Karen is the winner of the 2019 Lesfic Bard Award for Historical as well as the 2019 Lesfic Bard Award for Action Adventure for her novel, Over the Crescent Moon.
Karen was also a finalist in the Young Adult category for her novel,
In the Blink of an Eye.
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
I’ve lived in Vermont my entire life.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes, five of them. My older brother Steve passed away six years ago. I’m next in line, followed by my brother Todd, sister Penny, brother Bob and brother Dan.
What were your parent’s professions?
My mom was a secretary, and then an IT specialist for 30 years and my dad was a meat cutter.
Why do you write?
My mind is a beehive of activity all of the time and I get bored easily…and when I’m bored, I’m cranky. I don’t like being idle, so when I’m not engaged with work, or family, I’ll channel my thoughts into something productive…like writing. I’ve got countless characters rambling around inside my brain just clamoring to get out.
What do you think makes good writing?
The ability to make your readers ‘see’ what you’re writing. I’ve been told that I am a very visual writer…that my writing is descriptive to the point the reader feels they are ‘inside’ the story and witnessing things first-hand. I also think a good story has to have substance.
How do you choose the names for your characters?
This is going to sound stereotypical, but my lesbian characters tend to be butch/femme pairs and so they have butch/femme names. The butch typically will have an androgynous name, i.e., Billie, Elliot, Jordan, Spencer, Sawyer…and the femmes have more feminine names, i.e., Caitlain, Lia, Maggie, Makaya, Willow. I will sometimes choose last names based on people I know, but the first names just come to me. I like unusual names, so I try to use them as often as possible.
What is the first piece you ever wrote?
On A Wing And A Prayer. Published in 2005.
When you are writing each novel. Are the experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life?
My characters are sometimes based on people I know…and I believe every author writes themselves into each of their books, even if they are not aware they are doing it. The situations on the other hand are totally made up, except for my book, “Happy Campers,” which is based on actual experiences. I guess, for the most part, you could say the situations in my books are experiences I would LIKE to have rather than based on an experience I have already had. I tend to place my books in cities, towns, states I am familiar with. By doing that, I feel I am better able to capture the essence of place and setting.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not really. My latest release is “In The Blink of an Eye”, and it’s part of the Billie/Cat Commitment series. It deals with a high school shooting. It makes me cry every time I read it. It’s a tough story to read, but it is appropriate to the world we are living in. The other book I released in 2019, Over The Crescent Moon, started out as a fun romp and turned into something very different. I struggled with how to end the book, but an idea came out of a conversation I had with my wife, that I hope my readers will enjoy. I wouldn’t change a thing in that book either.
What is the hardest part of writing a book?
Finding the time. I still work full time…and then there’s my wife, kids, grandkids and an elderly mom to spend time with. My latest problem has been this virus and the state our government is currently in. I have been very distracted of late to say the least!
What is the easiest part of writing a book?
Letting go and allowing the characters to take over. I love it when that happens. The book always turns out exceptionally better for it.
Do you think a book can have too much detail it? Do you think it can detract from the story?
I like the detail. I feel like it provides more visual aids for the reader. What I don’t like, are data dumps. It is annoying when I read a book that is mostly narrative rather than dialogue, or when the characters just spew information about themselves or their backstory in long rants. Information should be revealed through conversations. Like I said…detail is good, but for me, it is best when it comes out through interactions or short descriptions.
What is your greatest fear as an author?
I have two. First, that no one really knows who I am. I have 15 books published over the past 15 years, three of which have won Literary Awards, yet, there are thousands of lesbian readers out there who have never heard of me. I know a great deal of that is my own fault, as marketing myself is my weakest skill. The second fear is that I will subliminally copy another’s author’s ideas or work. For this reason, I do NOT read any lesbian literature while I am writing a book. I don’t want to pick up their ideas, or their sense of ‘voice’. I want to portray my own sense of style, and I want my readers to recognize my voice.
Who do you have fans compare you to (other authors)?
As far as I know, I have never been compared to other authors.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a speculative novel set in Sedona, Arizona, titled “Love in the Shadows.” Let’s just say it deals with vortexes and time warps. Sedona is the perfect setting for such a story!
How do you keep your different characters separate in your mind?
I try very hard not to take the same set of characters from one book, give them different names, and then plop them down into my next novel. I strive to make my characters unique, flawed, and very different from each other. I like them to be intelligent, yet vulnerable, likable, yet flawed, quirky, yet serious when they need to be. Most of all, I like them to be very different from each other.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part-time. I still work full time as a Semiconductor Engineer.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I do most of my writing in the evenings. My ‘day-job’ begins at 7 am and I generally work until 4 or 5 pm…and since we are a worldwide organization and some of our offices are in Germany, India, and Singapore, quite often I have late-night meetings anywhere from 9-11 pm. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing, so I fit it in when I can between working and spending time with my wife and family.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
When I’m on a roll, I’ll write every day, but generally, it is 3-5 nights a week.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No. I write until I’ve worked through several chapters, or until my characters are tired of talking to me and decide to take a break. I’m not hung up on a minimum number of words per session. I have been known to write well into the night because my characters are being especially chatty…only to go to work the next day with 2 or 3 hours of sleep, and at other times I quit after an hour or two because the flow is just not working. The fact that I self publish, means I control the deadline.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Computer…sometimes my desktop, and sometimes my laptop.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
Not yet, but I’ve offered to collaborate with my wife to kick her writing skills into gear. She’s an amazing plot doctor, and writer herself.
Where do your ideas come from?
Places I’ve visited, things I’ve read, the news, and from the quirky little imp that lives inside my head and surprises me with ideas in my dreams. I keep a pad of paper beside the bed in the event that happens. I am of the age that if I don’t write it down, it will be gone in an instant!
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
I am 100% a pantser. When I begin to write, I have a general idea of what the story is and where I want to take it, but then I begin to write and it goes off into several tangents as it follows my characters around. I find if I try to force a story to follow a pre-set outline, I have a harder time writing and being creative. I have learned that my characters have an even more wild imagination than I do, and if I let them do their thing, the story I get in the end may be different than I intended, but it is always better.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t remember much about my childhood thoughts and desires. When I reached high school, I took a course of study geared toward science, and at one point, I thought I wanted to be an actress, and then I wanted to be a physical therapist, but I switched gears and went for a double degree in theater and education. By the time I graduated from college (the first time), there were no jobs to be found in education and so I went to work in the semiconductor field. I went back to school when my kids were 6-months and 4 years, and nine years later, I became an engineer with a degree in scientific mathematics. Yes…I am a professional nerd!
What genres do you normally write in?
Romance, Occult, Drama, Speculative, Paranormal, Historical, Action, and Adventure. I think my best niche is in Speculative, although my favorite book I’ve written is 1140 Rue Royale, which is Paranormal.
What genres do you typically read?
I don’t read often, but when I do, I like anything except Erotica.
Is there a genre you haven’t written in that one day you’d like to tackle?
Someday, I will try my hand at a mystery, or maybe detective-themed novels. Sci-Fi might also be on the future agenda.
Are there any authors who have influenced your work?
Jodi Picoult. I like how open and direct her writing is.
What was the first book you ever published?
On A Wing And A Prayer – 2005
When did you first sign with (your current publisher)?
I am my current publisher. My wife and I established Badger Bliss Book (www.badgerblissbooks.com) in 2014 when my then, publisher, Blue Feather Books, closed its doors.
What was the craziest thing you’ve ever done when it came to a storyline in your book?
Hmmm…tough question. I’ve written about time travel, witchcraft, and ghosts, but I don’t consider them crazy. The closest I come to cray cray is funny. A good example is Book III in the Billie/Cat Series, titled “Happy Campers.” It is probably the funniest book of the 15 I have released. It is basically the camping trip from hell, and I’ve pretty much lived through everything that happens in that book on my own camping trips…just not all in one fell swoop!
Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you?
I am ritualistically addicted to research. You will recall I mentioned data dumps in an earlier question…well, I need to be careful with research because it borders on data dumps. Before I begin writing, I do extensive research into the setting of the book, and the topic I’m writing about. For example, in Yesterday Once More, the protagonist is a research scientist/doctor who specializes in spinal injuries, since she was injured as a teenager. She is working on an implant that restores mobility and notices that the rats they are testing the prototype on, walk with an uneven gait. She soon discovers it was caused by a different number of significant digits in the amount of time the electrical charge is applied to either side of the injury site. I was fascinated by this concept and spent an inordinate amount of time researching significant digits….and then proceeded to write two pages about it into the story to explain the uneven gait. Needless to say, my editor attacked those two pages with the dreaded red pen! My point is…I am inspired by information, and the more information I have before starting a book, the smoother the process goes for me.
What is your writing day like?
For starters, it’s never an actual day…. a few hours is more like it unless I’m on a roll. I will generally sit in my office with the television on in the background, or if my wife isn’t home, I’ll park myself in the living room in front of the TV with my laptop. I do my best writing when I have background noise. I will generally have something to drink and snack on while I’m working. When I’m really focused on writing, I barely hear the noise around me, but if it is totally quiet, I have a hard time concentrating. I try to knock off before midnight because my workday usually begins around six am, but if I’m really on a roll, it will write until two or three in the morning.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always enjoyed writing, but when I reached high school, I found that I not only enjoyed it, but I was pretty good at it. I filled up my electives in college with creative writing classes, and even tried my hand at playwriting as part of my theater degree. It wasn’t until I was married with two teenage sons that things took off…and my life completely changed. Much of that change, I attribute to writing.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I generally hear from readers after I have released a new title. I am close friends with several of them and stay in contact on a regular basis, but for the most part, the communication falls off with most of them after the new release isn’t new anymore.
Tell us about your new release.
I released two new books in the second half of 2019. The first is titled “Over The Crescent Moon,” and the second is titled “In The Blink of an Eye.” Crescent Moon is a historical/action-adventure novel that started out as a fun romp, but as the writing progressed, the characters turned it into something much more. The book starts out in 2019 and ends up in 1884. By the time I finished writing it, I realized that this was book one of what might be a multi-book series. That book won in BOTH the History and Action/Adventure categories in the LesFic Bard Awards! The second release, which I affectionately call ‘Blink’ is book 9 of the Billie/Cat Series, and it follows their oldest daughter, Tara, and son Seth, into a high-school shooting scenario. It is also a coming-out story for Tara. That book makes me cry when I read it. I keep imagining my 15-year old grandson caught in something like that. It is chilling to think about, and unfortunately, appropriate for the times we live in. By the way, ‘Blink’ was a finalist in the Young Adult category in the LesFic Bard Awards as well!
What kind of heroine is in your current book?
My current book, Love in the Shadows, is metaphysical in nature (speculative), set in Sedona, Arizona amongst the vortexes and Indian spirituality. The heroine is named Kirstin and she is a geneticist by training but has been transplanted from Utah to Sedona to escape the confines of her oppressive religious upbringing. She finds herself suddenly trying to adjust to being single after her two-year relationship ended when she found her artist-girlfriend getting just a little too close to the model for her latest artwork…in their own bed, no less. Anyway, Kirstin finds herself with significant free time and chooses to spend it hiking the vortexes of Sedona. Not to give anything away, let me just say that things begin to happen in a metaphysical sense while on these hikes. Enough said…for now!
Is there someone famous she resembled when you wrote her? Or is she based off someone you personally know?
Kirstin kind of looks to me, like Jessica Chastain…especially with the red hair.
What are your favorite character traits that you cannot resist?
Boldness, sassiness, independence, determination. My characters are definitely not wimpy in any way. They are generally very capable, determined, and independent.
What part of the female physique captures your attention?
As an author and essentially the “creator” of your character, do you find yourself attached to her in a personal way?
I think I create my characters with all the personality traits I would be attracted to. There are definitely some characters I could see myself attracted to if they were real…and if I didn’t already have the most amazing woman in my life. Lia Purvis, is the femme in my book, 1140 Rue Royale. I modeled her after the amazingly beautiful woman of color (Sherri Saum), who played Lena on the television show, ‘The Fosters.’ She mesmerizes me with her beauty. There are also some characters that get on my nerves sometimes, and I have to work to make them more likable at times.
If you could actually meet the character of one of your books, the exact woman you’ve conjured up in both looks and personality, which one would it be and why?
I guess I would have to say Jordan Lewis from Yesterday Once More. She’s smart (research scientist), tall, dark and beautiful (think, Xena), and she is so in love with Maggie Downs that she is willing to risk her entire life, her history, and her very existence to be with her. What complicates matters, is that Maggie has been dead for 85 years.
Does your heroine, take after you? Or is she someone you wish you could be?
As I’ve said, my heroine is everything I would like to be. In some ways, I believe every author writes themselves into their books…sometimes as secondary characters, but more often some of their personality traits and beliefs are ingrained in the main characters. My characters have my sense of humor, and at the risk of sounding full of myself, my intelligence as well. Unfortunately, I don’t really look like any of them – LOL!
Out of all your books, do you have a favorite?
1140 Rue Royale, for sure. It is my first attempt at writing Paranormal. I love this book so much because it touches the depths of my soul. It is about a multi-racial lesbian couple who purchase a mansion in New Orleans with a history of slavery. The story becomes deeply personal for the woman of color in the couple (Lia) when things begin to happen in the house. It is a story of love, renewal and redemption. The idea for the book came to me when I was sight-seeing during a break at the 2015 GCLS Conference in NOLA. I walked up to the house and touched the brick, and every hair on my body stood on end and goosebumps covered my arms. I knew instinctively there was a story to be told. I have goosebumps right now as I write this. It happens every time I talk about this book. As I said, it touches me deeply.
What is your biggest distraction when you write?
Current events. I absolutely cannot write if there is an election going on. I was destroyed by the 2016 election results and I was consumed with worry and fear immediately following it…and in some ways, I still am to this day. It took a long time for me to be able to concentrate again on writing. The coronavirus crisis is also crimping my style. I am about 8 chapters into the new book, and I’m struggling to make myself get back to work on it. My goal is to have that one completed before fall…and before the next election. I am a very political person who cares passionately about the health of our country. Unfortunately, we have been ailing for the past four years.
What are your major sources for research? Do you use books or google? Even movies?
Google, local library, research books. For example, I set Over The Crescent Moon in Hawaii, and when Barb and I visited Maui two years ago, I picked up several books about the islands and Hawaiian culture to use as references.
Which grammar rule is your favorite to break? Which one do you never break?
I try hard not to break any of them…but I’m sure I do. I still struggle with lay, lie, laid, lain, and when to put an ‘e’ at the end of the word ‘blond’. I find myself depending on the spell and grammar checker on MS-Word for words like that. The ones I never break…or try never to break are point-of-view, passive voice and dangling participles. I totally get why English is such a hard language to learn for non-native speakers.
If you could do a DREAM job (other than writing) what would it be and why? Have you used it in any of your stories?
I’d like to be a pilot. It would be awesome to fly, and it’s a great way to travel all around the world. The protagonist in my very first novel, On A Wing and a Prayer is a pilot.
What kind of jobs have you had in the ‘real’ world?
From ages 12 to 17, I served meals to the elderly in a nursing home. I drove a cotton candy truck to stock car races for a friend of my father’s who had cerebral palsy. I also worked as a short-order cook in a snack bar until a year or so into college. While in college, I manned the box office at the campus theater, and then after graduation, I was hired into a semiconductor manufacturer, and 42 years later, I’m still there!
If you could rewrite a CLASSIC novel as a lesfic novel, which would you choose and why?
To Kill a Mocking Bird. Scout would definitely be a baby-dyke, and I would replace Atticus Finch with a Xena-like kick-a$$ lawyer…like Billie Charland in my Billie/Cat Series. Considering the time and place the novel was set in, she would most likely still lose the case, but then she would break Tom out of prison by tying a rope around Argo’s saddle and tearing the bars out of the window. She would then run for Sheriff and win.
Some quickies (pardon the pun—pick twelve):
Satin or Lace? Satin
Hot or Cold? Hot
Camera or Canvas? Camera
Denim or Leather? Leather
Talking or Texting? Talking
Irish or Italian? Irish
Thunder or Lightning? Thunder
The sound of a heartbeat or a crackling fire? Crackling fire
Holding hands or Holding her attention? Attention
Crayons or Paint? Crayons
Mountains or Beach? Mountains
Rain or Sunshine? Sunshine (unless it’s a really violent storm…love the thunder)
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members that ‘surprised’ you?
My employer was super supportive. They even paid to have me attend the Society of Women Engineers Conference to present a paper I wrote titled, “Switching Sides – My Professional Journey Over the Rainbow.” The paper was all about coming out at work. How cool is that?
If you could meet anyone famous, PAST or PRESENT who would it be, and why?
Toss-up between Michelle Obama and Rachel Maddow. Michelle, because I adore and admire her, and Rachel, because she’s my secret girlfriend…everyone knows that!
Is there anything in your life you would delete? Anything you would replay?
That’s a hard question. My first instinct would be to say marrying my ex-husband, but then I wouldn’t have my sons or grandkids. I guess, if I was to be honest, I wouldn’t delete any of it. I love where I am today, and who I am with…and had anything part of my life been different, today would be different as well.
What were you like at school?
Nerdy tomboy. I went to Catholic schools, which was an experience in and of itself! I hated the uniforms. I would have much preferred pants. We had no girls sports, so I joined the band…and of course, I played the drums. I did really well at school and almost always made the honor roll. I was not one of the popular (mean) girls…which was something that broke my heart then…but I’m kind of glad for now. I hung around with the other nerdy girls.
Were you good at English?
Yes. I took as many creative writing classes as I could. I remember writing a poem once with 26 words…each one a letter of the alphabet. I still remember the first verse… “Alcoholic bumpkins, cackling deliriously eating fetid geraniums…” Odd…yes, but I was amused!
Do you speak any foreign languages? Which ones? What, if any, would you like to learn?
Unfortunately, no. After eight years of elementary school French and two years of high-school Latin, I’m afraid I’ve retained almost none of it. I learned American sign language at one point, but again, I’ve forgotten most of it. I would love to learn Spanish, German, and Gaelic.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I guess we’d all like to become the next Stephen King, but that’s pretty unlikely for me. It has always been my goal to supplement my retirement with my writing income. That will definitely happen. I am hoping to learn more marketing skills that I can employ when I have more time in retirement.
If you could have anyone play the main character of one of your books, any actress, who would you choose and why?
If my novel, 1140 Rue Royale was made into a movie, I would have Sherii Saum and Teri Polo play Lia and Elliot…because they are who I had in mind when I wrote those characters. They’d be perfect! If my novel Yesterday Once More was made into a movie, I’d want Katherine Moening to play Jordan and Jessica Chastain to play Maggie.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Generally, about a month of research followed by 3-4 months of writing.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
Sometimes, yes…or I’ll force myself to keep writing even when it doesn’t feel right, and end up erasing it when it turns out to be crap. I try not to do that – it’s a waste of time.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Yes…for me, going back to the beginning of the book and reading it all over again almost always shakes the block loose…and most of the time, the story takes off in an entirely different direction after the block. I believe a block happens when you are trying to write something the characters don’t want to do, and once you stop trying to force them, the block goes away.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I published my first book in 2005 (On A Wing and a Prayer), and while it continues to be one of my best sellers I feel like the quality of my writing and my creative imagination has improved 100 times over. It has definitely matured right along with me.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I rarely read…and when I do, it is generally not lesbian fiction…for reasons I stated earlier…I don’t want to subliminally lift an idea or copy the style of other authors. When I have time to read (which is very rare), I’ll read books by Jodi Picoult, Kathryn Stockett, Dan Brown. My wife, on the other hand, is an avid reader, and her preference is fantasy books…in particular, by Mercedes Lackey, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hardback books?
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
All of my books are professionally edited. I go through it a zillion times…then hand it off to Barb for a final read-through (and corrections) …then send it off to several beta readers…and then finally, to my editor.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
No. When I know it’s finished, I push hard to get it into my editor’s hands as soon as I can.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
My first six books were published when I was with Blue Feather Books. They had a cover artist who designed several covers for each book, and I was given the opportunity to choose the ones I liked best. The covers for my last nine books were designed by me. Some of them are from photos that I took myself, and some of them are from stock photos I purchased online. The cover for Book I of the Billie/Cat series (In A Family Way), was drawn by my grandson when he was five years old. The cover is basically a house with a rainbow above it, and five stick figures of the family who lives there. Funny enough, none of the figures have noses…but they all have belly-buttons, LOL! It is one of my favorite book covers. All my book covers reflect an aspect of the story in some way.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
I think it is a mechanism to catch a reader’s eye, so, yes, it is important, but I would hope a reader would remember the old adage… ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover.’ Sometimes some really awesome books are cloaked in mediocre covers.
How do you market your books?
Poorly…that is most likely why there are hoards of readers out there who have never heard of me. I post on Facebook groups mostly, and I physically sell books at author events and conferences when I can. I donate a lot of books to pride centers and libraries in the hopes it will get my name out there, and I work with a distributing company that sells my books on consignment. I also have an author page (www.karendbadger.com), and a publisher website (www.badgerblissbooks.com) …and a Facebook page for Badger Bliss Books.
Why did you choose this route?
This route is what I know how to do at the current time. As I’ve said – Marketing is the weakest link for me. I need to learn how to market better…I need to learn the different ways of marketing…and I need to find time for marketing in my crazy-busy life.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I have exchanged free books for reviews and I have solicited reviewed from groups that exist for that reason.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
At this point, social media is my primary marketing tool.
Which social network worked best for you?
Why do you think that other well-written books just don’t sell?
Lack of visibility. It all comes down to knowing HOW to market and being willing to spend the money, time and effort marketing.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
Trailers are useful tools as long as people watch them…and they adequately entice the reader enough to want to purchase the book. Again, it’s a matter of visibility.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Free books in exchange for reviews is based on the honor system. I have had relatively good luck with it.
Did you format your own book?
Yes. I format all my own books…and I offer formatting, cover creation and ebook creation (manuscript services) through my Badger Bliss Books website (www.badgerblissbooks.com).
In what formats is your book available?
Paperback, PDF, Mobi, Epub…and most other formats upon request.
How do you relax?
Barb and I watch home improvement shows together. We kayak, camp, take rides on the motorcycle…and I also like to knit and crochet. Oh, and let’s not forget singing karaoke!
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Retired, living part-time, seasonally, in our Vermont and New Mexico houses, traveling to the National Parks, and writing.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Burlesque, and Grease. I love modern musicals.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t worry so much.
‘Borrowed’ permanently from James Lipton on The Actor’s Studio:
What is your favorite word? Seriously?! (said sarcastically)
What is your least favorite word? The “C” word.
What turns you on? Tenderness
What turns you off? Racism, prejudice
What sound or noise do you love? Rain on the roof of the camper
What sound or noise do you hate? Screeching
What is your favorite curse word? God Damn It!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Acting
What profession would you not like to do? Septic worker
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Welcome to the party, your brother is waiting for you!
Did you have a good childhood? Were you a wild child? Are you the ‘odd’ one out in your family?
I had a great childhood. Not a lot of money, but we had what we needed…and lots of love. Raised by a divorced mom. There were five of us when my parents divorced—ages 8 to 2. God bless Mom! I was not a wild child…that was my sister and one of my brothers. I was a good girl. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t…it probably would have been more fun.
If you had to use THREE words to DESCRIBE yourself and you were looking from the outside, how would you describe yourself?
Considerate, generous, kind
What are your thoughts on Porn (visual) vs Erotica (written) and do you think authors can creatively bring some aspects of both into their writing, making it sensual and beautiful instead of raw and vulgar?
I do not enjoy reading erotica. I haven’t read any in a while, but the erotica I have read was all sex and no plot (and maybe that’s the point!). Sex is good…but I enjoy a good story. I don’t have a problem with raw sex being written into a good story as long as it doesn’t BECOME the story.
If you could have one and only one super-power, what would it be and why?
Have you ever Googled yourself? If you did, what did you find out about yourself?
Yes, I have. A bimodal distribution of sites comes up…. those focusing on my writing…and those focusing on technical papers and patents I hold as a semiconductor engineer. I also learned that a woman named Karen Badger was murdered several years ago in England!
Pen name vs no pen name? What was your rationale?
I began writing fan fiction under the pen name ‘kd bard,’ but all of my books are published under my real name.
Besides writing THE END, how do you KNOW a story is over and you should conclude it?
The book is finished when it FEELS finished. When I ‘finished’ Over The Crescent Moon, I was so close to sending it out to the beta readers, but it just didn’t feel right…and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Finally, I read the entire book again and realized that it really WASN’T finished. By re-reading it from the beginning and through discussions with my wife, an epilogue emerged that completely changed the nature of the story…and opened it up for several sequels. For me…my gut tells me when it’s finished.
What do you think of the ‘explosion’ of available titles for the Lesfic Reader that have come onto the market vs say 5-10-20 years ago? Is this a good thing or bad?
I think a diversity of authors is good. And there are plenty of readers out there to read our books. My only concern is that the growing popularity of self-publishing potentially reduces the ‘controls’ that are traditionally enforced by publishing houses…things like strict editing standards and enforcing the ‘rules’ of grammar. The good news about self-publishing is that no one can tell you no. The bad news about self-publishing is that no one can tell you no. It is important to maintain quality standards, especially when the only one you need permission from to publish your book is you.
Are you a quiet person or verbose in person?
I am not brash and ‘in-your-face’, but I’m not shy, either. I enjoy people, but there are times when I just want to hang out in the back of the room as well. I think people, in general, find me to be friendly, engaging and approachable.
Is there something in life you wish you had been braver about?
Not necessarily braver…but more aware about my orientation. I had crushes on girls since I was a young kid, but I didn’t have a name for it. I was definitely aware of it, but my young mind thought it was simply hero-worship. It wasn’t until I was 40 years old that the light bulb came on. On the other hand, I’ve had an interesting life so far, and I have a family I probably wouldn’t have had, had things come to light earlier. I wonder now if I would have been brave enough to act had I known earlier. I can only hope I would have.
If you were stuck on an island with only three books, which three would you like them to be?
A book on survival skills, a book on how to force yourself to like fish (because I wouldn’t want to starve to death), and War and Peace (because it would be a long time before I ran out of reading material). LOL!
If you were stuck in an elevator with three people, who would you like them to be?
President Obama, Etta James and Prince
20 years from now your books are assigned to a women’s studies class. What would you want them to say about your body of work?
That my books are substantive and relevant and feature strong, intelligent, and independent women…and that love is love, regardless of how it’s packaged.
Do you consider yourself successful at this thing called writing? What makes you think that?
Not to discourage new writers out there, but a very small percentage of all authors actually make a living by writing and selling books. It takes a lot of talent, luck and timing to become a financially successful author. Success it not necessarily measured by how many books you sell or how much money you make. You can achieve success simply by putting pen to paper and telling a story that brings a measure of joy or interest to another human being. I measure my success by how satisfied I am that a story touches my own soul as well as the souls of others. If I can make myself laugh, or cry, or outraged, or happy by re-reading I book I have written, then I define that book as successful. If others enjoy it, and it produces some level of income (high or low), then that is a bonus.
Were there any teachers that stood out through school? Anyone that made it bearable and that you remember fondly?
I mentioned earlier that I went to Catholic schools. I had nuns as teachers right up until 6th grade. In 6th grade, I had a lay teacher named, Mrs. Lafayette. She was pretty awesome…and so different from the nuns. She was funny and engaging…and laid back—unlike most of the nuns who were, for the most part, stiff and unyielding. In high school, I had a major crush on my typing teacher, Mrs. MacDonald… Mrs., Mac, as we called her. In college, my drama teachers were a married couple, Joanne and Donald Rathgeb. They were amazing and extravagant people…especially, Mrs. R. She would sweep into a room when she entered – always an actress. I attribute my ability to be friendly, outgoing and comfortable in front of a large crowd to the Rathgebs and the time I spent in the St. Michael’s College drama department.
Do you enjoy debates? Any particular subjects?
Yes, as long as I am prepared with the facts. If you follow my Facebook page at all, you’ll know that I am passionate about politics and about the disparity between the two major political parties. I am also passionate about racial and sexual equality and about the rights of the LGBTQ community.
If you had a time machine would you go forward or back in time and why?
I would go back in time, the first thing I might do is convince Trump’s parents to use better birth control, LOL! Seriously though, if I could go back in time and prevent slavery, or the Holocaust, or Stonewall…or any other horribly atrocious act against the people of the world, I would do it. Of course, changing even one thing in the past might have a ‘butterfly effect’ or a ‘pebble in the pond’ effect for future events as well. Those changes might be for the better…or worse. Who knows?
Do you believe in astrological signs and what they mean? Do you think you follow your own and are stereotypical of what it says about your birthday/year?
I am a Sagittarius and in the Chinese zodiac, I am a Monkey. When I read about the characteristics of Sag’s, it pretty much fits who I am and how I am. Sag women are generally described as optimistic and confident, charming, versatile, ambitious and determined. We seek knowledge and love to explore and to make others happy. We are fiercely independent, yet welcome others with open arms. On the other hand, we can be intolerant, especially with the injustices in the world. It occurs to me as I write this, that most of the lead characters in my book have the same traits. Like I said, I believe every author writes some aspects of themselves into their characters.
Toe ring or belly button ring if you HAD to have one?
Belly ring – I actually have a piercing there.
What is the scariest thing you have ever attempted in your life?
Skydiving. It turned out to be really fun! I’d do it again.
Have you ever stolen anything?
If you could make out with one character from a movie, who would it be and why?
Gracie Lou Freebush (Sandra Bullock) from Miss Congeniality. I love Sandra Bullock. She is my second secret (not-too-secret) girlfriend (beside Rachel Maddow). She is just so down to earth and NICE. Gracie Lou starts out being this stiff, tough, clumsy detective who suffers from low confidence and in the course of the movie, she turns into this fun, down to earth girlfriend, who of course, saves the day, all while participating in a beauty pageant that she is soooo not cut out for. I just love her!
Is there one scene from your book that is the most memorable?
Geeze…there are so many memorable scenes in most of my books! In my latest release, ‘In The Blink of an Eye,’ there is an entire chapter dedicated to the school shooting, and how each of the characters experiences it differently. That part of the book grabs me in the gut, and creates a lump in my throat. I have five grandkids in the school systems…one in high school, three in middle school and one in elementary school (in the same age group as Sandy Hook), and it breaks my heart to imagine any one of them in that situation.
What is the one thing that surprised you about becoming a published author?
How satisfying it is to hold a book in your hands with your name on the cover. The other major benefit is the number of friends I have made through my writing. I have met so many amazing women, and some of them will remain very close friends for the rest of time. It is truly a loving and diverse community.
Where were you when you found out your book had won a LesFic Bard Award? What was your reaction?
I was at home…working from home, actually, thanks to this virus. I received an email that “In The Blink of an Eye” was a finalist in the Young Adult category. I was very pleased, but still a bit downtrodden that “Over The Crescent Moon” didn’t seem to get a mention. Then, the very next day, I received another email that said “Over The Crescent Moon” not only won….but it won in TWO categories, Historical and Action/Adventure. Needless to say, I was over the [crescent] moon with joy (I know…that was corny!). When the awards arrived, I promptly gave them a place of honor in my office. They are beautiful! For any author reading this, you will understand the feeling of being unappreciated when you release a book that you just KNOW is amazing, only to receive virtually no recognition for it. So when your book wins…and wins big, it’s a validation of your skills as a storyteller and it provides so much inspiration to continue your craft.
Author page: www.karendbadger.com
Publisher page: www.badgerblissbooks.com
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Badger/e/B00J653VBK
Kindle Store: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=karen+d.+badger&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss
Bella Books: https://www.bellabooks.com/category/author-karend-badger/
Barnes and Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Karen+D.+Badger/_/N-8qa?_requestid=6739504