whether you have been there or not)?

[Karen] I’m a homebody to the extreme. Agoraphobia is common in my family. Leaving home for longer than a few hours is painful for me.

[Anne] Which would you rather have: A custom closet or a custom kitchen?

[Karen] Kitchen, definitely. I’m as far from a fashion-ista as they come. Besides, I don’t have enough clothes to need a custom closet.

[Anne] It’s Saturday afternoon and you’re home alone. What are you wearing? And yes, you must have clothes on.

[Karen] Yes, I must have clothes on. I love pajamas and I’d wear them at all times if it was socially acceptable.

[Anne] What’s your favorite dish?

[Karen] I haven’t progressed out of my teenage years—pizza. The more cheese, the better.

[Anne] Hey, we never grow out of pizza:)  Okay, other than writing, what do you enjoy doing?

[Karen] Designing cover art and graphics for websites. See my designs here:

[Anne] You’ve just landed a multi-book contract with a major publisher! Which vehicle would we be more likely to see you driving after you’ve collected your huge advance: a Hummer, RV, truck, muscle car, or BMW?

[Karen] None of the above. I’d just like a basic, new car—a Saturn SUV of some kind would suit me perfectly. Ms. Practicality, that’s me.

[Anne] What’s your favorite television show? Movie?

[Karen] I watch almost no television. I do catch American Idol as often as I can when it’s running, occasionally watch House when it comes on, but mostly I watch cooking shows when I do sit down in front of the television. My favorite movie is The Lord of the Rings.

[Anne] You’ve won a talent show! What act did you perform?

[Karen] I love to sing. Very cool if I could win a talent show for my singing.

[Anne] Would you rather have the power to be invisible or be able to fly, and why?

[Karen] For an introvert, the easy answer for me is to be invisible. You can’t imagine how often I just want to be invisible wherever I go, whatever I do.

[Anne] What was one of the most surprising things you learned during your journey to publication?

[Karen] That I could make the rules…write my own ticket. I never expected that and it’s difficult to give up that perk now to work with a publisher who wants to control every single aspect of the work. I love a publisher who trusts me and can see my vision instead of the other way around.

[Anne] What was the most interesting research you did for a book?

[Karen] In the process of outlining the final book in my Family Heirlooms Series, Worlds Collide, I had to do a ton of research about Japan along multiple angles—marriage, family living, childrearing, housing, traveling, etc. What a culture shock. It’s absolutely nothing like the United States over there. Writing a book where a main character is Japanese was beyond difficult and so I felt the only way to make it truly believable was to make her have grown up in the United States—this helped to create a character who’s at home in both worlds.

[Anne] Where do you go when you need to get inspired to write?

[Karen] Almost exclusively to my office. But I admit I do love to take a bunch of music CDs and go for a long drive in which I brainstorm like mad on a book.

[Anne] Do you have any writing quirks?

[Karen] Maybe it’s a quirk that I don’t believe there are absolutes in writing. There are so many writing trends, and I admit I find most of them silly. If anyone tells me when writing Never do this or Always do this, I immediately take a step backward. There’s only one rule in writing: If it works for the story, go with it. The only rules are the ones you enforce yourself in your writing. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

[Anne] What do you think makes a good story?

[Karen] Great characters. Without them, no story could be good enough to engage a reader.

[Anne] What are you working on now?

[Karen] I’m researching and outlining Clumsy Girl’s Guide to Falling in Love, the first book in the spin-off to my Family Heirlooms Series. I’m also revising and polishing two novellas: “Beauty is the Beast”, the final story in the miniseries I’m doing within my Woodcutter’s Grim Series, and “For Always”, the third in my Cowboy Fever Series.

[Anne] What's one of the more interesting experiences you've had with one of your readers?

[Karen] Interesting might be stretching this, but I often have people send me their books—usually out of nowhere—and ask me to read them. As if I have the time or inclination do to anything of the kind. Don’t get me wrong: I believe in giving back and helping new writers as much as possible, but there is a point where one has to draw the line. One time when I was having this happen to me practically once a week and was getting fed up with it, I had someone beg me to read his work. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He even offered to pay me. Maybe it was wrong to accept it, but I figured it was no different than charging for a critique at a writing conference. In any case, I think we offered each other a valuable service, but honestly I’d probably never do it again. I put a disclaimer on my website now that says don’t send it; I’ll delete it without looking at it. So far, it’s worked pretty well.

[Anne] Complete this scene: It was raining. The man came out of nowhere, and before I knew it....

[Karen] I was wishing I’d never left home to begin with. (Hey, pre-agoraphobic talking here.)

For more information about Karen and her work, visit her Web sites at,, and If you would like to receive Karen’s free e-mail newsletter, Karen’s Quill, and become eligible to win her monthly book giveaways, send a blank e-mail to


Charmaine Clancy said...

Wow so many books! Well I'm motivated to work a little harder :)
Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

tammy ramey said...

great interview. i love your books and i am always on the look out for the next one.

Sharon Sullivan-Craver said...

Great interview. Loved reading the interview.

Anne Patrick said...

Hi ladies! Thanks so much for dropping by in support of Karen.

Marian L said...

Karen, your two books First Draft in 30 days and from Frist Draft to Finished Novel helped me tremendously when I started writing seriously two years ago. Since then I have completed three novels, outlined five novels and completed several short stories. Thanks for your insights and sharing your knowledge. Marian Lanouette

Jennifer Wilck said...

Great interview! I'm in awe of someone who writes that many books. And I love Agatha Christie too.

Paula Martin said...

Hi Anne and Karen
Great interview! Am totally in awe of your output, Karen - and also your incredibly wide range of genres. And I love your comments about rules. My philosophy is to know them, but ignore them when you need to.

Karen Wiesner said...

Thanks, Charmaine. : )

Tammy, I appreciate your support of my work! I strive to always keep you busing reading. ; )

Sharon, thanks for dropping by.

I appreciate that you allowed me on your blog, Anne.

Marian--you go, girl! I'm proud of you. And I'm glad to have had a small hand in motivating you toward your goals.

Jennifer, thanks. I'm in awe of Agatha Christie. I've read most of her books multiple times and love the computer games of her stories. : )

Thanks, Paula. A wise writer will always follow the course that's right for the book she's working on. I'm always surprised how caught up in the rules some authors are.

Joni said...

What an interesting interview. I really enjoy your books. I also have to agree with you about pizza. If I were told that I had to choose only one food to eat forever, my choice would be pizza.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

thanks for offering the insights, Karen! fun interview questions, Anne ") looking fwd to more creativity with 'Clumsy Girl’s Guide to Falling in Love'! great title!

desitheblonde said...

H Karen wow you cover of the book look great i do not remember if i read any of yours yet but if i have not read them they are going to my list

Robin said...

It's amazing you write in so many different genres! Great interview!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Karen Wiesner said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving such nice comments, all! I enjoyed reading them. And now I'm hungry for pizza! : )

Karen Wiesner; subscribe to Karen’s Quill for a chance to win my books every month!
Books 1-4, Family Heirlooms Series, available now
Incognito Series, Books 1-12 now available
Kaleidoscope, Wounded Warriors and Falcon’s Bend series’, available now
Denim Blues Mysteries, Books 1-3, available now
Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume VII, A JOTQ Anthology, available now
What is Regina Andrews (Dame Ametrine) up to now? Find out at Join us for monthly book giveaways!