The Long and the Short of It is very excited to have Kara Lennox with us to help us celebrate our Grand Opening. Kara started writing when she was seven. She says, “I think I wrote maybe two pages with a pencil in a steno pad, but I do remember it was about a little girl living with her father in Rome. Her mother had died and she was lonely and didn't have any other children to play with.” Her first formal training came in the fourth grade with a creative writing class, and a teacher who encouraged her. That encouragement stuck with her to the extent that her first romance novel was dedicated to that teacher.
And, the writing class paid off. Kara is a best-selling novelist and her novels have finaled in several contests including the Rita, the Reader’s Choice award and the Holt Medallion. Romantic Times awarded her a Reviewers Choice Award.
Even though she has written 60 novels (with 55 published or soon-to-be) she still finds time to read. At midnight the night before the interview, she was up reading the latest Harry Potter book. I think a lot of us can identify with that! She also, of course, has read widely in the romance genre and many of the authors she has read have influenced her own writing. She told me, “Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and lots of other writers of gothic romance, romantic suspense--they all fueled my love for that genre, and my first attempts at writing were in the romantic suspense genre. But also some early authors of Harlequin American--Anne Stuart, Beverly Sommers and Modeen Moon come to mind--impressed me with their ability to stretch the boundaries of category romance.”
And, she has certainly stretched her own boundaries. The book she’s recently completed, Good Husband Material, is, in her own words, “a departure for me.” It’s a reunion book starring characters in their 40s. “The hero and heroine were married very young, and the heroine's infertility broke up the marriage. Now, at their twenty-five-year high school reunion, they have a one-night stand ... and the supposedly infertile heroine gets pregnant. It was loads of fun to write. It will be out in January 2008 from Harlequin American.”
With all the books she’s had out, I had to ask her about them. She told me that it’s virtually the same with every one she writes. She loves it when she starts… and she loves it when she finishes. However, “in the middle of every book I hate it and want to throw it out.” Of all the ones she’s had published her favorite is a dark romantic suspense about black-market adoptions. The title is Into Thin Air and it was published by Silhouette Intimate Moments in 1995 under her real name of Karen Leabo.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys bicycling, birdwatching, and enjoying giant pandas. She tells me that, next to her own kitty of course, the giant panda is her favorite animal. “I watch them on streaming video,” she told me. “One in San Diego just had a baby, and she is the most devoted mother I've ever seen.” Her least favorite may be ants, since she’s on a running battle with them. She thinks it would be great if scientists could invent “something that will keep ants out of my kitchen without poisoning everything within a three-mile radius.”
Make sure you pick up Kara’s newest book, One Stubborn Texan, due out in September from Harlequin American and check out her website for more pictures, a great contest and more information.
Thank you so much, Kara, for taking the time to talk with us.