My dear friend Karen Y. Bynum recently published her first novel. When we first became friends in 2009–right after I moved six hours from home for my husband’s job–we quickly found out that we shared a love of writing. So two or three times a week, we’d get together with coffee swap ideas, talk plots, and critique each other’s writing. I am thrilled to have a virtual interview with her about her new book, complete with virtual coffee.
Hey there, Karen! Thanks for joining us this evening.
Hi Judith! Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog today. *sips virtual coffee—my, oh my, this is delicious*
Let’s start with a quick blurb of your new book, “Witch Way to Turn”
“The last thing eighteen-year-old Breena Cross needs in her life is more complications. It’s all she can do to balance studying, working, trying to keep her foster-sister safe and drooling over the new guy at work. But things go from complicated to crazy when a fit of rage ignites the dark magic inside her and she finds herself fending off the supernatural underworld.
Myles, Breena’s drool-worthy coworker and vampire convict, is carrying a load of secrets–one of which is that he’s fang-over-lip in love with Breena and in danger of violating the terms of his sentence.
Orin is a soul-hungry assassin sent to kill Breena. However, he takes one look into her eyes and sees his own lost humanity. For once thinking of someone other than himself, he chooses not to end her life, even though it means risking his own.
Despite a convict and an assassin fighting over her, all Breena wants is custody of her sister. But to do this, she will need help from both Myles and Orin. And if Breena doesn’t learn to control the darkness within, she could lose her sister…forever.”
WARNING: Contains strong language and some graphic content.
You’re working on the sequel to “Witch Way to Turn,” right? Do you know how many books it will take to tell Breena’s story?
I see the Witch Way series being four or possibly five books. After the first book, I envisioned each following book dealing more heavily with one supernatural creature in particular (witches, vampires, preternaturals, werewolves and djinn). However, Breena has a mind of her own and the story has evolved beyond how I’d originally imagined it. That’s the beauty of being a panster…learning the characters and discovering the story as you go.
The emotional, sensual scenes are incredible throughout “Witch Way to Turn.” When did you realize you had a talent for romance writing?
It all goes back to the very first full-length manuscript I ever wrote. Before that I’d never written very many romance scenes. As I started writing them, I realized how much I enjoyed writing them. The tension, the touch, the angst… I adore it! And when my beta readers would comment on how much they enjoyed those scenes too, well, I knew I was on to something! So I continue to write the things I love. 🙂
I was torn between Orin and Myles as Breena–and I can’t say I’m 100% happy with her choice. Was it a struggle for you as well?
Oh yes! Definitely a struggle for me. I am 100% in love with both boys myself. lol So, it’s hard for me to pick between them. Myles is hot, mysterious and protective. While Orin is sexy, epic and determined. They both offer Breena a unique type of acceptance and love that she so desperately craves…even if she doesn’t know that’s why she’s so drawn to them.
In your author notes, you said you got up at 4:30am each morning to write before work! Did you keep up that habit after finishing “Witch Way to Turn”?
*maniacal laugh* I still do keep up that habit… I must be crazy, right? I have to say, there are some mornings that I literally just keep hitting snooze until about 5:30am and finally drag myself out of bed. Eep! When that happens, my social media time gets cut in half so that I’m able to write. Tuesday and Thursday I get up at 4:15am because I absolutely must have time to brew coffee and make breakfast before 4:30am. On those mornings, I participate in Wordwar. It’s basically a way of guaranteeing writing time. A group of us will write for an hour straight without checking social medias, cellphones or email. Then when the hour is up we report how many words we’ve written. My goal is always 1k words in an hour. Now, I don’t always hit that goal, but it’s what I aim for.
How many rejections did you get before finally getting published? What kept you going?
This is a hard-hitting question! lol Well, for the very first novel that I wrote—which may never see the light of day—I had over 100 rejections. That’s when I stopped keeping count. I decided it was easier to move forward if I didn’t have a spreadsheet of doom-and-gloom staring me in the face. The rejections have morphed and evolved since I began querying my first manuscript in 2009. The rejections are hardly ever form letters anymore. Now, they are more encouraging and the feedback is invaluable. This tells me that I’m definitely on the right track. The writing industry takes time to become immersed in. One day I will swan dive into the big pond. For now, I learn to swim and master staying above water. And as I do that, I have a mantra I say before hitting send on every query or submission: I. Am. Plucky.
I’m very blessed to have a strong support system of friends and family, so they have definitely been a constant encouragement to me. Also, believing in my characters and wanting their stories to be told keeps me pounding the keyboard and pushing forward despite obstacles.
That’s wonderful! I’m so happy to see all your hard work finally published! I’m ordering my paperback copy…now.
Here’s where you can get a copy: