Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interview with Karleen Koen

Earlier this summer I read and loved Before Versailles and I'm over-the-moon at sharing my interview with author Karleen Koen.

What was the plot of your very first piece of fiction?

My very first piece of fiction would have to be short stories written for junior high.....something about a South American pyramid and time travel or something like that......I did write a send up of the Cinderella story for elementary, in which Cinderella was played by a big guy in a dress.....

Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I'm always trying different things.....nothing sticks.....nothing makes the not-knowingness of the process any easier. I do have a fairly regular meditation practice, and that seems to help the stress.

Was Before Versailles the original title of your book?

I started with KING......had someone say, "As in Martin Luther?".....then I went to MONARCH.....thinking of the metamorphosis of a butterfly. My agent felt that title was too baldly masculine. Doodling around, I stumbled on BEFORE VERSAILLES, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew I had it....

As you were writing Before Versailles, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

Louis surprised me by taking over the book. I thought the book was going to belong to Henriette or Louise. Wrong.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

Travel, read a lot, garden, play with my grandchildren.

Read any good books recently?

As a matter of fact, yes. I just finished reading for the second time the biography Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph Lash about the Roosevelts. It was so good, and Eleanor Roosevelt was an extraordinary woman, and the Great Depression was an extraordinary time in American history. Now I'm finishing a new biography of Jack London, called Wolf, the Life of Jack London by fellow Texas James Haley. Both are excellent. My taste in fiction has changed. As a writer myself, I notice the sags and bags of written fiction more, feel them more. In olden days, before I wrote, I was a voracious reader. If the story worked, that was all I asked for. These days, I like a little skilled writing style, please ma'am.............

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My thanks to Ms. Koen for taking the time to answer my questions! Learn more about her and her books at her website and Facebook.  To see all the blogs on the tour, check out the blog tour webpage.


  1. Lol, that time travelling story sounded fun :)

    I like that Louis just took over even though you did not mean him to

  2. Ok, I would totally grab that pyramid plot if it were expanded upon!

  3. Oh I like hearing about the title evolution - I love hearing how those things change over the course of the book publication process.

  4. I agree that the final title was just perfect!

  5. I haven't read this book, but I really enjoyed the interview.