Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Author Interview: Karen Lenfestey

What is your name?
Karen Lenfestey

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always wanted to be either a writer or an artist.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it what would you say?
My latest novel is called On the Verge. Here’s a summary of what it’s about:

Interior decorator Val Taylor loves three things: her fiancĂ©, her seven-year-old-son and houses with character. Soon after she marries Nathan, a man who hopes to be as good a father as he is husband, he falls down a flight of stairs and injures his head. As Nathan recovers physically, it becomes apparent that he is no longer the same man.  
He buys a 1920's Spanish-style dream house, but it's one they cannot afford. He becomes impulsive, unpredictable and sometimes angry. Together they try to repair their once grand home as they struggle to rebuild their relationship.  
When Val’s husband changes into someone completely different, how long should she wait for her true love to return? What if he never does?

It’s available at www.amazon.com and for a short time at www.barnesandnoble.com as an e-book or paperback.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
To write a novel takes me between six months and a year.

Do you have plans for a new book?
I just published my first novella, called Made for Two, on Amazon for 99¢. It was so fun to write! Here’s the description: When Diane returns to her hometown of Foxworth, she finds herself tracking down her old boyfriend, Tim. Just seeing him rekindles her love and she realizes that her life, just like her tandem bike, was made for two. Unfortunately, Tim keeps pushing her away, claiming it will never work out. After all, she still wants to live in the city and he can’t imagine leaving his family’s bakery. But Diane discovers there’s more to it than that. Tim has been hiding in this small town because he has a secret.

What genre would you place your books into? What made you decide to write that genre of book?
The genre in which I write is called women’s fiction. In addition to romantic elements, it allows me to write about friends, families and marriages. I decided to write in this genre because it’s what I love to read.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
It’s hard to list a favorite of the books I’ve written. I owe all of my success to the first one, A Sister’s Promise, because it sold over 25,000 copies. I have to say I’m partial to that one, but I’m always enamored with whichever book I just completed.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why are they your favourite?
One of my favorite characters is Joely because I tried to make her the opposite of her sister. Joely is friendly, creative and bohemian. Joely is in all three of my novels—that’s how much I like her.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Plot ideas come from the characters I create. I try to figure out what the conflict is going to be and how the protagonist will change into (hopefully) a better person because of it.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Writing is always on my mind. It’s easiest to compose at the computer if I’ve scribbled ideas on scraps of paper to remind myself. I prefer to write in the quiet, when no one is around to interrupt me.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I love choosing titles and sometimes pick those before I write. Sometimes I’ll realize I need to change the title, though, once the story is complete. I originally planned to call “A Sister’s Promise” “Small Town Colors.”

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I try to use a combination of typical names and unusual ones in my novels.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I choose character traits before I start writing, then I usually have to tweak them to make them more unique or to cause more conflict in the story.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?

When I’m wrestling with what to write about, I read. Sometimes even watching a movie will help my mind work out writing issues.

Is there a certain author that influenced you in writing?
There isn’t one author who has influenced my writing. New York Times bestselling author Shirley Jump, though, has offered me plenty of free advice for which I am grateful.

What is your favourite book and why?  Have you read it more than once?
My favorite book is whichever one I’m in the middle of reading. I’m happiest when I devour a novel within days because I just have to know what’s going to happen.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
I like to think of movies and books as separate entities. I’ve rarely read the book that was made into a movie. I enjoyed Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed and thought the book was better than the movie. I still enjoyed watching the film, though.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? 
I just finished reading Kristina Riggle’s Things We Didn’t Say. I’m thrilled to have discovered another women’s fiction author that I love!

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Everyone I know says they still love the feel of a real book in their hands. I love my Kindle for when I’m on the treadmill because I don’t have to wrestle with turning the pages, but I’m always reading paperbacks before bed. I hope e-books and paper copies continue to co-exist.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
My best advice to a new writer would be to find a good critique group. Hearing feedback from others is what took my writing to the next level. I’m a big fan of my local group, but if you don’t know of any in your area, try the www.internetwritingworkshop.org. They’re an amazingly talented group of writers from all over the world.


All of Karen's books are available at Amazon or at www.karensnovels.com. Right now she's doing a giveaway for her novel, What Happiness Looks Like, for those who visit her website.

Karen Lenfestey, a Midwest Writer’s Fellowship winner, enjoys reading and writing women’s fiction. She currently has three novels and one novella available at www.amazon.com or www.karensnovels.com. Her first novel, A Sister’s Promise, sold over 25,000 copies and is one of the top-selling books about siblings on Amazon. You can connect with Karen on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

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