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Friday, November 18, 2016

A Double Christmas Novella - Author Interview with Karen Kinna

Prior to writing her romantic suspense novels, Karen Kinna wrote an entertainment columnist for a large newspaper chain based in southern British Columbia. Those interviews and updates on celebrities gave her great background for writing her stories. Now she's expanded to include writing a Christmas-themed suspense novel.

How did you come up with the idea of your Christmas themed book?
I grew up in the cold rugged Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, and I've always wanted to write a romantic suspense set there. The Canadian frontier in wintertime is still as hard and unforgiving as in yesteryears... and I wanted to explore what would happen to my characters if they were stripped of modern conveniences such as cell phones, cars, and electricity. 

Staying warm, finding food, being pelted by snow and ice, hunted by wolves ... these are themes I wanted to explore. I deliberately wanted to juxtapose the notion of being warm and safe at Christmastime versus being out in the elements, fighting for one's very survival. Christmas is such an emotional time, isn't it? Family dynamics, cozy dinners at the hearth, traditions. I wanted to turn that upside down.

Tell me how the story came to be
Christmas in Canada was actually written two years apart as two novellas about twin sisters who survive a blizzard in the Canadian wilderness on Christmas Eve. Identical twin sisters, Claire and Mac Adams, couldn't be more different! Each woman finds herself on a terrifying Christmas Eve adventure -- and each meets the man of her dreams in the process...

Set in the lush snowy landscape high up in the Cascade Mountains of British Columbia, 
these two novellas are spine-tingling adventures of life and death... and unexpected passion.

Now let's hear the story details
Once Upon an Avalanche was written in 2012, and it's about realtor Claire Adams and billionaire oil tycoon Travis Smith from Austin, Texas. Type-A Claire has her life scheduled to a nano-second... and she doesn't intend to let Travis derail her Christmas plans. However, when a white-out blizzard hits the alpine ski chalet he is looking to buy, and her trusty Jeep fails to start, the two are trapped on the mountain and must work together to rescue a local family trapped by an avalanche.

What's the second one all about?
Once Upon an Airport was written in 2014. 'Goth Girl' Mackenzie (Mac) Adams doesn't have time for a man. She's into music, airplanes, and drives a truck. Her grandfather raised her to hunt and fish and take care of herself. She certainly has no warm feelings for stranded helicopter pilot Beau Lamont from Baton Rouge Louisiana. Working at the small-town airport on Christmas Eve, Mac is waiting for her grandfather to arrive in his tiny float plane so she can drive him to Christmas dinner. Instead of her grandpa, Beau lands his chopper just as the worst snow storm in thirty years hits. The two form an unlikely alliance as they must strap on skis and set out after dark in response to the mayday from Charlie Adams. The old man has crashed in the back country, and there are no roads to the crash site. Mac and Beau race against time to rescue the old man, trying to stay one step ahead of frostbite and exhaustion, and the wolf pack that encircles them.

What made you decide to do a Christmas themed book?
I live in Texas now, and was missing snow. We have twinkle lights on palm trees here in San Antonio! But, then, I remembered how bone-chilling and dangerous four feet of snow can really be, and I wanted to explore that. A "ruined" holiday that turns into an epic love story was a great draw as well. I wanted my Christmas story to be "sweet" but "terrifying." I think I succeeded there.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
My three kids always get to open one present on Christmas Eve. It's also my son's birthday, so we usually have a big family party with a birthday cake, too. Every year we go to a different church to witness the nativity play, or a caroling concert. Then, we come home and leave out baby carrots for Rudolf and sugar cookies for Santa. My extended family is all back in B.C., so when my son flies down to Texas for Christmas and his birthday, it's really special. He's 24 now, but he and his sisters still put out the carrots for the reindeer. He gets a kick out of how warm and sunny the Texas Christmas is.

What’s next?
I'm writing another cowboy romance - Forgiving Jake - set in Sheridan, Texas. And I'm also working on a CIA suspense set in Hawaii called "Aloha Angel." Both are steamy hot romances. At some point, I need to finish the third book in my WILD AT HEART trilogy. The first two books are available on Amazon and Kindle. The third book will be set in Seattle on a marine biologist's boat, so I'm anxious to get to that project.

Any special awards or achievements you’d like to mention?

I won a few awards back in Canada when I was just starting out writing 24 years ago. I'm a published journalist - my byline ran three times a week in a Vancouver newspaper. So, as much as I miss the constant deadlines, I'm getting older, and slowing down suits me just fine. That early training makes me open to edits. I never get too attached to what I write because sometimes an editor or agent can see something in your work that needs to be tweaked that makes it ten times better!

What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been give that you’d like to share?

Write every day. Even one sentence. Just to stay "inside" your story. Otherwise, you really can't call yourself a writer, can you?

What do you know now about writing and publishing you wish you had learned sooner?
I wish I hadn't been afraid to self-publish fifteen years ago. I'm kinda late to the party. It had a stigma to it back then... as if you couldn't possibly be "good" if you published your own novels. Hogwash! I spent more years than I can count trying to work with the big New York publishers. They "loved my work" but wanted to cut my quirky secondary characters. I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I stuck to my guns. My quirky characters and subplots tend to be the things that my fans love best. I get letters all the time about it.

That's it for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Karen and her books, here is the link to her website for all the details:

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