I’ve invited Karen Mueller Bryson to participate in an interview and lucky for us she accepted. So without further ado, let’s get to the questions and more importantly, the answers!
Your pen name is Dakota Madison, how did you come up with it? I have two bloodhounds and their names are Dakota and Madison.
A no brainer it seems!
Under Dakota Madison you have written several novels, what else do you have in store for us? I’m right in the midst of completing my quest to write 12 novels in 12 months. August is the 9th month of my challenge. I have seven novels published and will have one more coming out in August. Two will be coming out in September and I’ll have one coming out in October and one in November. After my 12 Dakota Madison novels are published, I am working on two YA trilogies that I will be published under my legal name.
Twelve novels in twelve months? You must be busy I’m surprised you found time to answer my questions!
With all that writing are you a plotter or a pantser? A little of both. I usually have the basic story outlined in very broad strokes but I am very open to allowing the story to unfold as well.
I can’t imagine it’s easy to come up with all those ideas and writing all those pages!
What do you think are the most important attributes to staying sane as a writer? Don’t listen to critics. Write what makes you happy not for an audience.
You say don’t listen to critics but what do you do when you see a bad review? A few years ago, a reviewer said that I “made Stephenie Myer look like Shakespeare.” Based on the biting tone of the entire review, I assume she meant it as an insult. I realized that all reviews are subjective and some people are just mean. I stopped reading my reviews after that. They are nothing more that people’s opinions. And you know what they say about opinions???
Yikes! I can imagine that wouldn’t have been fun to read. I think you’ve made the right decision!
Trying to do 12 novels in 12 months must be a lot of work, do you write every single day? Yes!
Writing every day do you find you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it? I never experience writer’s block. I have the opposite problem. There are not enough hours in the day to write everything I want to write.
Lucky you! I’m sure there are several authors who wish they could say the same.
Where do you like to do your writing? Most of the time, I write on my laptop in my bed.
Do you have a specific writing style? My writing style is concise and precise. I don’t like writing that is overly detailed. I choose my words carefully and only use the words necessary to convey the story.
Which one of your characters do you most identify with? Why? I think there are probably aspects of my personality in most of my characters. It’s no coincidence that several of my characters are either counsellors or psychology majors in college. I was a psychology major, worked as a counsellor and now work as a psychology professor at a university.
You are a published author! What made you succeed where others fail? I think many people give up rather than fail. If you keep persisting and don’t give up, you’ll eventually succeed.
Good advice no matter what the goal!
What advice would you have for someone who is just starting out? Write every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Make writing a habit.
Good advice, it can be so easy to get into the habit of NOT writing.
Any spoilers you can give us about upcoming releases or projects? In September, I’ll be releasing The Playmaker which is Book Two of the Fire on Ice series.
Is there a message in your novel you want your readers to grasp? After Alex Died has a very personal message. It is about being able to live after the suicide of a loved one and it is a story of forgiveness.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? My father killed himself in 1992 and it deeply impacted my family. After Alex Died is the story of lose following the suicide of the main character’s brother, who was bullied. I drew from my own experiences but I also imagined what it would be like for someone to have to work closely with one of the boys who bullied her brother to death and what it would be like to fall in love with him.
I’m so sorry for your loss, After Alex Died definitely sounds like an emotional roller coaster.
What books have influenced your life most? Two books had a major impact on my decision to begin writing romance novels: Slammed by Colleen Hoover and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. Reading those two book opened my mind to the possibilities in contemporary romance, particular in the budding New Adult sub-genre.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? One of my favorite new authors is Charles Sheehan-Miles. I have to admit I was skeptical about men writing romance novels but his books are terrific.
I know how you feel, but one of my most favourite romance novels is written by a man as well!
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? It’s difficult to pick one favorite but I really like Stieg Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series). I think he created one of the greatest female characters in literature: Lisbeth Salander.
Who designed your covers? My husband, who worked as a graphic artist at one point in his life, designs all of my covers.
Wow! Creative family!
Are the names of your characters in your novels important? I think names are very important and are one of many ways to convey aspects of character. I spend a lot of time thinking about character names.
How many people have you murdered over the course of your career? How many hearts have you broken? I’ve only “killed” one character and he was evil. I have broken a number of hearts which is not unusual in romance novels. But I always go for the HEA.
Only one kill? Or only one you’re willing to admit to? lol
Any topic you will never write about? Never say never! I can’t see myself writing a fantasy story but you never know!
Never say never … good philosophy!
Writing everyday will keep you busy. Do you have the time to read anything right now? I am currently in the middle of reading Burn by Maya Banks. Hot, hot, hot! I just love the entire trilogy.
What are books for? I think stories should be entertaining and make us feel something.
Do you prefer e-books, paper backs or hard covers? All, any, whatever is most cost effective.
I’m with you there!
Only one question left Karen, who would play you in a movie about your life? I’d like to think a “young” me would be played by Hailee Steinfeld. A present day me would be played definitely be played by Lisa Edelstein. (We’re the same age and the same height and we both grew up in New Jersey!)
I can see it now! And if I can say so, I’d like Emma Watson to play me. You know for this interview. I’m sure it will be a BIG scene in the movie. Obviously I’ll need to be on the set to make sure she gets me just right. I’m going to need an assistant – someone has to get me a drink. Yanno, I might as well have a trailer, somewhere to really focus on the character that is me. Ooo Plus, you know the best part? I can be all … Hermione just played me! lol … Think she’d introduce me to Harry Potter?
LOL! Well thank you so much for joining me today Karen! It’s been fun!
Do you have a question for Karen I missed? Feel free to ask in the comments, you never know she may take a moment to answer 😉
Follow Karen on twitter: @karenmbryson
OR Visit her at her site: ahorsewithnoname.com