It’s always a great day when I can introduce you to another WIld Rose Press sistah! Today, it’s my pleasure for you to meet KAREN HULENE BARTELL.
Karen has a new book out from WRP and she’s here to tell us a little about it, and to tell us a lot about herself!!! I love an author interview, don’t you?
Karen…take it away!
Karen, The Writer
Thank you so much for hosting me! ( Peggy here: Totally my pleasure!!)
- What drives you to write?
This is a very thought-provoking question, and I considered it long and hard. I loved reading—especially as a child—so writing may be a natural progression, but my guess is *if* it’s in you—*if* you’re born with a penchant for writing—it’s gotta’ come out.
- What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
I write mainstream fantasy romance because I admit to a captivation with ghosts, and I write historical western romance because both history and the American frontier appealed to me early on.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?
I’ve read most genres of romance, depending at what point I’m at in life. For instance, in junior high, I read Gone with the Wind and fell in love with antebellum era romances. In high school, I read Angelique, which started a fascination with 17th Century France and the court of “Le Roi Soleil,” Louis XIV.
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?
I write early in the morning, while my mind is still creative, usually starting about 4:30 or 5:00. I write every day, not only because it’s a good habit, but because it keeps the storyline fresh. Many mornings I wake up with a plot idea, which leads me to believe “the genies of my mind” really do work while I sleep.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
I write in my home office, at a French Provincial desk I finished myself. The keyboard slides into a drawer, and the computer screen overhangs it. Two orange-striped cats are usually stretched out, covering half the desktop. An open travel brochure is within sight, calling to me, and the dog’s napping at my feet.
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?
Though I can compose in the middle of mayhem, especially if I’m on a roll, I prefer a quiet place without interruption.
- Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
Definitely, I don’t listen to music while I write. Most of the time, a melody is playing at the back of my mind, and if I hear external music, it’s jarring—like listening to two radio stations simultaneously.
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
My husband and I took a trip to the Keys several years ago…and voila…an idea was born along Highway 1.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
Plot always comes first. Though I may think of characters before I have any plot in mind, I “save” those characters for the right plot.
- What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Eccentric loner, who’s extroverted 😉
Karen , The Person
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself—not related to writing!
I’m an animal advocate, and I rescue mustangs.
2, Who was your first love and what age were you?
I was twelve and madly in love with the first flautist in the school orchestra.
3, If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
Probably the day I met my husband. Through an extenuating series of events, I met him hours after he broke off his engagement.
4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?
None of the above—I prefer a guy in jeans.
5.If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?
Shampoo??? I’m a down-to-early, au natural type 😉
6. What three words describe you, the person?
Adventurous traveler and student (of life)
7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?
I Gotta’ Be Me
8.If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound – twilight in the country
- Least favorite sound – screeching children
- Best song every written – O Holy Night
- Worst song ever written – any rap song
- Favorite actor and actress – Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Genghis Khan
- What turns you on? Down-to-earth guy, romantic dinner, dancing, moonlit night, and cava
- What turns you off? Arrogant alpha males—swaggering muscles without brains
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) What took you so long?
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Signing a book contract
The Keys: Voice of the Turtle by Karen Hulene Bartell
Hours after arriving in the Florida Keys to help her cousin Keya create a turtle preserve, Ruth discovers a washed-up body and not one, but two apparitions—Maita, the angry victim’s spirit, and Bart, a swashbuckling ghost. Ruth’s curious ability to connect with the ghosts may help them move on, but how?
Keya is in a probate battle over her turtle-nesting beach. Land-hungry relatives want it bulldozed and developed. Like Ruth, she has a special gift—she can talk to animals. Between Ruth’s help and Keya’s unique ability, they work to save the property, but is it too late?
Can Keya save her beloved turtles? Can Ruth find Maita’s murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? There’s more than meets the eye to Keya’s land. Add in a dashing sailor who believes in her, and Keya may have more than she bargained for…
Conveying this land to the turtles would be my way of leaving the world a better place.” She turned toward Ruth. “Does that make sense?”
Ruth nodded and gazed at Keya as if for the first time. Her cousin’s intentions were clear. “But legally, how can you will the property to the turtles?”
“Easy. I leave it to the Turtle Refuge.” Keya laughed inwardly as they meandered along the beach. “And this is where you come in. When you’re writing the brochure, add a few paragraphs about planned giving and charitable bequests…” Her words broke off as Keya stared as if in a trance.
Ruth looked at her. “What’s wrong?”
Her hand shaking, Keya pointed to a shady patch of beach half hidden by sand dunes. A lifeless hand lay tangled in seaweed, its fingernails broken and bloodied.
Racing behind the sandbanks to help, Ruth skidded to a halt, her heels digging into the sand. A woman’s bloated body lay staring at the sun, her eyes opaque and unseeing. “Do you recognize her?”
“No.” Keya shook her head as the cat gingerly approached, sniffing and meowing. But Earnestine said she smells familiar.”
“Knock, knock,” called a man’s voice.
Ruth flinched at the sound. “Who’s there?”
About the Author:
Author of the Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.
Connect with Karen:
(Peggy here: Karen – it’s been a delight getting to know you. Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed and much luck with THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE)