I met this amazing woman, Karen DeLabar, from Twitter. She’s a classy and witty lady, and one I’d like to call a friend. I admire her passion for not only the love she has for her family, but for her writing. She’s a dedicated wife and mother who does what she loves to do, which is write. That’s only one of many reasons as to why I love her! I am so happy Karen could join me at Chick Lit Goddess for a guest post during the holiday season!
What led you to writing, or is it something you’ve always done? Expressing myself has always come natural to me and for most of my life my outlet for that expression was the stage. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be an actor; I even started college as a theatre major, but life didn’t take me towards the Great White Way. However, it did put a young man by the name of Eric in my path. It was my husband that pushed me to put my expressions down on paper.
He has always been amazed at the vividness of my dreams and my ability to recall them the next morning. From day one of our relationship he said that I should be a writer but it wasn’t until after the birth of my second daughter, 10 years later, that I even entertained the thought. Eric introduced me to NaNoWriMo last year and challenged me to do it. Anyone knowing me knows that unless its physically impossible for me to do so, I almost always take a challenge. I wrote my first novel that month, or at least the start of a novel. Alas, its a novel that is currently sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk, but its there as a reminder that I can do it, that I want to do it.
I came alive that month, as corny as that sounds but its the truth. I was lost for awhile trying to figure out how to channel my creativity and need for connections with only two little babies at home with me. Writing gave me an outlet and lead me to meet some of the most interesting people the literary world has to offer.
At what moment did you consider yourself a writer? I don’t remember the day but I definitely remember the moment. It was in early December last year, shortly after NaNo ended and I sat in my darkened dining room, the light of the blank computer screen my only light. I had just finished writing close to 72K in 25 days during NaNo and I felt drained, exhausted and yet… I had this itch. This bubbling inside my tummy. At the end of those 25 days I couldn’t coherently string two words together but in this moment story lines and dialogue came rushing at me from all directions. I couldn’t type fast enough. I think I even had that maniacal laugh delusional mad scientists are known for. It was great!
I do consider myself a writer, however, I’m a mom, too. And right now that comes first. There are days when I can write when they go to bed, or when they play nicely together, but unfortunately more often than not, my writing time is few and far between. But fear not, my oldest is going to be four… that means school is right around the corner. 😉
What’s a day in the life of Karen DeLabar? Scary. You don’t want to know. Just kidding. Like I said above, its the life of a mom. I wake up to a very energetic and loud almost 4 year old declaring that she needs to pee. Every day. I usually lay in bed for another hour until I realize that I should have gotten up when she first awakened me because now I’m late. After waking up my youngest, I dress them both in something that I pray matches because my eyes are basically glued shut until I have my coffee. After they’re dressed, I grab a cup of coffee (because driving requires sight) and out the door we go to either school, or my mother-in-law’s for morning day care.
So I have my mornings free, I should write, right? Nope. I wish, but the truth is, I can’t write in the morning. I’ve tried, I’ve failed. So, I do what any self-respecting writer would do… I head to Twitter. 🙂
After catching up with friends while doing some mindless chores around the house I pick the kids up after lunch and nap time comes. Wooooo! Now, I write. Wait, nope, not then either. I usually read or write (yay!) reviews (oh.) for the many wonderful authors I’ve met through my morning tweeting.
Sometimes at night there is dance class for the oldest and sometimes there are gym classes for me but our night’s fly by and before I know it, its bed time for the girls. If it’s a good day, I write, if it’s not, I watch tv with the hubs. Ah, the glamorous life of a mom.
When and how do you have time to write? Well, you saw my day. It revolves around dropping off and picking up offspring, breaking up fights, teaching lessons on sharing and why you shouldn’t pull your dress up over your head in public. But on a good day, which means when the kids haven’t drained me of all conscious thought, I sit down after they go to bed at night and write. I may continue a review I started in the afternoon, I may pull up my WIP, or whip out a blog post or just write down thoughts I had during the day. Those are always my favorite nights.
I’m definitely a night writer. I love the stillness of the night. The worries of the day seem to lose importance and I can focus on what I find to be important or inspiring.
What is your favorite genre to read? To Write? I’m a hopeless romantic. I love to read about happy endings because darn it, they just don’t happen in real life, do they? And if they do, not often enough. But the ones I really love reading and writing are the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking ones where two people find a way to accept the faults in each other and still find a way to be happy.
With that said, I hate fluff stories. Give me drama, give me tears, and give me supernatural. There’s a darkness to supernatural stories that attracts me to no end it’s why I read them and now write them.
However, thanks to the people that I’ve met on Twitter I have read science fiction, thriller/suspense, urban fantasy, erotica and chick lit that I have all loved and left me wanting more. When it comes to reading I can honestly say that I’ll read anything as long as it’s a good story… and having some hot sex scenes thrown in there never hurts. 🙂
What writer(s) inspire(s) you? Being of the romance persuasion I have to say that Nora Roberts is the one that got me addicted to genre so without a doubt she is my first inspiration. Her characters are accessible and her stories are easy to get swept away in. Julia Quinn’s historical romances are funny and heartwarming and when I need a quick pick me up I turn to her. For the supernatural I love Laurell K. Hamilton and JR Ward; those two are my favorites in the genre.
As for general writers, I’m going to get sappy here for a second, but the authors that I’ve met on Twitter inspire me to no end. It doesn’t matter if they are traditionally published or are doing it on their own, they all have a story to tell and will do their damnedest to see it out there. They network, they support each other, they beta read, copy edit and review each other’s work. It’s amazing to watch and I’m grateful to be a part of such a network.
What are your personal goals for your writing? To write! Ack! Oh, if I could just write every day. So, you know what? My New Year’s resolution is to write every day. I don’t care if its five minutes a day or writing 5,000 words a day, I’m doing it. And I’m not even waiting for the new year. I know, I’m a rebel. 😉 I’ve already started and so far so good.
So as long as I keep up that goal, my next one is to have a story ready to be published by summer. Whether that means I start looking for an agent or publisher or by doing the indie thing I haven’t decided, but dammit that story is going to be ready!
With the “Have Coffee…Will Write” being over with, tell us something about Writing on the Rocks? Writing on the Rocks was meant to be a place for people to come together to read and review each other’s works. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. But not all was lost. I’ve met some terrific writers through this venue who have opened me up to more channels of networking. The site, as it was, was shut down and integrated into my personal website. It’s currenlty being used as a home for my own reviews, interviews and blog posts.
Which do you prefer, ebook or paperback? Tough one. I love the smell of books and I love seeing them on my bookshelves. I know that’s a bit weird but it’s like looking at them and seeing old friends. However, I love the accessibility my Kindle gives me. Anytime, anywhere a book is at my fingertips. And, there are times when I’m reading my Kindle and my fingers go to turn the page. It is quite surreal when I realize that I have to hit a button and not flip a page.
So, to finally answer your question, I’ll go with ebook purely for the fact of having multiple books at the ready no matter where I am.
What has been your most proudest moment in your writing career? When my book went live and I had 30 sales in the first 10 minutes and they were all from people I did not know. … Oh, wait, whoops. There goes my imagination again. 🙂 In all honestly, my proudest moment happened a few days ago and came to me by way of a request from a friend.
I received an email from a friend, let’s call her Veruca, who had dinner with a friend of hers. This friend seemed like someone who had the world wrapped around her finger, almost too perfect, you know? However, as the meal progressed Veruca learned that her friend’s life is far from perfect, in fact, her friend’s life holds some very tough struggles. Veruca left the dinner realizing that pretty much everyone has problems its just some are better at hiding them. It got her thinking about how everyone has their struggles and you never really know what is going on behind someone’s smile.
This is part of her email to me, “I was thinking about your blogs yesterday, and how they’re always so honest and mostly funny but sometimes just pure truth, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on a topic like this.” I was blown away by her email. The fact that she thought of me, my blog, the way I look at things and wanted me to write about it was something I held as a great compliment.
Writers take on difficult topics all the time. We break down human nature and inspect it in minute detail so we can truthfully, honestly, and reliably put it back together in a way for our readers to relate to. We hope to touch, to teach and to inspire a desire in our readers to question the meaning around them. Whether that inspiration comes through a comedy who wants you to take pleasure in the little things in life, or the spy thriller that makes you question government activities, or a romance that teaches you the meaning of love, our goal is to portray life openly and honestly. Veruca’s comments to me led me to believe that I’m on the right track with my work.
I have to say I was pretty proud at that moment. 🙂
It’s a known thing that you like scotch. Is that your drink of choice when writing, or to inspire new ideas? Both? I started drinking Scotch a couple of years ago while I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Her characters were always drinking it and I thought, “why not?” So I started… and now I can’t stop. 🙂
I’ll admit that after a tough day I’ll relax with a snifter of Scotch (straight, no rocks) and let the worries of the day melt away. I by no means have a drinking problem, but it does help me relax and I have a wicked inner editor that 2 fingers of Scotch can help quell. But I’m not biased either, I’ll drink any alcoholic beverages while writing. 😉 However, I do have to say when I’m writing reviews Pinot Grigio is my go to drink of choice. I don’t know why, but it helps me formulate ideas about other’s work. However, just so everyone knows, I always finish my reviews at night and reread them the next day… sober. 🙂
Do you have any upcoming projects? I’m currently working on the first in a trilogy about two warring kingdoms existing just outside the realm of our world. It has magic, sex, humor and heartache, all the things I love to read and write about. I’m hoping to have it ready to go this coming summer. I’ll definitely keep you posted!
**For more information on Karen DeLabar, please visit her at the following: