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Good Morning to you all,

And now we are really on the final countdown to Christmas! Hope you're all ready - presents all bought and wrapped, decorations up, cards sent out and down to the last few doors of your advent calendars? All my Christmas shopping is done and the wrapping is happening tomorrow without fail.

Now, it's time for Tuesday's author interview with the lovely Karen Naylor so let's get started.

Eva: Hi Karen. First of all, thank you for taking part in my series of author interviews. Now, tell us all about yourself, as in, a bit of a biography.

Karen: Thank you so much for hosting me, Eva. I am a writer from West Yorkshire and I was recently longlisted for the Yorkshire Emerging Writers 2023. I was also shortlisted for the Owned Voices Novel Award 2021 and longlisted for the Guppy Open Submissions 2021. Christmas Evie, my rom com published by US publisher Champagne Book Group, is my first novel, and is book one of a four book series. I have an MA in Writing for Performance and a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Identity and I am member of The Society of Authors, RNA, SCBWI NE and GEA. For many years I have run a voluntary free Writers Group at my local library, plus I also voluntarily set up and ran the Cleckheaton Literature Festival in 2015 and 2016 to help save our library service and raise literacy rates in Kirklees. Featuring writers, poets and creatives including Joanne Harris, Luke Wright, Helen Cadbury and Andy Kershaw, the Festivals were very popular. Several of my poems and short stories have featured in anthologies, including the 100 Thousand Poets for Change and Inspired by Museum which was launched at the Indian Embassy in London, and my short play Bottle was performed in lockdown by local mental health group Men’s Talk. I have had a monologue performed at Lawrence Batley Theatre (LBT) and two radio plays on local Two Valleys Radio plus taken part in Creative Voices a spoken word poetry event at LBT.

How many books have you written up to now? Are they published or self-published? What genre are they?

Christmas Evie is my ninth novel but the first one to be published. There has been interest in some of my other novels including my crime novel The Pallbearer, which was the novel longlisted for the Yorkshire Emerging Writers, and my MG fantasy Thorde: The Keeper of the Trysk, was longlisted for Guppy Open submissions. My other novel genres include one ‘inspired by real life’ novel: Space Cake, two romantic suspense: Burning for You and Undercover, and three YA: Quantum Worlds, Digital Heroin and The Half-lands of Aquinas, plus several picture books, plays and poems.

A sequel to Christmas Evie, currently titled Seducing the One, which is centred around Nate’s twin brother Luca, is at first draft, and a third, which will be Sasha’s story, and fourth, which will be Georgia’s story, are planned.

Of all the genres there are, is there any genre/s that you feel you wouldn’t be able to write and why? Is there any genre that you really wish you could write, but feel you wouldn’t be able to do it justice?

The only genre I feel I would not be able to write is western as it is not a genre I read or watch. The closest I’ve come to doing so is watching TV series like West World or films such as A Million Ways to Die in the West. As for a genre I wish I could write and feel I may not be able to do justice to, is historical. I would love to give a historical romance a try, something like Julia Quinn’s excellent Bridgerton books, but I worry that I would just get lost in the research for the etiquette, speech, clothing and sumptuous decors of the time rather than writing the book. Maybe one day this is a challenge I could set myself.

Do you have any favourite ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ words that you like to use in your books? What are those words? Also, what words used by other authors irritate you more than they should?

I’m not sure about out of the ordinary, but I do love to make up words and supernatural creatures in my fantasy books such as in my novels Half-lands, Quantum Worlds, Digital Heroin and Thorde. I got so lost in making things up for the future earth I envisioned in Quantum Worlds that it distracted me from getting too bogged down in research for WWII and the 1970s. I think readers may like my made up ‘swear words’ for Evie in Christmas Evie, as she likes to say Sugar Snaps instead of something more forthright and I know this is something my editor loved so much she wondered about copying it herself. Perhaps not words that other authors use that irritate me but actions, I guess. Since my editing for Christmas Evie, because I was a little guilty of it originally, I notice and don’t like when characters in novels have limbs and eyes that move independently, as it really sticks out to me now.

What question would you like to pose, (if you were to ever interview your favourite author), which never seems to get asked in author interviews? And who is that favourite author?

Ooh that is a difficult one as my favourite author is Jane Austen (I named my daughter Georgiana after Mr Darcy’s sister in Pride and Prejudice) and Jane is sadly no longer with us. Living authors, I am afraid I could never pick one. I love Neil Gaiman, Julia Quinn, Philip Pullman, Emily Henry, Lee Child, Taylor Jenkins-Reid, Stephen King, Beth Reekles…I could go on and on and your readers would soon tire of me listing fab authors �� Question-wise, I suppose I would be cheeky and ask them how they got their big break publishing deal, including how many books written, rejection letters received etc, as I know it gives other authors hope that it can happen for them – it certainly did for me. The favourite question I have ever heard an author be asked is when someone asked what Daemon Philip Pullman would have and he answered magpie because he likes to steal other people’s ideas. Legend.

If you were to ever write a children’s book, (and those of you who already do) would you/do you do the illustrating yourself, make use of a family member or friend’s talent or pay an illustrator? Do you solely write or do you have any other creative pursuits?

I have written a few children’s books and picture books but I would never consider myself talented enough to illustrate it myself. I am lucky in that my daughter is an artist (though not an illustrator) and I know a couple of excellent illustrators that I would pay if I decided to self-publish. Personally, I would prefer a traditional deal so I could be paired with an illustrator by my publisher and have them decide on a creative vision that speaks to them from my words. My other creative pursuits include painting (I am just learning), drawing and cross-stitch.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite? And why?

My favourite character is Georgia from Christmas Evie who will feature in all of the Romano series, the last book of which will be her love story. I love that she is such a mixture of confidence and sass, yet sweetness coupled with meddlesome, all whilst wearing her heart on her sleeve in that all she wants is the best for those she loves, even if she doesn’t always go about it the right way. I am hoping my readers love her as much as I do and that they want to stay for all four books to learn what happens to her.

Have you ever killed off a character in your books (I’m sure you have)? If so, was it because…it fitted nicely into the storyline? OR…Did you start to really dislike the character and, with too much work involved to re-write without that character, think it the easiest option to have that person die?

In my crime novel I have killed off quite a few characters, and in my YA books. They have always had to die because the story necessitated it yet I have been reluctant to see them go a few times. I have never really disliked a character and had to kill them off for that reason or had too much work to re-write something so had to kill them off. Maybe it is just me, but each of my characters, even the evil ones, have a reason for being the way they are and I can emphasise if not sympathise with their thought processes.

Are any of your characters based on family members or friends? Have you kept their characters totally true to life or have you given them bonus traits that you wish they possessed in real life?

No there is never a full character from real life but I may have put some names and or traits in the novels that come from real people. There are some things that have inspired situations in my books, or behaviour that happened in real life that I have used for my characters, including my inspired-from-real-life book, but even then, I have enhanced plotlines, or made a situation/character better/worse than in real life.

I have been asked by one of my readers to put them in my next book and I am toying with the idea of that, as I know their name and scant details about them, so there’d still be enough scope for me to make them a character rather than a real person.

Relationships and family life aside, what are your TWO main regrets in life?

One, that I didn’t try to make writing my career from the get-go or send my work out earlier. I was too beset by nerves and imposter syndrome.

Two, that I didn’t travel and see the world when I was young, thinking it was better to get a home, job etc. and wait until later in life to do so.

What was your passion as a child? Did that passion stay with you during your adult life OR did you, as you grew up begin to detest what you once enjoyed?

My passion was always making up stories and it never left me. I love creating characters and worlds and especially like ensuring a happy ending when real life does not always work out that way. Obviously, this cannot always be the case in my crime writing! And the only thing that I detest, and have never enjoyed, is editing but it is a necessary evil to make a book the best it can be.

What was your best subject throughout your school years? And the worst?

I’d like to say English was my best subject but the subject that earned me the best grades (top of the entire school and the reason I remember this is because I had a teacher that did not believe in me in that subject, and I think I worked twice as hard to spite him) in my exams was Social Studies. My worst was, and still is to this day, Maths. If it involves money, I can do it, but anything more complicated than that like algebra, forget it.

Tell me about your favourite teacher throughout your school years? Was it a crush you had? Were they just an excellent teacher of your favourite subject? Or some other reason…kind, fun, generous…?

I had a number of really good teachers and I can’t think of one that stands out more than any other (not even for crush reasons). My headmaster at my junior school was really kind and was replaced by a man who was the opposite, so I remembered the original headmaster fondly. He wanted each child to be themselves and be happy, knowing every child had something they were good at, be it academically or in sport. I think it is very sad that the arts are being stripped not just from schools yet being devalued in society. Not only are creative pursuits something that can give great joy but also, not every child can be clever or fast and everyone should have the chance to find the one thing that they are passionate about.

Did either of your parents ever express a wish to write? Are they supportive and proud of your work? Or do they just choose to not get involved, but they are pleased for you?

No neither of my parents wanted to write. My mum isn’t too creative so doesn’t really understand the process, but is an avid reader. She has told me “how proud she is of her talented daughter” now she has read Christmas Evie which is a lovely thing to hear.

Tell us about your ultimate ambition, be it personal, travel, writing, work, hobby related or other?

My ultimate ambition would be to win an Oscar when one of my stories is made into a film, which is a big ask I know, but hey, I think dream big.

Do you have any phobias and if so, what are they? Have you ever conquered any phobia and if so, how did you do it?

Bizarrely I am scared of monkeys (I think this is may be down to watching Planet of the Apes too young as a child) and heights. I managed to go up the Eiffel Tower, but had to have my fingers prised off in order to leave as I was positive I was actually falling from the Tower.

I used to be scared of snakes too yet I conquered this as when my son Lucas was young, he loved all animals and was particularly interested in reptiles. We went to so many zoos and animal centres where I had to pretend I wasn’t bothered by the snakes (so I wouldn’t pass my fear onto him) that one day I was asked to hold one and did. Once I got over the ‘it’s going to bite or strangle me’ fear I realised it was quite placid, silky-smooth skinned and not a threat unless someone made it one.

Most people I know are not happy with something physical about themselves (face/body etc.,) but if you could change anything about your personality, what would you wish to change?

I would like to be less of a people-pleaser and just be myself and be happy. What is your ‘go to’ snack, whatever the time of day? And drink of your choice? I absolutely love cracker crisps and Lindt Nuxor or Ferrero Rocher chocolates. My drink of choice is champagne but am happy with most except anything with caffeine as I am intolerant.

Cats or dogs? What do you have? Do you introduce any pets into your books?

I love both. I have two female cats, Perri (full name Perenelle, a character from a novel) and Biscuit and one male dog Chester (full name Winchester). The cats are long-haired, one is ginger and white, one is white, black and ginger. Ches is a Cavachon which is a Cavalier King Charles crossed with a Bichon Frise.

I’ve never introduced my pets into my books.

And finally, hit me up with all your book links and links to social media.

Other: The same information for Threads as for Insta

Christmas Evie

“Evie, a dating disaster, agrees to go on a date with one of her friend’s brothers. It has

nothing to do with Nathaniel, the hot guy working at the tea rooms or the King Clause,

which means she’s to be married by Christmas. Nathaniel offers to look after his sister

Rosalie’s tea rooms while she’s in hospital. It has nothing to do with the fact he thinks the

owner of the florist opposite the tea rooms is ‘the one.’ Nor his mistake in telling his mum

he’ll be bringing home a girl to Capri for Christmas. Or forgetting to tell Evie he has a twin.

A case of mistaken identity threatens to turn Christmas, and Evie’s dreams, into more than

a dating disaster. With her heart at stake, can she set her future on the right twin?”

Smashwords Link:


Also available on Apple, Rakuten and Barnes

and Noble, Amazon and all other e reader sites

The QR Code above takes you to all the book links.

Once again, I would like to thank you Karen for taking part and for such an interesting interview.

This is the last interview before Christmas, so I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a Prosperous New Year for 2024.

Season's Greetings!



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