Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Writings - Janeology Author Interview, Haiku Winner & Book Giveaways

Before we get into the fantastic interview with Karen Harrington (known to many as the Scobberlotcher) about her book JANEOLOGY, I'll announce the Haiku Hoopla winners. Yep, it was too hard to pick just one again. Everybody who entered, pat yourself on the back for a fine job!

Irish Gumbo's haiku stuck to the true form with its seasonal element, and created a nice crisp picture:

Falling rain, breeze blows,
her soft breathing on my cheek,
heart swelling, love blooms

Stacy Post's uses the theme of summer heat. It made me smile since we're all by necessity "air-conditioned" here in the Gulf area:

Lilies in sunshine
barely sway in the hot wind,
I'm air-conditioned.

Congrats, you two. Please send me your address so I can get your fantabulous prizes in the mail. :)

Interview with author Karen Harrington:

According to publisher Kunati, JANEOLOGY is "a legal thriller ripped from the headlines." You can read more about this fascinating book and watch the trailer at Kunati's site.

Karen Harrington is a Texas native whose writing has received honors from the Hemingway Short Story Festival, the Texas Film Institute Screenplay Contest and the Writers’ Digest National Script Contest. She authored and published There’s a Dog in the Doorway, a children’s book created expressly for the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation’s “My Stuff Bags.” My Stuff bags go to children in need who must leave their home due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. She lives in Plano, Texas, with her husband and two children.

GW: I was hooked in the prologue, and that's rare.

KH: Thank you! I love hearing that.

GW: Loved the opening MC male voice and it was totally convincing. There were no feminine word choices or traces to be found. I thought, now this is a woman who has spent a great deal of time in the company of strong men.

KH: Thanks for saying that! For some reason unknown to me, most of my protagonists are male and I’m most comfortable writing in that voice. I did, however, have a terrific editor at Kunati who did work with me on polishing the estrogen out of certain sentences.

GW: I thought JANEOLOGY gave a fascinating mix of belief systems for readers to ponder -- paranormal to faith-based. You pulled it off and created a happy marriage of two seemingly opposite ideologies. This made me wonder, like physical strands of DNA, can two belief systems reside happily in a person. And if so, are those elements subject to the same nurture/nature forces within a person?

KH: I do think the mind can hold two seemingly opposite beliefs at once. Though I have not personally had an experience with a clairvoyant, nor do I believe there are true psychics behind every sign that advertises one, I do believe that the Bible is/was filled with prophecy. So it wasn’t a stretch for me to conceive that there might still be people in modern times who are still possessed with those same gifts. As a Christian, I felt the need to be careful about how I drew the character of Mariah, the clairvoyant in Janeology, which is why she is so entrenched in knowing the passages in Exodus about the sins of the fathers visiting future generations.

All that said, the character and talents of Mariah was really a literary device to allow the reader to travel into the past.

GW: Why do you write?

KH: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing or drawing. Now that I’ve been doing it so long, I get in a funk if days go by and I haven’t written something so I suppose that is one reason I write. But like most creative people, I most enjoy creating a new story, seeing where it will go and what will happen.

GW: How did your plot and characters develop? (Organically, or did you do an outline first?)

KH: The process for JANEOLOGY was unlike any other piece I’ve worked on because it was two separate story ideas that just decided overnight (without consulting me) to get together and become one. I was writing one story about a man who is afraid of his wife after she has a mental breakdown, comes home and finds a cryptic scary message written out with Scrabble letters and knows she’s been in the house. This story was the result of a Stephen King website prompt that suggested thinking up a common conflict and then flip-flopping the genders or races. I thought about a man stalking his ex, then I switched sexes. At the same time, I had another idea brewing about writing about a character from the perspective of her genealogy. I had loosely plotted out both story ideas. The genealogy story plan was easy because I used the pedigree chart for my own family to sketch out dates, times and locations for fictional characters.

GW: What's your writing routine like?

KH: My routine is only a routine in that it’s dictated by when my girls are at home. If they are out of school, I write at night. But when they are in school, I write from about ten in the morning until two.

GW: Have you sought agent representation?

KH: Yes, but I don’t yet have an agent and would really love to gain representation soon. (If you are an agent reading this, well, my you are very good-looking!) We’ll see if that helps. Seriously, my goal is to get an agent and I’m working hard right now to do research, query and contact agents. I once worked as an intern for a Dallas literary agent and I know how hard they work and how dedicated they are to helping get good books out there. I have a lot of respect for them and realize that getting one is a bit like conception – everything has to line up just right and it won’t work if one or both parties just aren’t in the mood.

GW: What's next for you in the writing arena?

KH: I’m in that writer’s vortex where I’m still promoting JANEOLOGY, trying to sell the next book, PRODIGAL SON, and writing a new book that features Jane’s daughter, Sarah, as she comes of age one summer. It’s a weird place to be in because your creative energies are so divided between being in that pitching/marketing mode and the storytelling mode. Sometimes I forget which story I’m supposed to be talking about. That’s a good problem though!

Since I always like to participate in National Novel Writing Month each November (which I highly recommend to all writers) I hope to sketch out an outline for a new novel that I can work on. I have an idea about writing how an adulterous affair impacts a marriage and alternate the chapters between the entire love triangle.

GW: Any regrets with JANEOLOGY?

KH: No way! I’m still thrilled to have an ISBN. Of course, there are flaws in the book that I will probably continue to edit in my head for the rest of my life, but I am still so excited that I even have a book.

GW: Tell us something juicy or strange I didn't ask about in connection with being an author, the book, your publisher or whatever.

KH: One of the more interesting things that has happened since the book came out is that I receive emails from strangers who demand to know the full resolution of the book. And I mean DEMAND! It’s funny because this is something I would never have expected, but I completely understand. After all, I’m a reader, too, and I often have questions about what I read. But I’ve always subscribed to the belief that the writer does half the job of storytelling and the reader does the other half so I like the effect an ambiguous conclusion can have on the reader. Life is untidy and I like fiction that doesn’t wrap everything up in a neat box.

**Thanks, Karen! Readers, if you're looking for a different and fascinating summer book, check out JANEOLOGY. You won't regret it.
I stumbled into a real interesting blog the other night by a writer lady named K. If you wanna take a chance on winning another interesting sounding book, hop on over and leave her a comment here.

Patricia Neely-Dorsey has asked me to announce her book of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia -- A Life in Poems. You can learn more about Patricia and her work at her website.

Last, but certainly anything but least, Amy Sue Nathan is also hosting a book giveaway at her new blog Suburban Kvetch. Go say hey and register to win!


Stacy Post said...

WOW! I never win anything...except a Weber grill for my dad when I was fifteen, which convinced me that my contest karma was done for my lifetime. :) Thank you so much for selecting my haiku. It wasn't too much of a stretch of my imagination...Indiana has been severely muggy lately. Thanks again!! Woo-hoo! (I love Irish Gumbo's haiku too.) Angie, I e-mailed your address listed on your profile. YAY!

B.J. Anderson said...

Great interview!! And the book sounds fascinating.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Great interview, thanks, Angie! BTW? No. Wife. Swap. For. You.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Congrats, Stacy! (Could ya wiggle your casted foot for us?) :) Now the Weber grill mojo is broken, you can go on to more and bigger wins. So glad the EMAIL ATTACHED TO MY PROFILE came in handy. LOL

B.J., it truly is a great read. I don't think I've ever come across such a unique plot. As they say on ebay, "Highly recommend!"

Thanks, Carrie Link(age). But I'm soooo disappointed & surprised you don't wanna swap lives for a while. L O L (I'm going to the post office today, but don't tell the young 'un yet...we don't ever rush the Alligator Express Postal Service.) :)

Deb Shucka said...

What a great interview! Looking forward to checking out this new book.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Deb, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Fascinating read!

Small Footprints said...

Wow ... you've packed a lot into this Wednesday post! I loved the interview! Now, I'm headed over to check out the book giveaways! Thanks for sharing those!

Today starts a new green challenge at my place. If you have a minute, I hope you'll stop by. We're changing the world ... one challenge at a time!

Have a great day!

Small Footprints

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh! Janeology sounds fascinating! I think I'd love to read that book! Thanks for the interview!

Jill Kemerer said...

Wow! Great stuff! And Haiku is the only form of poetry I'm capable of :) Thanks for a great post!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Interesting interview, love the insight into her writing process. The haiku was good too!

Marguerite said...

Thanks, Angie! What a great interview! Can't wait to check out the book. Congrats to Stacy and Irish for top Haikus!

t i m said...

my summer break is just around the corner, i may just pick that up :)

Terresa said...

The haikus were delicious and Janeology sounds like a thrilling read. Glad I stumbled upon your site (via Jenni James & her sweet blog).

MeganRebekah said...

Great interview - the books sounds amazing!

Debbie said...

This post is just chock full of goodness! Love the interview and I have heard great things about Janeology.
Congrats to the haiku winners. I am so shocked I didn't win:)
Off to check out your links.

giddymomof6 said...

You are so awesome ANGIE!!!! What a great review! Thanks so much for posting this! And congrats to the wonderful Haiku winners! Jenni

colbymarshall said...

Cool- I may have to check that out!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Small, congrats on your challenges. Making the world a better place, one footprint at a time!

It really was a fresh read, Jessica.

LOL, Jill. You're welcome. And you too, Elizabeth. :)

Marguerite, glad ya enjoyed!

t i m, I'll want a report after your reading. :o)

Welcome, Terresa! I heart Jenni. Glad ya stopped by.

MR, it truly was. Hope you get a copy!

Thanks, Debbie. (I did so love your haiku.) LOL

Hey, Jenni/giddy! Thanks forthe kind words. Karen did give a great interview, didn't she? :)

Colby, do it. You'll be glad.

Preacher Morsel said...

Thanks for the interview....enjoyed it. And CONGRATS to the Haiku winners. Great job!

Scobberlotcher said...


Thanks so much for inviting me to your wonderful blog and posting this interview!

Happy 4th!

Karen Harrington
author, Janeology

Margay said...

I can attest to the fact that the book is fascinating - you will never look at your DNA the same way again after reading it. Great interview!


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