Today I'm very lucky to be interviewing Karen Stivali, author of MOMENT OF SILENCE.
Hi Karen, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
I've been a published author of straight and LGBT contemporary romance for the past 4.5 years. I've had a lot of other jobs in my life working in everything from the food industry to the film industry and I'm also a clinically trained social worker. Through all those different jobs, I was always writing and once I gathered up the nerve to finish a novel and submit it to publishers, I haven’t turned back. My latest release, MOMENT OF SILENCE, is the fourth book in the Moments In Time series but it can be read as a standalone title---it features two characters who were secondary characters in the first three books, but they don’t meet each other until their story begins in Moment Of Silence.
I grew up in a half Jewish/half Catholic household and Jason and Quinn's romance is the story of what happens when a nice Jewish boy falls for a man who’s about to take his final vows as a Catholic priest. Although it’s entirely fictional, writing this book involved so many things from my own past---locations in New York City, ethnic foods, differences in the culture and practices that are so important to the two religions---it became a very personal project for me. It comes from my heart.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?
Scheduling. I'm a very organized person and I like to know what’s happening when. In publishing, things are always changing. You’re always waiting for something that should have happened quickly or getting super-fast turnaround on something that should have taken a few weeks. It tends to result in these perfect storms where in spite of all the planning to have things happen in an orderly, well-spaced fashion, suddenly everything is happening at once. Deadlines overlapping. Edits and drafts due simultaneously. General chaos. I find it very stressful and wish things stayed on track more often.
As an author, is there one subject you would never write about? What would it be?
I could never write a story where the main character or someone they love was dying. I get way too emotionally involved with my characters and feel what they feel. I don’t mind getting angsty or even exploring loss issues---in fact I often have loss as a theme in my books---but I could never do that with the main character or the love interest. I write romance because I can’t give the people in my real life guaranteed happy endings, but in the fictional worlds I create, I can make sure everyone winds up together and happy and in love. When I'm in charge, everyone gets a happily ever after.
When did you first realize you wanted to write?
I've been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember and I started writing them down as soon as I learned how to form the letters. I was (am) an only child so my characters were my companions. Now I'm a writer who works from home and thankfully I have my online friends to keep me sane, but my fictional characters are still very real inside my head. I definitely live with them while they tell me their stories and even after their stories are done they’re still there, popping up from time to time to say hello and let me know how they’re doing.
How long did it take to write your book?
That’s a hard question to answer because it varies from book to book (I've written 18 books, some much quicker than others). It’s also not usually a concrete answer because I’ll get the idea for a book way before I actually start writing it and those months of thinking about it (while I'm finishing other projects) still sort of count, because that’s when I'm getting to know the characters. I realized that Jason and Quinn were going to meet when they started working together at the LGBT teen shelter Jason runs, but it wasn't until a few months after that realization that I had time to start writing their book. By the time I started writing, I’d seen their entire story play out in my mind, so actual writing time was probably just a little over a month, with another month for beta readers to look it over and me to tweak things based on their questions and comments. So, two months? Sort of?
For Fun: Where is one place you’d like to visit you haven’t been before?
I've been lucky enough to have travelled a lot in the past but one place I’d still like to visit that I've never been is Nova Scotia. It looks so beautiful and it’s not even that far from where I live (in New Hampshire) so I'm hoping to get there one day. Would probably help if I could remember to renew my passport!
Thank you so much for joining me today Karen, it's been a pleasure.