Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview and Launch Party for Karen Baney

Hello again Karen Baney and thank you so much for talking with me today! To begin, could you just tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a software engineer by day and author by night.  I love how both of these careers allow me to use my creative thinking.  I know everyone thinks programmers are all like Spock or Data from Star Trek.  But, we’re not.  We are creative problem solvers.

My hubby and I have been married for over 11 years and love living in Arizona, where we met.  Before I started writing, we used to hike all over the state of Arizona with our two dogs.  I would take hundreds of pictures on my camera.  Yeah, I’m a photography nut.

How long have you known that you wanted to be a writer?  Did you receive a clear “calling” from God or have you always had a desire to write?

In early 2010, I went through some rough health issues.  I ended up having surgery on my hand to remove a cyst.  Then, just as I was on the mend, my back went out.

Through these trials, I learned a new level of dependence on God.  I didn’t have the physical strength to do even normal daily activities.  I cried out to God and let him work on my heart.  As he dealt with me on some things, I gained the courage to ask Him a question that had been weighing heavily on my heart for several years.  

I asked, “God, since you haven’t called me to be a mom, what have you called me to do?”
He answered.  “Write.”
I had no idea what to write.  I’ve always had a journal.  Sometimes, I wrote short Bible studies or supplemental material for a study I was teaching.  But, I had never written a book.

Then, He gave me the story for A Dream Unfolding.  Some of it came in a dream.  On March 25, 2010, I sat down at my computer and I began with the most dramatic scene in the middle of the book.   Though I didn’t publish A Dream Unfolding until December 2010, I was already a writer.
Everything since has been an amazing journey—one that I sometimes feel like I’m just along for the ride!

Who has inspired you the most?

My parents have always been a source of inspiration for me.  Both of them went through some really bad stuff as children and teens.  Yet, they came to know Christ and the broke the cycle of generational sin.  They gave me, my sister, and brother a home life so completely foreign to the ones they knew.  I never had to look very far to see what a life changed by Christ looked like.

What are 2 things that people wouldn’t normally know about you?

When I was a teenager, I wanted to become an artist.  I studied art in high school, built up a portfolio, and even went to a fine arts school in Philadelphia for a year.  Life got in the way and I eventually gave up oil painting for the less-messy hobby of photography.

I always wanted to collect stamps.  I liked the cool artwork on stamps when I was growing up.  But, since my brother was collecting stamps, my parents told me I had to pick something else.  So, I became a coin collector instead.

You recently have had a book published, would you take this time to describe it to us?  How and where can readers buy your book? (versions and locations)

I am so excited to announce the release of Nickels. 

Niki Turner is a software engineer—yeah, not much of a stretch for me to write this one.  She’s suffered some real heart ache and loneliness in her life.  The one thing she has going for her, her career, suddenly becomes threatened when Kyle Jacobs, a blast from her past, ends up working at the company where she gets assigned.

She slogs through a mess of emotions and baggage, ultimately coming to the realization that something big—she doesn’t know what—is missing from her life.

This is my first contemporary romance novel.  Readers will smile at some of Niki’s snarky comments, they’ll cry as she lets go of some painful things, and they’ll rejoice when she finds what she had always been looking for.

I’m also pleased to announce that for a limited time, readers can purchase Nickels for $0.99 on their Kindle.  Please visit http://womensliterarycafe.com/content/december-2011-book-launches for more details.

Is there a spiritual message in your book?  If so, what is it and what can readers expect to get from reading it?

The biggest spiritual message in this book is about life change.  There are examples of this through Kyle Jacobs’ life.  It is one of the things that Niki struggles to understand.  How could the man who tormented her in high school be the same as the generous, kind man before her?

I think this is something that many of us struggle with when we know someone before they came to Christ and after.  You know all the bad stuff about that person.  Have they really changed?

What’s your favorite part of the story?

Though it’s not my favorite (that one would spoil the story), one of my favorite scenes is where Niki is having a bad day.  The tire blows out in her car during the hot Arizona summer.  She has to rely on Kyle for help, thus exposing her to one of the first examples of how he’s changed over the years.
I also like the revealing of where the title of the book comes from.

What was the hardest part to write?

I really struggled with the ending of this book.  I got to a certain point in the story and I couldn’t figure out how to tie it all together.  The first ending I had came across more like a suspense novel and didn’t fit the rest of the book.  I had to rip out almost a quarter of the book and start over.  After two tries, I finally had the right last quarter of the book.

Do you have any other books in the making?

I am currently working on the conclusion to the Prescott Pioneers Series, A Hope Revealed.  I hope to take the readers on an intense ride to close out the series.  I promise I will fulfill the cliff hanger I left you with in A Life Restored.

After that, I have ideas for about 10 other books, some historical and some contemporary.  So, have no fear, you’ll see many, many more books coming your way, God willing.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out?  Anything else you’d like to share?  (promotional information)

On Mondays, I feature interviews with new Christian authors.  I like introducing readers to some of the great people I’ve gotten to know over the past two years. 

Typically, on Wednesdays, I like to feature either characters from my novels or more information about the history behind my novels. 

Fridays are reserved for topics about writing and self publishing.  I love sharing what I’ve learned with others.
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Courtney.  I hope your readers enjoyed this glimpse into my life.

Here are a few fun questions:

Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Chocolate.  And not just any.  Dark chocolate is my favorite.  If it’s paired with caramel—delightful!

Pepsi or Coke? 
Neither.  I hate soda but love unsweetened iced tea (which is really ironic since my MC makes fun of another character for that).

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs.  Ginger and Max are my babies.

Summer or Winter? 
Ooo.  Before I moved to Arizona, it was definitely summer.  Now, I love winter!

My Review of Nickels:

Have you ever been hurt by someone in the past and even though they seem like they might have changed, you struggle with letting go of the hurt and your opinion on the way that person used to be?  I know I have.  Nickels is story about Niki, a young software engineer that just scored her dream account at Helitronics.  The hard part is she will directly be working with Kyle Jacobs, a friend from the past that she isn’t sure she should trust.  And with all the loss she’s had in her life she can’t take any chances on a broken heart.

Niki’s character is so dynamic!! She is struggling with forgiving the past and moving forward and she is very lost, which makes this character so realistic and interesting.  She needs healing and she needs to trust in love again.  Kyle has been through some serious tough situations also, but in the process has found God and is hoping that Niki will see his new attitude and personality as appealing!

The whole story is primarily focused on Niki and Kyle completing this computer code for Helitronics by a certain deadline.  The boss keeps changing the deadline and seems to have it out for destroying Niki.  You can tell Baney knows what she is talking about when describing the software aspect of the story. 

Nickels is fast-moving, thought provoking, spiritual, sweet romantic, full of God’s restoration and healing, forgiveness, and a match-making friend making this story one amazing Christian Contemporary novel.

I have read all of Karen Baney’s historical novels and loved them but I was little nervous to see if she could pull off doing both historical and contemporary! I had nothing to worry about, Nickels was truly amazing!! I will keep reading whatever genre Baney decides to write!!

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Nickels in exchange for my personal and honest opinion.  All opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.


1 comment:

  1. Courtney - Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review this. And for hosting me today. I'm so glad you enjoyed Niki's story.