In case you hadn’t heard, Karen Jones Gowan has a new book out, Lighting Candles in the Snow, and today she is here with me to answer a few questions. Read on to find out more about Karen and her newest book…
Hello, Karen! Thanks a million for agreeing to come visit and answer a few questions. I’ll start with a few about your book...
1. Where did the idea for Lighting Candles in the Snow come from?
This is a tough question to answer as I didn’t set out with any particular idea or plot in mind as I began. I had this opening scene in mind of a woman who is dumped by her husband on their anniversary, and I basically let the characters and story flow from that point.
2. Is the book or parts of it based on your own experience or someone you know?
Not even a little. My husband and I have been happily married for a very long time. As I wrote in the dedication, I’m glad he is so much more like Shawn McGill (of my diamond novels) than like Jeremy London.
However, I am intrigued by those who struggle in this arena. How is it that to some love seems to come easily while others can’t find it in a relationship? This concept is brought out in the differences between the two sisters, Karoline and her sister Suzie.
3. Plot or plan?
As you can tell from my answer to #1, I’m not much of a planner. At least not at first. Once I have a first draft then I’m much more organized in the plotting of it, so that it all comes together in a sensible way.
4. Do you play a musical instrument? If so what and if not, what instrument do you wish you could play?
I am not at all musical, although I took piano as a kid and learned the clarinet in school. I was in the high school marching band which was fun. I wish I still played either of them, but especially the piano. I would love to sit down at the piano and make music.
5. You’ve also written a few other books. Is one a little nearer and dear to your heart?
I fall in love with every book I write. Only four, and I want that number to grow. The book I love the most is the most recent, which means Lighting Candles in the Snow is very dear to me. Plus it is the one that came from my own imagination rather than based on real life as the others were. That makes it special, like I crossed a threshold of creativity with writing it.
6. I noticed a recent post on your blog that says you’re a managing editor at WiDo Publishing. How has that helped you with your writing and how the heck do you wear so many hats?!
Yes, I am managing editor at WiDo Publishing, a position I took on this year. Editing another person’s work is so very different than writing one’s own but I believe it helps to learn the craft. Editing feels like work to me, although I enjoy it, while writing feels like creativity. I have to draw from a much deeper well to write that first draft.
7. What was the best birthday present you ever got as a kid?
This is going to sound staged “Oh yes I’m a writer so listen to this.” But the truth is that the best birthday present I got as a kid was On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My grandmother gave it to me when I was learning to read chapter books and I loved it! And yes, it made me want to write a book just like it.
8. Last three books you read?
The last three books I read were Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, which was much better than I remembered it. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, which was much worse than I remembered. And a free Kindle read called The Charlestown Connection that was really good in the first couple chapters then went downhill from there.
9. Finally, there were a lot of recipes in your book. Do you have a particular favorite?
My favorite of the recipes in Lighting Candles in the Snow was Pulled Pork BBQ. It’s something I made a lot for my large family, and if you read the recipe closely you can see a happy ending for Jeremy’s mom, Mrs. London, a sympathetic character in the book who has had more than her share of life’s troubles thrown at her.
Thank-you, Karen, for coming by and if anyone wants to see more of Karen you can find her on her website or over at WiDo. I'll see you guys next week when I get back from my trip to the West coast and my favorite state, California. Have a great Thanksgiving!