Saturday, September 1, 2012

Interview :: writer, Karen Luellen

Karen LuellenI have my first interview for you all. A writer named, Karen Luellen. She has 3 books out - 4th coming out soon - and the books are amazing!! They're called, Winter's Saga. You can find them on I deeply recommend them. If you like SciFi, you'll love these! Plus, they make you laugh, cry, and hope all while reading. I couldn't put them down, and I'm so anxious to get to reading on book #4 (I'm a "betahead" for it, but haven't had a chance to start yet - I'm late on it).

Karen is a great author, as well as a great woman. She's so kind, always answers comments fans leave her, and when she sent me an add request on Facebook, I almost passed out, haha. I figured I'd ask if I could interview her. Sure enough, she said yes! I feel so honored! So now, whether you've read the books or not, this will be great to read and find out more about her - and maybe help you to want to check out her books.

  • 1. When did you start writing Winter's Saga?
I started writing Winter's Saga over Thanksgiving break 2008. The first book was published in 2009 and just sat collecting dust in some old-school publisher's back shelf. It took me two years to write book #2 because I was so bummed about the lack of exposure book #1 was getting.

Eventually, my husband Dan convinced me to write book #2 just because I love to write, and not for any other reason. I doubted anyone outside my family and close friends would ever read my two little novels, but I was writing because it made me happy--and for no other reason.

Then I broke my hand.

Yes, graceful me *rolling eyes*. I tripped walking up the two tiny steps coming in from the garage level to the kitchen hard tile. The doctor called it a "boxer's break."
A) I felt like an idiot.
B) It was my dominant (right) hand so I couldn’t even write.
And C) I couldn't type for six weeks while I wore a cast. Then I had another three weeks of physical therapy before I could remotely work a keyboard.

So instead of doing my normal thing, I read GOBS of books on my Kindle. Some of the books I read, I would specifically go look to see who the publisher was because I enjoyed them so much. Several of my favorites were published by the author themselves. That's what got me researching Amazon Direct Publishing.

If I hadn’t broken my hand, I would have never slowed down long enough to learn about the new wave of indie publishing through them. God works in wonderful ways!

  • 2. How did you come up with the idea for it?
I was folding laundry one evening when the idea for a young female protagonist who was beautifully flawed but all heart just started spinning in my head. Lots of things spin in my head, so I didn’t think too much of it at first. Eventually those thoughts were bothering/interesting me so much, I grabbed a spiral notebook and a pen and started jotting down ideas for her. I think I even drew a picture of her (and no, I'm no artist). Originally the plan was to write a trilogy in first person focusing on Meg’s adventures. Book #2 turned out more of a hybrid between first person and third person because of the situation. It turned out that my characters became so important to me, I couldn't stand the idea of not being with them for longer than three books. Nor did I want to just focus on Meg. I loved ALL of them and wanted each of their voices heard.

  • 3. Are you planning to add more to Winter’s Saga after book 4?
There will be a fifth book; I know that for sure. Evan has to have his evolution! I honestly haven't planned a sixth book, but if it feels like their story isn't done, I'll keep writing about the Winter Clan until it feels complete. I often feel like their scribe—my characters, I mean. They tell me what they want me to say, and I do my level best to write their stories. :)

  • 4. Did you think you would become popular so quickly with these books?
Um... popular? *laughing* I honestly don't consider myself a popular author, but thank you for thinking of the books in that light!

  • 5. After you complete the Winter's Saga, do you plan to start a new series of books?
Yes. I already have several ideas. You know me—the plot lines are already spinning in my head.

  • 6. What would you say if someone wanted to turn Winter's Saga into movies?
Wow, you know, I’ve had lots of people tell me that when they read the books, they feel like they’re watching a movie. I must admit, they do read a little script-like. I love movies! I love everything about the escape of a kick-butt action/adventure/tear-jerker. Every sentence I write is to music; almost as though I’m creating my own soundtrack. So, if someone contacted me wanting to turn Winter’s Saga into a movie, I’m ALL IN!

  • 7. Did you always want to write books, or decided one day you wanted to try writing a book?
What a great question! Writing always came easily to me—maybe a little too easily. Please don’t think I’m bragging. Any gift I have is from God and to be used for His works.

What I mean is, as a little girl I would delve into my imagination so easily that I thought everyone could do it, too. Just like most people can speak, laugh, walk, run, and even breathe. I thought everyone could write because it came so naturally to me, it must come naturally to everyone.

In high school I finally started figuring out how very different I was. I didn’t have to take courses upon courses on how to write creatively, or be taught to interpret and wield writing techniques—they were just there, in my head. Somehow, I already knew. My senior high school English teacher actually accused me of plagiarizing an interpretation I did on a Shakespearean work. It broke my heart that she didn’t trust those words and thoughts had come from me.

So, to answer your question, I think I knew I was meant to write—it just took the prompting of my dear husband, Dan to give me the courage to try to write a book.

  • 8. You're a wife, mom, you work, and you write amazing books... how do you do it all? You're like Super Woman!
*Gulp* when you put it like that, I feel as if I’m due for a nap! Well, I’ve mentioned my very supportive husband, Dan. He understands how important writing is to me—how it’s part of my identity. So during the weekends, he doesn’t give me a hard time about “getting in the zone.” (That’s what my family calls it when I slip my ear buds in and let my fingers fly across the keyboard.)

I write when I’m not teaching. So, every holiday, summer break and weekend is spent writing. You can imagine I’m very busy during the summer months and during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. I also am blessed to be able to write pretty fast. I average 3,000 to 5,000 words a day. Sometimes I can write as many as 8,000. So a 90,000 word book (like books #3 and #4) is doable inside of four full weeks of constant work.

As for my children, they’re older now, but they still need me. My writing leaves me right here on the sofa or in the home office. I’m always here, available to talk. To get them talking to me, I bounce ideas off of them, get them to name characters, and ask their opinion about possible scenarios. I think they get a kick out of seeing me so enraptured by my own “imaginary friends.”

My daughter, Kathryn, has been instrumental in helping me as she alpha reads the books looking at them through a real YA eyes. She’s a budding writer herself!

  • 9. When you get stumped during your writing, what do you do to get the ball rolling again?
It depends on what kind of stumped.

If I’m struggling just a little, I get the egg timer and set it for seven minutes, forcing myself to type non-stop about anything that comes into my head until the timer goes off.

If I’m medium stuck, I can talk it through with Dan and he usually gives me some amazing idea to get me through. He’s my rock. I get so caught up in writing to the senses, all the details of each scene,… he helps me remember where I was trying to go with it all to move the storylines along.

If neither of those tactics work, it’s because I’m pushing myself too hard, and I need to step back for a day or so. When I come back, I have fresh eyes and my brain has been quietly mulling over the issues even while I was on my break. That has always worked in the past, but it’s hard to make myself do. Dan has had to strongly encourage (read: insist) me to stop as it’s making me, and by proxy him, crazy. *sheepish grin*

  • 10. What advice do you have for those wanting to write, but unsure how to start? There are entire books written on the subject of how to become a writer. These days it seems to be best to prove yourself first by becoming an "indie author" and self-publish. As for the writing process itself:

1) Write because you love to and would do it even if no one ever read a single sentence

2) Read gobs of books.

3) Try not to write the parts you would skip past if you were reading the story yourself

4) Make your Word auto save every minute, (Yeah, I learned that lesson the hard way.:/) and email your book to yourself every 10,000 words or so and/or save to a flash drive.

5) Fall in love with your characters to the point where you know everything about them...their favorite foods, colors, music, memories, sayings. The more real they are to you, the more real they'll be to your readers.

The final piece of advice: Just start writing. Don’t be afraid of the blank page, savor it! Breathe life into it by writing with your senses. Keep trying and studying about writing. It is a craft—learn it!

  • One more thing I wanted to share, Jaime. - 11. Why didn’t you go through the traditional path of getting a literary agent?
I tried. Boy did I try. At one point I was close to signing with one woman from a well-known YA agency.

She really enjoyed my book and thought she could turn it into a hot seller, but she wanted me to take out the “Christian slant.” She said the science fiction aspect made it a hard sell to Christian book stores, and the “God talk” made it unpalatable to the secular book stores. “So take out the Christian stuff, and I can work with it,” she said.

I refused and walked away. I am so glad I did!

  • Thanks for letting me interview you! :D
Thanks for asking! You asked interesting questions, Jaime! Thanks so much!

You can find more about Karen and her books here:


  1. I discovered Winter's saga on Amazon this last summer and I could not put it down. Her stories are so alive and so engaging. I have been a huge scifi buff and fan for almost 40 years and Mrs. Luellen is now officially my favorite author! Find Winter's Saga on Amazon! Read them! You will be glad you did!

  2. This is SO COOL!!!!!

    I have to check out these books!