Friday Author Spotlight: Karen Ann Hopkins + Giveaway

Friday Author SPOTLIGHT! We will feature a Young Adult, New Adult or Adult Author. These post will contain interviews, author posts, book blasts, fill in the blanks, etc... This is just our way to get authors noticed and out there as much as possible. So we hope you enjoy and stay tuned Fridays to see who we have on and what they shared. To see previous posts click here.

Today we are happy to feature one of OUaT's favorite authors Karen Ann Hopkins. Karen Ann Hopkins is the author the the series Temptation which is centered around star-crossed lovers and the Amish community. The Temptation series contains Temptation (book 1) and Belonging (book 2). You can read OUaT's reviews HERE. Today Karen Ann answered some questions for us and also shared pictures of her Amish neighbors that inspired her stories. 

Author Karen Ann Hopkins

About this author: A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.

OUaT: There are many elements in our lives that have a such a major impact,that for a writer, at times needs to find it's way onto paper. Did you have such a moment of inspiration when creating the lives of Noah and Rose?

Yes, there were two such happenings that created Noah and Rose's story. When I first moved into the sleepy Amish community in northern Kentucky about five years ago, I was surprised that the local Amish kids immediately began showing up at my riding stable. I watched them interact with the non-Amish kids who were taking riding lessons and participating on an equestrian drill team at my farm. Some of these kids were subtly flirting with each other and it got me thinking about what an impossible situation a romance would be. Once the seed was planted, I had to put it down on paper. At that point, the only writing experience I had was sending in articles to the local newspaper regarding the equestrian events at my farm and the 4H horse club I coached. I was also going through a divorce and having five children and a farm to take care of on my own, I desperately needed an escape for my mind...and Temptation became the therapy I needed to survive those difficult days.

OUaT: When writing young adult literature that is truly realistic fiction that comes to life, it is evident that much research has taken place regarding the Amish faith and way of life. What does your research process look like and how do you infuse your findings in such an awesome storyline?

Every bit of research I did I gained through experiential knowledge from my own conversations, interactions and observations within my Amish community. Since the rules and traditions change between Amish communities, I focused on the way things were done in the neighborhood around me and avoided any kind of Internet or book research. Over the years I've been to five Amish weddings, numerous church dinners, signings, benefit events, picnics and even went on vacation with an Amish family to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I've had Amish girls assist me in the riding lesson program and they babysit my younger children. The local teenage boys like to come to my place in the evenings to hang out with my teen boys and watch old western movies on Netflix or play a video game (forbidden of course). Several of the women in the community have become good friends of mine. My books reflect the realism of the Amish people I live among.

OUaT: Are there any scenes that you had second thoughts about including into your novels? For example, I know that you have an extreme love for horses. Did you find some scenes hard to write in Temptation?

The buggy wreck scene was incredibly difficult to write. In my own community there have been several serious accidents between buggies and cars on the local roadways. In all incidents, the people sustained fractured bones, but two of the horses had to be euthanized. In one incident the man refused to be air lifted to a Cincinnati hospital until he shot his horse himself. Going in a different type of uncomfortable direction, in Belonging, there were sexual themes that I strongly questioned myself on before I decided to include them. Again, an experience I had with a young Amish woman ultimately made the decision for me to include the subject matter.

OUaT: During your author visits to various schools, what advice do you offer to aspiring young writers?

I have visited all the local high schools in the area and I love discussing the Temptation series with the teens. Interestingly, there are always nearly as many boys attending as girls and since there are so many topics to go over from the cultural clash side of the story to feminism and and day to day issues that teens deal with, we never run out of subject material. I would advise aspiring young writers to work with mentors and be prepared to listen and learn from their suggestions. When writing, it's easy to become so tied up in your story that you can't see the problems with it. Being open to criticism is the first step to getting published.

OUaT: Finally, although, I'm already ready for book 3 (the arrival will be bittersweet), do you have some other ideas in the works that you can give us a glimpse of?

Forever will be available in early 2014 and although it sounds like a long way off, I'm sure the time will fly by. I hope to write at least one more Meadowview novel featuring secondary characters from the Temptation series. If you pay attention in Forever, you'll have a very good idea who I'm talking about. Also, I've written an adult Amish mystery and a YA fantasy that are in the works.

The lovely Karen Ann Hopkins will be supplying a winner signed copies of her series that included Temptation and Belonging. This giveaway is open internationally. Enter below. 

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