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Interview with Karin Beery

Your reading and writing journey are fascinating. From learning to read to finally writing your own books. How did you begin writing?

I started seriously writing in 2007 when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I’m an escapist, so I would read novels while he got chemo. That was five hours a day for 15 days, plus six more weeks of recovery, so I had a LOT of time to read. I tore through books until I’d read everything by my favorite-at-the-time authors, so I decided to try writing my own. I wrote 80,000 words in six weeks. They were terrible, but it got me started. (My hubby’s fine now!)

Describe “clean fiction” and why it means so much to you?

To me, clean fiction doesn’t contain anything explicit. That doesn’t mean the topics aren’t difficult—it could deal with abuse, trafficking, addictions—but there aren’t any graphic scenes or language on the page.

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?

As a mentioned before, I’m an escapist—I read to get away from the hardships of life for a while. I knew I wanted to write stories with happy and hopeful endings, and romance novels always have happy endings.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?

When I hired an editor for my first novel, I didn’t do my research and hired the wrong type (in her defense, she tried to warn me). I couldn’t afford to hire another editor, so I had to learn how to edit for myself. Turns out I love editing and have since made a career out of it. It opened lots of doors, introduced me to amazing people in the industry, and strengthened my own self-editing skills.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?

While my stories don’t necessarily contain overtly Christian content, my faith impacts my worldview, which impacts my stories. That’s the main reason why my tagline is “hopeful fiction with a healthy dose of romance.” Because of my hope in Christ, I wouldn’t even know how to write a hopeless story!

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?

The day that I realized that God’s call on my life to write had nothing to do with books. He called me to write because he had lessons to teach me, and the best way for him to do that was through publishing. It can be a long and brutal process, but God has used every trial to teach me more about himself and my need for him.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

Humor is my coping mechanism. I don’t always mean to include humor, but I can’t help it because it’s how I live my life. My second novel (Practically Married) includes a death very early in the story, and I was afraid it would be too dark after my debut novel (an intentional rom com). But the first thing my editor said to me was that she loved how I wove humor into the story. It wasn’t intentional!

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?

Editing and fiction coaching keep me at the computer and up to my eyeballs in novel manuscripts. Then add the hours spent maintaining social media and my platform. By the time I’m done, I rarely want to spend more time at the computer writing, so I have to carve out very specific times to write, otherwise I won’t do it.

Where do your story ideas come from?

I’ll write about anything that interests me. Finally Forever was inspired by a local fundraising event called Dancing with the Stars Dance-Off for Charity. I covered the event for the local newspaper for years. It was so unique that I wanted to write about it. If anything like that sparks my interest, I’ll look for a way to put it in a book.

What message do you hope readers take away from Finally Forever?

Honestly, I just want them to sit back, enjoy, and maybe forget about their worries for a few hours.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?

I was at a networking event in town, and a local business owner who had bought my first book (a Christian rom com) stopped to tell me how much he loved it, even though he’s not a Christian. He ended by saying, “I usually like more sex in my books, but this was really good.” I had NO idea how to respond, so I just smiled and said thank you.

I see you’ve also written a book about editing – “How to Edit Your Novel: Practical Tips for Strengthening Your Story” – how did that come about?

During the pandemic, I received a lot of rough manuscripts (no discernable plots or character arcs, so cleaning up the writing technique wouldn’t have helped much). I’d already been teaching new and nonfiction editors how to edit fiction for several years, so I took those lessons and rewrote them for writers. How to Edit Your Novel won’t perfect a manuscript, but it will help authors develop their editing skills to produced stronger manuscripts.

What’s next for you?

Finally Forever is the first of three books (hopefully!). I’m hoping to have book two finished and book three started by the end of March.

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