Tag Archive | Interview on Marcia’s Book Talk

Interview with author Karen Oberlaender

I have the great pleasure today of interviewing Karen Oberlaender, author of the short story collection, IN A SMALL COMPASS, and flash fiction series NEIGHBORS, on Marcia’s Book Talk.

Karen Oberlaender, author photograph

Welcome, Karen, it is lovely to have you here!

Thank you very much, Marcia, it is a pleasure to be here.

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Q: For how long have you been writing?

A: I started writing ‘songs’ for myself when I was about elevenish. Throughout school I did not write much as we were forced to write what the ministry of education deemed necessary. At university, things changed; the topics were more interesting, and regained my love for writing. I kept writing non-fiction texts until I started my first blog, “My train of thoughts on…”, in December 2012. It took me until April 2013 to gather the courage to hit the publish button for my first short story, “Nightmare,” on my second blog, “In a Small Compass”. Let us say I have been writing – with interruptions – for a little more than 40 years.

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Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: Life per se is very inspiring, however not always in a pleasant way. Every story comprises bits and pieces of situations I have been in, of characteristics of the people I have met, personal insights, favourite places, and hobbies.

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Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?

A: As I have a full-time job, opportunities for writing are rare, yet very precious. Writing is mostly limited to a few hours on Saturdays or Sundays; inspiration during my non-writing life is jotted in my little black book or my smartphone for later use.

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Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: I love mysteries, urban fantasy, paranormal stories, and many more.

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Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A: I love the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz.. There is another author who has found his voice, writes in different genres, has unusual ideas he puts into unforgettable stories, who has inspired me even more: C. S. Boyack. He created one very special character, Lisa Burton. You can consider me her greatest fan, and – this incredibly kind author allowed me to integrate Lisa in “Neighbors!” He has a tiny guest appearance, and Lisa helps to solve the mysterious case.

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Q: IN A SMALL COMPASS was a compelling, thought-provoking collection of short stories dealing with themes such as the paranormal and telepathy in a stimulating, enjoyable manner. What led you to write these stories, and do they reflect an interest in these subjects?

IN A SMALL COMPASS by Karen Oberlaender

A: I wrote each story for different reasons, sometimes there are dream fragments, sometimes I was inspired while travelling, in museums. These stories have one thing in common: to help those in need. Each day, innumerable things happen, often they cannot really be explained; there can be noises, scents, etc. So, yes – to a certain degree I am actually interested.

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Q: Amongst your stories, is there one which is closest to your heart, and why?

A: All these stories are very dear to me. Within this first volume, I have to name two of them. One is “Laura non c’è”: I dreamt of a young Italian woman who took her life in her own hands after an unfortunate relationship. She travels to Munich and meets Laura, a British student. “Laura non c’è” is a song by Nek; the title means “Laura is not here”. This song obviously made a great title for this story.

The second story is “Directions”. I dreamt of the black car and the voice asking for directions in Skerries. As Skerries is like home for us, I opted once again for a paranormal helping hand.

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Q: You have just published a flash fiction series entitled NEIGHBORS! featured on your website in book form. Did you intend to compile these segments into a single book, and when did you decide to turn the story into a book?

NEIGHBORS! by Karen Oberlaender

A: It is due to one of my readers’ comments that Neighbors! was born. In 2014, participated in the Flash Fiction Friday challenge. One Friday, we were challenged to write a story of 150+/- 10 words, a photo of mailboxes, and to include an unpaid bill. I really liked the story I came up with, published it on my blog and – received this feedback: “I liked the message stuck on the cactus. Trouble is, I want to know more.” I felt the same. As I wanted to keep the concept of flash fiction and a certain number of words, I did not plan anything. In episode 61, I realised that this meant the end. My daughter did no longer accept excuses for not publishing my stories, and I started researching ways to publish.

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Q: You are currently writing a flash fiction series entitled OH! MY! DOG! on your website. Will you one day be compiling these segments into a single book, or would like to continue this on a serialized basis?

A: This flash fiction series will also become a book one day. This series originated in a dream – I saw a young man reading a newspaper on his tablet, and a black labrador retriever who showed him something by laying his paw on the young man’s knee. I do not know yet, how many episodes will be there, just that every episode will consist of 200+/-10 words.

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Q: Are there any genres you would like to write in?

A: I would like to write suspense with a touch of other genres; currently it is rather contemporary with a touch of suspense and other genres.

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Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or currently on the air?

A: There are some I really enjoy: The IT Crowd, The Big Bang Theory, Scott & Bailey, Bob Ross – The Joy of Painting, and a lot more.

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Q: Are there any hobbies or pastimes you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A: Reading time – even if scarce – is always planned into my schedule. Then there are topics like linguistics, research, humanity, animal protection. My husband and I love travelling, going to the cinema, watching the local sports teams (except football (=soccer)).

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Q: Are you left-handed, or right-handed? Being a left-hander, it is interesting to see how many writers are either one or the other, or ambidextrous.

A: I am right-handed, whereas my daughter is left-handed.

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Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention to readers?

A: I am always collecting bits and pieces of inspiration, so there are more stories on the way. Around November/December, I am going to publish IN A SMALL COMPASS, VOL. 2.

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I am certain you will join me in thanking Karen for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her works in the future. If you wish to contact Karen she is available on:

*Twitter

*Goodreads

*Smashwords page

*Karen’s website

*Karen’s blog

Further Links:

+In a Small Compass, Vol. 1 can also be accessed on books2read

+Neighbors! can also be accessed on books2read

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Interview with author Carmen DeSousa

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Carmen DeSousa, author of romantic-suspense stories: SOUTHERN ROMANTIC-SUSPENSE series; the CREATUS series; THE LIBRARY; short stories, THE DEPOT and THE PIT STOP; and coming soon a women’s fiction/chick lit series, starting with SOME LUCKY WOMAN; and THE WATERMEN series, amongst her many works, and welcome her to my blog.

Carmen DeSousa, author photograph

Carmen DeSousa, author photograph

Welcome, Carmen!

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Q: For how long have you been writing?

A:  Like most writers, I’ve been writing as long as I could hold a pen. As a child, I would write little short stories, bind them with bread ties, and then present them to my grandmother. In college, I wrote a novella, and had planned to make a career as an editor in New York, but life got in the way. I ended up in a sales and marketing career. Thankfully, six years ago, I found my way back. In the last six years, I’ve written and published fourteen novels. And I have two more coming out soon.

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Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?

A: Oh, my, yes! All of my life experiences, good and bad, are included in my novels. The trick when you read is to figure out what situations I base on my actual life events or someone I know, and which ones come from my twisted mind. 🙂

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Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?

A: I used to, but again, life has a way of getting in the way of best laid plans. 2015 was a trying year for me, and 2016 isn’t starting out much easier. But as soon as possible, I plan to get back to the plan that allowed me to pen so many books.

Chat with my peeps on Twitter and Facebook over coffee. Then no later than ten a.m., TURN OFF THE INTERNET, and plant myself in my chair until 12:00 p.m. Chat with my peeps while eating lunch, then get back to it from 1:00 until 4:00. My goal is two thousand words a day.

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Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?

A: I love anything that isn’t too graphic in nature. I’ll read anything, and I have. From A Game of Thrones (historical, supernatural, action, thriller) to Crazy Little Thing (contemporary romance / chick lit) to Hunger Games (dystopian) to Twilight (paranormal romance). And oddly enough, I write the same way. Although all of my stories have a common thread: romance, mystery, and suspense, I enjoy writing everything from romance to mystery, paranormal to chick lit.

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Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?

A: When I was in college, I loved Sidney Sheldon. We’re so spoiled right now. When we finish a book, the author usually has their next one coming out in a few months or so. Back then, I’d have to wait a year or two for Sheldon’s next book. To me, he was the inventor of romantic suspense featuring a female heroine.

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Q: From my reading experience of THE DEPOT, it was a highly suspenseful, intricately crafted story with well-timed shocks and great hints of romance. What inspired you to write this story?

A: Ahhh…yes. I enjoyed writing that short story. The Depot is actually based on a real ghost story of a place where I worked. I actually added the story at the front of The Library, the follow-up novel to The Depot.

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Q: Amongst your stories, is there one which is closest to your heart, and why?

A: She Belongs to Me… But if I told you, I’d have to kill you. LOL! But really, She Belongs to Me was my first published story. And as I’ve told others, it took me all my life to put that story together. Some folks read it and think that it’s unbelievable… Between you and me, though… most of it is true. 😉

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Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or currently on the air?

A: Growing up, my favorite was I Dream of Jeannie. It was sweet and romantic with a paranormal edge, something I love. As an adult, I rarely watch TV, but a couple of shows that I’ve been faithful to and have watched every one is Friends, and now I’m a huge fan of A Game of Thrones.

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Q: Are there any hobbies or pastimes you like to participate in when you have spare time?

A: I love the outdoors, and it’s something I like to share with my readers. I especially love to hike and kayak.

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Q: You are a versatile writer in terms of genres, tackling stories in the fantasy, romance and suspense genres. Would you like to write stories in any other genres?

A: Yes. In fact, as I mentioned above, I just finished a women’s fiction/chick lit. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off writing humor, but my beta readers said I did, so…we’ll see.

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Q: Are you left-handed, or right-handed? Being a left-hander, it is interesting to see how many writers are either one or the other, or ambidextrous.

A: Right handed. BUT…all of last year, due to two shoulder operations, both on my right arm, I had to learn how to blog and write not only one-handed, but also with my left. Hey…maybe that’s where the funny story came from. 🙂

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Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention to readers?

A: Always! Along with the two mentioned above, I have a new series I’ll start working on near the end of this year. I can’t tell you what it’s about, but it’ll be the first time that I place a female lead as the “cop” type. The genre will be romantic thriller, but more on the thrilling part. I want to write a strong female lead, who’s also tender inside. Even though she’ll be too busy to ever let it show. I’ve already written the first chapter, which is usually how I start a book. If I like the character after the first chapter and still want to continue their story, I continue the book. I don’t plan out my books, so characters have to be able to sell me on their story just as much as they have to sell the reader. And I’m a tough sale.

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I am certain you will join me in thanking Carmen today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her works in the future. If you wish to contact Carmen, she is available on:

*Twitter

*Goodreads

*Facebook page

*Amazon.com

*Carmen’s website/blog

– Carmen’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below. Apart from THE PIT STOP, Carmen’s full book catalog is available to read FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

CREATUS series by Carmen DeSousa

CREATUS series by Carmen DeSousa

A SOUTHERN ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL series by Carmen DeSousa

A SOUTHERN ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL series by Carmen DeSousa

THE PIT STOP by Carmen DeSousa

THE PIT STOP by Carmen DeSousa

THE DEPOT by Carmen DeSousa

THE DEPOT by Carmen DeSousa

THE LIBRARY by Carmen DeSousa

THE LIBRARY by Carmen DeSousa

THE WATERMEN series by Carmen DeSousa

THE WATERMEN series by Carmen DeSousa