Q & A with Karen DeWitt

Today and MS survivor and a lovely lady with a beautiful smile! Please welcome my latest victim..Karen DeWitt!

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karen dewittWhat would your bio say? 

My bio for The Bunco Club:

Karen DeWitt is a member of a Bunco Club that has been together for more than twenty years. She also holds an MFA in studio art from Southern Illinois University and has attended workshops at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Karen’s career as a professional artist became challenged several years ago when Multiple Sclerosis claimed the fine motor skills of her right hand. Struggling to stay creative, she trained her left-hand so she could continue to produce art; while at the same time beginning work on The Bunco Club. “I’ve always loved to write, so when one door closed, I jumped at the chance to open a new one.”

When did you start writing and why?

I began writing seriously about ten years ago. Most authors will tell you, “I’ve always loved to write,” and that statement is also true for me; however, I could more accurately say, “I’ve always loved being creative.” I spent most of my life as a professional studio artist until about ten years ago when, sadly, Multiple Sclerosis overcame the fine motor skills of my right hand. Longing to remain creative, I started writing my first novel.

If you are a parent how does being a parent affect your writing and writing habits? Or does it?

Yes, I am a proud parent. I have a 29 year-old son so I suspect my experience is quite different from many authors struggling to balance writing time with young children. My son is not only supportive and excited about my writing, but someone who is also well-read. I’m able to bounce ideas off him about storylines, plots, marketing, and anything else. It’s a joy to get his opinions and have his help.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Ahhh, the old “favorite” question! For 30+ years as a professional artist I was always asked about favorite artists, favorite colors, or favorite periods. I never had one pat answer as an artist and I still don’t have one as an author. It has always been a rather shifty answer that has more to do with my mood and stress-level than anything else.

I will always rush to get a new release from: Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, John Grisham, Juliette Fay, Harlan Coben, and Adriana Trigiani (please note: this is just a sampling of my many favorites!)

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

What I most look forward to accomplishing with my writing is to remain actively creative.

Traditional or Self-publishing? Why?

After doing my share of querying agents it became clear that self-publishing was the best route for me. I’ve reached an age where writing is more “dream” oriented than “career” oriented and I didn’t want to spend years chasing my dream down the most difficult path—a path that could very possibly lead to a dead-end. After weighing the pros and cons it became a no-brainer to self-publish. I bunco clubwould have control over my dream; its success or failure would rest in my hands and not be held captive by the whims of others.

Talk about your journey into the wide world of publishing.

If I had to sum up my publishing journey in one word, I would say “naïve”. I simply assumed my published book would come first and then the marketing would follow. Oh, how wrong I was! Blogs, Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and any other social media that you can imagine should be WELL established prior to the release of a book. Then there are book trailers, print media, pre-pub written reviews, blog interviews, and scheduled appearances that should also be ready to roll when the big day arrives. My debut book was released almost three months ago and I am still digging out from my pre-pub mistakes! My second book (which I’m currently writing and will be a sequel to The Bunco Club) has already been mentioned in my blog and FB page…I’m a fast learner.

Tell us about your book (s)

My debut book is titled The Bunco Club and I am currently working on the next in the series which is temporarily titled Quilters of the Bunco Club: Phree Clarke. Yes, I am planning an ambitious series where there will be a separate book for each of the eight women in The Bunco Club.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, here is the blurb from the back of The Bunco Club:

Eight women, eight months, eight individual tales merge into one compelling story of friendship in The Bunco Club. Attitudes surface and personalities clash as struggles, secrets, and obsessions emerge. Follow the lives of eight quilters from Chicagoland as they gather once a month to play Bunco, the popular no-skills dice game. No Bunco experience is necessary to enjoy this book, so grab the dice and share the fun and favorite recipes of Bunco night.

The last thing Lettie wants is for a member to quit the Bunco Club, but a well-guarded hoarding obsession may cause that very thing to happen. When Nancy’s one-love contacts her after twenty years she shares tidbits each month about the devastating breakup along with news of a possible reunion and she finds there is no shortage of opinions from the women of the Bunco Club. Follow the members as their stories are revealed and woven together through the bond of friendship—from a heart stopping discovery of a national historic treasure, to a 34-year-old secret, to a mom whose child is devastated from being bullied. Eight women capture the hearts of readers who will long to be members of The Bunco Club.

There are recipes in the back of the book as well as book club questions.

What inspired you to write these books (or in this genre)?

I drew inspiration from the friendships in my own Bunco club, but that is where I drew the line. This is NOT a tell-all book about my club nor is it a how-to-play-Bunco book. It is strictly fiction; made-up from the people that reside in my mind!

Tell us why we should love or hate your main character?

Oh, my, not so easy when there are eight main characters! I can tell you this—some of the characters and their stories you will love and want to know more about, some will annoy you, and some you will probably not care for at all. They are definitely eight unique individuals and depending on your own personality you will connect strongly to some and not to others.

Do(es) your book(s) have a soundtrack?

Hmmmm, good question, but nothing that I can think of—at least not yet.

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Thanks for joining us today Karen! You can follow Karen on her blog and her book is available on Amazon!

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