And welcome to another spectacular Spring and Tuesday blog.
About 3 years ago, E.E. Burke interviewed me when the e-book release of SENECA SURRENDER was just coming on the market. Upon reading that interview over again, I noticed that it says a lot about the writer’s life and what inspires one to write. So I thought I would revisit that interview again for any of you who might have missed this three years ago.
So grab that cup of coffee (or tea or protein drink), sit back and get ready to comment, because I’ll be doing a drawing and will be giving away a free e-book copy of SENECA SURRENDER to one of you who leave a comment today. Please, also, have a look to the right here which has a link to our rules for the drawing, and know that I will depend on you coming to the blog Wednesday or Thursday eve to see if you are the winner.
- E. E. Burke: What drew you to write in the genre(s) you do?
Karen Kay: As long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to the life and times of the American Indian. I grew up in the 50’s and still remember always being on the side of the Indians, even if they were portrayed in an unfriendly light. Always, I felt that there was another side to the story.
And then there’s my daydreaming about love and romance when I was practicing the piano. I’d make up stories or scenes to what I was playing – I still do this.
And so when I picked up pen and paper (literally), two things drew me to this genre: My love of romance and my love of the American Indian culture.
- E. E. Burke: What inspires you daily?
Karen Kay: In truth, this would have to be my husband. I met him when I was writing GRAY HAWK’S WOMAN. Our first kiss is in that book, and he continues to find his way into my stories, even if I don’t intend it.
Then there’s history – real history – or perhaps I should say the truth. : ) It’s a real eye-opener to read accounts of people who were there at the time. I think I can truly say that the old saying that “the winner is who writes the history” is true. The truth is rarely found in history books in school. At least this is what I’ve found.
And so I find it inspiring to find the truth of different aspects of the American Indian way of life and to write about it.
- E. E. Burke: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
Karen Kay: This is an easy question for me. Story-telling is hands down easier for me. As a matter of fact, I consider myself a story teller first and a writer second. Lately I’ve been telling my grandchildren stories off the top of my head – mostly because my grand daughter found out that I write stories and she’s asked me to write a story about mermaids for her. And so I’ve been telling her several stories lately to see which she likes the best.
So definitely story-telling.
- E. E. Burke: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Karen Kay: Yes, I do write to music – sometimes. When I’m actively creating a story I find music helps. However, if I’m editing my work, sometimes it detracts, cause I get lost in the words of the song or some such thing. Then, there’s just the fact that I love music and so it’s a real pleasure to turn on music that I love and write to it.
When I was growing up, my brother and sister and I had to practice the piano and our other instruments every day. As piano playing grew easier for me, I found I would start making up stories to fit the song – especially if that piece was beautiful and romantic.
I write to all different kinds of music. The only thing I look for in a song is if it inspires me. If it does that, then I’ll play it while I write. Right now, country music inspires me, particularly Keith Whitley songs. But in the past I’ve written to classical music, opera, Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy operetta, and sometimes contemporary – but rarely contemporary unless it’s country. I find the classical and the old country sad songs have a lot of heart and that makes a difference when I’m writing creatively.
- E. E. Burke: How often to you get lost in a story?
Karen Kay: Actually I get lost in almost every story that I read. I have my favorites, of course, but I get lost in these stories. ..particularly if the stories are about something that I write. And that includes all genres. I’ve had to give up horror stories, however, as they can cause me to lose sleep.
Once on a writing tour, I was driving at night (not something I usually do). But this time I was. I had a book on tape playing in the car – and it was a scary story, and I was really frightened. I decided after that to never listen to this kind of story if I’m driving when it’s dark – even if it’s early evening. : )
But I get lost in stories and am known to stay up getting no sleep whatsoever rather than put a book down.
- E. E. Burke: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Karen Kay: That would be Fairy Tales, I think. It might have been Cinderella or maybe Alice in Wonderland. It might even have been Woody Woodpecker – remember him?
Or it might have been Dick and Jane from school. But I like to think it was Fairy Tales.
Now the first romance book that blew my socks off was a library book entitled THE PINK DRESS. I read it over and over and over and over. It was a teen romance, and I literally fell in love with the genre right there.
- E. E. Burke: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
Karen Kay: This is a really easy question for me. A real-life hero I’ve met is my husband. And who has he saved? Well, me for one. After my divorce early on in my career, I wanted nothing more to do with men, marriage, relationships, or even dating.
My husband turned all that around for me by simply being kind. Yes, he’s a real man, who very much loves things that men do (cars, gadgets, trucks, etc). But he is one of the kindest people that I know. He tempers the forcefulness of a man with kindness – and that’s about the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.
Who else has he saved? Two of my cats – he literally saved one of my cats lives, and found a lost cat, whom he saved.
He is a hero. Truly a hero. Above here we are with our granddaughter.
- E. E. Burke: What is your real opinion about books? Why are we drawn to them?
Well, I think of books in a rather intense way. I believe they help us through difficult times, and some of the stories I read are as though those characters become real people.
It was when my own children were young that I sat up and took notice of romance books. I’d always read stories – mysteries, romance. But if I’d had a choice to play outside or read – it was always outside that I would choose.
But when my kids were young, my husband was often gone. And he didn’t support me or the kids when he was gone – usually because he was doing some study or apprenticing, and so he wasn’t making money.
This left it to me to be everything, from earning the money – to paying the rent – to buying the food – to taking the children out each day – to planning and cooking the meals, etc., etc. Yes, daycare helped. But the brunt of the raising of the children was left to me.
It was during this period that I discovered that books could take me places, could ease fears, could sympathize when I needed it, could even educate me on things I didn’t know. And all of these books were romance books. Every single one of them.
I gave up reading almost any other genre at this time because romance books ended well, and I knew that no matter what, the characters would work it out. They were…delightful, inspiring and they helped me through a tough time period.
I’ve never forgotten that. And so when I write, I try to entertain, yes, but I always remember that I need to take people to other places, other times and that the most important thing is that this book becomes a companion when one needs it, and sometimes that’s all we need to get through these trying times.
I love writing. I love this genre and I fall in love with my characters – and other people’s characters too. And this is one reason that why I write. But there’s another: Not always can people go to the places they’d like to see or experience the things one might like to see. Maybe they’re sick or maybe they are crippled in some way. I’ve never forgotten that I write for these people, too. Books can take a person places, can be a friend when in need and books can uplift and help us to live through another day. A true romance book accomplishes all these wonderful things. I’m so honored to be able to write in this genre.
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the interview, and I would really like to hear from you and what you think about romance books and this genre in general. Do you also love it? So come on in and leave a comment.