Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Karen Wiesner

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today I have the pleasure of hosting prolific, award-winning author Karen Wiesner. Sit back, warm up that cup of coffee, and enjoy!

Karen, I'm so pleased to have you here on my blog today. Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’m an accomplished author with 55 books published in the past 10 years, which have been nominated for and/or won 74 awards, and 21 more titles under contract. My books cover such genres as women’s fiction, romance, mystery/police procedural/cozy, suspense, paranormal, futuristic, gothic, inspirational, thriller, horror and action/adventure. I also write children’s books, poetry, and writing reference titles such as First Draft in 30 Days and From First Draft to Finished Novel {A Writer’s Guide to Cohesive Story Building} available from Writer’s Digest Books.

My previous writers’ reference titles focused on non-subsidy, royalty-paying electronic publishing, author promotion, and setting up a promotional group like my own, the award-winning Jewels of the Quill, which I founded in 2003. The group does two anthologies together, edited by myself and others, per year. I’m also a member of EPIC, Sisters in Crime Internet Chapter,, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and World Romance Writers.

Wow! I think I'm exhausted just reading that list of accomplishments! Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

I actually have several new releases:

Woodcutter’s Grim Series—Classic Tales of Horror Retold is the one-volume novella collection of my previously published books in the romantic horror series: "Papa" (Book 1) and "Blood of Amethyst" (Book 2) plus 2 bonus stories in the series never before published: “Dancing to the Grave” (Book 3) and "The Amethyst Tower" (The Final Chapter). Whiskey Creek Press released the collection in September. I adored this series and I’m not ready to let it go, so there will definitely more coming in the future. Find out more about the rest of the books, and register to be notified of releases, in the Woodcutter’s Series here:

From First Draft to Finished Novel {A Writer’s Guide to Cohesive Story Building} is my follow-up to First Draft in 30 Days. It became available in September. Find out more about my writing reference titles here:
"Perfect Cadence" is the first in my contemporary romance Kaleidoscope Series, was published in Christmas Wishes, A Jewels of the Quill Christmas Anthology in September 2008. Find out more about the rest of the books in the series here:

I love all things series, so it’s a very rare thing for me to write a single book that has no connection to others I’ve done. That was the case with my Incognito Series, the first seven books of which have won and finaled for several awards and received multiple 5 star reviews.

The series premise is based on the world’s most covert organization, the Network (fictional, of course!), with underground headquarters in Chicago beneath a front technology company called ETI. Having unchallenged authority and skill to disable and destroy criminals, the Network takes over where regular law enforcement leaves off in the mission for absolute justice. The price for that justice is high, requiring the life of every man and woman who serves—no turning back. Once you belong to the Network, there’s no escape. There is no life and no love, only duty. These operatives truly live in the shadows.

Undercover Angel, Book 7 of the series, was released October 1, 2008 and received The Long and Short Of It’s Best Book rating (their highest), a 5 angel review and the FAR Recommended Read Award, 5 stars and featured review status from Manic Readers, and 4 ½ stars from Romantic Times.

Second in Network command, Captain Shannon McKee leads the organization with an unfeeling, iron fist, just as her father did before her. Yet, when the opportunity comes to take down the most notorious drug dealer in history, she goes after her heart’s desire—to utterly destroy the man who killed her younger brother. But Mareno Ortega isn’t at all what Shannon expects him to be. He’s intelligent, attractive, charming, shy...and, unbelievably, a doting father to his two children. Shannon has more reason to hate this criminal than anyone else, yet she finds herself confused by his contradictions. Is he a man with no options, playing a game he desperately wants out of? Or is he an enigma, trying to seduce her in a cat and mouse chase she can’t win? The only man alive who can stop this undercover angel from her suicide mission is the Navy SEAL she served with and nearly lost her heart to, Captain Ron Blair, currently Network Master Strategist. But can Ron save her...from herself? Find out more about the Incognito Series here:

The Fifteenth Letter and Romantic Notions, Books 3 and 4 of the Falcon’s Bend Series, written with Chris Spindler, will be published December 2008. Look for the reissues of Books 1 and 2 and Falcon’s Bend Case Files, Volume I (The Early Cases) February 2009. Falcon’s Bend Cases Files, Volume II, a new novella collection, will be out Summer 2009. Find out more here:

How do you go about developing your characters?

I was recently talking about something similar with a critique partner, who asked me what the different is between a book that practically writes itself and one that comes hard. I think the answer to that comes down to characters. Even if I don’t have a book sitting in my head, brewing on a backburner for a long time, if I connect with the characters, I can write them as if I’m just following a movie those same characters are showing in my head. The writing of the book is simplicity itself then.

But when characters are hiding and won’t show me their internal workings, it’s harder to write a story. When characters hide, I do a lot of character sketches. I also believe that there’s a vital need for cohesive characters, settings and plots, and that’s part of what makes a book work and what makes one complicated to unknot.

When the characters come to life like that—so I can see them, hear them, know exactly what they’d say, do and think in every single situation—is different for every project, and I wish I could pinpoint why some characters wait so long to come out and reveal themselves. It would make each project so much easier.

What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

Summers are the most difficult part of writing. I’m a person who wants to work, but when my son is out of school for the summer, it’s very difficult to find time to do that. I need to be alone when I write. Generally, I try to work on outlines and revision exclusively in the summer, mostly trying to relax and get my brain fertile again.

Finishing a book and having readers love it as much as I do is the most exciting and rewarding part of being a writer.

Describe your writing space for us!

I have a gorgeous cherry wood armoire that’s so cluttered, there’s no way I’ll ever be able to close it. It has a file cabinet (piled with works in progress) on the left and a credenza (piled with works in progress) on the right. My published books are displayed beautifully in a special alcove near the door of my office. Above my stereo is a plague that says, “Home is where your story begins.” My hundreds of CDs (gotta have music!) bracket the door up to the attic, where I finally have the home library I’ve always wanted.

I can't imagine you have time to fit in much leisure time, but what do you like to do when you're not writing?

I need to be able to write or work a full eight hours on weekdays to be truly happy, but I do enjoy designing websites, graphics, and cover art. My favorite things to do non-writing related are extremely simplistic and probably boring to most. Take walks with my family. Read all day. Relax with my family and watch movies. Watch the snow fall. Shop. I’m a simple girl who gets all the vicarious thrills she needs through her writing, so I need little else to be content.

Karen, thanks so much for sharing your experiences with blog readers here today. Anything else you’d like to mention?

Readers can visit me at:

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