Sunday, September 29, 2013

Running away and discovering your inner author: robgirlbooks' Interview with nonfiction writer Jamie Baywood

I'm doing something a little out of my norm today. I'm interviewing the author of a book I haven't read. Did any of you ever see the short-lived ABC TV series Men in Trees with Anne Heche? Well, Jamie Baywood's story is the polar opposite. Jamie wasn't driven to the land of men (aka Alaska) after a bad break up. She fled to New Zealand because of the 100,000 fewer men. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her life changing, eye opening, and sometimes side splitting real life account of her big escape to the other side of the globe. And here's my chat with Jamie Baywood.

What made you choose non-fiction?
I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.

Have you always taken to writing to express yourself?
I didn’t start keeping a diary or writing until I moved to New Zealand. I wrote to keep in touch with friends and family. I saved the emails that eventually became my book.

I was very lucky in New Zealand to meet a lot of talented people. I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland.

The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand. All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue.

After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar.” No one believed I was telling the truth.

What is your writing routine?
Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April.

I constantly make myself notes. This summer in Wales, I was scribbling stories on the backs of maps and Google directions as a passenger in the car. I also send myself text messages or emails riding in trains or buses. It might not look like I’m writing a book if one was to observe me, but I am constantly watching, listening and thinking about writing.

Now that you have your first book out, do you see the world as future tales you must share?
I’ve been living abroad for over three years. I lived in five countries; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. We’ll move again internationally in 2014, I’m not sure where yet. I plan to divide my books by the countries I've lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland.

I read that your follow up book will be about settling into Scotland with your husband. What other places have you daydreamed about living?
I want to go so many places. The thought of living in once place forever seems foreign now and makes me feel claustrophobic. It would be fun to be a tourist again rather than dissembling and reassembling my life and taking all my belongings with me when I move internationally. I’d love to be able to tour around Europe.

I currently have to live in the center of England. I desperately miss the ocean and being warm at the beach. I really miss the warm, friendly nature of the people in the South Pacific. I had the chance to visit Australia briefly after I lived in New Zealand. I would move to Australia or back to New Zealand in a heartbeat.

I've been to Costa Rica and Peru on short holidays; I would love to see more of South America and Central America. I absolutely want to go to Yucat√°n peninsula in Mexico and see the Mayan ruins.

As strange as it may sound, although I’m American I haven’t been to many States. I’d like to see more of my own country.

Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive
decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first
book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever
after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.
Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon
Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Think Out Loud [26] I call B.S.

I haven't been posting much these days because times have been rough especially with my youngest. I've been at this mom thing for eleven and a half years and I still feel like a newbie. Is that what they mean by "Kids keep you young?" I call bullshit. Where's my learning curve? He's almost five and I have no formula for him. I'm a logic math girl despite my art degree and fanciful trips into the world of vampy hotties. People, I'm singing spur of the moment message type songs at bedtime to reach him, making up stories, speaking in an unnatural voice. Okay, I admit to doing those things things well before kids came into the picture, but still!

Do you feel all GRRH about anything? Think Out Loud.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sidekick Showcase [31] Love Interest's BFF

Sidekick Showcase, previously known as Sidekick Saturday, is a weekly bookish meme, hosted here by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! I will post my Sidekicks on Saturday, then whichever day during the week that you would like to post yours, you can put your link in on my page. Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fit's in the week's topic
• Share a picture (if you can) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• The day of your post, put your link in below and grab the code for your post so you can see the others that post their's throughout the week as well
Love Interest's BFF
I love this week's challenge. My mom and sister were totally stumped, but I kept throwing books at them. I offered Soul Walker as the first example, Peter's best friend Jared did not let friendship get in the way when it came to flirting with Anna. Shane's best friend, beautiful Michael from the Morganville series made me swoon from the very start. My sister voted for Michael. Of course she did.

“Seriously,” Shane said, “this kind of is the worst situation we’ve ever been in, right?”
“Speak for yourself,” Michael said. “I got myself killed last year. Twice.”
“Oh yeah. You’re right—last year really sucked for you.”
Rachel Caine, Kiss of Death

I couldn't stop offering suggestions. Adam's best friend Warren from the Mercy Thompson series. I love best friends! But then I thought of Noah's best friend in Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Isaiah is a tatted up mess. In the first book, he plays the background and sounding board for Noah. He's a car dude with a dead end crush on a girl who's plain scary. In book 2, he shows off his protective gene as well as his bad temper. I love Isaiah and we get his story in book 3, Crash Into You. The cover has him as this hot white guy with arm tats. I saw him as brown, bald, more ink than skin, and kind of mean looking. He has a hard past and a precarious future. I know I'll love it, but I wish the guy on the cover wasn't so ready made cute. 

“With one touch, Isaiah could ground me. Keep me from floating away with his arms as my anchor. His steady beating heart the reminder he would never let go.”
Katie McGarry, Dare You To

After listening to all my suggestions my mom decided to stick with A Time to Kill. "Since I'm with Jake Brigance (remember she ran away with him on last week's sidekick challenge), I choose Jake's best friend, Harry Rex Vonner (played by Oliver Platt)." Yep.

I hope you're all having a great weekend. I won't be able to return any comments or check out your posts until Monday. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Think Out Loud [25] I'm Going to Emerald City Writers' Conference Baby!

In a month I will be attending my first writer's event. My first writer anything. And I'm nervous already. I have no idea what workshops I'll be attending, but I have this image in my head, a sort of movie reel of what it will be like. Since we're not meeting in the middle of the woods for some dope infested hippie style camping weekend, I'm sure I will be completely shocked the whole time! Here's the best/scariest part. I get five minutes to pitch my book! Hell yes, and can I have a paper bag right now before I hyperventilate? Which book do I choose? Soul Walker, my debut book that's getting a new cover (compliments of our talented Jaclyn over at JC's Book Haven) or should I pitch Shadow Town due out this November? First I have to learn how to give a pitch. My query letters sucked balls. I'm not being modest. Stage fright is not an issue, but I get jittery and my cheeks turn redder and redder as the seconds tick by. My hands jump into action from the start. I might even clap. Shit!  

Think Out Loud is a meme sans any blogger rules. Post WHATEVER you want. Try it out. We're here, when you do.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Deja Vu Storyline

Crepuscular rays in GGP5
I caught a repeat of the TV show Castle last week where Castle and his mom are taken hostage during a bank robbery. It's a great episode and it got me thinking about how many times I've seen a bank robbery storyline in all the shows I love (and I love many). Psych titled theirs "Gus Walks into a Bank" and it is hilarious. Not only did I laugh throughout, but there were fun twists and turns. Burn Notice had an "if you can't beat em, join em" take on it in "Bad Breaks." The list goes on and on, but my favorite rendition has to be "Monday" with Mulder and Scully in the X-Files. It's a deja vu spin on a TV series archetype.

Stories are constantly recycled, repackaged, retold. Very environmental. So how do we create something fresh and still remain loyal to the subject matter that draws us? I love bank robbery episodes because they're always life and death, "That's my partner in there!" type deals. Psych managed to crack me up so I love them forever. Mulder and Scully gave me a captivating puzzle. That's what we have to do, stretch our imagination and put our own stamp on it. Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series has zombies that keep their souls. They're called ghouls and to make another ghoul you have to go through this whole song and dance. Marissa Meyer gives us a post apocalyptic cyborg take on Cinderella.

So I guess I'm a reader/viewer/writer who loves story archetypes. How about you? On a side note, I wrote a guest review on the adult blog PRUF Reads for the awesome NA Romance novel Tragic by J.A. Huss. Click HERE to check it out.

(By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sidekick Showcase [30] Blogger's Choice!! So I Chose Sidekick I Want to Run Away With!

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Before I lust after sidekick characters, I want to wish my friend Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven a very happy birthday. Months ago I emailed Jaclyn to see if she would be interested in reviewing my debut book, Soul Walker. It's almost like cold calling, emailing bloggers for reviews. I was so cyber shy, I tell you it was a huge challenge, but then I met Jaclyn. She's plain cool. And next thing I know we're working together for my first blog hop. I emailed her so many times with questions. I'm a lucky girl to know her, luckier to be able to call her a friend. Plus she has a really cool kid, loves Harry Potter like no one else, and told me I just had to read Kate Daniels. A lot of you are crazy about her too. You know why? Cause us book girls (and boys) are cool people. I keep saying.

SIDEKICK I WANT TO RUN AWAY WITH! I told my sister this week's topic was blogger's choice on account of our favorite blogger Jaclyn's birthday and Shannon came up with this one. Brilliant! My mind went straight to Adrian from Vampire Academy, even though the Adrian in Bloodlines is even more appealing to me. I can be a much better girlfriend than Rose. I won't be torn between two men at all. He would get all my attention. I'm not even a reckless bad boy type of girl, but he's Adrian!

“I know how devastated you must be to miss me, but leave a message, and I'll try to ease your agony”
Richelle Mead, Blood Promise
“You've asked me out tons of times."
"Not really. I've made inappropriate suggestions and frequently pushed for nudity. But I've never asked you out on a real date.”
Richelle Mead, Blood Promise

“Takes a lot of tries before you hit perfection." He paused to reconsider that. "Well, except for my parents. They got it on the first try." (Adrian)”
Richelle Mead, Bloodlines

I had no idea who Shan would pick, another Darynda Jones character? Nope. Alcide from the True Blood series. Oh, Alcide is a beautiful man/werewolf. Least utilized hottie ever! I asked her about Eric, but then thought of Lexxie. There would be a fight for sure. I like Alcide but he has the worst taste in ex-girlfriends. Could he not see her crazy eyes?

“What I think I'll do,' Alcide said, 'is I'll do my best to yank Debbie from my roots. And then I'll turn up at your doorstep, one day when you least expect it, and I'll hope by then you will have given up on your vampire." "And then we'll be happy ever after?" I smiled. He nodded.”
Charlaine Harris, Club Dead

And finally, I posed the challenge to my mom. "Well, I'm not choosing anyone from your books, Robyn. I do not want to ride off into the sunset with a vampire." Okay, then. She thought long and hard about this one, first settling on Jake Brigance from A Time to Kill. Did any of you watch the movie version with freaking steamy Matthew Mcconaughey? I could only nod emphatically. But the woman kept on daydreaming and ended up with Jason Bourne. Personally I think she would have gone on and on. I told her she wouldn't have a long life span as Jason's girlfriend. She told me at least it would be exciting. Hmm.

“I haven't much time for sanity”
Jason Bourne

Sidekick Showcase, previously known as Sidekick Saturday, is a weekly bookish meme, hosted here by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! I will post my Sidekicks on Saturday, then whichever day during the week that you would like to post yours, you can put your link in on my page. Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fit's in the week's topic
• Share a picture (if you can) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• The day of your post, put your link in below and grab the code for your post so you can see the others that post their's throughout the week as well

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Think Out Loud [24] I'm a year older and totally grown up...finally. Honest.

My boys have been obsessed with my birthday forever it seems. Months ago Will came at me with a serious expression, "Mom, you're almost forty." "Almost, but not yet. I'm still 38." "You're almost 40!!" "Okay, thanks, Will." John picked up on his brother's power to make me squirm. "How old are you, Mom?" "38." "48?" "No, John. 38." "48. hehehe" 

Last week he asked his new step mom, "Tia, how old are you?" "32." Then he looked at me. "And you, mom? How old are you?" As if we hadn't gone through this dozens of times. "38." "Almost 39." Yes, that's my good counter. And now that I'm almost 40! I decided to take a life inventory, and then quit that idea right quick. But here's what I got going for me and all my grownup-ness.
This is me having s'mores (not over an electric stove burner). I'm encased in marshmallow. I have it all over my face and my fingers are glued to my awesome treat and...
there's John asking me to help him because he has chocolate and marshmallow in his hair, on his shirt, all over his face, arms, and hands. I'm cracking up because I can't help him. I can't pry my fingers loose. I can't talk because my mouth is full, but I can snicker until I tear up, which is what I did. Not very pretty, but so much fun. Kid fun. Oh, and that is a zebra on my shirt. The back is the zebra's ass. I'll save the life inventory for deathbed homework and work on this right here, playing.

Be cool and join Think's meme. That's all I gotta say on that.

We Love Our Girls That's For Sure! How Important is a Compelling Female Character?

Nathalie Nordquist in 2010
Kick ass girls, broken girls who find their power, funny girls who can't help being assholes. Female characters run the show for me when it comes to stories. I don't care if the main character is a man like in my beloved Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson. The girls have to rock it even in a supporting role. They can be wussy or stereotypical if they have something that compels me to know them. And I can ramble off names of a few new favorites so I'm gonna.

Kinsey Millhone, private detective, loves to be alone and at the same time is so keenly aware of her hunger to have companionship you root for to get...intimate. She's never catty, which I love, but almost always cranky (which I really love).

Mercy Thompson, mechanic, underdog loner with an unwavering moral compass and a habit to mouth off when others would duck their heads and hope no one sees them. She's loving and protective and scared at all the appropriate times. She gets her ass kicked and not because she makes stupid choices, but because she makes emotional ones. 

Cat Crawfield, killer, half-vamp with a chip on her shoulder and very little social skills, she doesn't always choose the right path for the right reason. She bounces between rage, lust, and rage more than anyone else. And she is the opposite of graceful when it comes to dealing with her jealousy issues. I love this girl because so far you can't pay her to behave.

Kate Daniels just recently made the list because I fell into a series marathon and now I have the biggest fangirl crush on her. Everything I wrote for Mercy applies to Kate minus the mechanic part. I want to be Kate, but not really because I would cry all the time. She almost never cries. I would screech at all the gore. She just shrugs her shoulders, gags sometimes. I would try to stab Curran too, so we're the same there. She's the perfect balance of emotion, fight, and compromise. 

Almost every book on my favorites list (not including children's books) has girl power. So I wonder, where's my list of favorite men? My mind settles on Walt Longmire, but part of that is how he regards women (which is so fantastic and self-effacing I love it). Is there a double standard that women have to be better even in fiction? Or is it just the simple fact that I am a woman reader?

(By Carl Thorborg [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sidekick Saturday [29] Living Dead

Sidekick Showcase, previously known as Sidekick Saturday, is a weekly bookish meme, hosted here by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! I will post my Sidekicks on Saturday, then whichever day during the week that you would like to post yours, you can put your link in on my page. Just do the following:
• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fit's in the week's topic
• Share a picture (if you can) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• The day of your post, put your link in below and grab the code for your post so you can see the others that post their's throughout the week as well

"Are you kidding me?" was my mom's first reaction to hearing this week's challenge. She's in the middle of a Grisham novel right now, so just scum bags and lawyers probably. My sister was bummed she couldn't tap into Darynda Jones again. I instantly thought of the ghouls in the Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost. I wasn't prepared for zombies when I fell in love with this series, but Frost created the coolest zombies ever. You don't just chomp on a living person and make a ghoul. Oh, no. There is all this prep required and then the dead hungry thing is still the same person with the same soul as before. I love Rodney. He helps Bones out when a body needs to disappear. Yep, go wild with your imagination there.

“You don't have body parts there do you?" my mother interrupted. "I don't want to open the fridge and find a head on the shelf"

Rodney laughed. "No Justina, it doesn't look like Jeffrey Dahmer's hideaway.”
Jeaniene Frost

“Brave words in a room full of pulseless creatures. Spade gave Don a disgusted glance while Rodney just licked his lips. No doubt he was mentally salting and peppering Don.”
Jeaniene Frost

p.s. You have to stop by JC's Book Haven for the coolest drawing of M from Warm Bodies.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Think Out Loud [23] Archenemies, Middle School, and Surviving

Today I sat in the cafeteria of my son's new school on his first day of middle school. He chose the seat closest to the exit, slumped right down, and waited with a passive acknowledgement that this was his life. Chatty girls sat across us talking about makeup, which had me scanning their faces. I did not have any makeup on. Everyone seemed so small, but it was a room of just 6th graders. The 7th and 8th grade gargantuas and mini-models were in another room. I kept surveying the crowd then looking back at Will. I wanted to tell him I survived. I was on the lowest rung of the ladder. By 7th grade I even had an archenemy. She had a group of girls with her at all times and she was a big girl, second biggest in our class. I was the biggest. She was local. I was white, so she won there too. She cared, I was numb. I had gone numb after my accident in third grade. She could call me honky and haole and fat all she wanted and I ignored her because the insults barely registered. Who cared, honestly? I didn't. She tried topping herself to get a rise out of me, "Robyn, I think you're even fatter today," or "Robyn, what is that on your face?" Like that was new or hurtful. Try having the corner of your mouth stitched back together without the numbing shots because you stupidly begged the doctors to stop giving you shots. Three stitches without any anesthetic, so unbearable I still remember every second. 

Then one day I walked past her and I heard the familiar sound of teasing laughter. Something inside me snapped. I turned with pure fire in my veins. I opened my mouth to unleash a long stream of vile words because back then I had the very worst potty mouth, but I stopped in my tracks. They were laughing, but not at me. They were just having a fun moment, my nemeses included. My mind reeled. I had thought the worst about them and they were happy. That night I decided two things, I wanted my own fucking joy and I wanted to walk past laughing girls and not assume the worst. So I came up with a plan. My mom ran every morning. I would do that too. The next day I decided I was no runner, but I could walk. I'd need a radio headset to drown out the shouts and horns from passing drivers. Everyday after school and on the weekends I walked by myself. First a mile, but it was a terrible mile in tropical heat and a huge hill, but nothing compared to real pain and nothing compared to thinking those girls were making fun of me and discovering they were smiling real smiles. I worked up to 6 miles in an hour, most of it on soft sand. I was fast. I lost the weight and the numb shell. 

On the first day of my freshman year I decided my enemy was just a kid like me so not my enemy at all, especially when I discovered her older sister was the queen bitch of our high school who also planned to treat me like crap. I ran after her the second school let out. The buses lined the path in the oppressive heat and the cathedral stood tall in pure judgement. "Hey!" She ignored me. Of course. I finally caught up to her. "Hey, I know you." She tilted her pretty head. "I'm not taking your shit. I paid my dues. So have at it right now. Say it all." I watched as her ever-present sneer transformed into an amused smile. Her little sister showed up and she unleashed hell on my former enemy instead of me. I winced, but held my ground. Neither one was an issue ever again. 

I survived. Will is so amazing, he already has a firm grasp of pure joy. But if he loses sight, there is nothing like the hell of middle school to set you on the right path.

So this is obviously not your typical blogger meme. You can post anything you want. There's been anime love, youtube videos both hilarious and heartbreaking, jokes, long long stories (don't nod in my direction, there have been a couple long posts not written by me). Point is, Think Out Loud is total freedom in a meme. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Author Chat Time! Check Out robgirlbooks' Mini-Interview with Karen Kondazian, Author of The Whip!!

I am so excited to share my interview with Karen Kondazian, author of the fantastic historical novel The Whip. Oh, how I loved my journey through the pages of Charley Parkhurst's life. A new hero was revealed to me. You can read my review HERE. First, here's a little bit about this wonderful epic tale of a girl who knew no limits. (Please note the synopsis is a tad spoilery. You have been warned, but check out those well-earned awards!)

The Whip Synopsis
The Whip is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west. As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the killer.
Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. She killed a famous outlaw, had a secret love affair, and lived with a housekeeper who, unaware of her true sex, fell in love with her. Charley was the first known woman to vote in America in 1868 (as a man). Her grave lies in Watsonville, California.

The Whip Awards
Best Western – 2013 International Book Awards
Best Western – 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards
Gold Prize – Historical Fiction – 2013 Global Ebook Awards
Best Western Fiction – 2013 Global Ebook Awards
Best Historical Fiction – 2012 USA Book Awards

Author interview time! I'm an even bigger fan of Karen's after reading her answers to my questions.

1. Charley is a bigger than life character. As you wrote her, did you find she affected your behavior or outlook?

Charley didn’t affect my behavior, unless you consider my addiction to playing with wild mustangs in Utah! What Charley did do though, was affect my outlook. She taught me that anything is possible. She also taught me that in every problem there is a gift in its hand. And that we create the problem because we need the gift.

2. The Whip is based on true events, but how did you decide to fill in the gaps of Charley’s story?

While doing research on all the true events of Charley’s life, I took a trip to Watsonville, California where she is buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery. There, I interviewed some experts on Charley Parkhurst, who told me not only facts but also some of the rumors about her. I took those rumors and fictionalized them – blending them with the facts and built a story arc around it all.

3. The Old West chewed people up and spit them out. Did you discover any hidden gems during your research that surprised you?

First of all, women could have no dreams in those days – only men could have dreams. Typically, women could fill three roles. They could be a teacher if they were schooled, a wife and mother at best, or work as a prostitute.

The gem I discovered is that many women put on britches in the 1800s. Some even (approximately 500), fought in the civil war as men and few were discovered. Like Charley, this was their way to live their dream, or fulfill their adventurous side and experience feelings they aspired within themselves.

4. Now that you've added author to your repertoire, have you added any new writer quirks?

Yes, I now have to get out of the bad behavior of going to sleep at five in the morning. This is because the six-years and twenty-seven drafts it took to write the book got me into the habit of writing ‘til dawn. I find the quiet of the night inspiring. Also, being tired stops my inner perfectionist from intellectualizing and censoring my writing, thus enabling me to ‘vomit-out’ and channel my emotions easier.

5. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part is when the writing Gods touch you and suddenly you go into a zone and realize that you’ve been writing for ten minutes and it feels like you’ve been floating and that someone else has been doing your writing for you. It’s the same ‘gift’ that gets actors addicted to acting - that sensation of leaving your body and allowing yourself to become an 'instrument' to something more than yourself. That’s what all artists dream of. Those special moments of creative bliss and freedom.

Karen Kondazian's Bio
Karen Kondazian’s career as an actor, writer and producer is as diverse as it is long. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts. At the age of eight Karen was chosen to be one of the infamous children on Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things. The opportunity to miss school during tapings was all it took for Karen to abandon her life’s goal of becoming a CIA spy and focus on acting.
She completed her schooling at San Francisco State College, The University of Vienna and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), after which she began her career in New York. Her first professional work was in the award winning production of Michael Cacoyannis’ The Trojan Women at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
Her theater career has included starring opposite Ed Harris in Sweet Bird of Youth, Richard Chamberlain in Richard II (dir. Jonathan Miller), Stacy Keach in Hamlet, (dir. Gordon Davidson), Ray Stricklyn in Vieux Carre (West Coast Premiere-Beverly Hills Playhouse, dir. Clyde Ventura, which she also produced). She also starred in Eduardo Machado’s off-Broadway play, Broken Eggs (World Premiere, dir. James Hammerstein).
She won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in The Rose Tattoo, in which her work as actor and producer so impressed Tennessee Williams that they became friends and he gave her carte blanche to produce any of his work in his lifetime.
Other awards and nominations include Ovation, Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly and Garlands for: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Berkeley Rep.), Orpheus Descending (Fountain Theatre, dir. Simon Levy), Night of the Iguana (Old Globe, dir. Jack O’Brien), Lady House Blues, Freedomland (South Coast Rep, dir. David Emmes), The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Fountain Theatre, dir. Simon Levy), Master Class (Fountain Theatre, Odyssey Theatre, Lobero Theater, dir. Simon Levy).
She has appeared as series regular lead in CBS’s Shannon and guest starred in over 50 television shows and films including, TNT’s James Dean with James Franco (dir. Mark Rydell), NYPD Blue, Frasier, Steal Big Steal Little with Alan Arkin, Yes Giorgio with Luciano Pavarotti, and played Kate Holliday in Showdown at OK-Corral (David Wolper’s award-winning series).
Karen is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is also a member of Women in Film.
Kondazian is a multi-award winning novelist. Her debut novel, The Whip, won the USA News Award for Best Historical Fiction and also the National Indie Excellence Award for Best Western. It was featured on the cover of Publishers Weekly. She is also the author of the best-selling book The Actors Encyclopedia of Casting Directors, with a foreword by Richard Dreyfuss. Her long running weekly column, “Sculpting Your Own Career” appeared in L.A. STAGE, BackStage, and DramaLogue.
She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Official Website of The Whip & Karen Kondazian

The Whip audio book trailer. Audio book narrated by Robin Weigert (Calamity Jane/HBO's Deadwood)

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I have to thank Karen for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you all the success in the world with sharing Charlie's amazing life!