Sunday, January 27, 2013

Now Presenting: Karen McQuestion (and a giveaway!)

Karen McQuestion is a fabulous, bestselling Wisconsin author (Yaay Cheeseheads!); she's written three novels for adults, three for teens, and two for kids. You've probably heard of Karen, because she's sold mega-stacks of books and is amazing. If you haven't, here--let me help you out of that bomb shelter and tell you about something called the Internet.  I adore her, and am totally fan-girl that she actually talks to me; in fact, she graciously subjected herself to my interview questions below. AND, she's got signed paperbacks of her latest YA, Edgewood, to give away to TWO lucky readers! (Freebookfriday called it "What to read after The Hunger Games.")

1)      Tell us about Edgewood. Where did you get the idea?

In the beginning of Edgewood, the main character, Russ Becker, finds himself plagued by insomnia. And the only thing that seems to help is taking late night walks. On one of these walks he witnesses a strange astronomical event and eventually discovers that he’s acquired superpowers.

I can’t be sure, but I think the original idea stemmed from my own insomnia, the difference being that my sleepless nights did not result in superpowers of any kind. Disappointing.

2)      What’s one of the biggest differences between writing Young Adult vs. Women’s Fiction?

Since Edgewood is a paranormal, the storyline is far more fantastical than my traditional women’s fiction.

Besides that, I tend to think that the first time you experience something—love, a friend’s betrayal, driving, whatever—it tends to evoke some intense emotions. And since the teenage years have a lot of firsts, it’s a pretty emotionally-charged time. In my opinion, the people who unfairly characterize teenagers as dramatic have forgotten a lot.

Fiction mirrors life, so the intensity of emotion is something I try to keep in mind as I write.

3)      What do you find most challenging about the writing life, and how do you cope?

I have to admit that I’m living my dream—I earn a living writing fiction. Me of four years ago would have smacked myself in the head for complaining about anything at this point, so I have to say that my biggest challenge is writing fiction that’s worthy of the wonderful readers I’ve been lucky enough to reach so far.

4)      Tell us about one of your “most” moments: most humbling, humiliating, gratifying, life-affirming, hilarious … whatever first comes to mind.

Most humiliating:  I once met up with a woman I hadn't seen in over a year and she'd changed her hairstyle drastically--from very long beautiful hair, to an adorable chic short cut.

I spent about ten minutes raving about how cute her haircut was, and saying I'd often thought of doing the same, but never had the courage to go that short.

After babbling on like this for some time, I asked, "So what made you decide to cut it?"

And she said, "I had brain surgery."

Really and truly this did happen. Even now, my face gets red thinking about it. Talk about putting things in perspective...

The bright spot in the whole thing was that the surgery was successful in eliminating her epileptic seizures. (And her hair did look cute.)

5)      Name one book you read again and again.

I don’t usually reread books because there are so many books to read and so little time. As a writer I do sometimes flip through writing books for inspiration, notably Stephen King’s On Writing, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey.
Thanks, Karen! Loved your answers, love you...come back and visit another time! Also, that's not me on your front lawn holding a boombox over my head. Nope.

Don't forget to enter to win a signed copy! Just leave a comment below, along with your email address. Entries close Wednesday at midnight. I'm not nearly organized enough to start spamming you, and I don't even have an author newsletter (see: not organized enough), so don't worry about me bugging you now that I have your email.


  1. Im the only one so far?

  2. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Apparently I have been living in a bomb shelter. Always looking for a new author so this is exciting.

  3. I love you both and I am so excited for all your successes! Well deserved!

    Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

  4. Always excited to hear about new books! jkichler1 at yahoo dot com.

    Take care,

  5. Anonymous5:55 PM

    Since you are an accomplished writer of adult books, I feel that your YA fiction probably doesn't dumb down the medium for the audience, so I would like to give it a try. maggiecainyoga @

  6. Anonymous6:14 PM

    My daughter would love this!

  7. Your books look amazing. I teach middle school and I wonder if they would be good for them
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  8. These comments are so nice that I wish everyone could win! Jess Riley--how would you feel about picking two winners?

  9. We can do that, Karen! :) You are so nice!!!

  10. Anonymous7:31 AM

    I hope I win, I've heard a lot of good things about this book, can't wait to read it...

  11. Karen, one question I have for you is what superpower do you wish you would have acquired during your sleepness nights?

  12. Kelly, there's a character in the book named Nadia and I’d love to have her power—the ability to astral project anywhere in the world. It’s like being invisible and being able to fly all at the same time. Since I'm incredibly nosy and love to travel, that would be perfect for me.ツ

  13. Anonymous4:50 PM

    After reading the hunger games, I was craving to read more of something similar, then I found Edgewood on my kindle...AND FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. The story was amazing and I can't wait to read Wanderlust..(I have a few predictions of my own about what might happen, so im excited to see if im right or wayyyy off). After reading Edgewood, and while waiting for Wanderlust to come out, I decided to read another of your books, the long way home, and absolutely loved that one too! I just felt so connected with all the characters, I caught myself laughing or crying through a lot of it. I will be reading the rest of your novels too :) Sorry for blabbing on! Thanks for the great reads Karen! Looks like I will also be reading your books too Jess Riley, they look very good! I would love a signed copy of Edgewood to keep and to share with friends. Hope I win a copy!

  14. logan92212--you are awesome! Thanks so much taking the time to leave such a lengthy, wonderful comment. I appreciated every word. WANDERLUST will be released on February 15th. I have my fingers crossed that you'll love it as well.

    In the meantime, read Jess's book, ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE. Everyone I know who has read it loved it, including me.