Saturday, June 20, 2020

Garden Interview with Karen Hulene Bartell

Welcome Karen

Tell us about you and your books.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

AlwaysI have to be careful not to preach. For instance, in The Keys: Voice of the Turtle, the underlying message was the plight of the sea turtlesand I had to be careful not to list dos and don’ts. In Wild Rose Pass, I wanted to show the resilient frontier spirit through the dreams and actions of the characters—the mavericks, outsiders, free-spirited nonconformists, and marginalized. But the main job of these characters is to tell the story as they entertain the reader.

What are your current projects?

I currently have a manuscript with my wonderful editor, Dianne Rich, entitled Kyoto: Tale of the Fox. It’s a supernatural story based on the Japanese version of the werewolfkitsune, which might be described as werefox.
I’ve also begun working on a sequel to Wild Rose Pass, tentatively entitled, Paisano Pass.

Do you have to travel researching your book(s)?

YES! For me, travel sparks inspiration. When I visit provocative places, encounter new experiences, sample different ethnic foods, and chance upon stimulating people, I’m inspired. Ideas flow. (I should’ve been a travel correspondent.) There’s something about traveling that takes me out of my rut and propels me into new realms of possibility.
I’ve written some of my best concepts sitting in airports or hotel bathrooms at midnight (so I don’t wake my husband with the light). Being out of my element and in new environments stimulates my imagination. Traveling inspires me and infuses me with innovative ideas.

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

Marketingpure and simple.

When you wrote this book, did you have an idea of how it would end at the beginning?

Partially—since I believe in HEAs, I knew boy would meet girl and boy would marry girl. But beyond that, I hadn’t a clue what would happen. My characters had to tell me as the story unfolded.

and for something personal...

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an archaeologistspecifically an Egyptologist. I wanted to explore the pyramids and discover all the mysteries of the ancient world. Am sure Boris Karloff’s The Mummy was part of the inspiration for that career choice, along with the Chicago Field Museum’s mummies, which fascinated me.

Do you laugh at your own jokes?

I do. When I speak publicly or present writing seminars, my husband accuses me of laughing at my own jokes. (Videos confirm his accusations.) Not sure of the psychology behind it, but guessing at the reasoning, I wouldn’t tell a joke if I didn’t already think it was funny. And if my timing is right when I tell the joke, I hear it as if for the first time, so I laugh along with my audience 😉
Writing this made me Google the pop psychology behind stand-up comics laughing at their own jokes. The reason, I learned, is they laugh to manipulate the audience. Apparently, laughter from the presenter (be it during a comic routine or classroom presentation) cues the audience that their laughter is not only allowed but elicited.

Are you fun to go on vacation with?

*I* think I’m a lot of fun to go on vacation with because I like to fill every moment with something to see or do. I don’t want to “waste” time, so I plan the itinerary to the nth degree, figuring we can rest after we get back home.
However, people who’ve accompanied me say my vacations are exhaustingthat they need another vacation after the vacation to recover.

Have you ever found true love?

Twice—I found true love with my first husband, who passed away, and  found it again with my husband of thirty years (to date).

If you came with a warning label, what would it say? 

Beware: Junkyard Dog!

Where can we find you online?

Download Wild Rose Pass on Amazon:
and other online retailers


Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Thanks for the Garden Interview - ON my birthday, no less ;)

Jean M. Grant said...

Loved learning more about you, Karen! Your subtle book threads are interesting. Travel sparks my muse, too! Happy Birthday, too. :)

Mary Morgan said...

Wonderful interview, Karen. I love this line: "Beware: Junkyard Dog!" Happy Birthday! Enjoy!

M. S. Spencer said...

Karen , I'm not sure whether we talked about this before, but I lived in Egypt for a year (many years ago). Back then the Egyptian Museum had lots of mummies--which were displayed in open boxes! I actually touched Ramses II. Then after grad school at U of Chicago almost worked at the Field Museum (I did get to work at Museum of Natural History in NY)--a great place!

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Thank you, Jean M. Grant! Yes, travel is (at least, for me) the key to any writing I do! Appreciate your dropping by!

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Hah - thanks for stopping in, Mary Morgan! Yes, Both my husband and a previous boss have both called me a Junkyard Dog - I *hope* because of my tenacity...

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

M. S. Spencer, thanks for sharing that info! WoW! I've been to the Egyptian Museum - but 10 years ago (just before the riots), and the mummies were all enclosed. LUCKY YOU to have touched antiquity! I grew up at the Field Museum - we lived in Chicago, and it was my favorite museum! And lucky you to work at the Museum of Natural History in NY. I visited there many times in the 60s and 70s - must have been a great place to work! Thank you for stopping by!

Barbara Bettis said...

Oh, goodness, Karen, I loved Egyptology! My ancient history prof did his doctoral (and Rhodes Scholar) study on Howard Carter. I've kind of gotten away from it these past years, but I'm still fascinated by it. I took my grandchildren to the Nelson Museum in KC several years ago--my grandson was still young. I especially wanted to share my love of the ancient world with them, but when we went into the Egypt room and past a case with an open sarcophagus, he couldn't look at the mummy. Now he's a senior in high school, and he still remembers how much that mummy used to scare him. Looking forward to Paisano Pass!

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Bless you, Barbara Bettis! Appreciate your stopping by and sharing your love of Egyptology! The Field Museum mummies were what made me aware of death at 9-y-o - and kept me up at night, but I loved to watch those old 30s or 40s Mummy movies on TV Saturday nights! said...

Happy Birthday, Karen!
Your love and subject matter expertise shines through in your stories.

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Charlotte, what a sweet thing to say! Thank you so much for dropping in today!

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I enjoyed your interview. Travel always sparks my muse, too. I'm sure that a lot of writers will say so. lol I loved the explanation about why comedians laugh at their own jokes. It makes sense but never thought about it.

Nice to meet you. And Happy Birthday!