Yes, you’re right. It is Winnie’s blog day today, but because she’s under a heavy deadline at present, I volunteered to take her place today. So again, let me say a warm and hardy HOWDY to ya.
Hope you all had a terrific Holiday! For my part, as my husband and I were going across country to visit family, we got caught in first some sleet around the Chicago area, then a combination the sleet turned into a combination of sleet and snow in Iowa (it took us a long time to go across Iowa), and then we got caught in a snowstorm so great in South Dakota that I (who was driving at the time) couldn’t even see the road. In my opinion, that could be classified as a blizzard. Funny thing was that every time my husband took over to drive, the weather behaved and he drove in good conditions. But the moment I took over the wheel, at first the weather was great, and then… What’s that all about?
As you may (or may not) know, BLACK EAGLE has just been released in both ebook and tradepaper book formats. My publisher is Samhain Publishing and here’s a link to go and look at an excerpt and a little bit more about the book. http://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5640/black-eagle
Meanwhile, Lori Soard, at Word Museum, recently interviewed me about the book, BLACK EAGLE, and with her permission, I thought I’d post that interview here. So here we go: An Interview about between Lori Soard and Karen Kay regarding her newest release, BLACK EAGLE.
LS: Your readers already know you write amazing Native American romances. Can you share a little about how you got started in this subgenre of romance?
KK: It seems that all my life I’ve love stories about the American Indian. But as I grew older, I put that love behind me…or so I thought. It was really when I had children of my own that I began to really read romance stories. Before long I was writing them, and although I loved the contemporary novel and English historical, for me something was missing. And then I read some American Indian romances, and I was hooked. Interestingly, it was only after becoming a writer that I learned of my own American Indian heritage.
LS: BLACK EAGLE is one of your recent releases. What inspired the story?
KK: The novel, BLACK EAGLE, was inspired from many different sources. One was THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, by James Fenimore Cooper, which I read in school, as well as seeing Hollywood’s version of the story in the movies. Another was my friendship with Michael Badnarik, who was the Libertarian candidate in 2004 for President. Michael inspired me to go back in time to around 1776 – to America’s roots. Of course, it was in that history lesson that I discovered all sorts of references to the Iroquois Confederation and their amazing government – a government that was put in place in order to do away with war forever. When I learned how these people influenced our own country and our idea of just what is freedom, I was inspired, and thus came about BLACK EAGLE, a Mohawk (the Mohawk’s were one of the tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy).
LS: Tell us a little about the main characters in BLACK EAGLE…
KK: Black Eagle is Mohawk, and the time setting is the French and Indian War. At this period in history, this is the furthest West that we as a country had pushed through. So although the setting is different, it’s still classified as a Western. Black Eagle is a chief in his tribe, and he is on an important mission for his people and for his grandmother, who has increased the importance of his duty because of a threat to their family. He has made friends with the English and the Scots and has been educated in the English culture as a result. But he remains firm and loyal to his tribe, to members of his family and in particular to his grandmother. Because he is friends with the English, he is an important person and well-respected in both camps.
LS: This is the first book in the The Warriors of the Iroquois series. When can readers expect the second book in the series to be released at Samhain?
The second book, SENECA SURRENDER, is due to be released next year (2016), although I’m uncertain of the date for release. The Seneca were another tribe in the Iroquois Confederacy. They were the “Western Door,” the farthest West of the Iroquois Confederation.
LS: How long did it take you to research and write BLACK EAGLE?
KK: My research tends to be long and rather intense for each of my books, and starts before I sit down to write the story and continues all through my writing of the story. So for all intents and purposes, it took me about a year to research it and write it.
LS: You’re a very busy lady these days. How do you find time to write and promote your books? Any tips for time management?
KK: With great difficulty, I must admit. With the birth of two grandchildren in the family, my husband and I pulled up roots and relocated to the East. Since I’m a Western gal to the tips of my toes, it is strange to be in the East again. And although I’ve spent a good deal of time in the East – Washington DC and VA area; Florida and my favorite place of all time in the East – Vermont – my heart is in the West. As far as time management, I have to work on a schedule – not something I like doing necessarily – but a must, if I am to help with the family, keep writing and keep up volunteer work for my church. The only thing I can say about time management is to get a schedule and try to keep it. If it doesn’t work, scrap it and write up another one, and never get frustrated if one doesn’t keep the schedule to the T. Do the best you can. Most of all, when you write, you write, not do other things at the same time. Sometimes one has to protect her time to write – usually just a casual word, filled with kindness – just letting others know you’re working, because generally when one writes, it doesn’t look like she is working. LOL
LS: Do you have any events coming up we should know about?
KK: BLACK EAGLE was just released, and although the book was previously published, the book has been added to and revised so substantially, that for me, it is like a new book – even the plot is changed significantly. BLACK EAGLE was also written under the pen name of Gen Bailey, and so many of my fans didn’t even know it was one of my books. But again, the story has been changed so much and added to so greatly that for me, it is like a new book…almost.
LS: What do you do for fun in your free time?
KK: For fun, I love to watch my grandkids, I also love to cook, and am intensely interested in nutrition. Much of my free time, when I’m not with my grandchildren or cooking, is spent listening to different CD’s or YouTubes about nutrition and/or reading about it. My favorite sources of information are Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions,” Tony Pantalleresco’s YouTube videos, as well as Dr. Russell Blaylock’s YouTube videos.
LS: Who is your favorite author and why?
KK: There are so many authors that I admire and adore, it’s almost impossible to list them all. In Romance, my favorites are Lois Greiman, every single one of my fellow Petticoats and Pistols author sisters – and I mean that sincerely – I’ve gone out of my way to read their stories, and am always impressed with their storytelling, and your books, Lori. Older Romance authors I love are Johanna Redd, Jodi Thomas, Kathleen Woodiwiss, to name only a few. In the field of Adventure stories and Science Fiction, as well as the old Western, I love L. Ron Hubbard and in the Western in particular, I also love Zane Gray and Louie L’Amour . Why do I love them? Not sure. Perhaps it’s because they take me to places I’ve never been – and as far as other fiction goes besides Romance, I must have a happy ending, and not always does one find that in genres outside of Romance…but these authors have never disappointed me in that regard.
LS: Do you remember that moment you fell in love with the written word? What inspired you to become a writer?
Actually, I think I fell in love with storytelling, and since one uses words to convey the story, that love followed naturally, but it was storytelling that I first fell in love with. There’s a long history there. When I was growing up, music was my main interest. My mother was a Music Teacher, and she sang and played piano (and other instruments) and she gave music lessons, and so I grew up with music filling the house. I was only 4 years old when I vividly remember asking for a toy piano – I had just turned 4, and was small for my age. But no one would show me how to play it and I remember looking at all those black and white keys and feeling overwhelmed by it. No one would teach me, however, because I was “too young,” and so I begged my sister (only 1 ½ years old than me) to show me a note, any note. With great annoyance she hit middle C and said, “that’s middle C” and left posthaste – obviously I was just too young in her estimation. Well, I grabbed a pencil and marked the key on the piano – found that note in the little book that came with the piano – and taught myself to play “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” My mother heard me playing, asked me who taught me, and I looked at her blankly and showed her the little book that came with the piano, and that was the beginning of piano lessons for me. That piano – I still have it – still has that pencil scratch on it.
Later, when I was about 13, I ran into trouble with classmates in school. It was an extremely hurtful time. It was then that I learned that music could soothe the soul, and make an unhappy situation at least bearable – if only for a time. It was during this time that I turned to storytelling and daydreaming, in an effort to find peace and a little comfort. Later than that – when I was about 16 – my boyfriend dumped me in a very bad way, and that was when I turned not only to music but to the written word. Many poems followed (one was 20 pages long or so). And then a little later, when I was 16 going on 17, I was practicing a song Un Sospiro by List for a music contest. It’s a difficult piece to play (and I must admit it’s over my head now), but at the time I could play it and was practicing it – still hurt from my break-up with my boyfriend. It’s a hauntingly beautiful piece of work, translated as A Sigh. That’s when I started inventing stories to go with the music. And that led to storytelling, which I do even to this day. And often, even today, I listen to music when I write. Not always. But I’m on the constant alert to find music that inspires me – it doesn’t matter what genre – only that it inspires me.
LS: Describe a day in the life of Karen Kay the author…
KK: Well, my day starts early – usually between 6:30AM or 7:00AM, and I watch my grandchildren while my daughter goes to work. It’s a full day, and usually I don’t stop watching them until around 6-7:00 PM at night. That’s when I do promo for my books, or edit my writing, or do some volunteer work for my church. Weekends are filled with chores, more promo and of course intense writing. Because I’m also interested in cooking, I often go what I call “the Farm” on weekends, since I tend to shop at Farms as my grocery store.
LS: Anything else you’d like to add?
KK: I think I forgot to mention that I admire what you do, Lori. Not only do you write and keep up that line of work, but you work for others on their websites, helping us at extremely reasonable rates. Any time I’ve had even a hint of a problem with my website, you have been right there, fixing it. And it’s always been your origination to update the site. LOL I know so little about these things, I tend to get bug-eyed, and the idea of making a website more up-to-date. So please allow me a moment to thank you for your patience with me all these years and for helping me with my author activities, the big one (amongst many others) being my website. Perhaps I should mention the URL to my website, which is: www.novels-by-KarenKay.com – that beautiful website is a creation of Lori’s.
LS: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us today, Karen.
KK: You bet! Thank you for the interview, and for a chance to say a little bit about BLACK EAGLE.
Pictured below is myself with Lora, a friend and reader.