Saturday, December 13, 2014

Author Interview: A Gift for Santa by Karen Dove

Today I am talking with Karen Dove, author of the children's Christmas book A Gift for Santa.

1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with the story?
The story of A Gift for Santa was developed in response to a simple snow globe.  When my children were 5 and 10 years old, I attained a snow globe with a kneeling Santa inside.  I searched and searched, but I could not find a story about Santa coming to the manger.  I determined one day to write one myself.  Time passed, and finally, in 1996, in the back seat of the car, on my way home from a visit to New Orleans for Thanksgiving, A Gift for Santa was born.  The narrative poem was written in a steno book by hand.  I held on to the poem for many years, reading it annually in coffee houses and in churches, but did not publish it until 20012. 
2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
My interest in children's stories began out of a need to find a story for my children, but also is related to my background as a school teacher for 8 years and an employee of /consultant to Boy s& Girls Clubs for 15 years.  I love children!  This story to tie the Santa they see everywhere to the Savior they need to know had to be told.

3. What kind of research did you do for this book?
This book did not require research, though I have written others.  I usually do my research online, seeking out reputable resources and double checking facts, which is so important in this time when everything is on the internet, but a lot of it is not true!

4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I am a part time writer of books and a full time writer of marketing materials and nonprofit grants, so writing is my life.  A typical day starts around 8 a.m. with coffee and a check of my Facebook page (AGFS has a Facebook page), my website (AGFS has a website), and if possible my blog.  If I have the time in my schedule, I will write a blog entry.  From there it is pretty much a blur of meetings, writing and networking.  At this juncture, because AGFS is my primary focus (especially during the holidays), I'm monitoring web-based bookstores that are handling it for sales and information I can pass along to my Facebook fans, my blog followers and my website.  I try to get at least 2 hours/day (4 days/week) in on writing/promoting my book, in addition to the other writing I do for clients.

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
FOCUS!  Because I am very "right brained", I find it hard to stay focused on the task at hand, and get sidetracked fairly easily.  I often begin the day intending to blog, and find myself hours later not having achieved the goal!  I love to write, but not if I cannot set aside at least 2 hours out of my schedule to finish what I start.  It's just not the same to go back and try to start again, because the inspiration of the moment is lost.

6. What’s the best thing about being an author?
There is nothing more exciting than seeing your work in print, except, maybe, getting word that your work has won an award!  Six month after AGFS was published it won 1st place for Children's Books in the Christian Choice Book Awards, and I was floating! :)
7. What are you working on now?
There are 2 more books in the series.  The next book, A Treat for the Tricksters, is awaiting final edits and illustrations.  The third, The Tale of Easter Bunnie is in the works.  Friends encouraged me to get A Treat for the Tricksters out right away, but I wanted to focus on AGFS, so I haven't published it.
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write for the love of the art.  With 1 million self-published books coming out annually, there are few writers who make a best seller list.  Going to my first International Christian Retail Show was a real eye-opener for me, seeing how many books were being promoted to bookstores, and how few made the shelves.  I believe many people think they will become an author and immediately see great financial success.  That is typically not the case.  If you want to write for an income, there are lots of jobs that allow that, like those I have chosen (grant writer, copy writer, newspaper columnist).  A book is a masterpiece.  Chances are that you may not see financial gain on your work in your lifetime, but if you are thrilled by the legacy you leave for your family (and perhaps...the world)  in your tales, then you are truly an author.
9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I love the classics.  I love Dickens, Hawthorne, Poe.  I think it is frightening how the language is evolving and eventually our youth will struggle understand the language of these fine authors, because it will be like Shakespearean English to them.  (Though I do love Shakespeare...I'm sure you get the idea.)
10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
How much of reading is inspiration and how much is perspiration?   My answer would be....
I believe being a writer resides in the heart, and most importantly, is a gift from God.  I have been blessed for most of my adult life to be a writer, with little training.  It always astounds me when I finish whatever I'm writing and go back to read it over.  I can't remember "crafting", "sculpting" or "creating" the art, but there it stands!  I believe through hard work you can learn the mechanics of writing.  Through classes and workshops, you can become a competent and even a good writer, but the heart of a writer lives within.  There were many good painters during the renaissance, but there was only one Michael Angelo.  He had a special gift from God.  It is my prayer that God has given me that gift, and that I can use it to His glory, to share the Gospel of Salvation.  A Gift For Santa is a witness book for children.  It is more than the writing I do for my living.  It is my ministry.

11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I have begun it...the title is Miracles Come in Teaspoons.
My website is
Thank you for your time Karen. The book looks wonderful. 
If you wish to get Karen's book you can at her website or at Amazon if you click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment