Monday, November 19, 2012

Lighting Candles in the Snow





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!






23 comments:

  1. It's great to meet you, Karen. I find it so interesting that you basically pants your first draft and then plan. Hmmm... I've been struggling between plotting and pantsing, lately. Maybe I'll try your method. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi SA, I've often said if only I can get that rough draft I'll make a book out of it. I can make a book out of anything LOL. I guess that's the editor in me.

      Delete
  2. Pulled pork - definitely a popular item where I live in the South!
    Critiquing others' work has made me a better writer, so I can imagine editing has made you really good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alex, My husband and 2 of my children served LDS missions in the South so our family is very close to that culture, maybe why pulled pork has become a family favorite. Not to mention it's easy to do in the crock pot. For a large event serving 200 people, it's not that hard to find 10 crock pots, the pork roast on sale for about $1.39 lb. and make enough for everyone. (I think I must have been a caterer in a past life.)

      Delete
  3. Love the title of that novel. And I'm not a planner much in the first draft either. I draft really slowly, though, so I sort of plan as I go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. L.G., I draft so slowly as to be painful. Painfully slowly, practically backwards.

      Delete
  4. Great interview!!! Love On the Banks of Plum Creek!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tyrean, Thanks for stopping by! Nice to find a fellow fan of one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's lesser known books, I suppose because there's no little house in the title :)

      Delete
  5. I read your book, it's great! I'm like you, I fall in love with each book I write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Clarissa, Thank you for saying so, and I appreciated your review on it as well. Do you find that the falling in love with each book makes it difficult for you to move on to the next project? I'm struggling with that now. When I sit down to write I just can't because it's not Karoline and Jeremy and Jeremy's mom. I miss them. No sequels though!

      Delete
  6. Great interview! With all the books on my TBR list, Karen is writing 'em faster than I'm reading 'em. I haven't ordered her newest book yet, but I will. (Can ya hold off on publishing number five for a little while...?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, With the rate I'm getting that next draft done, it will be awhile. Anyway, my next book is a cookbook, The House of Diamonds Cookbook: Hearty Meals for the Frugal Family.

      Delete
  7. So happy to "see" Karen Jones Gowen here. I can attest to the yumminess of her books AND her recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Karen, I found this interview extremely interesting because the process by which a manuscript is produced always fascinates me. For each of us, that process is different. Like you, however, I don't plan. I trust that when I sit down at the computer the words will come. And they do. Often I'm surprised at what a character says or does. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dee, I really wish when I sat down at the computer the words would come. Lately I've had problems with that, which is why I'm taking a break from novel-writing and doing a whole lot of reading and working on a cookbook.

      Delete
  9. Lovely interview! I have this book on my "to read list".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julia, And I do hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it. Btw, I had to chuckle at your comment on my blog LOL. Blogging is my escape from the business of life, I guess it takes the place of what knitting used to be.

      Delete
  10. Congratulations, Karen! It's reassuring that someone straightens out plot in the re-writes, and has found success.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

    ReplyDelete
  11. I live in your favorite state? Nice. Great interview; I always like to read about the process from another writer's POV.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I say many thanks to Mr. admin website I read this, because in this website I know a lot of information information that I did not know before his
    Obat Benjolan Tumor Di Ketiak
    Obat Tradisional Tumor Lidah
    Cara Menghilangkan Infeksi Rongga Mulut

    ReplyDelete

If you're interested in my blog I'm interested in your comments.