Kara Lynn Russell Interview

Hello Kara Lynn Russell, Welcome to Fallen Angel Reviews. It's a pleasure having you here with us.

Can you tell us more about yourself?
I am a wife and mother of four. About a year and a half ago my family moved back to my hometown, a tiny town of about 500 people in Wisconsin. Coincidentally, a new director was needed for the public library, which is housed in the former elementary school building. I was hired and now my desk is in the same room I went to kindergarten in. I guess I haven't gone too far in life.

When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I've always wanted to be a writer. I can't remember a time when I wasn't making up stories.

What has inspired you to become a writer?
The encouragement of my teachers as I was growing up convinced me that I could be successful. It's amazing how much influence a teacher has. We don't appreciate them enough.

Are you currently working on anything right now?
I am working on a series of short stories about Orchard Hill, a small town in Wisconsin. This town happens to have two matchmakers, Pansy Parker and Misty Green. They both think they are the best at their little hobby and decide to have a contest to see who can make the most matches in a year. They are behind the scenes in all of the stories. The first three stories have been released from The Wild Rose Press.

In "Saving Gracie" Riley decides it's time to tell his lifelong friend that he feels more than friendship for her after her fiancÚ ducks out on their wedding. Grace is reluctant to take a chance on dating Riley because if it doesn't work out, she'll lose her best friend. After losing her fiancÚ, she doesn't know if she can stand to lose Riley, too.

I wrote a mini-sequel to "Saving Gracie" for Valentine's Day and posted it on my website. You can still read it there for free. In "A Long, Silly Love Chase" Grace's fiancÚ tries to win her back, but Riley's not giving up without a fight.

The second Orchard Hill Romance, "Entertaining Angel" involves an overprotective brother, a na´ve, impulsive redhead, a stray dog, a Valentine's Day dinner party and an uptight, determined-to-succeed real estate agent. It's a strange mix, but, trust me, you'll love the result.

Recently "Considering Lily" the third story in the series was released. Riley's brother Ian has a crush on Grace's friend Lily, but Lily, bitter after her failed marriage, is not interested in dating. However, spring is in the air and all things are becoming new. Lily wonders if it's time to let go of the past and give her self a new start.

Could you tell us about your current release or soon to be releases?
The next Orchard Hill Romance, "Keeping Faith" will be released in late April or May. In this story, when school secretary Faith Fielding quits, principal Andrew Thomas has to confront his true feelings about her.

I just finished writing "Enduring Hope," the fifth story. I loved writing the hero for this one. He's the strong, silent type but it was so fun being inside his head and knowing what he's really thinking!

There are four more stories after that one - "Accepting Charity," "Disrupting Harmony," "Losing Patience" and "Finding Joy." You can keep up on all the news at the Orchard Hill Highlights blog, written by notorious gossip, Cora Applebaum, at http://orchardhill.blogspot.com/

Working on this series has been a fun experience, but there are days when I feel like I live in Orchard Hill! Not that this is a bad thing. It's a nice town.

When you are writing do you listen to music, watch TV or do you need it to be to be completely quiet?
Sometimes I listen to music, but usually I prefer it to be quiet.

How long did it take for your first book to be published?
It took ten years to find the right publisher for UNTIL SUMMER'S END.

How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do any of them read your books?
My husband does not read my books, but I know he brags about me at work because he has brought home requests for my books. My oldest daughter reads my books and sometimes critiques my manuscripts for me. The rest of the kids are thoroughly unimpressed with my writing, but my mother and her coffee klatsch group have been great encouragers.

Are there any other genres that you would like to explore in your writing?
Yes. I do write for children, and I hope to find more success in that market in the future. I also love fantasy and would like to try writing in that genre.

What is the most valuable piece of advice that you have ever been given as an author?
A college professor told me that even though writers spend most of their work time alone, they are still part of a team. You have to learn to work with editors because they are the ones buying your manuscript. So don't take their criticism personally, but rather try to learn from it. When I get asked for changes, I don't look at it as "she hates it" but rather that my editor is helping me make my story even better than it is.

What authors and genres do you enjoy reading?
I used to be a children's librarian and still enjoy children's literature a lot, especially fantasy. L. Frank Baum, author of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ is a particular favorite. I think everyone should read that book, and THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster.

In adult fiction I love romance - inspirational, comic, fantasy and Regency especially - and occasionally a good cozy mystery just for variety. I really prefer the small presses and ebook publishers. Michelle Levigne was the first ebook author I followed. Eventually I found The Wild Rose Press. I really like them, as a reader; because they do one thing - romance - and they do it well.

If you go any where for a week with one of your hero's from your book who would you choose and why him?
This is a tough one. Maybe Oliver from the story I just finished, "Enduring Hope." He is a sensitive soul, but very reserved, so I am always discovering interesting new twists to his personality. He started out life as a nerdy bookworm, was transformed into an athlete by his uncle and is now an elementary gym teacher. Oliver's mission in life is to make the "nerd's table" disappear from school lunchrooms everywhere. Not by making everyone into jocks, but through helping kids to gain confidence and showing them their real worth.

When you are not writing, what are you doing for fun?
What? Not writing? When does that happen? Okay, I do occasionally take time to go shopping with my mom and daughters, watch mystery shows with my husband, read and crochet.

What do you hope readers get out of reading one of your books?
I hope they get the same thing I do out of a good romance - a reminder of how blessed I am with family, friends, home and community and a affirmation of the beauty of life in spite of its tragedies. But most of all, I hope they get that warm fuzzy feeling in their stomachs at the end of the book, that they'll close it with a sigh and a wish that the story wasn't over yet.

Would you like to share your web sites where readers can visit you?
Yes, I would love readers to visit my web site at
http://karalynnrussell.googlepages.com/

Thank You, Kara Lynn Russell for taking time out of your busy day to answer our questions. If anyone is interested in learning more about Kara Lynn Russell and her books please visit her website.

Interviewed by: Linda H.


Linda H.