There’s nothing I like better than meeting new people, especially those who love writing stories. Authors fascinate me, so I’m always asking authors to sit down for an interview. I first met Karen Guzman a few weeks ago through a mutual friend. She has a brand new release out and I just had to ask for an interview. She graciously agreed. You’re in for a treat, readers. So, grab your favorite beverage and join us. Karen, take it away:
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
So many authors have inspired me, and I continue to discover new and amazing writers all the time. Just a few of my all-time favorites, off the top of my head: Tolstoy, Graham Greene, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Evelyn Waugh, C.S. Lewis, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Anne Tyler, Ethan Canin, Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout, Marilynne Robinson, Wally Lamb, Dennis McFarland, Ellen Cooney, and I’m leaving so many out.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don’t like making predictions. There are always too many factors at play. That said, I’d like to have my next book (it’s already in the early stages) finished, and I’d like to be visiting college campuses with my son, who will be a high school senior in five years. So hard to believe! I hope I’ll still be riding the horse I currently work with (horseback riding is my favorite sport) because she’s a sweetheart. And I hope my husband and I get to do more traveling.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, since elementary school, I’ve been writing stories and studying the ways that other people write stories.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a bit of both. I sketch out a rough plot draft, and then the pantser in me fills, and often redirects, what happens between plot points and how. It’s a very organic, fluid process, as all writers know.
What is your best marketing tip?
Network with other writers, learn from them, and then help each other promote. It makes all the difference, and you make some nice friends along the way.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
Arborview is my second novel. My debut, Homing Instincts, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2014. Looking back, I’m pleased with how much I’ve learned and grown as a writer in previous years.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
Baked goods are the downfall, for which I do daily penance in the gym and on the track. It’s no surprised the main characters in Arborview are pastry chefs.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A much loved, indoor house cat. They have the life!
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
Yes, a very faint white strip of a scar on my inner arm. It’s a play session battle scar left more than 20 years ago by Kurt, my beloved black cat who is still—and will always be—in my heart.
Thank you, Karen, for the wonderful sit-down. Readers, scroll down to check out her new release, Arborview. There’s even a giveaway to enter.
Author: Karen Guzman
Genre: Mainstream Fiction/Women’s Fiction
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
When the recipe for a new life is bittersweet…
Ellen Cahill’s financial future rides on the success of her new pastry shop. A bruising divorce has drained her bank account, along with her spirit. A man enters her life promising love, but Ellen, haunted by the past, questions whether she can pull off this new beginning.
College student Rosa Escamilla has her own culinary dreams—and a difficult mother who’s dead set against them. Rosa won’t be deterred. She scrapes up the money to enroll at a prestigious culinary school, setting out to prove everyone wrong.
When hidden betrayals by the people they love most surface for both Ellen and Rosa, can they overcome the blows they never saw coming on the road to where they want to go?
She found the old book that night, buried at the back of the living room bookcases. The spine cracked when she opened it, and dust drifted from the pages.
With Bold Knife and Fork by M.F.K. Fisher. Ellen had discovered Fisher early in her marriage, when she was pregnant with Taber. She had left her teaching job, due to unrelenting morning sickness, and Zach was putting in long hours, launching the version of himself he wanted to show the world. They were in the loft apartment in Hartford, and Ellen spent afternoons on the couch beneath the tall windows, nibbling saltines, as the ceiling fan whirred in the summer heat.
She had savored the book’s words, dreaming of her own garden in the country, where she would grow herbs and spices and vegetables crunchy with sunshine and promise. Larger mysteries would then surely unfold. The sharp, fecund scent of the soil beneath her feet would call them forth. Zach would be amazed at the bounty she would bring into their life. Love would lead them.
That was a long time ago.
Ellen tucked the book beneath her arm and carried it to the kitchen. She left it near the coffee maker, where she’d be sure to remember it.
Upstairs, she got ready for bed. She left her clothes in a heap on the floor. She did laundry so rarely now—once, maybe twice a month. There was a time when she was doing three loads, twice a week. It seemed the machine was always sloshing and clicking in the mudroom. She had loved hanging the clothes out in the sunshine to dry when they first moved here. A sunny day proclaims the glory of God, the nuns used to say. Ellen would carry a burst of fresh air back into house, pausing to bury her head in a pile of towels or Zach’s t-shirts before tucking them away into drawers and closets.
Then Alice told her clotheslines were low-rent. “Underwear and bras flapping in the breeze for all the world to see?” How young Alice was then—still in her headband phase. She liked the plaid ones with the little ribbon on top, all colors and shades. She gave them up in her thirties, as she said any self-respecting woman should.
“Nobody can see into our backyard,” Ellen had argued. But Zach seconded Alice’s opinion, and Ellen loaded the clothes dryer.
Zach had dismantled the clothesline, but maybe she’d put up a new one now, at the edge of the yard near Arborview, and show the world just how low-rent she could be. She knew the perfect spot where the ground was flat, and breezes rippled in from the woods. Ellen closed her eyes, smiling at the notion. A clothesline rebel. Why not? This house was hers alone now, for as long as she could hold onto it.
The cool sheet draped her body. Maybe she had turned away from her own sense of what mattered most, of what was possible, long ago. But there was so much rush and noise back then, so many others, their voices and need, their love, concrete and enveloping. Who could resist such love? Why had no one warned her that people go away? That time runs out, and unthinkable things come to pass.
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Giveaway: I’m one of the authors participating in the Spooky Halloween Bookish Giveaway and you can win an e-copy of Arborview by Karen Guzman.
Runs October 1 - 31 and is open internationally for many prizes. Winners will be drawn on November 1, 2021.
Karen Guzman is a fiction writer and essayist. Her new novel, Arborview, is published by The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Homing Instincts, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2014. Karen’s short fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and her story collection, Pilgrims, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award. Karen is a regular contributor to the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings Online magazine. She is the recipient of a 2021 writing fellowship at the Collegeville Institute.
Karen has worked as a journalist at the Hartford Courant in Hartford, Connecticut, and at the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is presently a writer at the Yale School of Management.
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