Thursday, November 13, 2014 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Karen Sue Burns

The Write Way Café welcomes author Karen Sue Burns. Learn why she suffers from pounding her head on her desk and turning to her dog Dexter for answers. 

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
Research wise, this was an easy book for me. The stories are straight contemporary romance with all the stories located in a small Texas city (Sugar Land, named after Imperial Sugar) just a few miles from my home. Thus, I didn’t have to research the setting or places to hide/find a dead body, which is the norm for my stories.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
I’m like most writers and get ideas from everywhere—talking to people, the news, dreams, outer space, thin air—you know, the usual places. The key is to translate that idea into a decent character or a doable plot.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
At times it’s difficult for a writer, especially a new writer, to separate themself from their characters. However, the more I write the easier it is. My first published book, In Hot Pursuit, is the story of the controller of a liberal arts university in Houston and the theft of $25 million. Yes, it was based on my job and the settings were places I’d travelled to, Las Vegas and Rome. I followed that old saying of “write what you know.” Now that that’s out of my system, I have characters that are imaginary and no doubt have characteristics of people I know…that’s hard to get away from.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
I suppose my biggest block is what will happen next in the plot. I’m a pantster, cannot write out a detailed plot outline, just not in me. So I suffer from pounding my head on my desk or repeatedly asking my dog, Dexter, what should happen next? Of course he looks at me with his head cocked and a cute look that says “Figure it out yourself, human.” And, of course, I do figure it out.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
In writing the four stories for Christmas in Sugar Land, the most surprising thing for me was how much fun I’d have in writing straight contemporary romance. It was a nice break to write a story without a theft or a dead body. Of course, I’m itching to get back to my cozy mystery series coming up next…The Coyote Cove Series.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
My writing space is a small desk set up in the breakfast room. I have a very cool bedroom I call the Bookroom that would be perfect for a study. Nope, not for me. I do not like to be closed off in a room while I write. Don’t know why I’m like that…just the way it is. Maybe I was stuffed in a car trunk in a former life.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing the second book in my Texas Ghost Stories series, Crazy for Home. It will be available on December 26th for all those Kindles given as Christmas gifts. It’s set at a B&B in Brenham, Texas. The next book is Death by Merlot, the first in my cozy mystery series, the Coyote Cove Series. Coyote Cove is a fictional town set on the Texas Gulf Coast with an eclectic group of residents.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
I’ve thought about writing paranormal—vampires, especially if a male looked like Edward Cullen/Robert Pattinson. Plus I think living forever like the Cullen clan would be cool. But I only have so much time and I need to concentrate on my first love, mystery and suspense for novels and contemporary romance for short stories.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
This is an easy one—a chef. I enjoy cooking and absolutely love the process of creating new recipes and tinkering with an old one. Honestly, having a TV show on the Food Network would be a dream come true! Note: All my heroines cook and my books have recipes. Christmas in Sugar Land has Enriched Content with button links to recipes, pictures, and author links.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
Heroine—the usual, Elizabeth Bennett and Scarlett O’Hara
Hero—John Corey, hunky detective first introduced by Nelson Demille in Plum Island

Christmas in Sugar Land
Christmas in Sugar Land is a collection of heartwarming Christmas themed stories featuring fictional residents of Sugar Land, Texas and includes Enriched Content—pictures, recipes, and author notes for each story with a touch button (Kindle) or a notation (print) access to the content throughout the text. If you enjoy Romance and Christmas, this is the book for you!

THE CHRISTMAS STAR – Under the glow of a magical Christmas star, two lonely people find each other and learn that the true meaning of the holiday does indeed entail family and love.
A HOLIDAY SURPRISE – After divorcing fifteen years ago, can two mature and successful adults overcome the differences that forced them apart and then succeed together at love a second time?
CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT – With the company of a clever puppy, a widowed freelance writer falls for a hunky landscaper as feelings of loyalty to her dead husband threaten her chance at happiness.
ROCKIN’ JINGLE BELLS – Can high school sweethearts now in their mid-thirties, a coffee café manager and a famous rock singer, overcome the dissimilarities in their lives and build a relationship based on love and trust?

Christmas in Sugar Land is available at Amazon as an E-book or in Print.

Karen Sue Burns has been a writer since 8th grade. She recently retired from her day job as a CPA and now spends her time writing romance and mystery novels along with contemporary romance short stories. She enjoys cooking and creating recipes so her heroines do the same. All of her indie works include at least one of her favorite recipes. In Hot Pursuit is her debut romantic suspense novel and The Liberation of Mr. Delaney is her first indie published novel. Christmas in Sugar Land is her first collection of short stories with Enriched Content. Readers may contact Karen via the Bio/Contact tab on her website. Check out the Recipes tab while you’re there!

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Becky Lower said...

Nice post, Karen Sue. Love the idea of focusing on a small town in Texas. Having lived in the state before, I know you'll never run out of colorful characters.

Sarah M. Kennedy said...

What a great interview. Can't wait to dig into one of your books.

Liz Crowe said...

great interview! sounds like a fun set of stories and recipes!

Donnell Ann Bell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donnell Ann Bell said...

Terrific Interview, Karen. My gosh, you're prolific, and I'd write about vampires too, if I could have one who looked like Edward or the vampire in the movie Dracula. Have you seen it?

Loralee said...

Karen, your books will definitely be on my To-Buy list. As a native-born Texan who grew up in a very small Hill Country town but moved to Michigan (where it's snowing hard right now) many years ago, I know where Sugar Land is. Love Texas and small town Texas stories.

Karen Sue Burns said...

Thank you for all your nice comments! I'll be sending a print copy of Christmas in Sugar Land to one of you. Any specific questions?

HiDee said...

Fun interview! Thanks for being with us today, Karen!

Carolyn said...

Karen, I've read some of your books and like the fact that your female characters are of an age where they have lived life..... not the "20" something's that are just learning what life is all about. Looking forward
to more of the same.

RT Wolfe said...

No banging heads. You are too sweet. :) Best wishes to you!
-R.T. Wolfe

J.D. Faver said...

What a delightful interview, Karen. Christmas in Sugarland sounds like a perfect way to get in the Christmas spirit. <3

Karen Sue Burns said...

Thanks again for all your fabulous comments. I know this blog has recipes so I decided to give you one that is in my Christmas collection.

Sugar Land's Special Coffee---
Stir together in a coffee mug:
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon granulated sugar or 1 packet substitute, to taste
Heat in microwave for fifteen seconds
Add one cup of strong coffee
Stir and enjoy!!

For Iced Coffee:
Pour mixture into your favorite “blending” appliance
Add 4 ice cubes and set on blend
Pour into tall glass, additional ice cubes may be added if desired

For Adult Beverage:
Add to the iced coffee your favorite alcohol additive such as vanilla vodka, Irish cream liquor, and almond-flavored liquor

Linda Barrett said...

Nice job, Karen. So glad to see you on your way to a terrific second career. The mind is such a terrible thing to waste...

Karen Sue Burns said...

The print copy of Christmas in Sugar Land goes to Sarah M. Kennedy. Sarah will you please contact me via my website and I'll get the book in the mail.

Thanks everyone for your comments and good wishes!!