Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Welcome Karen Gordon @joiedemidvivre


Welcome to Author Interview Thursday hosted by the Never Too Old for YA and NA Books group on Goodreads. September is our Indie Author Interview month and we're very excited to share it with you!

Burnouts, Geeks & Jesus Freaks photo FINALKarenGordonBurnoutsGeeksandJesusFreaks_zps3859d096.jpg They’re burnouts - a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they’ve got each other and a whole lot of fun.  With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity.  To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else.
He’s such a geek.  Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger.  He’s also the only geek with a girl.  Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben.  But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her.
Their friendship started by chance.  Their love started with trust.  


Welcome Karen, so great to have you here with us! Take it away!

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I have always loved to write, but before self-publishing I considered it a pie-in-the-sky dream. It also took me getting old enough and brave enough to create strong, honest characters.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
My first took me years because of it was hard to find my voice, but my second looks like it will take around 8 months.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I’m kind of a sociology geek, so I have a lot of social themes swirling around in my head. When I meet or read about an interesting person I start to think about how that character would act with a social idea. For example, I am fascinated by the idea of tribe or social groups. I also like to take genre norms and turn them around. So I wondered what a romance would look like if it was between a not-so-sweet girl and a sweet, geeky guy. I put them in different social groups (burnouts and geeks) and added another social element (Jesus freaks) and I had the beginning of a story. My first novel is a love story, but it has an underlying social theme about the groups we find ourselves, or put ourselves in.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I’m still figuring this out, but I learned this summer that I don’t get much done when my kids are off school. During the school year I write five days a week for at least a few hours every day. If I’m on a roll I might blow off all my evening plans (like making dinner) to keep writing. I respect my muse and when she shows up and the words flow … I give her priority.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
My main job is mom (Chick in Charge) and I also teach part time online. I try to make sure I am close to a stopping point when it’s time for my kids to get home so I can give them my attention for a while. But, they’re teenagers, so they don’t need or want too much attention from me, so I can usually sneak in a little more work before dinner.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
As a romance writer I, of course, need a heroine and hero. I love everyday people because I think the readers can relate to them and I also think there is plenty of drama and excitement in ordinary lives. Characters are most important to me, with action and drama coming second. Things happen in my stories, but for me the story is how my characters handle and react to the drama. I can promise you there will never be a murder or gun fight or kidnapping in one of my novels. That type of action just isn’t for me.
 What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Believing in the final product. I work with bits and pieces and worry constantly about flow and pacing when the pieces all come together. Some days it’s hard to see and believe in the big picture, the whole story.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve only completed one and I’m over half way through with my second, so no favorite, yet.
Do you have a favorite character?
I’ve been spending a lot of time with Steve Shrader, the hero in Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamer’s tale, the book I am working on right now. It’s really fun to get in his head and see the world through his eyes. He’s almost the antithesis of most romance heroes. He’s good looking, but he’s also poor, works a dead-end job, smokes and drinks too much and is generally a twenty-year old guy from the wrong side of the tracks.  He’s also loyal and loving and searching for his place in this world. Right now he’s my favorite. I love his pure heart.
Where do you write?
Half of what is supposed to be our dining room is my office, but I also have alternative offices on our back porch (on beautiful days) and on my bed (when the house is too loud). I’ve taught from home for years, so I am used to working anywhere I can – have laptop, will travel.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
I read an interview with Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help. She talked about how many query letters she sent out and all the rejections she received back. The process took years. I knew that I didn’t have the internal fortitude to deal with years of rejection letters and it also made me question the wisdom of publishing house gatekeepers. Self-publishing allowed me to bring my work to the public when I wanted to and allowed me to handle my own marketing. I have absolutely no regrets in choosing this route. It works well for the control-freak in me.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My husband read my book, his first romance novel, and enjoyed it and promotes it wherever he goes. My kids are too young and not really interested in a romance novel. Generally, they are proud of me for taking the risk of putting my work out there to be loved and/or judged. I want to inspire my kids to do things that scare them, to take creative risks.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
Reading would come first; not only novels, but non-fiction too. As I said I’m a sociology geek, so I love reading about themes, trends, and groups in society. I also have a passion for fashion and I’m crazy for futbol, especially the English Premier League. My favorite team is Arsenal – so many beautiful men – oh, and they play well too.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? Marry rich and find your unique voice. Each of us has our own way of telling a story, stressing certain elements over others, seeing things from a unique perspective. That is what we as authors offer our readers.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon still sets the standard for me for romance writing. She took me on an emotional roller coaster ride when I read it that I will never forget. Now that I’ve tapped into so many great review bloggers, I am also discovering new, fantastic authors all the time. I just finished Tangled by Emma Chase and I loved it and her writing - her unique voice.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
I call my friend, Chrissy, my editorial goddess. She used to teach school and is a stickler for details so she was a beta reader extraordinaire for Burnouts, Geeks & Jesus Freaks: a love story. After publishing I’ve had some fans agree to beta read the second novel for me. As a self-publisher marketing is also so important, and I have a fellow author, Alex Stargazer, who I strategize with on those questions.

Are you working on anything now?
Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamer’s tale. It is the sequel to my first novel and it follows two secondary characters (MG & Steve) from that book into their lives beyond high school.  I have given myself an October due date to have it up on Amazon and the over-achieving, neurotic geek in me will make damn sure that happens. Anyone interested can find updates on my progress and learn more about it in my blog (joiedemidvivre.blogspot.com) or I created a hashtag (#♪☺♥) so you can find it on social media.

Thanks so much for being here today, Karen. It was great to have you!
Karen Gordon photo writerbiophoto_zpsc8835436.jpgKaren Gordon was born and raised in the suburban paradise of St. Charles, MO, on the outskirts of St. Louis. She earned a B.S. in English from the University of Central Missouri (BS being the operative term) and a M.A. in Media Communications from Webster University, where she graduated in a hot pink mortar board because she didn’t like the school colors. 
She currently resides in Olive Branch, MS (formerly Cow Pen) on the outskirts of Memphis, TN with her 2.5 super-smart kids, and an amazingly-funny, cute, geeky husband. 
When not writing, she is a stay-at-home mom (chick in charge) and part-time teacher. Any down time is spent reading, catching up with friends and obsessively worrying about every little thing. 
“Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks: a love story” is her debut novel. She is now frantically trying to recall her college years to write the sequel, “Popstars, Friends and Lovers.” 

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