Welcome, I would like to thank multi-published author, Karen Kendall for taking the time to answer these questions for Coffee Time Romance. Ms Kendall’s books will hit your funny bone harder with each successive strike while managing to sneak in some very steamy scenes here and there and just about everywhere. A wicked combination that has many of her fans begging for more.
First off, can you give us a little information about yourself?
Thanks for such a nice intro! And for the opportunity to do this interview.
As far as a little info about me—what do you want to know, besides the fact that I am demented enough to be a writer in this daunting marketplace? LOL.
Here are the basics:
I was one of those kids in the thick glasses who read all the time and was terrible at any sport involving a ball. My hand-eye coordination is still awful to this day—I have been known to miss the kitchen wastebasket while tossing out rotten veggies. However, other important talents did eventually emerge, such as the ability to smell a shoe sale from miles away . . .
It took me four years and four manuscripts to sell. I first got published by Avon in 2001. Since 2004 I have written for Harlequin (Blaze, Signature and now a special project) and for NAL/Signet (The Bridesmaid Chronicles: FIRST DATE and FIRST DANCE and the upcoming FIT TO BE TIED, due out in March ’07). Several of my recent books have won awards (yay!) such as the Book Buyer’s Best, the Wisconsin Write Touch, a CataRomance Reviewer’s Choice award and an R.T. Reviewer’s Choice Award. I was also honored to final in several other contests this year: the Maggie, the Texas Gold and the Gayle Wilson. So 2006 has been good to me!
You were a born a Yankee, however, you moved to south at an early age, so you have been forgiven, do you find that being a southern 'lady' flavors your writing in any way?
(Please excuse that awful noise in the background. That was my husband, choking and snorting!)
The terrible truth is that yes, it probably does. For example, though I’d like to think that I’m completely relaxed about writing sex scenes, I have to admit that they still make me blush! And when one of my characters does something that is blatantly sexually “forward,” there’s a part of me that says, “Stop that, you slut!” LOL. I have also been known to cover my head with a napkin when being teased about writing sex by my friends.
But I’m not altogether southern, because though I grew up in Texas my mom was European and her manners, speech patterns and world view were very different, so of course that influenced me. She spoke five languages, but Texan was not one of them <g>.
I do speak it, and I loved living there.
You've always wanted to be a writer; however, there had to be something else you wanted to be. What is that deep dark secret wish you've had since childhood?
Hmmm. Well, at various times in my (long lost) youth, I’ve wanted to be a princess, a ballerina and a cat burglar. But here’s what happened to those fantasies:
1. I discovered that I didn’t have even a smidgeon of blue blood, since when I put a pea under my mattress, it squished to the width of a dime and didn’t smell so good after a couple of weeks. Bummer—I crossed “princess” off my list of vocations.
2. I was devastated to learn that ballerinas get horrible b.o. and toe cramps, and that they don’t get to wear silver-spangled, pink tutu’s all the time. The tragedy! Why be a dancer?
3. Lunching on M & M’s and chocolate donuts in high school did not do wonders for my goal of achieving a svelte, man-melting bod. I eventually had to face facts: only Halle Berry looks good in a tight, black-leather kitty-kat suit. Trust me, nobody wants to see my butt in one. So cat burglar is out.
Of course, I decided to do something much more practical with my life—become a writer and make millions of dollars. (Oh, gosh. There’s that terrible noise again—but this time my husband has fallen on the floor and appears to be convulsing in laughter. Go figure.)
How do you get in the mood to write? Do you listen to music or have it extra quiet?
I used to have this elaborate system involving prayer, incense, a dance with seven veils and a small goat sacrifice--KIDDING!
Now I have this very simple system: fear of nasty, looming deadlines. Oh, yeah—and the fact that if I don’t write, I don’t get paid!
Excuse me? What’s that you’re saying? You wanted a straight answer? Oh. I am one of those awful people who need it to be very quiet when I write.
Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?
This I truly do not know—it’s always different. I might read a newspaper article or see a magazine ad. I might be inspired by something that a friend is going through. The character just gradually starts forming in my mind. Then I have to ask her tough questions and create ugly situations for her to get out of. She generally starts smarting off to me . . . but eventually we get things settled.
When you’re not writing, what other things do you like to do? Hobbies?
What I like to do most is filing papers. Not.
I love to cook when I’m not on deadline. I love reading and watching great movies. I love doing all sorts of odd projects. I used to do mixed media art, but I don’t have time for a lot of that now. I love to travel and experience new things and just hang out with friends and laugh until our stomachs hurt . . .
Do you plot your stories out or are you a ‘pantser’?
I am a weird combination of plotter and pantser. I plot the basics so that I then have the freedom to “pants.” Does that make any sense? In other words, I have to start out with some kind of basic structure just to give me parameters, or nothing would make sense. Sometimes the plot changes a little during the “pantsing,” but for the most part I know where I’m going, or where I’m trying to go.
Do you have author or authors that you love to read?
Yes! Lots and lots of them. I couldn’t possibly name them all, but the big three are Crusie, Evanovich and Phillips (Susan Elizabeth). I love discovering authors whom I haven’t read before, too. I just finished a book by Beth Kendrick (F ASHIONABLY LATE) and it was wonderful!
Do you have a favorite hero from your books? If so, who?
This changes as I write, but my current favorites are Alex (FIRST DATE) J.B. (FIRST DANCE) Dan (OPEN INVITATION) and Alejandro (MIDNIGHT TOUCH). These guys are all very alpha but also sweet and funny in their own ways.
My hubby was a tad peeved when I called him Alejandro one day.
What’s coming up next for you?
All kinds of things! This November, THE NIGHT WE MET comes out from Harlequin Signature. It’s an anthology with Pamela Morsi and Colleen Collins about three couples who meet over Thanksgiving dinner on a foreign cruise. Fun!
In March of ’07, Signet will release FIT TO BE TIED, a very unusual runaway bride story <g>. Coming in June is a Blaze anthology (with Cindi Myers and Colleen Collins) set in Miami which is still untitled.
In ’08 you’ll see AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER from Harlequin and from Signet a book which I hope will launch a whole new series. It’s tentatively called HOT ON HIS HEELS. I cannot wait to write both of these! I love the characters.
Thanks so much for talking with us, Ms Kendall. I’m looking forward to reading more from you very soon. Can you please give us your website address and any upcoming appearances or events that you’d like to share with us?
Thanks for the opportunity! My web site is at www.KarenKendall.com and I love to hear from readers. I’ll be making two appearances this fall in Atlanta: first at the big Reader’s Luncheon September 29-30th and then at a workshop given to Georgia Romance Writers on November 18. For more information on both of these, please visit www.georgiaromancewriters.org. All best, Karen
Thank you Karen for giving us this wonderful insight into your person and the heads up on your work. Coffee Time Romance also wants to take this time to Thank you for stopping by and chatting with us. Thank You.
WOW, Another absolutely wonderful interview!