"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Karen Michelle Nutt
Karen Michelle Nutt lives in California with her husband of twenty-two years, three fascinating children, a dog, named Shakespeare, and three cats that have everyone well trained. Her book Lost in the Mist of Time was nominated by New Books Review for 2006 Spotlight Best Book of the Year Award. She is the member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA.) In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR- Paranormal Romance Reviews. An avid reader of history, romance, and the paranormal, she tends to combine the three in her writings. She enjoys travel, old movies, books, and the chance to weave a tale.
An Interview with Karen Michelle Nutt
PNR: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to choose writing as a career?
Karen N.: Karen N.: As long as I can remember, I’ve loved to write, scribbling down my stories in notebooks. I eventually convinced my parents to let me buy a typewriter. (I think I just aged myself.) At eleven, I wrote plays so my friends and I could perform them at school. Then I began to fill hardcover notebooks with stories so they would look like published novels, using those stick on letters to spell out the title and the author’s name. I still have some of those early works, which were westerns and surprise, surprise-- paranormals. My children have enjoyed reading them and passing them along to their friends. My spelling wasn’t perfect at twelve-years old; however, in my defense there wasn’t spell check back then.
PNR: Do you have a strict writing schedule? How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Karen N.: A husband, three kids, pets and working keep me busy. I guess I could say writing is dedicated to Mondays.
Monday is my day off and it is blessedly quiet. I make my coffee and sit down at my laptop to write.
I find mornings are the best for me. By the time late afternoon or evening rolls around, I’m taxed and I can’t seem to write anything coherent.
PNR: Most authors are avid readers; what is your favorite genre to read? Favorite authors?
Karen N.: This is difficult to answer. I love to read just about anything. I have six bookcases stuffed with novels of all genres and not to mention the garage stacked with boxes of books I can’t part with.
It’s not so much the genre or the author, but the story that stays with me long after I’ve finished it. To name a few classics: The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Tell Tale Heart and the poem Annabelle Lee by Edgar Allan Poe. My favorite Time-travels are Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I absolutely love Jaime and Claire, and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
My favorite sci-fi series is The Vampire Huntress Series by L.A. Banks. My favorite historical romances are The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen E. Woodiwss and Bride of the MacHugh by Jan Cox Speas. Fantasy stories are Ill Met By MoonLight and All Night Awake by Sarah A. Hoyt. She takes William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe and weaves a tale of fantasy and history.
I loved Seize the Day, Fear Nothing and Watchers by Dean Koontz. The beauty of Mr. Koontz’s writing is that he can blend horror, science, and heart-warming characters into an intriguing story. The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross was a book I couldn’t put down. They cleverly combine history and intrigue into this epic love story.
New books that I’ve added to my library are paranormals like Watchers in the Night by Jenna Black (vampires) and Greywalker by Kat Richardson (ghosts, vampires), Everlasting Journey by Meloni Cassidy (time-travel), The Demon’s Eye by M.L. McBryar (vampires, werewolves, horror), The Pipes are Calling by Loretta A. Murphy (A wee bit of magic), The Forgotten Scribes by Anthony W. Downen (Vampires with a controversial twist), and Vunerable by Amy Lane (An erotic paranormal) and lets not to forget the E-books. My favorites are Believe in the Magic and Finding the Magic by Cait Miller.
I could go on forever. There are so many talented writers with beautifully told stories.
PNR: Being a newly published author, who or what has been the biggest influence on your work? Who or what has been your biggest support?
Karen N.: My greatest influence on my work has been my good friend Cathy and my mom who have read all my stories, even the plays that were handwritten in notebooks. My biggest support system is my daughter who is ever eager to read my next story. My husband helps me with my endless questions about computers, and he has designed my lovely website. My friends at work, Steph and Sandra are forever promoting my book, and I have tremendous support from my fellow authors, Meloni Cassidy and Mari McBryar.
PNR: Your debut work, Lost in the Mist of Time, has received glowing reviews; how does it feel to have such positive recognition with your first novel?
Karen N.: It’s wonderful! I was so nervous and probably drove my husband crazy with worry that nobody would like it. I realize you can’t please everyone, but it’s still nice to know when you do. I appreciate and thank those from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to tell me how much they enjoyed the tale.
PNR: Could you tell us about the publication of your first book, Lost in the Mist of Time? Where did the idea for the story come from? How do you develop your story ideas?
Karen N.: I was inspired to write Lost in the Mist of Time when I was touring Ireland with my brothers. A lovely woman, who has since passed away, told me about St. Michan’s church in Dublin .
St. Michan’s Church was founded in 1095 and for five hundred years, it was the only parish in Dublin , north of the River Liffey. The main attraction lies in the vaults underneath the church where four mummified remains are on display. The tour guide allowed my brothers, another woman and me to step inside the room where these bodies were laid to rest. (This is something he normally doesn’t allow, but because there were only four in our group, he let us go inside.)
No one knows the identity of these four people who where worthy to be buried on sacred grounds. I was intrigued by this and began to spin a story in my head. I added another occupant and brought him to life so to speak. It would be his story of how he lived, loved and died, but with a chance to change his fate.
PNR: Lost in the Mist of Time is a time travel romance, where your heroine, Aislinn, is a contemporary romance writer and your hero, Sir Dougray Fitzpatrick resides in 16th century Ireland . Could you tell us about the challenges you faced bringing these characters together and how their differences drove the storyline?
Karen N.: Aislinn is from the 21st century and is independent and stubbornly opinionated. Though she writes romances, she doesn’t know the first thing about love. She’s only dated men she could control and dump at the appropriate time so not to be tangled in an unwanted love affair. Being in control is her thing, and real men are fantasies.
Dougray is an honorable lord and protects women at all costs. He was in love once, but his young bride tragically dies, leaving him heartbroken. He has no desire to marry another, even though the old crone of the woods predicts otherwise.
Aislinn doesn’t know what to make of a man she can’t control, while Dougray doesn’t know how to protect a woman who doesn’t follow any of the rules.
PNR: Tell us about the challenges you faced when using paranormal elements in a historic setting. How much research was involved?
Karen N.: I wanted the paranormal element to blend into the story making it seem plausible that the two could meet and survive living in either century.
16th century Ireland was a turbulent time with petty feuds and lordships separating the land. I found with my research many people in Ireland still spoke Gaelic and their Christian values were sometimes intertwined with their pagan beliefs.
Dougray is a son of an Irish rebel, but educated in England. He knows both worlds and is far more accepting to different possibilities in life. Aislinn’s father being of Irish descent makes sure she learns to speak Gaelic. He was also adamant that she know how to defend herself in any situation, making her strong enough to survive 16th century hardships.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? Do you find it difficult the juggle the two elements?
Karen N.: I would have to say character driven. I may have an idea how the story will start and end, but I tend to let the characters take me down the path. Sometimes, I’m surprised where their witty banter leads me.
PNR: Beyond the obvious, what is it about men in kilts (or in the case of Sir Dougray, a léine) that captures your imagination? That of the readers?
Karen N.: There is something to be said about a man who can show a little leg and still look strong and masculine; it makes a lass weak in the knees.
I believe what makes these men so popular to read about is the fact when you think about a kilt you can’t help but imagine the warriors who wore them. Kilts and léines are all male and this somehow equals strength, pride, independence and courage. What more could you ask for in your hero?
PNR: You have written in the time travel genre; is there a genre you would like to try writing in the future
Karen N.: I’m working on a paranormal mystery romance intertwining the fey, vampire and werewolf lore. I’m still waiting to see where the characters will take me.
PNR: Can you tell us about the projects are you currently working on, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Karen N.: Look for my time-travel Amazon Short for download in the next couple of months. It’s called the “At the Stroke of Midnight.”
My short story, MR. O'GRADY'S MAGIC BOX has been accepted for publication in the Lighthouse Literary Reviews Anthology, The Object of Romance. Coming Fall 2007.
I have articles, poems and news listed regularly at Authors Den. Please stop by and take a look.
PNR: Thank you, Karen, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Karen N.: Thank-you so much Dee for this wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts.
My website is KMN Books: http://www.kmnbooks.com and
Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/karenmichellenutt
I love talking to readers. Please feel free to drop me a line anytime you have a question. Until then, take care.
"The layers of time are delicate. Sometimes the past and the future intertwine, making it possible to slip through."
Dougray Fitzpatrick finds that Aislinn Hennessy is fearless in the face of an enemy, but shies away from what her heart holds true. Aislinn discovers that Dougray is honest and brave to a fault. He would die for her if necessary. They were thrown together by a twist of fate, a magical mist that sends them back to sixteenth century Ireland where conspiracies, feuds and unexpected violence are commonplace threats, but along the way, they discover a few surprises that neither one expects: a chance for love even when they're: Lost in the Mist of time.
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