Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, novelist Karin Beery. Karin’s goal in writing was to write clean romances to “fill that middle ground between prairie romances and bodice rippers.”
Welcome, Karin! Tell us about your book, Avoiding Marriage: A Practically Married Novella.
Two years ago, Jessica Miller made a mess of her already confusing life. Now, she’s back in Boyne Heights, and she’s determined to fix her reputation, even if that means working for her ex-boyfriend and avoiding her grandmother’s attempts to find her a new one.
That sounds intriguing! What is the primary focus of your book?
In Practically Married, Jess is the crazy ex-girlfriend, but I kept asking myself, “Why would Russ have dated her if she’s crazy? And if she’s not crazy, why would he break up with her?” I wanted to answer those questions in Avoiding Marriage.
Redeeming side characters is always fun. And what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope it’s an enjoyable escape from everyday struggles. There’s enough drama in life; I hope my books provide a fun—and hopeful—escape from all of that.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I’ve never written a sequel, so I had to keep track of dates and timelines more carefully. For example, I had a family with infant twins, but based on when I ended the first book, she would still be pregnant! There’s a lot more attention to details.
Readers definitely notice those things! And what about themes? Are there any themes you return to again and again in your writing?
Hope and love. Even though I’m writing clean, general market fiction (instead of Christian fiction), I always include those. Like I said, there’s a lot of drama in life, but there’s always hope and love in Christ. I never intended to include those themes, but I can’t seem to keep them out.
Our world certainly needs hope. What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
It’s hard work. Literally anyone can sit down and write a book. Writing a captivating novel that people talk about and sells well, however, takes a lot of research, time, and concentration. We can put out 2-4 books a year, but if we want to keep writing great books, it takes time.
Amen to that! Now do you have a story about your funniest moment with a reader?
After publishing my first Christian novel, I made the switch to clean, general market. It’s an interesting place to break into because there’s nothing explicit (which some general market readers want). I’ve been able to convince readers to try my books, though, and have had some great feedback. One guy I know told me how much he enjoyed my book. He said he usually reads books with more sex in them, but he didn’t mind its absence because the story was so good!
Love it! And speaking of love, do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
I have two cats and two dogs. Having the dogs is wonderful—they force me to get up and walk (it would be easy to sit at my computer all day). Writing is solitary work, and I don’t have children, so I love having so much affection and distraction throughout the day.
They sound like the perfect companions. Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I LIVE by my day planner. It’s an actual paper planner. If I don’t write it down, I won’t remember it (typing it into a phone doesn’t work). I have some strong ADD tendencies so it’s a constant struggle. Seriously, though, if anyone can create a time management system to help ADD artists stay focused and on track, you could make millions!
Tell us about your favorite library memory.
I grew up in a small town a few blocks from our library. On Sundays in the summer, I’d walk to the library to hang out. Mr. Dixon usually worked Sundays. I’m sure I talked his ear off, but he was always so kind. He even let me put the cards back in the books that had been returned.
What fun! Please tell us about your next project.
I’m wrapping up edits on book one of a new series, but there’s been enough interest that it looks like I’ll be writing a sequel to Avoiding Marriage.