Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Karen Baney "pioneer" in period and present writing

Karen Baney
Karen thanks for dropping by and sharing what life looks like for you as an author.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? I think I first felt like a real writer when I got my first piece of fan mail from someone I didn’t know!  It was a real letter – mailed to me from someone who won a giveaway copy of my first book, Prescott Pioneers 1: A Dream Unfolding.  That’s when I realized this whole thing was so much bigger than just me writing the stories I love to write.
Will you share a little about your books with us?
Prescott Pioneers 1:  A Dream Unfolding is an epic tale of what life was like on a wagon train and living in the rugged Arizona Territory wilderness in the 1860’s.  It follows the lives of two different groups of people.  Drew and Hannah Anderson leave their home in Cincinnati, Ohio, to start over in the Arizona Territory.  Will Colter is forced off of his family’s ranch in Texas after his father passes.  Both threads of the story show the journey from a different angle.  Ultimately, the two threads do collide in an unexpected way, setting the stage perfectly for the sequel, A Heart Renewed. A large part of A Dream Unfolding was inspired by some letters I found during my research that outlined the specific path and strange encounters that the first territorial governor of Arizona faced.  While he has a very minor role in the book, Drew and Hannah travel as part of his wagon train.

What are working on now?
My fourth book, Nickels, is scheduled to release in December.  This book is very different from my Prescott Pioneer Series.  It’s a contemporary romance set in Chandler, Arizona.  It’s about a young woman software engineer, Niki Turner.  She finally lands her dream job only to find out that Kyle, who tormented her in high school, works at her new client.  She’s thrown into a critical project with him and is forced to reconcile what she remembers of him from the past with the very different man he’s become.
There are a lot of surprises in this one and it was so much fun to write.  I’m a software engineer in my other job, so there’s a lot of my career and my personality coming out in Niki.  I also lived on a military base overseas for a few years and worked some of that into the story line.
I’m also working on the conclusion to the Prescott Pioneers Series which I hope to have out in Spring 2012.

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Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
I always strive to write realistic and relatable characters who are imperfect.  A large part of the story is about how the characters overcome their struggles to become better people.  Sometimes the message is about grace.  Sometimes it’s about redemption.  I want readers to have hope for their own messed up lives (if theirs are anything like mine!) and that there is One who loves them more than anything.

What book has influenced your life most?
One that has most recently impacted my life in a significant way is Dee Brestin’s The Friendship of Women.  I’ve been afraid much of my life of making close friendships because we always moved away.  This book radically changed my perception of friendships.  Some are for a season of life.  A very precious few may be lifelong.  Regardless, women are made for relationships and we need each other.  I was encouraged to be bold and pursue meaningful friendships.  Since reading the book over a year ago, I’m honored to call a handful of women close friends.

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How do you get ready to write?  Do you do anything special?
Mostly, I like to sit in the recliner in my office with my laptop.  I close my office door to be free from distractions, then my fingers blaze across the keyboard.  Sometimes when I’m having trouble getting into character, I’ll close my eyes and write pages without looking at the screen.  I’m so glad I learned typing in junior high!

Who are your characters based on?
Most of my characters are inventions of my mind.  Sometimes they are inspired by people I know or have known in life—though they are usually a combination of several people.  For example, Betty Lancaster’s character in A Dream Unfolding was inspired by three very influential women of faith in my life as a child:  Mabel Crawford, Gladys Anderson, and Rosine Harris.  Each of these women exhibited a faith that I dreamed of having.  That’s how Betty’s character came to be.

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What time of the day do you feel most inspired to write?
I do the bulk of my writing on the weekend, especially if my husband has a chunk of time where he’s out with friends (or watching football).  I know the house will be quiet and I can immerse myself.  A lot of my ideas come to me in dreams or in the early morning before my alarm goes off.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Tons!  In fact, I reserve Fridays on my blog for topics and advice to writers.  The most important advice I have is to keep writing and reading about the craft of writing.  When I look back at early versions of manuscripts that I wrote over a year ago, I cringe.  Just writing and re-writing and reading about writing has made a huge difference.

Thank you so much for sharing with us today Karen.
Thanks so much for having me, Christine!
Fans can read more about me and my books at http://www.karenbaney.com , find me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/karen_baney or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Baney-Books/138412459527446

Join Karen Baney and 35 other authors for the 99¢ Book Event, 
in celebration of the release of award-winning,
bestselling author Melissa Foster's 
Tues., Nov. 1 - Thurs., Nov 3. 
ALL BOOKS 99 CENTS, ebook giveaways, and more! www.womensliterarycafe.com



  1. Karen, I agree!! You have to keep writing!! Sometimes authors get too caught up in the promo part, but you have nothing to keep promoting if you don't have any books! Write on!!!

  2. Great interview, and I LOVE the Nickels cover!

  3. Great interview! I can't wait to read your books now! :)

  4. Great Interview! Congratulations!


    Writing as AR Silverberry

  5. Very interesting interview. Karen, typing with your eyes closed is a feat I could only imagine. I could do that and it would look like what appears to be Russian.
    Micheal Rivers

  6. Thanks everyone! The cover art for Nickels was selected by my fans. I posted three options on my facebook fan page and let them decide. I was pretty happy with the results.

  7. I loved the interview and your book covers are amazing! Who does them for you?