I’m excited to have another sister Rose (published by The Wild Rose Press) here today. Please welcome Karen Hulene Bartell, author of The Keys: Voice of the Turtle. Let’s get this interview started!
At what age did you write your first story?
I started writing my first novel when I was nine. After several days, I realized I didn’t know anything – that I’d have to wait for experience to catch up. However, that lack of knowledge didn’t stop this only child from writing stories about large families.
Which genre was the first to hook you?
Westerns were my first love.
What was your first published book?
The Best of Polish Cooking – it made Publisher’s Weekly and is still my only “best seller.”
What’s your favorite part of the writing process? Brainstorming? Research? Outlining? Writing? Editing?
The best part of writing for me is the space to be creative, to let my imagination soar. I’m five years old again, and whatever I imagine “comes to life”—at least, on the page.
Yes, that’s a great feeling! What are you working on now?
Currently I’m in final edits with The Wild Rose Press on a Western Romance entitled Wild Rose Pass. I’ve also begun a Mainstream Fantasy entitled Kyoto: Tale of the Fox.
Wonderful! Good luck with both of them. Of all the settings you’ve used (or created!) for your books, which is your favorite? Why?
Barcelona, Spain and the Camino de Santiago, or The Way of Saint James. The area intrigued me with its mystical landscape and two-thousand-year spirituality. I wrote about it in Christmas in Catalonia.
Have you ever dreamed about a character you created?
I once dreamed that the character’s wife told me insightful details about the character. (In my book, the character was not married.)
Interesting! If you could travel to any time and place, when and where would that be?
I’ve wanted to visit Ireland for years. The pictures I’ve seen and the descriptions I’ve read appeal to me.
I LOVE Ireland, which is one reason why I set my YA paranormal fantasy series there. I think you’d love the Emerald Isle, too! If you could step inside any book or series and live there for a week, which would you choose?
I’d have to say the Sacred Emblem and Sacred Journey series because each book is set in a different geographical area, featuring a distinct cultural motif or totem: The Keys: Voice of the Turtle, Christmas in Cahokia: Song of the Owl, and Angels from Ashes: Hour of the Wolf.
It’s time to learn some of your favorites!
Sound: Twilight in the country – the sounds of birds and the rest of nature preparing for the evening
Eye color: Violet
Foreign language (whether or not you speak it!): French
Song: “O Holy Night”
Book: Gone with the Wind
Movie: Under the Tuscan Sun
Cookie: Peanut butter
US location: Fort Davis, Texas
Foreign location: Barcelona, Spain
And finally, list your preference from the following choices:
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Cake or pie? Cake
Halloween or Christmas? Christmas
Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes? Nancy Drew
Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters? Jane Austen
A mortal, vampire, ghost, or fae for a lover? Ghost
English gent, Scottish highlander, European count, or all-American guy? All-American guy
Thanks so much for joining me today, Karen. Best of luck with the book! Speaking of which, here’s a little about it:
Hours after arriving in the Florida Keys to help her cousin Keya create a turtle preserve, Ruth discovers a washed-up body and not one, but two apparitions—Maita, the angry victim’s spirit, and Bart, a swashbuckling ghost. Ruth’s curious ability to connect with the ghosts may help them move on, but how?
Keya is in a probate battle over her turtle-nesting beach. Land-hungry relatives want it bulldozed and developed. Like Ruth, she has a special gift—she can talk to animals. Between Ruth’s help and Keya’s unique ability, they work to save the property, but is it too late?
Can Keya save her beloved turtles? Can Ruth find Maita’s murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? There’s more than meets the eye to Keya’s land. Add in a dashing sailor who believes in her, and Keya may have more than she bargained for…
A peek between the pages:
Conveying this land to the turtles would be my way of leaving the world a better place.” She turned toward Ruth. “Does that make sense?”
Ruth nodded and gazed at Keya as if for the first time. Her cousin’s intentions were clear. “But legally, how can you will the property to the turtles?”
“Easy. I leave it to the Turtle Refuge.” Keya laughed inwardly as they meandered along the beach. “And this is where you come in. When you’re writing the brochure, add a few paragraphs about planned giving and charitable bequests…” Her words broke off as Keya stared as if in a trance.
Ruth looked at her. “What’s wrong?”
Her hand shaking, Keya pointed to a shady patch of beach half hidden by sand dunes. A lifeless hand lay tangled in seaweed, its fingernails broken and bloodied.
Racing behind the sandbanks to help, Ruth skidded to a halt, her heels digging into the sand. A woman’s bloated body lay staring at the sun, her eyes opaque and unseeing. “Do you recognize her?”
“No.” Keya shook her head as the cat gingerly approached, sniffing and meowing. But Earnestine said she smells familiar.”
“Knock, knock,” called a man’s voice.
Ruth flinched at the sound. “Who’s there?”
Buy the book:
Amazon eBook: https://amzn.to/2XV2wO1
Barnes & Noble NOOK Book: https://bit.ly/2YFHWgQ
The Wild Rose Press: https://bit.ly/2ZsH1lm
More about Karen:
Author of the Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.
Where to find her:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/karenhulenebartell