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Friday Spotlight with Karen DeLabar

January 20, 2012

On spotlight this week, we have the fabulous Karen DeLabar! She is a crazy talented writer and actor, and I could not be more happy she has stopped by my humble little corner of the web to say “hi”.

Karen’s bio:

Karen DeLabar is currently a stay at home mom who is working on her paranormal romance/urban fantasy in between diaper changes and nap times. She is an advocate for the independently published authors and features a new indie author weekly on her Writing on the Rocks blog.  When not reminding her daughters not lift their skirts up over their heads in public she can be found on Twitter conversing with like-minded dreamers or knocking back a Scotch with a good book.

So, Karen. Where are you from?

I’m from a small town in Northeastern, PA. I always wanted to move, to travel, to see different parts of the country and when it came time to set forth on those adventures I moved a block and a half away from my parents. I think I did something wrong. However, I have babysitters close by and since I’m always cooking things without all the ingredients I know a supply of milk, eggs and the occasional dash of nutmeg isn’t too far away. 

When and why did you begin writing?

I remember being in the fourth grade laying on the floor in my living room writing a little love story. When I showed it to my mother she laughed at me. Apparently a fourth grader talking about the throbbing of a young woman’s heart when she saw the man of her dreams was a bit too out there for someone of my age. So I put away the pencil and paper, I figured the world wasn’t ready for me to write about anything throbbing. 

Fast forward to summer of 2010 and I am now a bored housewife with two kids in diapers. For years my husband has been telling me to write. “You’ve got too much going on up there, you need to get it out.” I see things in my head that just need to get out and if they don’t, well… I get into trouble.  I’m a very creative person and I’ve done acting most of my life and I needed an outlet but being on the stage didn’t fit into my life at that time so I decided to take Eric’s advice and start writing. 

How do you name your characters?

I love naming characters, but it can be the hardest thing for me to do because I love it so much. Names speak volumes to me. For instance in the paranormal romance that I’ve been working on, each of the characters have a magical power. When I was researching names, I was looking for names that had a similar meaning to the powers I was working with. The MC in the first of the trilogy is Lena, which in most languages means, “light” and her power is the gift of life. If something is dead, she can bring it back to life again with just a touch. 

I love being able to add one more element to my character’s life through their names. However, I do believe that over thinking something like this can be bad so most of my supporting characters are names that just pop into my head. Or… if you pissed me off, yeah, your name will most likely show up as a bad guy… who then dies. 🙂

What inspired you to write your first book?

As I said above names interest me and for some reason I love names that you can shorten, Michael to Mike, Benjamin to Ben, Charles to Charlie. I always loved the name Charlie, I love it even more as a woman’s name. In the summer of 2010 I kept having this scene play in my head of a woman sitting on a back porch sipping mint tea with an older woman. The younger woman is thanking the older woman for allowing her and her children to come stay at her bed and breakfast. Life hasn’t been easy for them since her husband passed a few years ago but she needed to get away for a few months with her children and this woman’s inn was the perfect escape. 

Just then a guy barges and without even acknowledging the younger woman he starts lecturing his aunt. He just found out that she agreed to let some writer named Charlie stay at her bed and breakfast while its under construction. If that wasn’t bad enough, not only has this guy brought his two young kids but word around town is that he lost his spouse two years ago and went off the deep end. Just what kind of people are you letting stay here? 

The young woman keeps her mouth shut as this guy recounts every bad rumor she’s ever heard about herself. She was about to say something when the aunt’s helper knocks quietly on the screen door, “Excuse me, Sandy, but there is a call for Miss Charlotte. It’s her editor.”

Charlie stands up and crosses to the door, passing the aunt and man. When she reaches the door she winks at the girl, “How many times do I have to tell you, Mary, you can call me Charlie.”

That scene kept me up for nights, giggling at the different ways I could get her to reveal her name to him. That was a fun scene to write and after that the book just took off.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve tried every approach there is to writing. That summer I just sat down and wrote, when I started the series I’m on now I decided to write an outline and go from there. I’d get so far and felt this incessant need to write, which I denied because I really wanted to get a whole outline together, however it only hurt my creativity in the end. I finally found a way that works for me though. I’m not a “pantser,” or a “plotter,” but a “plantser.” I plot enough to get me started and I write what I plotted. When I hit a wall, I stop, take a step back and revisit the outline. Usually I need to do this just once, after this stop I can usually finish the story. 

Where do you find your inspiration?

There’s nothing specific that I can turn to in the hopes of being inspired, if there was I’d be hitting that little bag up like a crack whore. However, I do say that inspiration comes to me at the most inconvenient times; two of the most popular times are driving and showering. (Could you imagine if I could shower while driving? I’d definitely have a bestseller then.) I’m thinking of investing in bath crayons to write on the tub whenever an idea strikes in the shower. I’ve tried calling my 4 year old into the bathroom and having her take notes but when I ask to see them all I see are little doodles that sorta resemble a flower eating a puppy. I should probably take her to see someone.

What books and/or authors have most influenced you?

My mom read romance novels my entire life and I remember giggling over the covers as I grew up. A couple of years ago a friend of mine handed me a Nora Roberts novel and I almost fell over at that thought of reading one. But it had to do with magic and vampires and, well, sex. How could I pass it up? That’s all it took. That one trilogy of Nora Roberts opened a new door for me. Some of her stuff is fluff, some of her characters can fall flat, but not everyone can put something out that pleases everyone all the time. I call her my gateway drug. She got me through the door and opened me up to other romance writers and other romance sub-genres that I love exploring. 

Is there anything that you find particularly challenging about your writing?

Oh sister, you have no idea. The series that I’m working on now is one of the toughest stories that has ever come to me and its not because of the world building, magic spell incantations or writing up the steamiest of love scenes. I created these characters last January when I was in a really bad place, the only problem was, I didn’t know it at the time. Last year held some of the absolute best times of my life, but unfortunately, it came paired with the lowest times I’ve ever had to deal with. When I sat down to write the story this past Fall I realized just how much I put myself into these characters. I saw loneliness, sadness, confusion all masked behind bright smiles and sarcasm. When I saw those less than thrilling characteristics staring back at me in black and white it was like a smack in the face. 

I’m still dealing with the truths I’ve uncovered through writing the story, I even had to step away from this particular WIP because it was too hard for me to deal with. So for me, discovering truths about me, and those around me, through my characters can be some of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face.

Okay, Karen. Let’s get personal and a little weird. What is favourite and least favourite smell?

My parents have honeysuckle growing on their fence that runs the length of their backyard. That sweet, succulent smell is the first indication that those warm summer nights filled with iced tea and ghost stories around the campfire are right around the corner. If I could bottle that smell up and carry with me I think I’d smile a whole lot more. Least favorite smell? Have you ever changed a diaper of a child who has eaten nothing but fruit and beans all day? No? Try it then we’ll talk about least favorite smells. 🙂

Are you pro or anti Ugg boots?

This is a tough one. Really. I love shoes, any kind of shoe. Flats, stilettos, clogs, wedges, (I especially love wedges) sneakers, galoshes, whatever. However, when Uggs first made their way onto the feet of Hollywood tartlets I wanted to beat everyone senseless. I thought they had no shape, no design, no appeal. I didn’t care if they were comfy, I wear six inch gold sparkly heels while cooking, I obviously don’t care about comfort. However, with that said, they have come a long way. I still don’t care for the classic boot, but I’ve found some listed under their “fashion” line that I like, like the knit ones with the buttons. And I think Uggs on little girls with leggings and poofy skirts are cute. (What? I have two little girls.) 

What is your oddest quirk?

Ok, so I have this thing with my mouth. You can usually tell what kind of mood I’m in by watching my mouth. When I’m pensive I pull my lips in and bite down on them. Sounds weird to describe it, but try it. When I’m extremely happy, or playful, I take the tip of tongue and touch it to the middle of my top lip. I also bite my bottom lip when… well, when do most women bite their lips? 🙂 

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your fans?

Yes. I don’t get it. Seriously people. I don’t have a book out, all I do is pimp my friends, talk about Skittles and complain about being hungry. 😉 Actually, I want to say what everyone should say to their fans. Thank you. I have found an endless stream of support, love, kindness, inspiration, encouragement and laughs on all a little rinky dink site called Twitter.  I love the feedback I get from people who read about my featured authors and I can ride high for days from the compliments I get from my very own blog posts and snippets of my WIP. You guys keep my head above water and I’m a very loyal friend who never forgets those who were there for me when it mattered. Thank you! 

Where can we find you?

Social Networking links:

Website: http://karendelabar.com/

Blog: http://writingontherocks.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KarenDeLabar

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KarenDeLabarWriter

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112408640215476097447/posts

Karen, thank you so much for visiting the e-rotica blog! I already stalk you on all of your links and I hope everyone reading this does as well. If not, get to it, folks!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 2:09 pm

    A wonderful spotlight, Karen! I see so many similarities that it’s a bit scary. I, too, took my first writing steps in the fourth grade. That Nora Roberts trilogy is one of my favorites and turned me into a big fan of hers. My beloved character-naming source book is never far from my side. Skittles rock. Little girls in skirts and Uggs are sooo cute.

    Anyway, I knew I found you fabulous for a reason…but now I know I find you fabulous for MANY reasons! It was great getting to know more about you. 🙂

  2. January 20, 2012 6:24 pm

    Love the interview. I think ‘throbbing’ is my favorite word not to use! Always makes me think of smashing my finger in a car door!

  3. January 20, 2012 6:51 pm

    OMG “plantser” I love it! I kill plants (and burn stuff) but I agree — wonderful way to work.

    You rock, Karen. I love all the answers. My older sister bought me my first pair of Uggs. They are awesome for cold feet. My wedge pair is kinda fancy. But they don’t compare to my Pradas. 🙂

    Great interview, hotties!

  4. January 20, 2012 10:22 pm

    I happen to have personally seen Karen’s awesomesaucy sexy gold high heels. That woman is no Ugg fan, she is pure stiletto!

  5. January 21, 2012 2:10 am

    DC!!! Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I had a blast and thank you ladies for the wonderful comments! 🙂

  6. January 21, 2012 2:55 am

    Make it rain, Karen!

  7. January 21, 2012 3:29 am

    I’m not going to lie, this Friday Spotlight was a lot of fun. Thanks again for visiting, Karen. Thank you all for your awesome comments!

  8. January 21, 2012 9:16 pm

    Thanks for having Karen on for your Friday Spotlight this week, DC. It was fun to read.

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  1. Karen DeLabar » Blog Archive » Getting Hot and Heavy with DC McMillen

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