Thursday, April 02, 2009
The Lost Hours by Karen White (An Interview)
Thank you Karen for taking the time to do this interview and blog with us today.
Terra: What made you decide to do a story about southern families with deep rooted pasts and strong family ties?
Karen: I try to write what I know. I come from a long line of southerners whose lives are filled with stories—not as dark as the ones I write about, but certainly a jumping-off point for the stories and families I write about.
Terra: Our heroine Earlene is drawn to her past because of regret. A regret for things that should have been said and moments in her life she took for granted. What do you think her chances are of coming to terms with these feelings she is having?
Karen: Her chances are very good, actually. I think a some of it would have come naturally with maturity, but I think in Piper’s case once she got past her own personal pain and loss, she was able to open her eyes and see the bigger picture of her life and her interaction in the world around her. I think Helen is a big catalyst for her—as Helen had been through equal pain but emerged mentally healthy and without the self-pity that Piper let herself fall into.
Terra: Tucker our hero is a man torn. He is torn by love, pain, regret and low self esteem. What do you think it will take for him to finally wake up from his self imposed fantasy world to the world of reality and will he do it in time to prevent more damage?
Karen: I think that by the end of the book Tucker has already turned the corner. Piper and Helen both—and his daughters—have helped him see that his wife’s death was beyond his control, and that he is free to love again with a whole heart.
Terra: This story is powerful in so many ways, if you had to pinpoint it down to just one thing what would it be and why?
Karen: That to live an extraordinary life, you don’t need to be a champion. Savoring every moment, an viewing the world as full of possibilities will make an extraordinary life possible.
Terra: You have taken on major handicaps and shown us another side of what people like Earlene and Helen experience each and every day. How much research did you have to do and how satisfied are you with the outcome of your characters?
Karen: I was very pleased with how these two characters turned out. I did a lot of reading about living with blindness for Helen’s character and I’ve had readers tell me how ‘real’ she seemed to them. She might even be my favorite character! For Earlene/Piper, her handicap was as mental as it was physical, enabling me to hone in on my own personal mental blocks that have held me back in the past. I think that personal involvement made the Earlene/Piper character even more three-dimensional.
Terra: Do you have any plans on doing another novel including the lore of the South and the charms of bye gone times?
Karen: Oh, yes! It seems to be my trademark, after all. J The book I’m working on now is set in Folly Beach, South Carolina and involves parallel stories of two war widows---one from WWII and one from the Iraqui war. Their lives will intersect in interesting and unexpected ways, merging the past with the present.
Terra: Which of your characters do you like the best and why?
Karen: Helen, I think. Because despite being blind, she sees the world with such clarity, and with an open heart.
Terra: The Lost Hours is a powerfully turbulent emotional story of love in every way shape and form. What do you think the chances are that there are actual people out there that could step into your characters shoes?
Karen: I have no doubt that there are! I’ve lived and traveled all over the world and met lots of people. Everybody carries a burden—probably not as heavy as the ones carried by the characters in my novels—but just as important to each individual’s life. I think that’s why my characters resonate with readers.
Terra: Do you think that Tucker and Earlene have a chance at true happiness and can put to sleep the ghosts of the past?
Karen: Absolutely. They’ve gone through so much, but they’ve learned a lot, too—about love, life and forgiveness. They’re ready to move on.
Terra: Will Lillian ever be able to acknowledge her past regrets and decisions, confront her demons and finally find peace before it’s too late? Will she be able to save her grandchildren, great grandchildren and the life of one lonely stranger by opening up to the truth?
Karen: Yes—and she does at the end. The truth can—and does—set you free and she realizes this before it’s too late. It is through her finally telling her story that allows Helen, Piper and Tucker to move on with their lives. She teaches them about forgiveness and atonement, and how neither should be a roadblock to future happiness.
Karen is giving away a copy of THE LOST HOURS to one lucky commentor, along with a hard-to-find and out-of-print copy of her 2003 release AFTER THE RAIN! (U.S. only)
When Piper Mills was twelve, she helped her grandfather bury a box that belonged to her grandmother in the backyard. For twelve years, it remained untouched.
Now a near fatal riding accident has shattered Piper’s dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather’s death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn’t exist—or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard. In it are torn pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace—and a newspaper article from 1939 about the body of an infant found floating in the Savannah River. The necklace’s charms tell the story of three friends during the 1930s— each charm added during the three months each friend had the necklace and recorded her life in the scrapbook. Piper always dismissed her grandmother as not having had a story to tell. And now, too late, Piper finds she might have been wrong.