Karen Harper interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Feb 19, 2017 8:14:59 PM

Karen Harper interview with David Alan Binder

Bio from her website: A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the Midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen's books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. Karen has given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.

Her author collection is with The Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscript Library.

Her current releases are THE ROYAL NANNY, a Victorian/Edwardian novel based on the woman who reared 3 kings. THE SOUTH SHORE SERIES: CHASING SHADOWS, DROWNING TIDES and FALL DARKNESS, suspense novels, are the first 3 books in the series.

Website: www.KarenHarperAuthor.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KarenHarperAuthor

1. Where are you currently living?

I'm a native Ohioan and have lived in Columbus for the last 40+ years, after attending Ohio State. We have spent many winters in Naples, FL.

2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

People really are drawn to characters and great stories. I'm amazed at some of the feedback I get.

3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

Maybe not a quirk, but I've had great editors along the way, and have been privileged to spend time with most of them instead of just phoning or emailing. They are dedicated. They love what they are doing.

4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

I'm published by HarperCollins (no, I don't own half the company.) My suspense novels are from Mira Books and my historical novels about real British women from William Morrow, both HC imprints. I have always been traditionally published--for over 30 years. I'm also published in many foreign countries, which is great fun. My historicals have been bestsellers in Russia--go figure that one out.

5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

No real insights. I think the choice readers have now is great. Personally, I still like paper and print, but eBooks are excellent for travel and ease of carrying--many times for cost also.

6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published? As Winston Churchill said, "Never give up." You need to believe in yourself. It's OK to study the market to see what's selling but write what is 'your book.'

7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

If you want a writing a career, an agent is important. When I was first published I had to use a reference book to find agents; now, just Google them by name or agency, then follow their guidelines. Also, you can meet some at local writers' conferences.

8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Perhaps a critique group will give you help and support. Join a writers group, local or national. I belong to Mystery Writers of America; Thriller Writers (a free group to join); Romance Writers. These provide great educations about the business end of things, but write, write, write! Writer's Digest is a helpful magazine.

9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I've been published quite a while, so not much surprises me anymore. I guess I'm amazed by the way publishers promote today so broadly and so well through Goodreads, Bookbub and many other ways. It's a brave new world in publishing.

10. How many books have you written?

I was first published in 1982 and have written nearly 70 novels. I tend to write 1 1/2 books a year. My historicals take longer--more research. Even if my books come out close together like my new South Shores suspense series, that doesn't mean I write a book every other month!

11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Each writer has to discover what works for him or her. People write many different ways. However, it does take self-discipline. As a former high school and college English teacher, I'd say what I said then about good writing: good writing is usually rewriting. Let your work sit for a while and go back over it. By the time I send a ms. [manuscript] to an editor, I have probably read over it and revised about 11 - 12 separate times.

12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story? Observe people; look for 'ripped from the headlines' shockers. Don't copy or borrow that, but amend it to fit your work.

13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Besides good covers and dynamic, intriguing titles, I would say that I always write uplifting endings. And one other thing I've learned, is to not overprotect my main characters. Life and bad things must happen and then they somehow solve the problem or rebound.

14. What are some ways in which you promote your work? Website, Facebook, keeping in touch with booksellers. I like to do guest blogging. I do a lot of speaking engagements, also, and love book signings, especially large ones where I can see author friends as well as meet readers.

15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I don't know I've changed a lot over a long career, except adapting to social media and the ways I write. I started out on a typewriter!

16. What saying or mantra do you live by?

Besides 'Never give up,' I also have on my wall, 'Just do it!' Writing/publishing can be scary, so forge ahead.

17. Anything else you would like to say?

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.