Off The Beaten Path – with Karen White!

I’m excited to announce a new feature here at the blog.  A once-a-month opportunity to get to know a very special romance or women’s fiction author, in a fun and hopefully interactive way.   We all like to get to know our favorite authors a little better, and I want to make that fun for everyone.

And who better to kick this off with a bang, than the fabulous Karen White!!  I had the honor of meeting Karen in person at the RWA National Conference in California a couple of weeks ago, and it was one of the great highlights of the week for me.  I found out that we both have teenagers destined to appear on “Hoarders”, and it was a relief to know I’m not alone in that boat. LOL.   I will tell you that photos don’t do her justice–Karen is even more gorgeous in person.

And yes, I could have used her author photo, but once again, this is supposed to be fun, so I chose a picture from her website of her and her dog, Quincy.  🙂 


Karen, I’m so happy you are visiting today.  I so enjoyed chatting with you in Anaheim, and I know everyone here is anxious to do the same.

We want to know what really makes you tick. And me being me, I love to use food comparisons. The top ingredients on any food product are the primary make up of that food. What top three words would you use to describe yourself?   And you can’t use “writer”, because we all know that one. 😉

        – Musical

        – Professional daydreamer

        – Practical joker

I love candles and burn them year-round, and my family knows my preferences with candles, lotions, or whatever when it comes to scents. What are yours?

I must have been a bloodhound or a shark in a previous life because my sense of smell is incredible! I think my kids are good kids because they could never get away with anything because I could smell them 3 miles away!

I’m also a perfume ADDICT. Favorite scent right now: Tom Ford’s BLACK ORCHID. Love candles, too, especially the fall-scented ones like pumpkin and spice.

Ooooh, I love the spicy ones, too! Now here’s one to put you out there… We all have our odd and quirky traits that usually only our inner circle gets to snicker over. What is something about you we would never guess?

I carry a set of plastic “Bubba teeth” that I will put on when people least expect it.  That’s always a nice surprise.

Now there’s a picture you need to put on your website!! LOL!

I cry at sad movies…especially animal ones. What type of movies take you down?

I cry watching the Olympics, so it’s no surprise that I cry at movies. Sure, I’ll cry at the expected tear-jerkers, but I also cry at the “discovery” movies—where nobody dies or gets hurt, but where the protagonist overcomes great odds to find success or his/her own way in the world (ie The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith). Those are my favorites. And I really, REALLY cried in Toy Story III since my eldest child was going away to college at the same time as the little boy, Andy, was.

If you could go back and tell your younger self one important thing, what would it be?

That everything always works out—although not always in the way I’d imagined them to, but in ways that ended up to be so much better than I dreamed. And that those little things that I used to obsess over don’t matter at all in the grand scheme of my life.

Starbucks is like the mother ship to me, as well as a tall glass of sweet tea. What is your favorite beverage?

That’s too easy: Diet Dr. Pepper! I keep the mini-fridge in my sitting room (where I write) fully stocked at all times just in case there’s a snowstorm in Georgia and I can’t get to the store!

You have grown and nearly grown children like I do, and I have joked with my daughter about grandparent names one day. Emphasis on the “one day”. Do you have family nicknames for grandparents that get passed down and what do you plan to go by?

My beloved maternal grandmother was always called MoMo. I want to be the grandmother she was to me and would be honored to have my grandchildren call me that.

On that note, if you could visit a deceased loved one, for fifteen minutes, who would it be and why?

My MoMo. I’d want her to tell me the stories that she used to tell me when I was younger, that I never paid a lot of attention to because I always thought there would be more time when I was older.

If you could pick a dream vacation where money was no object, what would it be?

A private island with 24-hour concierge service where I didn’t have to do ANYTHING!!!

Is there anyone you would be a total crazy fan girl over if you met them in person?

Sara Blakely (the founder of Spanx). She’s amazing! So smart and talented, but so down to earth according to all of her interviews. And her products are life-changing. I even have my characters wearing them.

I love that!!   Okay, now here’s an important question that really tells alot about a person. What is your favorite curl-up-on-the-couch-and-hibernate comfort food?

Pancakes. With lots of butter and syrup. Carb city!!

I’m a DVR and Netflix addict. Love my shows. Do you have a guilty pleasure TV show? Do tell!!

Every show I get addicted to gets canceled (Pan Am, GCB) so I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m head over heels about ABC Family’s BUNHEADS! I’m also an HGTV addict—–all of their real estate shows!

And finally, I know that I can still remember teachers that changed the course of events for me. Do you have a favorite teacher or mentor from your childhood that shaped you in some way?

My 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, who always made me feel brilliant, and who was the first to tell me I should be a writer when I grew up.

And thank God for Mrs. Anderson! We all her a debt of gratitude!! 🙂

Karen, you have been so gracious to share these fun and genuine pieces of your life with us today, thank you!

Now, to add to the YAY factor–Karen is giving away a signed copy of her new book, SEA CHANGE, to one lucky commenter!

So curl up with your favorite comfort food and beverage, and feel free to visit with Karen. The winner will be drawn this evening and announced tomorrow.

Have fun!

Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London and has a BS degree from Tulane University. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and a spoiled Havanese dog (who appears in several of her books), Quincy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking.  She can be found at her website,



About Sharla Lovelace

Writer of romantic women's fiction. Wife, mom, and wonderwoman...without the boobs. National Bestselling Author of THE REASON IS YOU, BEFORE AND EVER SINCE, and the e-novella JUST ONE DAY. Lover of anything red.

Posted on August 8, 2012, in Sharla Lovelace and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Love the interview, Sharla, and love Karen’s books! So interesting to read about the fun side of Karen’s life. Sea Change sounds like a great read!

  2. Karen was on our WF author panel at conference, but I’d met her online when she won our BBB contest, a year ago. I went total fangirl to meet you in person!

    I’m reading Beach Trees, and have another lined up, right behind it! Sure would love Sea Change to be next! (hint.)

  3. Great interview, Sharla! I’ve seen Karen in person a few times (last time at the M&M conference in Atlanta) and she’s so gracious and well spoken.

  4. Karen – As a former resident of Charleston, I love your books. The Low Country is as much a character as your heroes and heroines, and written beautifully. But clique-ish, chummy Charleston can be daunting for outsiders. I always wondered, is the secret to writing the city that you don’t actually live there?

    • Pamela—I didn’t know you were a Charleston resident!! I’d actually meant to set my series in New Orleans because I’d lived there and figured the research would be easier. But then Katrina happened and although I knew I would write a post-Katrina book set in N.O., (and I did–The Beach Trees), but there would be no room for Katrina in this series. So I had to find another Southern city with lots of history, great architecture and ghosts and voila! Charleston. It WAS daunting writing about a city I’d only visited—but also a GREAT excuse to visit more and meet Charlestonians who were more than happy to help me with my research.

  5. I’m a huge Karen White fan, and she’s just as lovely in person as you’d expect her to be.

  6. I love Karen White’s books! I heard her speak at the M&M conference last year and when she mentioned her Tradd Street series I was on my way to discovering Charleston through her eyes. I love that city and the Am Rev era homes there! Beech Trees is next up on TBR pile. Question for Karen: Will there be another Tradd St book after The Strangers on Montague Street? I hope…! Thanks, Sharla, for sharing this wonderful insight into the person behind the author. 😉

  7. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who cries watching the Olympics! I avoid tear-jerker movies like the plague, but one that relly gets me every time is ET. I always forget about the “cry your eyes out” parts until I watch it again and then I run for the tissue.

  8. Sea Change is at the top of my TBR pile. I cheated a little bit and let it break in line. Looking forward to it. NIce interview. I’ve never tried pancakes on the couch, but it sounds like something worth looking into.

  9. So excited to have Karen here today, and some of her answers made me laugh out loud. Love the bubba teeth!!! Speaking of crying during movies…I have to give a shout out to Warhorse. *head to desk* That movie literally wrung me out. I felt as beat up as that poor horse, and I was begging my husband to do something by the end…like that was logical! LOL.

  10. Pamela—I didn’t know you were a Charleston resident!! I’d actually meant to set my series in New Orleans because I’d lived there and figured the research would be easier. 🙂 But then Katrina happened and although I knew I would write a post-Katrina book set in N.O., (and I did–The Beach Trees), but there would be no room for Katrina in this series. So I had to find another Southern city with lots of history, great architecture and ghosts and voila! Charleston. It WAS daunting writing about a city I’d only visited—but also a GREAT excuse to visit more and meet Charlestonians who were more than happy to help me with my research.

  11. Hi, Betty—Yes, there will be a fourth book in the Tradd Street series. The working title is RETURN TO TRADD STREET and it will be out in January 2014!

  12. Thank you, Sharla, for your kind invitation to join you here—you’ve got a great group of followers! And, yes, Warhorse (which I’ve now seen twice) is a HUGE tear jerker. I’ve written the sequel in my head that has a really happy ending. 🙂

  13. What a wonderful interview. My friends at “My Sisters Books” in Pawleys Island recommended Karen when I was looking for a new Southern author to read. I am so glad they did. And, I’m thrilled to learn that I am not the only one who loves “Bunheads” (my guilty pleasure).

  14. Fun interview and really great trailer on Karen’s website. I’m a beachy writer and reader. I look forward to reading Sea Change.

  15. What a fun interveiw!! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Wonderful, fun interview, Sharla! I’m still stuck on trying to imagine Karen with those Bubba teeth. That details says a lot, in a good way. No one should take themselves too seriously!

  17. Sharla – Terrific interview. I’m a great fan of Karen White and think perhaps I’ve read everything except for the new release and can’t wait to get my hands on it – sounds like another great read. I’ve come to know – Karen is an author I can automatically pick up and I’ll be in for a great read.

  18. Tami—I LOVE Pawleys Island—have you read THE COLOR OF LIGHT? It’s set there. 🙂 I’m lucky enough to be invited every year to come do an event in Pawleys. It’s a tough gig, but somebody’s got to do it…

  19. RE: Photo of me in the Bubba Teeth. Perhaps in the days before the viral Internet I would have considered it. But do I seriously want that photo to be a link whenever people Google my name??? I think NOT!! 🙂

  20. Karen,
    It was great to meet you at the mini-con and exchange a few words about Nola and Tulane. I really enjoyed some of your comments on the panel.

    Thanks for writing the BEACH TREES. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I can really relate to the Mississippi Coast after Katrina. Friends of mine had a house in Waveland. After the K there was nothing left of their house but the foundation!

    I’m getting ready to write my own Katrina novel, and thank goodness the parts of N.O. I want to include are still left!


    • Thanks, Susan–it was a pleasure meeting you, too.

      The house in the book, River Song, which I put in Biloxi, is actually my friend’s Waveland house which is, as you no, no more!

      Best of luck with your Katrina book!

  21. What a lovely interview! Thank you both.
    I’m reading Sharla’s book right now, but Karen’s is next on the pile. 🙂

    And ditto on crying during the Olympics. Every time we sit down to watch, my 7 yo pushes the box of tissues closer to me.


  22. Karen! Great interview! It’s so great to “see” you here…haven’t seen you in person in ages and ages! At least I know you’re doing fabulously!

    • JULIE!!!!! Wow—we’ve both come a long way since our first books at Dorchester!!!! Remember our promo booklet??? So proud to say I knew you when. 🙂 And I hope our paths cross again in the very near future!!!

  23. Wonderful interview, Karen and Sharla. I love discovery movies and The Pursuit of Happiness is one of my favorites. I actually didn’t used to cry — ever! My husband has always been the one to react emotionally to movies and such. But these last few years, I even cry during heartfelt commercials. LOL.

    I would love to read Sea Change!

  24. Sharla, I am so glad you got to meet Karen! She is one of the most gracious writer’s I’ve met, always going out of her way to meet and encourage new authors–whether they are published or striving to be published. And, I have seen those Bubba teeth! And, darn it, she still looks good with them in!

  25. Sharla—you must share with me how you managed to get that beautiful photo on your blog! Mine own blog is woefully naked…

    • LOL…if you’re talking about the website banner, it was a bit tricky for someone as un-tech-savvy as me. 🙂 It took me about two frustrating weeks of trial and error before I made it work, and there may be easier ways but here’s mine. I got the photo, then in the WP settings for banners, noted what the size needed to be. I cropped it to that size and then saved to Paint. Opened in Paint, and added the text, then saved. Then added it to my media in WP. THEN chose it as a banner. Whew!! Crazy stuff.

      • Thanks, Sharla—sounds like how I did my banner on my FB fan page—but used my scrapbooking software. Didn’t realize WP had a banner choice. 🙂

  26. I posted on today’s date, but just so there’s no question, the winner of SEA CHANGE is Lorrie Thomson! Congrats Lorrie!!

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