In Case You Missed It...
Between The Pages ~ Live with Karen Rock
February, 28, 2017 on our Facebook Page
I’d like to welcome everyone to Still Moments Magazine’s very first live interview! Our special guest today is Karen Rock. Karen was a little nervous about the ‘live’ chat, but I assured her that no one would ‘see’ her in her flannel pajamas and slippers, lol. So, let’s get right to it and give a big warm welcome to Karen!
Karen Rock Hi, Deanna! Do you have any questions for me?
Deanna Marie Vrba How do you pick your cover and see the characters coming to life
Pam Jones-hamblin HEY KAREN!!!
Karen Rock Hi, everyone! I was nervous about doing a live interview because thought it'd be video taped! This is really fun and I can wear what I want and not worry about my makeup ;) In fact, my fashion is a Snuggie over sweats and a t-shirt with my fuzzy Christmas socks and I can’t put away just yet… very sophisticated! Lol.
Still Moments Magazine I'm very happy about the no video too. I didn't have time to curl my hair today, lol
Karen Rock Also really excited to giveaway a digital copy of A COWBOY TO KEEP!
Pam Jones-hamblin And I can take the honors of the snuggie you have!!
Still Moments Magazine The snuggie sounds super comfy!
Marjorie Light Hi Karen! (No matter how many layers of fuzzy clothing you have on, I'll bet you look ADORABLE!) Miss you my friend.
Karen Rock Awww! Thanks, Marjorie! I miss you, too and we need to get together one of these weekends!
Bonnie Morawa hello nice to be here
Karen Rock Hi, Bonnie! So glad you could stop by :)
Karen Rock Do you have any questions for me?
Bonnie Morawa yes as a author how do you get reviews ?
Bonnie Morawa thank you Karen
Karen Rock Bonnie Morawa I usually go to romance review blogs and fill out their forms or email them as per their instructions. Many need a couple months advance notice because they are so busy, so I try to start contacting them far in advance of a release :) Great question!
Bonnie Morawa thank you so much Karen Rock
Pam Jones-hamblin is there going to be any discussions?
Still Moments Magazine Pam Jones-hamblin you might have to refresh the page to get the new messages :)
Karen Rock Absolutely! Please ask anything- except my weight- then I might fudge a little- lol
Marjorie Light I'd like to hear about how you plot out setting & the movement of characters!
Karen Rock I used to be a pantser but now I'm a big fan of outlining, so I begin with asking essential questions about my characters:
Karen Rock 1. Who is the hero or protagonist? 2. Why will we immediately empathize with the hero? In other words, why will we identify with her when she is introduced? 3. Where is the hero at the beginning of the story, before anything new occurs to get the plot going? What is the everyday life she’s been living, and how does the story show that? 4. What is the hero’s longing (deep desire he’s just paying lip service to) or emotional need (which the hero won’t admit or is unaware of — usually this is to connect with others in some way). What opportunity is presented to the hero at the first key turning point? 5. What new situation is he placed in as a result of that opportunity? Is it by choice, or is the hero forced into it? What will the hero have to figure out, or adjust to, in this new situation? 6. What specific, visible goal or finish line does the hero want to reach by the end of the novel – in other words, what’s the outer motivation? 7. What’s the outer conflict — what makes that goal impossible to achieve? 8. What is the hero’s greatest emotional fear? She may become an addict again. 9. What wound – what painful event or situation in his or her past (usually in adolescence) – led to that fear? 10. If the novel contains a love story, why is the romance character the hero’s destiny? Why did they choose each other, out of all the other people they’ve been involved with? 11. What is the hero’s identity – what protective persona keeps the hero from facing and overcoming her emotional fear? 12. What is the hero’s essence or truth? Who would she be if her identity were stripped away? In other words, who does she have the potential to become, if she’s courageous enough? 13. What is the hero’s arc or character growth? How does she gradually make the transition from her identity to her essence? What gives her the courage to do that? 14. What is the story’s universal theme – how does the arc for the hero provide the reader with a prescription for living a more fulfilled life? 15. What deeper issues – political or social — does the novel explore? 16. What are the successful antecedents for the film — recent, successful novels similar in market demographic, genre, style, tone and/or story, that you can point to and say, “Because those made money, this one will make money.” 17. What is the passion for this project – what do you love about it? That it’s about recasting your weakest moments into moments where you ultimately gained the most strength. 18. What are the biggest weaknesses in the story right now? Plotting events that will help show the romance and character arcs. 19. What makes this a novel – why will thousands of people want to spend their time and money to read it? 20. What are my character's goals? What does the heroine want - more than life itself -before she meets the hero? 21. Once you've decided on the goal, ask yourself what success looks like for your heroine. 22. The next question is Why? Why is this goal so important to the heroine? Whatever the answer, that's the character's motivation. And strong motivation is essential for creating empathetic, complex characters. 23. Finally, ask how loving the hero - this person in particular, not just anyone - threatens the heroine's goal. How could choosing love mean giving up her goal? In a high-stakes romance, the hero and heroine will have to choose: Love or the thing he or she wants most.
Karen Rock Then I begin looking at the hero's Journey:
Karen Rock 1. . THE ORDINARY WORLD. The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress. 2. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change. 3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL. The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead. 4. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR. The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom. 5. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD. At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. 6. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World. 7. APPROACH. The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world. 8. THE ORDEAL. Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life. 9. THE REWARD. The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again. 10. THE ROAD BACK. About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission. 11. THE RESURRECTION. At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved. 12. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR. The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed. HEA
Karen Rock I write the plot events according to the hero's journey- but the plot events really derive from those essential questions :)
Marjorie Light These are great - I think the way you look at 4, 11, and 15 is what makes your characters so believable, as well as giving your stories such great layers
Karen Rock Marjorie Light Thanks, Marjorie! I think knowing your characters before your start the book is critical and makes the story so much easier to understand and write
Still Moments Magazine I am rapidly taking notes :) Great questions to help create your characters!
Karen Rock Still Moments Magazine They've made all the difference to my writing! A huge turning point in terms of figuring things out while writing versus knowing it before drafting
Still Moments Magazine Karen Rock Great tips I will definitely use!
Donamae Clausen Kutska Hi!
Karen Rock Great to see you here, Donamae :) Thanks so much for stopping by!
Karen, what can I get you to drink, and perhaps your favourite snack?
Karen Rock Is it Happy Hour yet? No? Shoot. I’ll go with a cranberry lime seltzer and Tostitoes since they are a “must” to have beside me when I write!
Karen Rock I also have a sweet tooth and love M&Ms
Still Moments Magazine I'm a fan of M&Ms too!
Linda May I love Dark Chocolate M&M's.
Still Moments Magazine It's happy hour somewhere, lol! Tostitoes sound tasty :)
Karen Rock Especially with melted cheese but I'm not trying to be fussy- lol
Still Moments Magazine Anything for our first guest :) Coming right up!
Pam Jones-hamblin Have you tried the mega MnM's?
Karen Rock Whaaaaaght?! Mega M&Ms?! I need these now!
Pam Jones-hamblin Yes! They are twice the size of the regulars. I just polished off a bad from Valentine's day!!
Karen Rock Pam Jones-hamblin I need to run to the drug store after this and grab a box!
Pam Jones-hamblin they are in one of the large bags... they will have pastel colors for Easter, too!
Still Moments Magazine I didn't know megas existed either!
Karen Rock This is life-changing- seriously!!!
Donamae Clausen Kutska So good
Karen Rock Pam Jones-hamblin, do you have any questions for me about books you've read of mine? I know you've read some and I always love hearing your thoughts!
Pam Jones-hamblin oh gosh karen we've chatted so much about them. I guess my fave one was set in our wonderful neck of the woods... the great aderondecks to which i can never spell correctly!! I just love the theme from our area, Do you think you will add in any of the finger lakes?
Karen, please tell everyone a little about yourself.
Karen Rock I’m actually kind of boring! Maybe that’s why I became a writer- so I could become these really exciting people with important lives… lol. My father worked for ICE, so we moved around quite a bit as kids. I remember moving to upstate NY (where I live now) and my teachers saying, “What kind of name is ‘Damone’?” which was my Italian maiden name. Both my parents have parents that immigrated from Italy. (Actually grandparents on my mother’s side). As such, I can make you the best marinara sauce, meatballs and chicken parmigiana you’ve ever had! And I love to bake, too. At Christmas, it’s nothing for me to begin around the second week of November, making and freezing cookies for platters I give them to anyone who’ll take them—even my post man can’t escape me—poor guy! I’m also a huge animal lover and have an adorable CavaPoo mix named Zoey and a kitty named Angel. This year marks my 24th anniversary to an amazing man who still makes me laugh and swoon and we have a daughter who’s attending college to be a screenwriter. She’s achieved so much in life already, but the thing I’m most proud of is that she’s grown up to be a kind person- the greatest achievement in my books :) (Literally- if you get a chance to read them!)
Still Moments Magazine I love chicken parmigiana! AND cookies! ;)
Still Moments Magazine This year marks 25 years for me and my husband. Many best wishes to you! And your daughter sounds lovely.
Karen Rock Congratulations!
Donamae Clausen Kutska My dog is Josie. That is so neat you make and give cookies away!
Karen, what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Karen Rock I'm pretty much always writing- lol (I have five books I'm contracted to write this year- yikes!) but down time is important too :) I’m a huge reader and read about a book a week. I’ll read almost all genres but especially love women’s fiction and romance of course. I used to sew quite a bit, but my writing has taken over the time I used to give to that. I’m an avid fan of reality TV shows like Top Chef, Dancing with the Stars and The Voice as well as period dramas like Downtown Abby and When Calls the Heart. I don’t like to, but I exercise when I’m not writing since most of my day is spent sitting and I also love walking Zoey because she’s a lot more social than me and barrels up to new people all the time, letting me meet them, too. I also belong to a book club that’s been meeting once a month every Friday for almost ten years. We’ve become like sisters and it’s great to have such good friends to laugh and talk and commiserate with.
Still Moments Magazine Five books! That's just crazy, lol! But I know you can do it. I like some reality shows too...Survivor is my favourite. Your book club sounds like fun.
Karen Rock Still Moments Magazine I love those women like they're my sisters! So funny and smart and caring- and we all love to read- it's the perfect night out for me :)
Lynn Brooks I'm jealous! I thought book clubs like that only existed in books. :D
Donamae Clausen Kutska Wow! Five!
I have to tell you your dog, Zoe, is so cute. She’s adorable! That face, and her big eyes, could melt a block of ice. What type of dog is she?
Karen Rock Zoey is a CavaPoo which means she’s half Cavalier King Cocker Spaniel and half poodle. She’s the sweetest girl and always so affectionate. She’s also miss popularity and all of the dogs like to stop by and see her when they’re walking. I literally have to let her outside at least once a day if one of her four-legged friends is passing by and wants to sniff tails.
Karen Rock She's always my writing buddy because she sits on the end of my easy chair and sleeps while I'm writing :)
Still Moments Magazine I don't know how you get any writing done. I would be too busy playing with that fluffy cuteness :)
Karen Rock Still Moments Magazine It's tough for sure! And I wish you could feel her- her fur is as soft as fleece- not exaggerating at all- so even more incentive to pet her!
Karen Rock And she doesn't shed because she's part poodle- love that!
Still Moments Magazine Karen Rock She looks so cuddly. I just love her.
Lynn Brooks Such a doll!
Donamae Clausen Kutska Cute dog! I have one too.
Karen Rock They're such a loving breed!
Deanna Marie Vrba Do you like cowboys, police officers or fire fighters?
Karen Rock Oh my goodness- how to choose?! My husband works in law enforcement- so I know I have to say PO. I also have cousins that are NYC firefighters and they are the greatest guys I know... but I do have a sweet spot for cowboys- they have that old school charm and those manners combined with being outdoors men who are rugged and so so swoony- guess that's why I'm having so much fun with my new series- ROCKY MOUNTAIN COWBOYS!
Karen Rock Thanks for asking that great question :)
Deanna Marie Vrba I love all of them and writing
Pam Jones-hamblin cowboys rock!
Let's get real personal, lol...What one article of clothing have you owned forever and can’t part with?
Pam Jones-hamblin I bet Karen will keep the snugglie a long time to come!
Karen Rock What one article of clothing have you owned forever and can’t part with? Hah! I love this question. I have my wedding dress in one of those sealed boxes that’s supposed to keep it fresh. It has a clear plastic front so I can look at it and remember the day… and also wonder why I needed so many sparkly beads… it’s kind of blinding! Lol.
Still Moments Magazine That is such a special keepsake.
Karen Rock Still Moments Magazine It brings back a lot of memories :) So glad my mom suggested I preserve it
Still Moments Magazine Karen Rock I tried to save mine, but obviously didn't have the right packaging because it yellowed. :(
Karen Rock Still Moments Magazine Oh no- so sorry!
Donamae Clausen Kutska My cowboy boots!
Karen Rock Those can't be parted with once they're broken in!!! Totally agree,
Donamae Clausen Kutska :)
To continue our chat, read Part Two of Live with Karen Rock here: