AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: KAREN HAWKINS
Karen what is your most current work out?
This is the final book in my Hurst Amulet Series. All throughout the previous books, members of the Hurst family have been chasing after three onyx boxes that, when put together, hide a map showing the location of a lost family heirloom, the Hurst Amulet.
Michael Hurst is a known Egyptologist and has been searching for the Amulet for years. He, along with his trusty assistant Miss Jane Smythe-Haughton, are on their way to the Isle of Barra to try and find the Hurst Amulet.
But as Michael and Jane chase after the clues that may or may not lead them to the amulet, Barra reveals her secrets and Michael starts to realize that his plain, staid, organized assistant is much, much more than she appears . . .
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
Both. I write an outline and then let the characters show me the way. I need that outline to begin, but I take a lot of liberties with it as I go.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Georgette Heyer inspired me to write historical romance. To this day, I can remember how excited I was when I discovered her books at a library near my grandmother’s house.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Michael Hurst is one of my all-time favorite heroes because he reminds me a lot of my husband, aka Hot Cop, who is gruff, brilliant, and often very focused on his work. But he loves once and deeply and that makes his curmudgeonly ways worthwhile.
Fia MacLean from Much Ado About Marriage is probably my favorite heroine because she’s strong, and imaginative, and just plain fun.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Hmmm. Probably the duchess in my coming book September book, How to Capture a Countess, the first of my Duchess Diaries Series. I wrote her over and over until she finally started clicking. She’s a secondary character, but a catalyst for the story, so she was very important. I love her now, but it took a LOT of rewrites to get her just so.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
When creating a character, I use tidbits of many different people and also throw in some fun ones of my own. I don’t write about people I know in real life simply because it keeps the character from growing with the book as I write it.
The character I’ve written who has the most similarities of a real life character is Old Woman Nora from the MacLean Curse Series. She has a lot of my great grandmother in her.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Writing the first draft, which is very difficult. I have to take this huge story that has been growing in my mind and wrestle it down to page size. That can be a fight. But I love to edit, so once I have it all down, then I can start the fun stuff, getting it into shape.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’ve become something of an estate sale guru lately. I’ve found so many great furniture pieces that I now need a bigger house.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Reading in the tub with a glass of chilled wine.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Nope. Just a blank screen and a little time.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I sometimes listen to Scottish ballads when I write. They’re very atmospheric and get me into a misty, chilly frame of mind.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
In The Taming of a Scottish Princess, Michael would be played by Hugh Jackman (natch) and Jane would be played by Melissa Theuriau.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was standing on a pile of laundry in my house in Georgia when I got the call. I immediately called my critique partner and we both screamed like 10 year old girls at a Justin Beiber concert.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Fourteen. It was Georgette Heyer’s April Lady.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Sabrina Jeffries, Suzanne Enoch, Christina Dodd, Connie Brockway, Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery – the list goes on and on. (the interviewer will be the one next to you in the stalking line…. Once I am done with you that is)
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I now write full-time. It’s my dream job and I loooooove it. In fact, I’m in my pajamas as I type this.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I am just finishing up copyedits on my coming September book, How to Capture a Countess. It’s the first in my Duchess Diaries Series and is a lot of fun.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Gee, that’s a tough one. But if I had to pick just one, I’d like to write a book with Suzanne Enoch. We have a similar sense of humor and some amazingly sexy heroes. I love that!
How do you pick your characters names?
I try to do this before I begin writing the book. I pick most of my names from historical documents. After I write with it for a while, it’ll either feel very right or very wrong and I’ll know if it’s the right name.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I like steadfast growth, and am especially fond of long time friends who fall in love. There is no book if there’s no growth.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I tell them that I’ll stop writing romance when they stop sending me those ridiculously large checks.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Dark with almond … NOM NOM NOM!