Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Barn Door Welcome Back Karen Robbins

Is there a story behind Divide The Child?

Divide The Child is my very first published novel that came out in 1999. It’s a story that I thought needed retelling and updating. I revised and rewrote some parts and have released it again. When I first wrote it, there were some awful stories circulating in the news about biological mothers wanting to take back children who had been adopted by others which was tearing families and children apart. Being an adoptive mom myself, I know the hurt that comes when someone (sometimes even your own child) says, “you’re not the real mother.” Back in Solomon’s day, the same thing occurred. His wisdom solved the custody issue then and that’s what solves it in my story as well.

Where do you get ideas? Do you ever set yourself as a model for any of your books/characters?

There is never a lack of ideas. Only a lack of time to write them all. I usually see something or hear something and that takes me off on an imaginary what-if trip. I think my most recent characters, Annie Pickels and Casey Stengel, are probably similar to me in that I like to look at problems with a bit of humor. And in Casey’s case, I’m a big lover of baseball.

Can you give us a word picture of your writing desk at home?

Yikes! Right now I am looking at a slew of papers scattered about with various notes on them. They are usually something I’ve thought of that I need to go back and check in my manuscript or do more research on or another bright idea that I may or may not follow up on. A box of tissues, several pens, some pamphlets from places we’ve been I still need to blog about, and one yellow book titled Paint Shop Pro For Dummies. Guess that says it all.

What’s your favorite writing genre?

I’m a bit eclectic when it comes to genre. I think it reflects my reading preferences. I like variety. While I know that’s not exactly the protocol for authors, I have not really stuck to one genre. My cozy Casey Stengel Mystery series is probably the most I’ve written in one genre. A cozy mystery is a lighter mystery/detective/sleuth story—think Agatha Christie. In A Pickle and Divide The Child are more general fiction books.

How much time do you spend in writing a novel? Do you have a set period each day to write?

I would love to say that I have a set time during the day to write but the truth is that since we travel so much, I have to catch time wherever I can. Sometimes it’s in an airport or the library of a ship or at the desk in the hotel room. If I know we will be home for an extended period of time, I will try to set aside more time to write. My only goal for word count is to make sure I write something. Whether it’s 250 words or 2500 words, it still takes me further to the end. A novel takes me any where from five months to well. . .I’m still working on one I started ten years ago.

Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?

Once I have the idea, I run like crazy until I’m out of breath. Then I sit back and try to see exactly where my characters are taking me and loosely plot the rest. In Murder Among The Orchids, I got all the way to the final chapter and discovered something about one of my characters I didn’t know. Suddenly there was a whole new twist to the ending. I know it sounds crazy to say your characters begin to talk to you but they really do in a sense.

How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?

Marketing is a cruel task master and cuts into my writing time. Right now I am doing a lot online with social media, my blog, and several other blogs I am now writing for. I also speak at women’s functions like retreats and banquets. Because I write in so many different genres, I chose to use my Wandering Writer as a brand rather than channelling myself into one specific area of writing. It fits with my lifestyle and my blog and since I use the travel experiences in my writing and speaking, it seems to work for now.

Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?

There is a scripture verse that I keep near to my heart. Paraphrased it says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.” It comes from Philippians and helps to keep me centered on what is important in life.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks?

Besides loving to travel, we are also scuba divers. Talk about party tricks! Try donning 20-25 extra pounds of gear and swim fins and look graceful walking to the back of the dive boat to jump in. Did I mention that a dive skin shows off every bulge you never wanted someone to see. No, it’s not a glamorous sport but it is amazing.

Are you working on another book?

I am! This one is a historical that comes from all the Great Depressions stories my mother would share with us kids—especially when we didn’t want to clean our plates. The title is simply Ruby. The story passes back and forth between more current time and the 1930s to 1940s as Ruby reveals secrets her daughter had no idea she carried. I hope to finish it just into the new year and find a publishing home for it soon after.

Back Cover
 A mother's worst nightmare. Her child is snatched. The kidnapper is Sebrena Warner, the child's real mother. Or is she? It has been six years since their rescue of a baby girl who was born alive after a botched abortion and Julie and Rick Sierra had begun to relax. No one questioned the adoption papers and their move out of the area to avoid being discovered. Now they are about to become embroiled in a custody battle only the wisdom of Solomon could decide.

Sebrena vows to use all the power her politically aspiring husband, Wynne, will bring her. Wynne's life is complicated further by a reporter, Michael Boston, who threatens to expose Sebrena's past.

Judge Helen Belemonte must decide Kathy's future. She turns to the only place she knows she will find true wisdom, her Bible.

To buy Karen's book:

About Karen:
As a full time mom, a teacher, a businesswoman, a paralegal student, a travel addict, and diver, Karen Robbins has had a wealth of experiences that contribute to her story ideas and speaking topics. In 1987, she sold her first written piece for publication in Standard, a Sunday School take-home paper. Since then she has published numerous articles and essays in a variety of publications including several regional and national magazines and written columns for a local newspaper and an online women’s magazine. Karen has been a contributing author to many compilation books including the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. She coauthored A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts. Her novels include Divide The Child,  In A Pickle, Murder Among The Orchids, and Death Among The Deckchairs.

To connect with Karen:
Blog: Writer’s Wanderings
Facebook page:

Karen Robbins is giving away a copy of Divide the Child. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


Jackie McNutt said...

Divide the Child by Karen sounds like a good read. It is painful to watch the news reports of families this happens to
Thank you

Linda Kish said...

The poor child. And everyone else involved, too. This sounds like a wonderful story. I hope I am the lucky recipient.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Deb R. said...

What a fascinating life you have lived! I would love to win this giveaway. cjajsmommy [at] gmail [dot] com

Patricia Bradley said...

Loved reading about Karen and Divide the Child sounds like a great book, pat at ptbradley dot com

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