Thursday, September 3, 2009

Livin' A Dream: Spendin' The Day With Karen Hawkins!!

So, what is better than a man in a kilt? Um, how about a half-naked man in a kilt!

Oh, yeah, baby! I'm ditching my Folgers because oogling a prime piece of man-meat is a much better way to start the day!

Ok, ok, people! Wipe the drool off your keyboards and help me welcome KAREN HAWKINS!!!

Because I'm all about spreading news, I'd love to dish this tidbit about our guest today- Karen's latest release, THE LAIRD WHO LOVED ME (aka- Mr. Hotty Kilt over there), is #35 on the New York Times list and #47 on the USA TODAY list!!

Not Worthy, Not Worthy! (sorry, I'm a WW dork for waaay back!)

Well, get your tinkers tinkin' newbies! The Goddess is giftin' us with some words of wisdom!

And away we go!

1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

Me? Wow. Let me think ... Hm.

A quiet, quirky writer who makes her living by listening to the voices in her head, finds true sanity in sharing her (their) stories with others.

2) Using three words, describe your voice.

Smart, fast, fun. I read for enjoyment and if I can win a grin or giggle from a reader, I'm a happy woman!

3) Back when you were just a newbie writer, what were some of the road blocks you faced? How did you overcome them?

I began writing while I was working on a PhD in political science. As a wife, mother of two young children, a full time employee (I taught at a two year college), and a full time PhD student, I needed a creative outlet, so I gave myself one writing hour every evening before I went to bed. It was my reward for doing all of the work I had to do during the day.

Because I was so overworked and stretched so thin, my 'hour' was often cut short ... way short. But I made every one of those precious moments count. That road block of a lack of time became a blessing and I'm actually a very fast writer because of that early training. When I sit down to work, I work.

4) What has been the best advice you have ever received in regards to your writing/career?

A good agent is worth his/her weight in gold. I'm here to tell you that's true. VERY true.

5) I love how you do POV in your books. Care to share any tips on how to master this dirty little three letter word?

Oh, thank you! When I was a new writer, the common cry of the day was 'one POV per scene no matter what.' That never felt comfortable for me and I was constantly breaking that 'rule.'

Basically, I change the POV where necessary, but I try to be very, very clear about who is thinking/saying what. If at any time a reader has to ask "Who said that?", then they've been pulled out of the story. For me, that's the cardinal no-no; NEVER lose your reader.

My rule of thumb is to use the POV of the character who has the most to lose at that moment. A good scene between two strong characters means that both characters will have moments where they think they have the most to lose. Using that as my compass, I feel free to switch POV as necessary, though I prefer not to do it more than twice per scene unless it's a very complicated one.

6) Are you a Pantzer or a Plotter? How organized are you when it comes to crafting your plots or characters? Any tips?

I always plot but give my characters permission to change things if need be. I prepare a detailed synopsis -- sometimes 20 or 30 pages long -- but then, as I write, I always end up somewhere else by the middle of the book.

At that time, I'll stop, evaluate what's happening with my story, and rewrite the synopsis. I don't want to write myself into corner, so this mid-book synopsis correction helps me stay on track while giving my characters the freedom to grow creatively with the story.

7) When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of writing- what is your favorite part? Creating your own fictional world? The challenge of finding just the right word or sentence?

I love editing. For me, getting the story onto paper is a painful, laborious process because I struggle to cram a huge, bright, sparkling story onto a plain white boxy sheet of paper. Once it's written, then the real fun begins and I tweak and fluff, smooth and shine, add and move scenes and phrases until they make me grin.

I love it when I can pat and smooth a rough section into a polished looks-easy-to-write scene.

8) Give us the low down on what fans can look forward to from The Goddess?

My next book is the follow up story to TALK OF THE TOWN. In April of 2010, look for LOIS LANE TELL ALL. Roxie's brother from TOTT, Mark, didn't get along very well with the town's dispatcher, Susan. Well, things have changed now ... Roxie bought the town's newspaper, The Glory Examiner, and she's asked Mark to be the Chief Financial Officer and turn the paper into a success. At the same time, Roxie's asked Susan to become the editor-in-training and take over once Mark's finished performing his magic.

The problem is that Mark and Susan have totally different views of how a paper should run ... and who should run it.

Mark shook his head. “What kind of a filing system is this, Collins?”

Susan leaned back in her chair and laced her hands behind her head. “I use the blue folders for ‘things I need to do.’ Those are all blue.”

“But . . . you’ve already written the Dear Bob article. Wouldn’t you have moved it to another folder? To a . . . I don’t know, maybe a red folder for ‘things I’ve already done?’”

“Yup. I do it once a year, whether my desk needs it or not.” She hoped he didn't expect her to know what exactly was in the folders. She thought one held her office expense invoices, while the other might contain her taxes for the last three years, and the third one . . . she wasn’t sure what was in that one, but it was a little dusty, so it couldn’t be anything of importance.

Mark sighed and reached for the final folder. “Maybe I’ll just look through this one while you’re working on the article. I'm sure I could find the letter myself--”


His hand hung over the folder, suspicion in his blue eyes. "No?"

Her heart stuttered. “It's probably in there, but ah . . . I should warn you about the other letters."

"What other letters?"

"The ones I receive containing women’s issues.”

“Women’s issues. Like . . .”

“Requests for information on lumps, cysts, periods – that sort of thing.”

He pulled his hand back and looked at the folder with a mixture of horror and fascination. “Women really ask questions about those sorts of things?”

“All of the time.”

He visibly swallowed and placed the folders back on the desk. “I’ll let you find the letter.”

Thank you, God. I’ll sing louder in church this week, I promise. She yanked open a drawer, scooped up the folders, dropped them in and kicked it shut.

"It's a pain, but I have to cull the letters people send in for the Dear Bob column to find something -- anything, really -- that might make a good hook."

He eyed her with a suspicious look. “I don’t know whether to believe you or not.”

She lifted her chin and said in a cold voice, “I am not a liar.” I’m a bluffer. And if you weren’t such a starched shirt that you never play a hand or two of poker, you would recognize the difference.

“What you are is a trouble maker.”

She fluttered her lashes. “Why sir, ah do believe ah am offended!”

He grinned, his guard suddenly down.

Susan’s stomach tightened. He looked so . . . approachable. And cute, too. She really wished he wouldn’t do that. It made him look all of seventeen years old.

Her gaze flickered down to his lean frame. Well, eighteen. Someone legal, but still young. “I’d love to stay and chat, but I have to finish the prelims on this article and then I’m due to meet a source at Micki and Maud’s.”

“Drinking a latte and gossiping with my sister is not a ‘source meeting.’”

Susan leaned back further and plopped a foot on the corner of her desk and crossed her ankle over it. “Roxie could be a source.”

“For what? Irritation? I’ll vouch for that.” He tucked his newspaper under his arm. “I’ll cede your point on the Dear Bob column, simply because I don’t have time to comb through your mess of an office, but I still have my suspicions."

She opened her mouth, but he held up a hand. “Collins, don’t start.”

That was it. She'd tried to be nice, and what did he do but find fault. Damn the man, but he had a talent for seeing her weak spots and she was tired of it.

She dropped her feet to the floor with a slap and stood up. “Me, start something? Ha! Ever since you arrived, you’ve done nothing but change things – everything, in fact. It’s as if you can’t stand to see anything left untouched.”

“I’m making things more efficient—“

“More impersonal, you mean. The next time you want to mark something as your own, instead of moving it or changing it—" She opened a drawer and pulled out a labeler. “—use one of these.” She smacked it on the desk,grabbed her purse, and whipped around her desk.

But the smallness of her cubical meant she had to squeeze past Mark and he, for reasons unknown, just stood there, looking at her, his arms crossed over his chest.

She frowned. “Are you going to move?”

His eyes glinted behind his glasses, his hair mussed as he leaned one hip against her desk. “You’re so smart; you figure out a way to get me to move.”

Seething, she eyed him up and down. “I could stomp your foot.”

“And slip past while I was hopping around like a cartoon rabbit?” He rocked back on the balls of his feet, looking every inch the track star he was in high school. “It won’t work. I may howl, but I’d be damned if I’d move.”

She crossed her arms, wishing she’d stayed behind the desk where she had enough room to think. There was something about this man that infuriated her. His arrogance, his assumption that he knew best – damn it, she knew what was best for her and the sooner he realized it, the better. “What do you want, Treymayne?”

He leaned forward to place a hand on the wall by her head. “What do you think, Collins?”

His body was now holding herself prisoner. Oh, he wasn’t touching her – that would be too – She struggled to find the word – too . . . heavenly. She winced as the word slid home.

As irritating as this man could be, she had to admit he was tasty. Maybe a good roll in the sack would cure them both of their case of bad ass? It was possible, she supposed, but such a suggestion would probably send Mr. Clean Living into shock.

Men like Mark Treymayne, as pure in thought and actions as the real Clark Kent, would never consider a casual fling. She found herself looking at his arm again,only this time it was temptingly close. He thought he was going to make her agree with him.

He thought wrong.

She stepped forward, slipped her arms around his neck, lifted up on her toes and snogged him a good one. The second her lips touched his, his eyes widened, his hand dropped from the wall, and his mouth opened in surprised.

Which allowed Susan to slip her tongue between his lips and do something she’d been secretly dying to do from the day she’d seen Mark Treymayne had returned to her small sphere – to taste him. As her tongue touched his, instant heat flooded her and a hot whirl of passion swept over her from head to toe. Good God, why didn’t I do this weeks ago?

As the kiss deepened, Mark wondered just how this had all happened. One moment, he was purposefully challenging Susan, hoping to goad her into admitting she’d gone over the line and perhaps get her to engage in some dialogue that didn’t include snarky comments designed to make him laugh -- or worse, make him mad, and the next moment she was wrapped around him, her firm body driving his libido wild. The second her tongue touched his, all thinking stopped and suddenly, he was the one doing the kissing.

His hands naturally found her rounded ass as he cupped her to him and molded her even more closely. She moaned against his mouth, her tongue driving him wild. Pure, unadulterated passion roared through his body and he soaked it up. It had been so long since he’d felt such a physical thrill for a woman – any woman. He slipped a hand up her back and cupped the back of her neck, her silken ponytail trailing over his fingers.

She tightened her hold around his neck, lifting to him, moaning as he deepened the kiss yet more. For a few glorious moments, for the first time in years, Mark Treymayne didn’t think, didn’t measure or weigh the cost of what he was doing, he just did.

Aye, laddie! That was a steamy bit o' the good stuff! Wowza! Seriously, who needs caffeine?! Karen's heroes, be it in a kilt or a business suit, are HOTT!

I'd like to extend a HUGE thank you to Karen for being here today.If you would like to know more about The Goddess, step into her world at: and definitely check out her blog, The Goddess Blog at

And THANK YOU to everyone stoppin' by today and to all ya'll who swung by my debut blog as an offical Mama Writer! X's and O's to all my peeps!! Aw, heck, here have a cyber hug, too! lol

If anyone wants to spend me a belated b-day gift or a "Geez, you're super, Sarah!" momento, I'd LOVE to have a girl's nite watchin' my all time favorite movie, Braveheart, with my hero Karen Hawkins while throwing back some Diet Cokes and nibbling on some bit-sized snickers (smaller pieces means you can eat more! right?) So, here it is, my cyper-fantasy gift... w/o the restraining order lol- a beautifully edited montage of
Braveheart's best scenes timed to Nickelback's Hero. *It's awesome, seriously!* Have a great weekend TLN'ers! You're the best! Ok! Who moved my bag of snickers?!


Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Karen and Sarah,

Somebody get me an ice cold drink. That got my blood stirring this morning. Thanks, Karen, for the tips and letting us get to know you better. Wonderful interview, Sarah. TLN just gets better and better.

Carol North said...

Wow! That is one hot hero. I'll be dreaming of him tonight. I appreciate the tips on POV. Tuesday I'll be in Books-A-Million for a writers' meeting and I plan to check out your books.
Good interview--your well-thought out questions drew out lots of good info.

Helen Hardt said...

Karen, great to meet you! Loved the interview, Sarah, and I agree, what's better than a hottie in a kilt? Maybe a hottie out of a kilt ;). Many congratulations on your success, Karen!


Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I sure do love the first kiss---and what a kiss! And a man in a kilt--oh yeah--gotta love a Scotsman.

I wish you much success.

Great questions Sarah. I look forward to your blogs.

EA said...

What a great interview. Congrats, Karen on your story and for being a happy woman. I like that. Congrats to you Sarah for the fab blog.

Karen said...

Ok, I'm totally bummed because I didn't check in with you guys on the day of this blog -- I mistakenly thought it was an interview and only now realized my error so I apologize with all of my heart.

Sarah's just the nicest person and has been soooo patient with me and my crazy schedule. This is an incredible blog and I've been reading her funny and inquisitive work here -- she's very good at it, isn't she? She's a great rep for our genre!

So kudos to Sarah for sharing her talent!

Meanwhile, thank you all for your kind comments! I can see this is a warm and wonderful place on the web!