Friday, August 10, 2012

Giveaway and Interview: Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins!

Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins (Like Karen and her book on Facebook! Click the links to be directed.)
Released: June 26, 2012 by Harlequin Teen

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
"Your heart misleads you.
  That's what my friends and family say.
  But I love Noah.
  And he loves me.
  We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms.
It should be
forever, easy.
But it won't be.
Because he's Amish.
And I'm not."

Today I have an interview with Temptation author Karen Ann Hopkins! Let's get started!

Interview Questions:

About the Author:
Me: Tell us a little about yourself.
Karen: I’m a single mom with five kids, living on a farm in the middle of an Amish settlement in northern Kentucky.  For over ten years I’ve been a horse-back riding instructor and equestrian drill team coach.  Writing takes up most of my time nowadays, but when I’m not typing, I’m either in the arena or hustling my kids to and from their many activities.

Me: How did you get interested in writing?
Karen: Like many people, I’d thought about writing a novel, but I wasn’t actually inspired to do so until I moved into an Amish community in 2008.   My interactions with the young people of the community stirred the beginnings of Rose and Noah’s story in my mind.  I spent two years gathering experiential knowledge of the secretive culture before I took the leap and began writing TEMPTATION.

Me: What’s your writing process like?
Karen: Once I began TEMPTATION and its sequel, BELONGING, I wrote in a focused frenzy, unable to do much else during the few months spent on each novel.  I write from a stream of consciousness, doing no reviewing or revising until the work is finished.  After the last page is typed, I return to the first, and begin the arduous job of refining.

Me: Is there any particular kind of music that you like listening to when writing, or that helps inspire you?
Karen: Since the Amish listen to no music at all, I needed complete silence to write Noah’s POV.  During Rose’s chapters however, I’d either listen to or imagine the most current and upbeat pop music on the radio.  I can imagine Rose liking Rihanna, Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepsen.  I personally enjoy a wide range of music, but find myself turning the volume up when Linkin Park, Maroon Five, Adelle, Mumford and Sons or Train come on.

About her book, Temptation:
Me: What inspired you to write this novel and why did you choose to write it?
Karen: I was inspired to write TEMPTATION from the observations I made between the Amish teens and the non-Amish ones that rode at my farm.  On many levels, the Amish teens are everyone else, and the connections that some of the kids were forming rose the question of the difficulty such a relationship would present.  Rose and Noah’s story is fictional, but I’ve witnessed several Amish young people leave their culture to be with an outsider.  In each case, they were shunned by their families.
The Amish world isn’t as cozy and quaint as most people believe.  They have problems like everyone else and the young people struggle with their identity and lifestyle on a daily basis.  Their story needed to be told.

Me: Why did you decide to write about a forbidden romance?
Karen: No matter what the genre, a good romance at the heart of it improves the reading experience.  Any future books I write will have a core romance pushing the story forward.

Me: What was the hardest thing to write about in this book?
Karen: Some of the aspects of the Amish culture are hard for outsiders to stomach.  The fact that the women have little rights within their society tops the list of why some readers will be turned off, but I wanted the story to be accurate, so I portrayed the Amish in my story as close to the real thing as possible, knowing it would ruffle some feathers.

Me: What was the easiest?
Karen: The romantic scenes between Rose and Noah were easy to write.  Young love is universal and capturing the essence of their attraction was fun.

Me: What was one of your favorite scenes to write about in the book?
Karen: My favorite and most dreaded scene in TEMPTATION is one and the same.  When Noah’s buggy is struck by the semi-truck on the country road, the description flowed into me unconsciously.  Being a lover of horses, it was a difficult scene to write, but also a powerful one to read, especially since many of my neighbors have been involved in tragic buggy/car wrecks.

Me: Your characters; tell us what inspired them.
Karen: Rose is a typical teenager, too young to be wise, yet having a strong sense of self-confidence.  Her attitude and intense emotions towards Noah are a direct result of losing her mother to cancer a year and a half earlier.  Noah is motivated by the love of his lifestyle and community.  He genuinely enjoys being Amish and feels that it’s the only life for him.  Noah respects his father immensely and goes to him for guidance throughout the story.

Me: What do you hope that the readers of your novel take from it? What should they learn?

Karen: I hope that readers will learn about the Amish, while enjoying an exciting romance story.  Whether a person is intrigued with the Amish lifestyle or hates the idea of living without technology, modern conveniences and with a complete lack of freedom, there is no denying that the culture sparks the imagination.

Random questions:
Me: Can you tell us anything about upcoming titles you're writing/have written?
Karen: BELONGING, the sequel to TEMPTATION, will be on the shelves in May, 2013.  I’m also working on a young adult fantasy set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and an adult Amish mystery.

Me: What book are you currently reading?
Karen: George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons.

Me: What is your favorite book?
Karen: It’s a three-way tie between Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, and Maia by Richard Adams.

Me: What author do you look up to most?
Karen: I’ve always admired Tolkien for creating the alternate universe of Middle Earth.

Me: Can you share some advice for aspiring authors?
Karen: The three P’s: Passion, Persistence and Patience. 

Thanks for joining me today, Karen!
   Along with this interview, I promised a giveaway, right?
  Here it is folks! Enter to win a signed copy of Karen's book, Temptation!
  All residents of the U.S. qualify, and all you need to enter is a name (we all have one, right?) and an email! You can earn extra entries in the specified fields, but remember, those aren't required to enter!

Contest is open to U.S. only, and open until Friday August 17, 2012

Good luck, and happy reading! :D

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