Karen Gass is the author of Morningshine, Morning Glory and the yet-to-be-named Book 3 in the Spring Street Quilter series. She lives in Idaho and has three grown up children and fourteen grandchildren. She is currently attending college online at Southern New Hampshire University, working towards her BA in Creative Writing specializing in Fiction. Besides writing, she loves to sew, knit, and hunt for treasure at thrift stores, yard sales and auctions.
What five words describe you?
God-lover, creative, funny, passionate, over-achiever
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?
I am working the third book in a series, the last book which will wrap up all the stories begun in the first, carried through the second and culminating in this book. The series, Spring Street Quilters started life as a short story to go in my website newsletter about ten years ago. It took on a life of it’s own and became a 3-book series. The first book, Morningshine, introduces you to a group of quilters, all with their own sets of problems, joys and some secrets. I see this book as portraying a tapestry that God is weaving together with these women, as prayers are answered across hundreds of miles. It is full of joy, true to life incidents, and some comic elements - along with some things that will bring tears to your eyes.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your
most recent book?
I think of Carrie as the lead character in the series, Morningshine starts with her. She is an older woman, early fifties but young in heart. I’m going to pick Charlotte Jeffers, who plays Olivia’s (Andie MacDowell) mother on the TV show, Cedar Cove.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what
would it have been and why?
Gone With the Wind - hey, why not think big? I would love to be able to write something that grand, that big and enduring.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
When the ideas suddenly dry up. I’m a big fan of writing down ideas, and keeping lists. Lists of potential topics, lists of words I like, memories, things that my grandchildren say, etc. Now, I’d like to say that these lists are neatly written and categorized in a notebook, but normally they are carried around in my head - which is not a safe place for a list. I have every intention of writing them down and organizing them. Truthfully, some of them are, I just have more to add.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
For me, I just keep writing. It usually doesn’t have anything to do the current story, it may be even gibberish. Or the same sentence over and over. But this is my idea, which I’m sure is not scientific at all. My brain knows when I sit at the computer with Scrivener open and text on the screen, and fingers going like wildfire it’s time to write. I figure if I keep a consistency going, eventually the familiar actions will break through the block and the story will come to life again. I just have to remember to delete the gibberish. If that doesn’t work, I walk away from it for a few days to give my mind a rest. I read a favorite book or make myself a new dress, anything to ‘cleanse’ the mind from the block.
Where would your dream location be for writing?
Oh definitely in the mountains. With a window in my office that looked out on evergreens, maybe a stream if I’m lucky. I need to be able to open the window for fresh air.
When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?
Bits and pieces of my characters are based on people I know. Or things I observe other people doing. I’m a great people watcher. And listener. It’s amazing what you can hear standing line at the grocery store - just little bits of conversation that have no context to me. If it seems personal or touchy, I tune out, so as not to eavesdrop. I do that by praying for the people. But just as a regular practice I do watch and listen to people, and try to write those things down too. I’m not always successful.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Oh yes, I do read my reviews. I can unabashedly say I love to read my reviews, even if they are bad. Thankfully I haven’t had many bad ones, well, now that I think about it, there hasn’t been any bad ones. So happy about that. I do believe that God gives me the words to write, and sometimes it seems as if He takes over completely, my fingers simply typing on their own, I do give Him all the glory for any good reviews. I don’t mean my writing is inspired like the Bible, but I find the more I stay in touch with Him by prayer and reading His word, the better I seem to write. Again, glory goes to Him and not me. I’m simply a willing vessel.
I do respond to any that ask questions, or seem to need a comment of some kind. I like to keep in touch with my readers, and interact with them. I’m not different from them in any way; just a woman living her life according to His will.
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?
I would be (and am) a dressmaker. I do have a few clients I sew for besides myself and granddaughters. I have studied couture sewing and always want to do everything as perfect as I can. I’ve been sewing since I was 9 yrs old. In my 30s I began a career as a quilt designer and published a quilt book with ten different quilt designs - and a fictional story to go along with it. Then I published a quilt magazine (Cotton Spice) for 3 years, and now I’m the Editor at The Quilt Pattern Magazine.
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?
I would made myself study the art of writing earlier. I was raising three children and managing a household, so I didn’t have a lot of time for writing. But I did have three hours in the afternoon to watch soap operas; that time certainly could have been put to better use. I would tell my younger self to use the time I have more wisely, because once that time is passed - it’s passed. There is no getting more time, there is only this moment. Use it well.
Where can we buy your books?
Morningshine (Book 1) Kindle book http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGBMTCS/
Paperback book http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615809316/
Morning Glory (Book 2) Kindle book http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HADMVMA/
Sweetland Chapter 6 http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Sweetland-6-Not-Forgotten-ebook/dp/B00M33UXQI/
How to Write a Quilt Pattern http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/quilting/other/how-to-write-a-quilt-pattern-ebook/38845
How can we keep up with you? Blog, Facebook, etc......
Authors Blog: http://karengass.com