Celebrating Friday the 13th with 13 Questions from Karen: Portals to New Worlds

Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire Book Blog Tour Stop Feb 13th

Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I wrote a lot of stories in creative writing class when I was a kid, a lot of poetry to release the angst as a pre-teen and I even had my own column in the local town paper as a sixteen year old but I was never thought of it as a career. I focused most of my creative energy on drawing, painting and acting when I wasn’t reading of course. I was the lead in a local play as a young adult and I set my focus to making it as an actress. Of course I did always say I was going to write an exciting biography after I retired from Hollywood. Boy has that ship sailed.

When the College auditions brought out a side of stage fright that I’d never experienced, I decided acting wasn’t for me and went to school for advertising which lead me to a career in technology and media sales. Something I did not find emotionally fulfilling but that I made a decent living at. I still read fiction every day, and when I got pregnant with my son, I decided to put my maternity leave to good use. So I wrote my first novel, The Temple of Indra’s Jewel.

The strange thing is, I never did anything with it—I didn’t know any other writers and so I had no idea how to get published. I went back to my career in sales, and it wasn’t until I attended the Ontario Writers Conference on a lark that I met and connected with fellow writer Marissa Campbell (upcoming book release) who invited me to attend Connie Sparacino’s writers group. It was there that I met the B7 ladies, A.B Funkhauser (upcoming book release), Yvonne Hess, Susan Croft and Ann Dulhanty who became my avid supporters providing insightful feedback and instrumental advice.

How long did it take to get published?

I’m the first to admit that patience is not one of my virtues so thankfully my time was mercifully brief compared to most—that is partly because I’m a person who believes in making their own fate. I took the bull by the horns and I self-published my first book. If I could do it over, would I? No, I wouldn’t do it the same way. I mean I didn’t even try to get picked up before publishing Temple. Like I said, I was very innocent of how the publishing industry worked. That being said, one never knows what could have been. Life is a series of stepping stones, so perhaps self-publishing my first book is why my second book got picked up. Many publishers now look at someone who has self-published as someone who is willing to dig in and help market. Or maybe it was why my second book got turned down by the agents that requested full manuscripts from me. There were quite a few interested, unfortunately for me at the time, I was told traditional publishers weren’t keen on a sequel to a self-published novel.

The one advantage to shopping the second novel was the invaluable feedback I received and so I must give a shout out to the acquisitions editor Jen Corkill at Divitir Publishing. She was interested in my manuscript and made suggestions, encouraging me to re-submit. In the end her suggestions clicked with me and the result was a new opening. It wasn’t too long after that I received the contract offer from Solstice Publishing. They contacted me only days after I submitted the revamped manuscript which had been the result of a #Pitmad contest request—God Bless Twitter and Brenda Drake for jumpstarting my career.

Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it? No. Thankfully I have been writing full time for a year now and I love it. I do have little ones at home but my mother-in-law graciously babysits a few days a week allowing me to get some work done.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 30 words what would you say? Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire is about a time-traveling woman whose destiny to be murdered by someone close to her in every life pits her against an obsessed killer.

Who is your publisher? Solstice Publishing—one of the fastest growing mid-market publishers in the USA. They are a wonderfully supportive network of professionals and I am so grateful to them.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it? Isn’t that just the magical question—I’ll let you know when I actually get into a routine of putting out books. So far I’ve published two novels, one short story and I’ve half written at least two other novels and they’ve all overlapped so at this time I have no idea what my timeframe truly is.

What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? The Temple of Indra is a trilogy, so there is one more book in this time travel mystery adventure series coming out. I know, it’s really everything but the kitchen sink. After that I plan to spread my wings and try a few different genres although I suspect my heart belongs to mystery. I’m already half done a nice light murder mystery I classify as a beach read. I’d like to write a YA adventure as well as a mainstream thriller and maybe try my hand at a cozy mystery too. Why choose just one smartie when you can taste them all, right?

What genre would you place your series into? Well I’ve managed to stay on the Amazon Bestsellers List for a week now in the Time Travel Romance category so I’m thinking I belong there although my book does have a reincarnation twist. I personally feel like Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire, is more of a mystery/thriller but the first book, The Temple of Indra’s Jewel was definitely romance adventure so it’s very hard to categorize it as a series. Which is why I’ve nicknamed my genre for it, the kitchen sink.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books? I think so, unless there are more lurking in the internetosphere that I’m unaware of. So far, I’m been very pleased with all of the reviews received on Amazon, Goodreads and some sent to me personally which I’ve pasted to my website.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback? Ebook because the only time I have to read is right before I pass out and that is best done in bed in the surrounding darkness. It is my little piece of heaven that I look forward to EVERYDAY! Don’t get me wrong I still love physicals books but the lamp keeps my hubby up. Libraries are still my favorite place to chill.

Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer? How about favorite book to television series. Hello BBC and Diana Gabbaldon’s Outlander. Can it please be April already?

Your favorite food is? Well hell, why don’t we just go with a full favourite cheat meal: salmon sashimi, spicy hummas with suicide sauce, a nice glass or two of Wallaroo shiraz and peanut butter cups. I feel like we’ve just gotten into our jammies and braided each other’s hair.

Your favorite color is? Animal Print. That’s a color right? J

Once again thank you for the interview.

Karen Swart - Portals to new worlds


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