Anessia's Quest can be bought from Amazon UK Here and US here
These can also be bought in your local Christian Bookshop
These can also be bought in your local Christian Bookshop
I would like to start by welcoming Karen and thanking her for giving up some of her precious time to tell us about herself and her writing.
1. Firstly, before we start it would be really good if you could tell us a bit about yourself.
I own my own graphic art business, Karen's Koncepts. My husband and I became foster parents two and half years ago. We are weeks away from adopting our two girls. 15 and 7. I started writing three years ago and just released my second novel. I am a Christian woman, but kinda on the edgier side I guess you'd say. I struggled with my faith and belief in God for many years before realizing I had to make a decision. We live in central California. We own two dogs and a stray cat that visits periodically for food. Between my husband and myself, we have four grown children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I love movies, music, reading, writing and art.
2. Your faith is obviously important to you, and this comes out in your writing. How would you say your Christian faith has helped you as a writer.
My faith is why I write. I never had the desire to become an author. I made up stories for my kids when they were young but thats about it. My women's group at church announced that they were doing a testimonial book for a fund raiser. I submitted several stories regarding my relationship with God. Several women asked if I had considered writing. They loved my contributions. This planted a seed. I then read The Shack. This book changed how I looked at Christian fiction. I was a Koontz and King fan most of my life. I story began to simmer and I started writing my first book. A good friend from church read as I wrote and encouraged me to continue. It became a wonderful journey. I had no idea what I was going to write until I typed it. I felt God's lead in much of the story. I would get stuck or backed into a corner, and I would suddenly get a clear picture in my head where I should take the characters. It was truly a collaboration with my Dad (God). I believe that I will touch lives with my stories.
3. Without giving too much away, Anessia's quest has an unusual theme with a real twist. Where did you get the idea for this book.
I always wondered WHAT IF? It is so hard to explain without giving away the plot and twists. I knew how I wanted it to start and how it would end, the journey in between was totally unplanned.
4. Your books bring pleasure to so many people, but what books bring you pleasure. What would you say was your favourite Christian book and favourite non Christian book.
My favorite Christian book was THE SHACK. I was really struggling with some tough questions about my faith at the time and this book really spoke to me. It showed me that you can look at things from a different place, not the staunchy, traditional place we were taught. My favorite non-Christian may surprise you. Dean Koontz wrote several books that I just love and will reread. The Husband, Frankenstein Series, Watchers and Life Expectancy are some of my absolute favorites. I love a mystery or thriller with twists and turns. I figure out things very quickly, so if I find an author or movie that trick me, I love it. Sixth Sense was one of the few movies that I said WHAT????? at the end. I went back right away and watched carefully to see how they tricked me.
5. As a writer what is a typical day like for you?
I am up at 5 or 5:30, once awake, I check emails, posts, etc. Girls are up at 7:30, I keep them moving, and then off to school. I work on my graphic art projects until 3:30 when my older daughter comes home. We visit, chat about school. I usually work until 5:00, pick up youngest from after school program. Homework, dinner, baths, tucking in. By now it's 9:00. I then either pass out watching tv or write. Now that I'm marketing my second book, it is hard to find time to write. Some evenings are taking girls to church youth events, dance lessons, or school activities. Weekends vary, sometimes it's cleaning up a trashed house that's been ignored all week, book events, movies, general life events. Not too terribly exciting, but fulfilling.
6. Can you tell us a bit about Raiders Vendetta?
This book is very different from Anessia's Quest, my first. This is a Christian thriller with lots of surprises. I took full advantage of miracles and had fun with the unique ways Heaven intervened. The bad guy is filled with a fury for God and torments his hostage once he discovers that she is a Christian. A battle of will and faith begins. The questions that Raider struggles with were my questions. Questions that kept me from a relationship with God. This book hits these tough questions head on, which most Christian books will not do. I loved writing Raider's character. We go through live pretending everything is okay, we're not mad, blah blah blah. Being nice and appropriate. To get to think vindictive and mean was really fun in a deranged sort of way.
7. Finally, the question I am sure everyone wants to ask, have you got any more books planned.
Yes, my third book is in the works. I am fictionalizing my own story. I was one of those kids that was bullied horribly in school. Fifth grade through to the ninth. Some very interesting stories about myself and other kids that had to survive. The belittlement dramatically shaped my self image and affected life decisions I made. I would say that I was forty before really understanding how I allowed the experiences to take away the joy in life. I looked for acceptance and validation from others, which can be very unhealthy. If I can help other teens and parents to see how damaging bullying and isolating can be, then it will be worth dredging up all the pain.
Wow Karen, you are such a busy lady, I cannot beleive how muich you pack into your life, and yet you still write books whch give so many people pleasure. It really sounds like you have your hands full, so I am even more appreciative of your taking time to join us today. I loved both of your books and I am sure this will be indicted in my reviews below
ANNESIA'S QUEST: This has to be one of the best books I have read in a long time, and that, from someone who has read a lot of good books recently, is high praise indeed. Initially I was a little puzzled as to where the book was going until I realised that the first few pages were about the guardian angel. Once I got this straight in my head, I was quickly immersed in the story. This is the story of Pagne a young woman who is born to a dysfunctional and abusive mother. She ends up in the American foster care system, and I cannot say too muych more without giving the game away. The book drew me in almost from the beginning and from there it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I read the whole book in one day and cried through most of it. Don't get the impression this is a sad book as there were as many tears of joy as there were sadness. Karen uses words to brilliant effect in order to garner this level of emotion, and this is a true sign of a gifted writer. I loved the characters, who were lifelike and real. This is a Christian book, but the Christianity is not all syrupy sweet. The characters have periods of doubt, and their own inner demons sometimes drive them in ways which are not honouring to God. This ensures that the characters are shown realsitically rather than cardboard cut out Christians. The ending was superb, and a real surprise to me. You can probably tell I loved this book, and I really would highly recommend it.
RAIDER'S VENDETTA: Wow. What can I say bout this book and give you the full flavour of what it is actually like. In this book, karen Arnpriester picks up the story of one of the minor characters from her first book Anessia's quest. You don't need to have read the first book as this one stands alone. There are a couple of very subtle places where the stories intertwine but you do not need to know them to enjoy the book. This is the story of a woman who is caught up in a bank raid when she goes into the bank one morning. She is then kidnapped and held to ransom by one of the raiders. This book is non stop action, and there were times I was on the edge of my seat, literally holding my breath to see what would happen next. There is a really strong emphasis on Christianity and relying on the presence and support of God in this book, but it is a real and very essential part of the story. This is so much more than an action adventure, it is also a roller coaster ride of emotions. The people are real, they are dysfunctional, they are kind, they are cruel, they doubt God and they shout out to God, both sides of every coin, which is what makes them real people, with real worries and concerns. I loved this book, I liked and hated the characters as I was meant to, I emphasised with them and I rooted for them in turn. There are also some real twists in this book with surprises I did not seem coming. If you like Christian fiction with an edge, then this is the book for you.
Book Trailer for Raiders Vendetta on YouTube
Book Trailer for Anessia's Quest on YouTube
Anessia's Quest Web Page
Raider's Vendetta Web Page
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Karen as much as I did, and as I say I would highly recommend both these books. Till next time, keep reading and remember whatever the weather it's always an excuse for finding a good book.