With the response these interviews have been getting, I decided to keep it going, and I asked Karen Ann Hopkins, the author of the Serenity’s Plain Secrets, Wings of War, and Temptation series if she’d be interested. She graciously accepted the invitation to take part, and enthusiastically talked about her writing and Serenity’s Plain Secrets series.
But as I’ve hinted at in my updates, this interview is going to be a bit different. So keep reading until the end; it’s worth it!
Hi, Karen. Welcome to Read A Lot.
Q: Had you always planned on becoming a published author?
A: No, not at all. I was working as a horseback riding instructor when I moved from Tennessee into the middle of an Amish community in northern Kentucky. I was inspired by my new neighbors to begin writing.
Q: What inspired you to write the Serenity’s Plain Secrets series?
A: My agent suggested I write an Amish-themed mystery series. I was very intimidated at the thought, but went ahead and gave it a try, coming up with Lamb to the Slaughter, the first book in the series.
Q: What made you choose the mystery genre?
A: The Amish have a creepy side that I felt played very well into the mystery genre. I had also accumulated a lot of information from the Amish that I could work into my stories by that time.
Q: What is the series about?
A: The death of a teenage girl in a cornfield looks like an accident, but sheriff Serenity Adams suspects foul play. To solve the murder, she must investigate the nearby Amish community with the help of a man who was shunned years ago. The investigation leads to others for Serenity, opening up a strange underworld in the heartland of America.
Q: Did you find it easiest to write with a schedule or with no time restrictions?
A: I’m not overly structured with my writing time, but once I do begin a project, I like to stay on track, completing at least five to ten pages a day.
Q: Can you choose a favorite character?
A: Serenity Adams has a lot of me in her and is comfortable and fun to work with. Daniel Bachman, her partner in the investigations and romantic interest, is more challenging, being an ex-Amish person, with a lot of baggage.
Q: Was there ever a point while you were writing your books when you wanted to give up?
A: Several times I became overwhelmed with personal problems and outside forces while writing, and came close to calling it quits. Writing takes so much focus and being in an emotionally healthy place is essential. But as a side note, I’ve discovered I write very well under pressure. The sense of urgency brings out the best in me.
Q: What is the worst part of the writing process for you?
A: Starting the book! I find the first fifty pages or so to be difficult. Once I get past that point it becomes much easier. The story takes on a life of its own and I can see the finish line.
Q: How much of your stories do you plan, or do you find it easier to make them up as you go along?
A: I spend a few weeks doing research, taking notes and writing a simple outline for all my books in advance.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece of writing advice?
A: My best advice is to not stop writing to edit your work. Keep going until you’re done and then go back and edit to perfection. Too many aspiring authors get stuck on making each sentence, paragraph, and chapter perfect as they go. But that stops forward momentum and gets the writer stuck in place. Once I get started, I write from a stream of consciousness and keep trucking along.
Q: Where can people learn more about your books?
Q: What have you learned since you started writing?
A: That I can accomplish pretty much anything I set my mind to. If someone had told me while I was writing my first novel (Temptation) that I’d go on to complete eleven books, I would never have believed it. It began as an inspiration and a goal, and now it’s my career.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m currently working on the fourth book in my YA fantasy series, Wings of War and the fifth book in Serenity’s Plain Secrets. After that, I have an idea for a brand new series, but it’s only in the dream stage at this point.
Now here’s the surprise.
Karen generously offered to giveaway a signed copy of her book Lamb To The Slaughter available, along with e-copies of the other four books in the series, discount codes for the Audible versions of her Wings of War series. And if that’s not enough, I’m throwing in 2 signed copies of The Game Begins.
All you need to do enter is follow this blog, like this post, and follow Karen on Instagram or like her Facebook page. I’ll choose the winners on the 30th of November, so there’s plenty of time to get involved.