I recently read an older thriller & was reminded why I write historicals. Technology has changed so much that a book written in its contemporary time can become dated pretty fast. The detective hero wasn’t able to contact anyone when he found the murder victim’s body…in this day & age of cell phones that do everything short of warming up your Lean Cuisine in the microwave, when is that likely to happen? It’s like watching reruns of “Friends”…still entertaining but am I the only person totally distracted by that big brick of a phone with the pull-out aerial they use? I figure my stories start out dated so there are no risky distractions from the plot. IMO, however, there’s a different kind of risk to writing historicals & that’s to give the characters contemporary thoughts & motivations. 21st century women wearing 19th century skirts, so to speak~ Not that there aren’t universal, human, timeless feelings but people wrote & spoke & (yes) thought differently 145 years ago. The challenge is to take those differences & weave a good story around them so that for the reader the fact that it’s 1870 is really secondary to everything else – to plot, characters, action, & emotions. I ramble about this particular subject because “The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone” is close to being out although no agent or publisher wanted to introduce her to the reading public. “While I found your material very well written and enjoyed reading it, I was never fully convinced of its commercial prospects.” (that from a kind agent who at least took the time to read what I sent) True, my book doesn’t have a single vampire in it & it’s no shade of grey at all (what does it say about the reading public that what they sent to the top of the best seller list is a trilogy of contemporary pornography? I don’t mean to sound superior in any way when I say, ‘I don’t get it,’ but I don’t get it. The reviews of the “50 Shades” books – reviews from ordinary readers on Amazon – called the writing repetitive & trite… repetitive & trite & still mesmerizing, I guess.) Anyway, after being told my book wouldn’t sell I put it away for well over a year. But that Etta! She wouldn’t let things be (which is just like her.) So I decided to bring out the book myself through a website called CreateSpace. I simply couldn’t keep Etta in a (figurative) drawer any longer. “The Dangerous Thaw of Etta Capstone” is in the queue to go up on Amazon soon & I accept the fact that it has “no commercial prospects.” I’ll keep my day job. Besides, I don’t make that call, not really – you’ll be the judge. I just know that I think it’s a good story about a remarkable woman. “Write what you love; love what you write,” a successful author once advised. So I did.
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“Cuyahoga Falls author Karen J. Hasley's body of work, the four books in the Laramie Series, are expertly interwoven, with minor characters in one story becoming major figures in another, crossing each other's lives like ribbons. … Johanna Swan, orphaned daughter of missionaries, is trained as both a social worker and a nurse, and returns from England on a swanky ocean liner. It's 1912, and the liner is Titanic. … As usual, Hasley's historical research is flawless, and the other characters … add to the rich tapestry …one wonders if the people Johanna meets in passing will turn up in Hasley's next captivating book.” Akron Beacon Journal, 1/10/10
“Karen J. Hasley…continues to impress with a sparkling new book. Where Home Is brings along the heart from Lily's Sister and Waiting for Hope to the story of Katherine Davis, a young doctor who has just graduated from Kansas Medical School. … [Where Home Is] could be a conventional love story, but not in Hasley's capable hands. … The conclusion is tear-inducing, but feels heartfelt, not manipulated, and the historical references are spot-on.” — Akron Beacon Journal, 1/4/09