Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, INFO INFO INFO
Tell us a little bit about yourself. This is always a hard question because I never know what people want to know! I’m one of three girls and I started reading after watching my older sister read Sweet Valley Twins books in middle school. She could read a book a day so I wanted to read a book a day. That’s when started reading and writing, but I didn’t take it seriously until my early thirties.
I’ve always loved working, so I didn’t want to stop doing that until I knew writing was what God wanted for me. I still work full time, but now I work in publishing so at least my job and hobby have some common ground.
Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. In her free time, she enjoys watching University of Michigan football and action-adventure movies with her husband and fur babies.
Tell us about your current release. Avoiding Marriage is an accidental sequel. I’m a slow writer, so after Practically Married it took a while to get my next manuscript to my agent. I didn’t want to lose touch with my readers, though, so I decided to go back to Practically Married and look at Jess. She’s Russ’s ex-girlfriend, and some readers had asked about her. That made me wonder about her. I eventually ended up with Avoiding Marriage. It’s Jess’s redemption story.
Two years ago, Jessica Miller made a mess of her already confusing life. Now, she’s back in Boyne Heights, and she’s determined to fix her reputation. She can’t seem to avoid the past that haunts her, but that’s the joy of small-town life—word spreads and people remember. Intent on her mission, however, she faces her past head-on, taking a job with her ex-boyfriend while avoiding her grandmother’s attempts to find her a new one.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I love this question because I’m not actually writing Christian fiction—I write clean general market fiction. Part of that decision was practical: the Christian reading audience is shrinking. With fewer readers, what were my chances of people picking up my books when there were new ones available from their favorite authors?
The other part of my decision was more heartfelt: my goal for writing is to entertain, not evangelize. I’ve only ever intended for my books to be a means of escape because that’s what books and movies have been for me. I also want people to see that you can be entertained without loads of sex, violence, and swearing.
For me, it hasn’t been a compromise of standards. It’s actually the niche I believe God’s called me to, and it’s a daily challenge to figure out how to tell a God-honoring, God-centered story for the general market.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher? I never actually worried about whether or not my writing was average or great—I just sent out my manuscripts when I thought they were ready (they weren’t). It helps if you remember a couple of things:
- Rarely does an author get famous from their first book. There are exceptions, but the majority of authors will get lots of rejections before they get a book contract, and even then they’ll only sell a few book. They’re average writers, and that’s okay.
- Writing is a skill that takes years to learn and develop. Be patient with yourself and just keep working.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Just keep writing. I did that with my last manuscript because I couldn’t think of a good plot device. My characters were at Point D and I needed them to get to Point E. Instead of waiting to see what genius idea I could come up with, I just picked something (a car accident) and wrote about it. If it sucked, I could always go back later and edit it out, but for the time being it moved them forward so I could keep writing Points E, F, and G.
Turns out the car accident wasn’t so bad and it stayed in the story.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When you self-publish, you are very much a small business owner. You’re responsible for all aspects of your career, so you need to either learn everything about book formatting, cover design, copyrights, Amazon, distribution, marketing, bookkeeping, etc., or you need to hire people who can do it for you. Even if you hire them, you’re still running a business and you need to keep track of everything. I’m great at managing other people’s lives, but when I’m responsible for setting the schedule and doing it myself, I can’t.
Also, I know myself, and there are times when I think pretty highly of myself. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I thought my writing was better than it really was. I needed someone else to validate that for me, otherwise I would have self-published something icky.
I did self-publish Avoiding Marriage, but I know more now that I did fourteen years ago. I hired lots of help.
Have you always wanted to write a book? Not at all. I love working unusual jobs. I worked on the S.S. Badger in Ludington, MI for five seasons and was an event planner at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, MI for five years. I’m a raging extrovert, so I loved being around people, not having a set schedule, and the challenge of each day (because every client and every customer was different).
I read a lot as a kid, but I didn’t really start reading again until my husband was diagnosed with cancer (he’s good now!). I read a lot of fun books, but I eventually read through my favorite authors so I decided to try it myself. I wrote my first novel in six weeks. It was terrible, but I’ve been writing, editing, and learning ever since.
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I write on my computer, but I edit with paper and pen. Science has proven that you see and read things differently when they’re on paper, so I like to print it out. I also get sick of sitting at the computer all day (I’m an editor, so my job is on a computer). Printing it out lets me take my work anywhere.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?I actually don’t. Instead, I start by getting to know my characters really well. I figure out who they are, what they look like, where they went to school and worked, how many people are in their families, where they live, etc. Then I ask every toddler’s favorite question:
Why do the characters say, do, and like those things? Why would they pick A instead of B? Why doesn’t she like coffee?
Then I pick a starting point and an ending point and push my characters out of the plane to see what happens. Occasionally I’ll lose sight of them and have to do a little brainstorming to find out where they’re going, but even then I’ll just keep writing to see what happens.
The nice thing about writing stupid stuff is you can always edit it later! I love the editing process, so I’m okay cutting and rearranging things later.
Here is where you can find Karin online:
Karin is giving away a ebook copy of Avoiding Marriage to a reader! See below how to enter to win: