Tell my fans a little bit about yourself and your book(s).
I have lived and worked in many interesting places from South America to London, from Lake Powell to the Navajo Nation. My experiences are reflected in my stories and my characters. Married for forty years to a former sniper, Martin and Kiko’s experience is reality based. As fun as writing is, there is no adventure that compares to raising eight children with a man with wanderlust! We have finally settled down right on the border of Mexico where something is always going on!
How would you introduce your books to someone that has yet to read them?
Do you like adventure, action and suspense in exotic settings and with family values?! My bad guys are bad, but my good guys are the best.
How many books have you written? What are their titles?
I have written six novels:
Shaman Priest (set in Guatemala), Down the Colorado, Sparrow Hawk, Up the Devil’s Highway (Kiko and Maggie Perez Mysteries), and Monster Slayer’s Son, and White Shell Woman’s Promise (set on the Navajo Reservation).
I also have 2 children books.
What inspired you to start writing? What age did you start?
I have been writing stories since I was eight years old, but I finally sat down about 4 years ago and started Shaman Priest, a story my husband and I had mapped out years earlier after spending a year in Central America.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I read, I love to work in the garden, and I travel. Oh, and I love spending time with my grandkids!
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Learn your craft. I spent years teaching writing. I saw every error you could imagine, but I became a better craftsman. After that, use your imagination and Start Writing. Don’t be afraid. I started writing the first half of Shaman Priest at night—I was afraid of criticism, but once I knew I had a story I woke up my husband and we worked through ideas, etc. together.
What’s your favorite scene/line from your works?
Oh, that’s tough. I like the line in Shaman Priest: “Don’t worry dad, I met her at church.” I love the “tsunami wave” scene in Down the Colorado. And I love the ending of Monster Slayer’s Son when Mo Black yells at the bad guy, giving me the title of the book. But it would be better if you read the books and gave me your favorite lines!
What’s the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
The hardest thing about writing is getting started. There are good ideas everywhere but sitting down and putting a good idea into a story takes work. Once I start it seems to go pretty well. Editing is hard too. I think I’m finished and then I have to go back and go through the entire story multiple times.
But for me the greatest thing about writing is the characters. They just come together and pretty soon they’re some of my best friends.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently reformatting my books for paperback publication. But I have a novel in the beginning stages that takes place on the US/Mexican border with a working title of The American Game.
What books did you read as a child?
I actually read all the Edgar Rice Burroughs books ever written thanks to three older brothers. I read everything in the library. I was always a reader.
How has your life changed since you began writing?
I think about things in terms of my stories. I see someone walking into a store and I start mapping out a character description in my mind. And I spend lots more time in front of the computer. I have learned to use Word like I never knew possible.
Out of all of your characters, who is your favorite?
Maggie Perez. I based her loosely on my oldest daughter so of course I love her. But there are a lot of runners-up!
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
I hope my readers take away the sense of a good and satisfying story with real people who live mostly real lives.
Favorite book character?
I have so many favorites. The first one that comes to mind is Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game, but I love Bean too.
What is your dream vacation destination?
I just visited Cusco, Peru. Now I want to travel the Maya circle in Yucatan, Belize and Guatemala.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m looking forward to more of the same—family, fun, and travel. In five years I should be an established author whether I stay at home or gallivant around the country and world!
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
The Grand Viaje
This fall I am highlighting 25 authors, their works, and a little bit about who they are and how they became writers. Follow my blog and discover incredible books just waiting to be read, exceptional authors to follow and different genres to explore!
Karen – Thanks, Arlene for sharing Karen and her literary works, something I didn’t know about her, even though we are both in a LInked-In 1000 word story group. Congrats on all your novels, Karen. They all sound great. You did a wonderful interview. Great to get to know you better.