This Week’s Featured Author Interview with
Hi, Karen Ingalls, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
Hello from central Florida where I am a retired Registered Nurse, avid golfer, cancer survivor/thriver, and author of three published books and several articles. I am originally from San Diego, California where I lived until I was in my late twenties. Then we moved to Minnesota and not are in beautiful Florida living on a lake where we fish, boat, and enjoy nature.
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing short stories and poems when I was a preteen as one of my ways to cope with sexual/physical/emotional abuse, alcoholic parents, and untimely deaths. By the time, I was a teenager I started my first novel about the important role fathers have in raising their children, especially sons. This role is too often neglected or missing which creates the cycle of the loss of the “Iron John,” a concept popularized by Robert Bly in the 1980’s. This first novel was published many years later titled “Novy’s Son.”
I found any kind of writing or journaling very helpful though I never shared any of it with anyone. I was not sure I had any gift for writing since my parents never complimented me on my art work, grades, athletic abilities, etc. It was not until I got cancer that I shared my writing with a close friend who encouraged me to get that manuscript published. It became the award-winning book, “Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir.”
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
My favorite book is my most recent publication, “Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens.” It is about the love affair between my great-grandparents which lasted for more than 25-years. The book required a lot of research, which I could do rather easily became of Saint-Gaudens being so famous. However, there are only two things we know about Davida, which are factual: her first name by birth, Albertina; and that she was from Sweden. Therefore, I created my great-grandmother as I imagined she was.
I wrote this book for a few reasons. One is that my grandfather lived in shame all his life because in the Victorian era of the late 19th century he was considered a bastard. He never talked about his childhood or his parents, which left a gap in knowing that part of my heritage. Secondly, it is a fascinating story of a very famous person falling in love with someone of lesser standing. More importantly, why he fell in love with Davida and the ensuing choices he made. From all the books I have researched, there is very little mention about Saint-Gaudens’ twenty-five-year love affair with his model. This side of the family continues to be ignored and there is no contact between the two families, which I find most unfortunate.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title came very easily just by the nature of the story.
I would like to add that this book has won two awards: Pinnacle and Apple. I am very proud.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
My cover designer is James Monroe (jaymonroedesign.com). The bust of Davida is so beautiful and describes her as the ethereal woman, which was Saint-Gaudens way of describing her.
What are some of the themes of your story?
The themes are of the historical era from 1870-1915 in the United States. It is an account of the artistic movement during this era and how it was rapidly changing. The story also shows the struggle and hard-work Saint-Gaudens endured to achieve the recognition of his works. He was a perfectionist. Another theme is that of one recognized family, and the other not recognized “family” of Davida, Augustus, and their son, Louis.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book? What is your process and do you have a system?
I do a rough outline with dates and characters. Sometimes my mind is so absorbed and flowing I lose contact with the outline and later must reconstruct.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
Without a doubt my favorite character was Davida. I felt very close to her and I do believe with all my heart that she often spoke to me and guided me. Those who knew her in real life described her as a very kind, gentle, and friendly woman of great beauty. She loved life, Augustus, and her son with great passion.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love James Michener, Jodi Picoult, and Ernest Hemingway.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
Yes, I am writing the third part of this trilogy, which is about my grandfather. My first book, Novy’s Son was written without any thought that there would be more books. So, my trilogy is not published in chronological order, but each story stands alone.
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
That is an interesting question. The first thing that came to mind was to have the power to heal people physically and emotionally. There are too many diseases and afflictions from which people suffer. Along with that, the emotional healing would be to bring love, peace, and harmony into lives so that jealousy, greed, and hate were not part of this world. I am a dreamer!
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
I want to go back to France, visit Italy and Sweden.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
I hope to be living right here in Florida enjoying our lake, fishing, golfing, and writing. I pray that my health will still be cancer free for another 5-years minimum.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview, Karen Ingalls! Take a minute and check Karen Ingalls out on the links below. Karen Ingalls book, Davida: Model and Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, is available for purchase HERE.
Karen Ingalls Author Twitter
Karen Ingalls Goodreads Author Page
Karen Ingalls Author Facebook Page