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Monday, March 16, 2015

 

The Woman of La Mancha by Karen Mann Blog Tour

& giveaway contest!

The Woman of La Mancha, a companion book to Don Quixote, tells the woman’s story of Don Quixote by recounting the story of the girl he called Dulcinea, the woman he loved from afar.

It’s 1583. An eleven-year-old girl wakes in the back of a cart. She has lost her memory and is taken in by a kindly farm family in La Mancha. She adopts the name Aldonza. She doesn’t speak for quite some time. Once she speaks, there is a family member who is jealous of her and causes a good deal of trouble, even causing her to be forced to leave La Mancha in tragic circumstances. Having to create a new life in a new location and still unaware of her birth family, she adopts the name Dulcinea and moves in the circles of nobility. While seeking her identity, she becomes the consort of wealthy men, finds reason to disguise herself as a man, and learns herbal healing to help others.

The novel also features a parallel story of a young man, Don Christopher, a knight of King Philip and the betrothed of the girl, who sets off on with a young squire, Sancho, to find the girl. Christopher’s adventures takes them across Spain and forces him to grow up. Does he continue the quest to find his betrothed or marry another and break the contract with the king?

Both young people have many experiences and grow up before the readers’ eyes. Floating in and out of each other’s paths as they travel around Spain, will they eventually find each other and be together?

Paperback: 354 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Fleur-de-Lis Press (May 5, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0965252043
ISBN-13: 978-0965252041

The Woman of La Mancha is available in print at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of The Woman of La Mancha, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, March 20 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:
Karen Mann is the Administrative Director of the brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville (spalding.edu/mfa) of which she is also the co-founder. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various anthologies. Her second book, The Saved Man: The First Century, is available as an ebook on Amazon. After having lived in Indiana most of her life, she now lives in California.

Visit Karen online at:

http://www.karenmannwrites.com

http://www.facebook.com/karenmannwrites

-----Interview by Renee Roberson

WOW: How did you first get the idea for The Woman of La Mancha?

Karen: Before I begin, let me say, “Thank you!” for interviewing me. The idea of The Woman of La Mancha came from my friend Terry Lester. I was telling him that I had been a reader for Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife, the companion book to Moby Dick, and he asked, “Why don’t you write the woman’s story of Don Quixote?” It scared me to death. I had no confidence I could do it, but then I felt it was a huge challenge, and I wanted to take it on.

WOW: Your book has a very colorful cast of characters, which I very much enjoyed. I have to admit I had a special fondness for Sancho, the fearless and impulsive young squire who attaches himself to Don Christopher. Who is your favorite character from the book and why?

Karen: I do love my protagonist, Cinda, because she is a courageous, smart woman, but I’d have to say my favorite character is Christopher, the male protagonist, because, while he is always a kind person, he starts out as an arrogant, privileged young man who learns by experience to take care of himself, to make his own decisions, and to love unconditionally.

WOW: Some writers find that writing historical fiction can be a little intimidating. How much time did you spend researching The Woman of La Mancha before you actually started writing? Or did you do both at the same time?

Karen: Yes, researching an historical novel can be intimidating, but I also find it challenging and enjoyable. It’s rather like a mystery that one has to solve by finding the necessary information to make your book come alive, as if you knew those times and that setting firsthand.

For The Woman of La Mancha I researched for six months before I wrote a word of the book. After that, I researched as needed. I was writing it in the late nineties before one thought to turn to the Internet for research. Now the Internet is invaluable, but still libraries and other such resources are a must. Buying books can run into money, but I discovered Better World Books, which is a site with a lot of used books and free shipping, plus they donate books to promote literacy around the world.

WOW: You also have another book out now, The Saved Man, available as an e-book and the first in a planned series. What is that book about and do you find working on a series to be more challenging than writing a stand-alone novel?

Karen: The Saved Man series is about four men who find themselves immortal in the first century A.D., the time of the Emperors Augustine, Nero, and Caligula; of Jesus; of the fall of the Jewish Temple; and of end of Pompeii. Each man loves a woman beyond reason, yet the men come to realize their lovers will die and they will not. This paranormal romance series follows the men through the centuries as they discover their lovers’ souls reincarnated in new bodies and in different places.

Working on a series is more complicated because you want some cliff-hangers or intrigue that will last for more than one book. You have to plant the clues in the first book because you can’t go back and re-write that book. You are also writing about the same characters over a longer period of time, so I developed a spreadsheet where I keep track of the characteristics and actions of each character. At some point you forget which character has green eyes or which one has which scars . . . you need help to remember!

WOW: The spreadsheet sounds like a great organizational tool--thanks for the tip! You’ve stated that you didn’t have the courage to write creatively until you were in your late 30s. How did you finally make the leap?

Karen: I had the desire to write in high school, but when I went to college I didn’t have the courage to follow up on it. Because I loved reading, I majored in literature. I defaulted to being a reader so I didn’t have to write. Then I got caught up in being a wife and mother and didn’t think about what I wanted until I was older. When I finally began to hear other women talking about making time for themselves or taking care of themselves, I started turning inward to see what I wanted. There it was—that desire to write that had been pushed down for years.

WOW: You are the co-founder and Administrative Director of the brief-residency Masters of Fine Arts in Writing at Spalding University in Louisville. Can you tell us a little about the program and what you do in your specific role?

Karen: I am the co-director with Program Director Sena Jeter Naslund of Spalding’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. As Administrative Director, I oversee the nuts and bolts; I ensure the program runs smoothly. We have about 150 students and 35 faculty. We have three residencies a year where faculty and students come together for 10 days at a time. Our spring and fall residencies take place in Louisville, KY, and our summer residency takes place abroad in a different international location (Paris, Rome, Athens, London, Berlin, Prague . . .) each year. At the residencies, students are assigned a mentor to work with one-on-one for the rest of the semester through an exchange of 5 packets of writing. Now we have more than 500 alumni, and it’s important to me to keep them connected to the program. There’s lots to do. Working with writers day in and day out is my joy. For more information about the program, see http://spalding.edu/mfa.

WOW: That sounds like a great program! When you're not working at your day job, what is the writing process like for you? Do you outline extensively, use a specific software such as Scrivener or write as you go along and revise later?

Karen: I think I have approached each book differently (I’ve written or started seven other books). If I have an idea of the complete story, I write briefly about the idea, not in outline form but just to get down the ideas. Usually I forget I’ve written this document, and at whatever point I find it, I see the book has taken a different direction! For The Saved Man series, I started by writing an interview from the point of view of each of the main characters. Besides asking things like, “What were your parents like?” and “Tell us about your childhood,” I asked things like “What is your secret that no one else knows?” or “What do we, the readers, know about you that you don’t know?” Learning their backstory helped a lot when writing the book. I do not use a special program to write. I write through to the end, doing a bit of revision along the way, but the real revision comes with the completed manuscript. It’s important to find people who will read your manuscript, then you revise, revise, revise, taking in account your readers’ suggestions and your own knowledge of the story.

WOW: What advice would you give to writers who are also hesitant about following their dreams of writing fiction?

Karen: It’s something I’ve heard my colleague Kathleen Driskell say over and over again, “If you can’t not write, then write.” To do that you need to read, read, read, including some books about craft. Or take a class or join a program, but nurture your creative nature in a way that nourishes your passion to write.

WOW: What are you working on now?

Karen: I have two books in progress: the second book in The Saved Man series and also a dystopian, sci-fi novel set in the 2070s, which includes aliens and war among humans, all those elements you’d expect. To order my current books, see http://karenmannwrites.com. Thank you again. It’s been a pleasure.

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, March 16 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Karen Mann and a book giveaway!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

Tuesday, March 17 @ Selling Books
Karen Mann discusses lessons she learned while writing The Woman of La Mancha and more in a fun interview at Selling Books.
http://www.sellingbooks.com

Friday, March 20 @ Renee's Pages
Interested in learning more about The Woman of La Mancha? Stop by to read an excerpt and Renee's review of the book.
http://www.reneespages.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 24 @ All Things Audry
Author of the historical romance novel The Woman of La Mancha, Karen Mann, offers advice on developing your idea for a novel in this informative guest post.
http://allthingsaudry.blogspot.com

Friday, March 27 @ The New Book Review
The New Book Review features a review of Karen Mann's novel, The Woman of La Mancha.
http://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com

Monday, March 30 @ Writers on the Move
Karen Mann outlines tips for researching the historical novel, from beginning to end.
http://www.writersonthemove.com

Tuesday, March 31 @ Writing Room 101
Stop by for a guest post from Karen Mann on why finding a writing community is beneficial to your career.
https://writingroom101.wordpress.com

Wednesday, April 1 @ Fresh Fiction
Fresh Fiction shines the spotlight on author Karen Mann, who explains how you can keep track of your book's characters using a spreadsheet. Also, enter to win a copy of The Woman of La Mancha!
http://www.freshfiction.com

Monday, April 6 @ Choices
Karen Mann, author of The Woman of La Mancha, shares tips on writing about places you've never been.
http://madelinesharples.com

Tuesday, April 7 @ Lisa Hasleton's Reviews and Interviews
Karen Mann discusses the story behind her historical romance, The Woman of La Mancha, at this interview at Lisa Hasleton's blog.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 8 @ Create Write Now
The process of your revising work can be fun, as the author of The Woman of La Mancha shares with readers of Mari L. McCarthy's blog.
http://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog/

Thursday, April 9 @ Writing Room 101
Melissa Barker-Simpson interviews Karen Mann, author of The Woman of La Mancha.
https://writingroom101.wordpress.com

Friday, April 10 @ Words by Webb
Karen Mann shares tale from the writing life and her experience writing The Woman of La Mancha as she answers 5Ws at Words by Webb.
www.jodiwebb.com

We have a few more dates left in Karen's tour, so if you'd like to join us contact Renee (renee[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com).

*****BOOK GIVEAWAY*****

Enter to win a copy of The Woman of La Mancha by Karen Mann! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget THIS Friday, March 20th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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4 Comments:

Blogger Margo Dill said...

You had me from the first paragraph of this blog post! I love clever novels like this. Congrats on your book! I look forward to checking it out.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Renee Roberson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Margo! Karen has really done her research with this novel and it is a very fun and engaging read.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

This is such a creative idea for a novel! Thank you for the interview, ladies. Very inspirational! :)

6:59 PM  
Blogger Karen Mann said...

Margo and Angela: Thanks so much for your comments. Renee did a great job, didn't she!

12:00 PM  

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