This week at Novels Alive and Be My Bard.com, it is with great honor and joy that we welcome the infinitely talented, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, the lovely, Karen Hawkins for “10 Questions With…” Thank you, so much, Karen for joining us today!
*EDITED to add: Karen has graciously offered to give away a print copy of HOW TO ENTICE AN ENCHANTRESS! See below the interview for details.*
We’ve all pondered the age-old question of which came first the CHICKEN or the EGG? As a writer, when creating a new story, which tends to come first for you—the CHARACTERS or the PLOT?
As I write character driven stories, I usually have a shadowy idea of the characters first, but only for a few hours, if that. When you think of a character, you instantly begin to develop their backstory – who they are, where they come from, what they want – which is the cornerstone of the plot. So I develop the characters, and the plot arrives soon after.
It’s inevitable that small bits and pieces of a writer’s own personality will make their way into the characters they create. But if you had to write yourself into one of your books, would your character most likely be the hero/heroine, the steadfast best friend, the comedy relief or the villainous mastermind?
Hmmmm. That’s an interesting question. It would be difficult for me to write myself as the heroine because I have my own history and I don’t think I could let that go while writing. However, I always write my heroines to be someone I’d love to go shoe shopping with. Someone smart, funny, independent, and trustworthy. So if I were to write myself into one of my books, I’d be the heroine’s favorite sister or her BFF, someone who would support her, encourage her, and give her just the right advice at the right time.
I’d also have a great sense of humor and fabulous style, and be very thin and beautiful, too. (Hey, if I’m going to write myself into a book, I’m giving me ALL the bells and whistles.) I’d be much like Miss Sorcha Murdoch in my coming book THE PRINCE WHO LOVED ME. She’s a great foil for her sister, heroine Bronwyn Murdoch. They are very close to one another, but she’s also her own woman. I like that. Secondary characters have to add something to the book, or they’re a waste of page space, so it’s important that they are strong characters, too.
Speaking of villains…do you prefer writing characters that are clearly evil from the second they appear on the page or the surprise villain that no one would ever expect?
I love villains! And I like to mix it up. Some villains are so deliciously bad, like Nick from THE ABDUCTION OF JULIA, and I like writing them bad from page one. Meanwhile, it’s also a challenge writing a subtler villain, one that might be harder for the reader to spot. I think life is sort of like that, too – some people are boldly who they are, while others hide behind propriety and have unexpectedly evil depths.
If you had the power to step inside the pages of any book for 24 hours, which one would you choose and why?
If you could use that same power to jump through the screen into the world of your favorite television show or movie, which would it be and why?
Game of Thrones. I want a dragon. BADLY.
Over the last few years, books of an erotic nature or with taboo subject matter have become more acceptable—even popular—in the mainstream marketplace. How, if at all, has this change affected the way that you write your own “love scenes”?
I write the love scene that works best with the hero and heroine. Erotic books feature erotically fixated characters or people in an erotic situations. My books are more romance-oriented and so they tend to have sexual encounters that follow the lines of the couple involved, thus some are hotter than others.
There was once a time when authors had to rely almost solely on mainstream media like newspapers and magazines to find reviews written on their latest book. Now that the internet has made it possible for anyone with a keyboard to become an armchair critic, has the sheer number of reviews available for your books made it easier or harder to deal with criticism?
Frankly, I trust the review of an average, normal reader more than a professional critic. I think a lot of professional critics get jaded and are susceptible to other influences. So for me, it’s made things much easier. I don’t expect everyone to like every book I’ve written, but I try to consistently write a well-written, well-researched, fresh story, so that hopefully, there will be a book for everyone somewhere in my backlist.
Many authors have branched out into multiple genres over the years. Is there a particular genre of fiction that you have always wanted to tackle but haven’t tried yet?
I’ve written two contemporary romances, and I’d like to do more. I grew up in the South and I love the humor and culture. It’s nice to be able to switch between historical and contemporary voices, too.
If you could choose one historical/contemporary romance from your own or another author’s library of work to be made into a feature film which would it be and why?
I would love to see my coming book, THE PRINCE WHO LOVED ME, as a movie. It’s a funny retelling of Cinderella and, because it’s set in Regency Scotland, would make a delicious movie with scenes set in a shaded forest in Scotland, a fabulous ballroom in an ancient castle, and a set of Regency era attic rooms – just like the old Cinderella movies we used to love.
Tell us a little bit about the project you are working on now or share something about your newest or upcoming release(s).
My next book is the one mentioned above, a fresh Scottish retelling of Cinderella called THE PRINCE WHO LOVED ME, which is out September 23rd. In the story, for those that love the old Cinderella movies and books the way I do, I hid several nods to the classic retellings.
Look for your copy of THE PRINCE WHO LOVED ME on September 23rd, as well as ALL of Karen’s previous titles at your favorite online or local book store!
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THE PRINCE WHO LOVED ME
HOW TO ENTICE AN ENCHANTRESS
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Karen Hawkins is known for her wonderfully humorous and emotion-tugging historical and contemporary romances. The author of over 30 novels, Karen writes for a living between shopping for shoes, playing around on Facebook and Pinterest, looking for fun items for Hawkins Manor, and napping, although usually not at the same time. Sometimes, for fun, she takes Instagram pictures of her two rescue dogs, Sadie and Teke, and posts them online.” ~www.karenhawkins.com