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Welcome, Karen! How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just
loved writing all your life?
Back in the mid 1980s my kids challenged me to learn to learn the computer we had. Those of you using computers for a long time remember the Tandy. Come on, admit it! Well, the only thing that was within my grasp of knowledge was the word processing program and I began working on a journal of the adoption of our two youngest children. I got a bit wordy and ended up with a book that was lost when the Tandy left. No one told me or showed me how to back it up! But it was enough to whet my appetite and I took several courses through Writers Digest and began attending writers conferences to learn more. My first published article was for a Sunday School take home paper and netted me ten dollars. Of course I think I spent more than that sending it out (snail mail then) to editors for their review.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
I’m a bit eclectic when it comes to genre. I think it reflects my reading preferences. I like variety. While I know that’s not exactly the protocol for authors, I have not really stuck to one genre. My cozy Casey Stengel Mystery series is probably the most I’ve written in one genre. A cozy mystery is a lighter mystery/detective/sleuth story—think Agatha Christie. In A Pickle and Divide The Child are more general fiction books.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
I would love to say that I have a set time during the day to write but the truth is that since we travel so much, I have to catch time wherever I can. Sometimes it’s in an airport or the library of a ship or at the desk in the hotel room. If I know we will be home for an extended period of time, I will try to set aside more time to write. My only goal for word count is to make sure I write something. Whether it’s 250 words or 2500 words, it still takes me further to the end. A novel takes me any where from five months to well. . .I’m still working on one I started ten years ago.
What is the spiritual message in your latest book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?
In Death Among The Deckchairs, while Casey is busy solving a crime during her cruise vacation, she is also confronted by some very personal issues. The underlying spiritual message is that you need to include God in all your decisions and look to him for answers to your questions whether they be of a personal nature or just trying to solve a mystery.
You recently had another book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?
Death Among The Deckchairs is the second in the Casey Stengel Mystery series. The first book was Murder Among The Orchids. Here’s the teaser: A cruise. A bikini clad body. What next? All Casey wanted was a relaxing cruise where she could visit with her daughter, the cruise director, but suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a murder at sea. Who would have guessed the beautiful young woman dead in the deckchair next to her had an enemy who would use her love of the sun to end her life? When Max joins Casey, what she thought would be a romantic ending to her cruise becomes an intense search for evidence. Somewhere among all the dermatologists holding a conference on board ship is a killer. Is it the victim’s doctor husband? Or one of his co-workers? And how does the shark expert fit into the puzzle?
Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Death-Among-Deckchairs-Stengel-Mystery/dp/1490365907/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371130769&sr=8-1&keywords=death+among+the+deckchairs
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Death-Deckchairs-Stengel-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00DF3T528/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1372342100&sr=1-1&keywords=death+among+the+deckchairs
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-among-the-deckchairs-karen-robbins/1115655383?ean=2940044576490
Smashwords for all e-formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/323673
(Use coupon code MX52W for 50% off)
Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way?
There is never a lack of ideas. Only a lack of time to write them all. I usually see something or hear something and that takes me off on an imaginary what-if trip. I think my most recent characters, Annie Pickels and Casey Stengel, are probably similar to me in that I like to look at problems with a bit of humor. And in Casey’s case, I’m a big lover of baseball.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?
I used to feel a lot of stress over it but at this stage in my life I’ve set some priorities and put the writing into perspective. I may never be a best selling author but my stories have touched lives by entertaining readers. I enjoy the process and now that my husband has retired, I don’t put the pressure on myself like I used to. This is our time to spend together. The publishing just flavors life a bit.
Would you roughly explain how you “chose” (or was chosen) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
Several of my books are self-pubbed. My two coauthored non-fiction books were published by a small press, Leafwood. Martin Sisters, who pubbed In A Pickle, is what is called an Independent Publisher. While they operate like a mainstream publisher, editing, making covers, sending out press releases, etc. the paperback books are print-on-demand which means they are printed as they are ordered. It makes it tough but not impossible to get into bookstores because the distributors charge a bookstore more for POD books. But if you look at the way so many buy their books online now, it isn’t hard to reach readers with a little online marketing.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could? Etc.
My suitcase is always at the ready and now with hubby retired, we can take advantage of last minute deals. We have been to all seven continents and by the middle of the year 2015 we will have circumnavigated the globe. There is still lots of God’s beautiful world to see. I like photography although I’m not terribly professional and I enjoy crocheting. Seems if I don’t have my hands busy on a keyboard, they are with a crochet hook. And did I mention I’m an avid reader?
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
My blog is mainly a travel journal and you can find lots of interesting information on travel and places to go. It’s called Writer’s Wanderings : http://karenrobbins.blogspot.com . Also, I just revised my very first novel, Divide The Child, updating it and reissuing it (a lot of things have changed since 1990). It’s available on Amazon. You can get most of my books as well in any e-format at Smashwords.com.
Free download of Murder Among The Orchids at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/82884
enter coupon code: BX36W
As a full time mom, a teacher, a businesswoman, a paralegal student, a travel addict, and diver, Karen Robbins has had a wealth of experiences that contribute to her story ideas and speaking topics. In 1987, she sold her first written piece for publication in Standard, a Sunday School take-home paper. Since then she has published numerous articles and essays in a variety of publications including several regional and national magazines and written columns for a local newspaper and an online women’s magazine. Karen has been a contributing author to many compilation books including the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. She coauthored A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts. Earlier novels include Divide The Child, In A Pickle, and Murder Among The Orchids, (book one of the Casey Stengel mystery series).
Connect with me at:
Writer’s Wanderings: http://karenrobbins.blogspot.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KarenRobbinsAuthor
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