Karen Lynch is a New York Time’s and USA Today Best Selling Author. She grew up in Newfoundland, Canada—a place rich in colorful people and folklore to which she attributes her love of the supernatural and her vivid imagination. She moved to Charlotte, North Carolina years ago and was immediately charmed by the southern people but she says she will always be a newfie.
Though she loves supernatural fiction she has a soft spot for Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austin. She is a fan of classic rock, country and classical music but her favorite music is the sound of a good thunderstorm or a howling blizzard. Two of her favorite past times are baking artisan bread for her friends and spending quality time with her two German Shepherds.
1) First, I want to thank you so much Karen, for taking the time to do this interview! When did you know that writing is what you were meant to do with your life? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What, if anything, frustrates you the most about writing?
Thanks for reaching out to me. I’m glad to be here. I think I always knew on some level. I developed my love of books at a very young age, and it wasn’t long after that I began to dream of writing my own book. I finished writing my first full-length book at fourteen, and over the years I never lost my love of writing. It wasn’t until I wrote the Relentless series that I was able to realize my dream of doing this for a living.
I think one of the things I love most about being a writer is hearing from readers who have enjoyed my books. It still feels a little surreal to know that people around the world are reading my books. I hope I never get used to that because it’s a great feeling.
One of the things that frustrates me about writing is that no matter how much I try, I can’t write fast. I see other authors writing two, three, four books a year, and I can manage one. I have come to accept the fact that I’m a slow writer, but I don’t have to like it. lol
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? Where do you get your inspiration for your characters and the worlds that you build within your stories? Does coming from a large family help fuel your imagination in any way?
My series is called Relentless and it is Young Adult Urban Fantasy. Originally, it was meant to be just a trilogy about a girl with healing power who goes looking for answers about her father’s death. She meets a warrior named Nikolas who tells her a lot more about herself than she expected. She has enemies, and over the course of the trilogy, she transforms into a powerful young woman.
Some of the secondary characters were very popular with my readers, specially Nikolas, her love interest. I got a lot of requests to write more books in the series. Book four is the trilogy in Nikolas’s POV. Books five, six and seven are the stories for three of the other popular characters.
You can read more about me and my books on my website (http://www.karenlynchnl.com), Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The books are on all major retailers.
I’ve always had a pretty active imagination, and I grew up in a culture that thrived on folklore. When you add extensive reading to that, it’s a perfect breeding ground for world building and interesting characters. I think coming from a large family (eight siblings) gave me plenty of excuses to escape into books and my writing. Lol.
3) You have quite a few titles to your credit. Do you have writing routine or schedule that helps to make you more productive? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I don’t have a set routine, although I would love to have one. I write on and off throughout the day. I don’t outline my books before I write them. I know the overall plot, main characters, and ending, and go from there. It usually takes me a year to write a book from start to finish. That includes at least four drafts. My books are a little longer than most in my genre. Book 1 (Relentless) was 132k words and books two and three were even longer.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years? What projects are you currently working on?
I think my most significant achievement so far has been getting to a point where I could quit my day job to write full time. That was my lifelong dream and I still can’t believe I’m doing it. In the next five years, I hope to still be writing books that resonate with my readers. As long as I can provide for myself while doing what I love, I’ll be happy. And a house by the ocean would be nice too.
Right now, I’m working on the first book in a new series. It’s also Young Adult Urban Fantasy. All I can say is that it’s about faeries and bounty hunters.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What book are you currently reading?
Wow, this is a tough one. I’ve read so many books that it’s almost impossible to remember what one touched me first. I will say that a book called To Nowhere and Back by Margaret J Anderson is the one that inspired me to write. I read that when I was ten and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. Jane Eyre is another book from my early years that really resonated with me. I think I was thirteen when I read it the first time. I had such a crush on Mr. Rochester, and I remember crying when Jane’s friend Helen died in the orphanage. I think that was the first book to make me cry.
I’m currently reading book three in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I’ve been meaning to read the series for ages but I’ve been so busy. I can’t believe I waited this long. Dimitri is my new book crush.
6) I read that your favorite author is Jane Austen and that you do Jane Austin movie marathons a couple of times a year, which I think is so awesome by the way! If you had to pick, which Jane Austen book would be your absolute favorite? Also which Jane Austen movie do you think stands up to its book counterpart the best?
I’ll never get tired of Jane Austen movies. My favorite has to be Persuasion. There is something about Anne Elliot, the quiet, enduring underdog in a family of pretentious bullies. She overcomes a lot to get her second chance with the love she gave up years ago.
I think the best Jane Austen movie adaptation by far is the Pride and Prejudice miniseries on BBC that featured Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. This was the series that gave birth to my annual Jane Austen marathon.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional and self-publishing?
I have only self-published and I never tried to go the tradition publishing route. I haven’t had to deal with rejection so far.
The industry has changed so much in the five years I’ve been publishing that it’s hard to say where it will go next. I think it will get increasingly more difficult to gain visibility with the huge volume of books available. Those numbers go up every day, so authors will have to find new ways to get their books in front of readers. I think this applies to both indie and traditional authors. Traditional authors still dominate the paperback and hardcover formats because most indies can’t get their books in the brick and mortar bookstores. I hope to see the system evolve so that all authors will have the same opportunities.
8) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
The saying that you’re never too old to achieve your dream is even more true in this industry. No one cares how old you are if you are writing good books. I was in my mid forties when I finally published my first book and that worked out very well for me. If I’d given up on my dream because I thought I was too old, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever read your own books and think to yourself “wow, I wrote that”?
I don’t read the whole book, but I will go back and read certain scenes. And yes, I will think that, especially when I’m struggling with whatever book I’m working on at the time. Most authors suffer from self-doubt, and I’m no different. When I think that what I’m writing isn’t good enough, I’ll go back and look at one of my other books to boost my confidence. Seeing how the other books turned out reminds me to have faith that I can do that again.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I have a lot of admiration for strong women, especially those who overcome adversity and are stronger for it. I’m also a bit of a romantic. I try to write female characters who find that special love, but who forge their own story. I like to think every woman has a Xena warrior princess inside of them, and I hope my writing reflects that.