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A quick word from Bobbi Dumas, your host.
Hi everyone! Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month. You can find out more about this fun, month long event here. And check out all the great authors taking part this year on the calendar, here.
The theme this year is The Romance Of Reading, The Magic Of Books and we have an awesome assortment of writers – both romance and mainstream fiction authors – sharing about books, reading, romance & magic. I hope you’ll visit everyday.
(Also, be sure to check in to The Romance Of Reading FB page, where one of the RARM authors will be hosting the page each day in August. Today Karen Hawkins will also be on the page.)
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Karen Hawkins – The Everyday Magic of Books
Guys, as you’ve probably noticed, it’s a tough world out there, and lately there seems to be an unusual amount of negativity floating around. It can leave a person (me!) feeling exhausted and depressed.
So, in retaliation, I decided to write a book in the genre of magic realism. I wanted to write books filled with home, and happiness, and yes – warm and happy, life-giving magic. The kind of magic that makes you smile, and wish you had some.
I experience magic every day because I believe that reading is one of the most magical experiences a person can have. Think about it – you open a book, start reading, and (if it’s done right) suddenly you’re somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else. And there you stay, living that life, having those experiences, all without moving off your couch. Reading, in and of itself, is a form of magic realism. It’s magic, and it’s a part of your everyday life.
To some people, magic is also wizarding and warlocks and witches. But magic can also be all of the things you can’t see but know exist. Things like love, and time, and humor. I made sure to include both types of magic in my new Dove Pond Series.
Which brings us to my new book, THE BOOK CHARMER, about a woman who can talk to books (and they talk back, too!), which won the Library Reads list for July 2019. I wrote this book because I wanted some magic in my own life. I wanted to visit a place where love, laughter, friendship, and home were the reason for being. A place untouched by political strife. A place bubbling with charm and magic and hope. That’s not to say the residents of Dove Pond don’t experience sadness, because there is a bittersweet side to love that is sometimes painful, but in THE BOOK CHARMER, rest assured that you’ll never face it alone.
I hope you’ll give THE BOOK CHARMER a look. It’s the book of my heart and that, in itself, is magic. And if you enjoy it, there’s already an e-novella online, too, set in Dove Pond called LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON that features (of all things!) a ghost who keeps appearing in a bathtub. PS For those wondering, no, I’m not leaving the historical romance genre in any way. In fact, I’ve got my next book in the Made To Marry Series on my schedule now. I’m just adding the magic realism genre to my repertoire because it makes me happy, too.
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I can’t say enough about this author. Her book, FIRST FROST, is one of those books that, when you finish it, you hug the book because it made you so happy.
Another favorite of mine, pure magic realism with fascinating family dynamics. I could read her work for days on end.
My favorite book of hers so far is PRACTICAL MAGIC, which has been made into a movie. Her work is a bit darker than Sarah Addison Allen’s, but filled with rich family connections, fascinating magic, and liberally sprinkled with hope and love.
DRAWING – Karen is hosting the Romance Of Reading Facebook page today. Her drawings will happen there.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
When I was a child, we used to visit my grandmother’s house every Sunday. While a loving if distant sort of person, she had strict rules about children being seen and not heard, so my dad – taking pity on us – would stop by a library on our way to her house and let us all check out a few books. I was already a voracious reader, but I can still remember the cozy feel of that tiny, small-town Tennessee library, the smell of old books and wood varnish, and hear the creak of the old wooden floor under my feet as I slowly trailed my fingers down the dusty spines. I knew that in each and every book was a world waiting to be discovered, best and brave friends to be found, and enemies to be met and defeated (hopefully with a magical fiery sword – BONUS!).
So it’s no surprise that a small town library is an important setting in my new book THE BOOK CHARMER, about a librarian who can talk to books. I took that magic I felt as a child when I read books and I made it real, so it’s appropriate that THE BOOK CHARMER is considered a book of the magic realism genre.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Oh wow, so many books have been magical for me. Probably the one I remember the most was MY FRIEND FLICKA which I read in oh, gee – third grade? fourth grade? Somewhere in there. I remember that book so well because it was the first book I read that made me weep. To this day, I still get a little teary-eyed when I think about it.
That book was magical to me because it pulled me so deeply into the story that I forgot everything while I read it. It immersed me and made me feel as if I really was another person in another place. It went straight to my heart and is still there.
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
That most magical moment I’ve ever had in my career would be the moment my agent called me to say, “I was just reading a book that made me think of you and your writing voice. Have you ever read Sarah Addison Allen?”
I hadn’t, so I ordered some of her books and simply fell in love with her voice, her stories, and the entire magic realism genre. After I’d read all of her books, I began to looking for others, but while I did find some excellent ones (Alice Hoffman, Deborah Harkness), there weren’t as many as I’d hoped. That’s when I knew I needed to write one myself.
I always write books I’d want to read, just as I always write heroines I’d want to go shoe shopping with. And as I wrote THE BOOK CHARMER, I felt more and more as if I’d just come home. This is my genre and it brings me such joy.
For writers who use magical aspects in their books, what attracts you to those elements? For those of you who don’t, are there specific themes or elements you’re attracted to and find yourself going back to? Why do these resonate with you?
I’ve been writing magical elements into my books since I wrote my first book, MUCH ADO ABOUT MARRIAGE. The premise of the story is this: The luckiest man in England is forced to marry the unluckiest woman in Scotland. Whose luck will prevail? Several of my series since then have had magical realism elements – The Talisman Ring Series, The Maclean Curse Series, the Hurst Amulet Series, etc.
I love writing about magic because there are so many things in my real life over which I have no control, and it would be nice to have a little magic so that I can ‘fix’ things. That’s what magic is – it’s control over the uncontrollable. Who hasn’t wanted to wiggle their nose and the house be clean? Or wave a wand and the homework our child is weeping over suddenly makes sense to them? Or brew a potion that cures the aches and pains of a loved one? Or cast a spell and the weeds in the garden all shrivel up and die? I’d love to have some magic in my life. I’d use it every day!
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
Reading! When I lose focus and am tired or am stuck on a story line, I log off my computer, tuck a book under my arm, and head to a coffee shop to relax and read. Sometimes I’ll just go an hour, but I always take a book and I always let my mind take a break from my life and struggles and just waft away on a good story. Then, when I come back to write, I’m ready to face whatever problem I may have made for myself in my work.
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Hawkins writes novels that have been praised as touching, witty, charming, and heartwarming. A native Southerner who grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee where storytelling is a way of life, Karen recently moved to frosty New England with her beloved husband and multiple foster dogs. The Dove Pond books are a nod to the thousands of books that opened doors to more adventures, places, and discoveries than she ever imagined possible.
Discover all of Karen’s books:
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