Today we’re featuring Karen Malley on the blog. I love the writing resource she can’t do without.
Karen Malley’s Book & Writing Process
Table of Contents
Q: What is the title of your book and what is it about?
A: Moonlight and Mystery. A peanut butter-loving socialite falls for the magician at her niece and nephew’s birthday party. Her life starts to fall apart all around her, but God picks up the pieces.
Publication date: October 20, 2023
Q: What genre is Moonlight and Mystery?
A: Christian Contemporary Romance
Q: What inspired you to write your book, and how did you come up with the idea for it?
A: I wanted to explore the idea of a woman who was trying to be perfect and show that she could find freedom from that by finding her worth in Christ.
Q: What scene was the hardest one to write and why?
A: The hardest part for me was writing the play which interweaves throughout the book. It took a long time to decide who was the murderer in the murder mystery. Once I figured it out, I had to go back and insert clues into the story. It was fun but challenging!
Q: What are some themes and tropes that are included in your book?
A: A wealthy woman falls for a man who is beneath her social class.
Q: Who is the ideal reader for this book?
A: My readers tend to be adult Christian women.
Q: What’s the one thing you want readers to take away from reading your book?
A: Life isn’t about money or having the perfect man, job, clothes, or friends. True worth is only found in Jesus Christ.
Q: Share a favorite quote or two from this book.
A: “God tells us everyone is worthy, whether or not they’re wealthy. It’s not about treating people well because of what we can gain from them. It’s about treating them well because they are inherently worthy of respect.”
Beth turned toward him, and the compassion in his eyes melted her. It was not a look of judgment. It was as if he wanted her to be the best person she could be. In that moment, she wanted the same thing, if it meant she could keep staring into those chocolate brown eyes.
Q: Plotter or pantser? Share a bit of your writing process.
A: Definitely a pantser. I love seeing where writing will take me. I have a general idea of where the story will go, but for the most part, the story develops as I write. I had a particularly fun time with this story since the main characters are also actors in a play.
I’d never written a mystery before, although there are elements of mystery in most of my stories. In this case, as I mentioned before, I didn’t know who the murderer would be until late in the story.
Q: What does a typical writing session for you look like?
A: Most of my writing takes place sitting on my family room sofa with my laptop on my lap. Typically, it’s early weekend mornings before the rest of my family wakes up. Most of my best writing is done in my pajamas.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing and publishing? How did you (do you plan to) overcome it?
A: For me, the most challenging part is the marketing. I love writing, but if I don’t get the word out there, no one will know the book exists. I’m trying to learn more about what to do and what not to do with every book I publish. I’ve been blessed to work with a small Christian publisher, Pelican Book Group, and the staff and authors there are a wonderful bunch of people, so the publishing process has been a positive experience.
Q: Why do you write?
A: I believe God has called me to write. The thing I love most about writing is encouraging folks in their Christian walk. I love it when a reader tells me a story I wrote spoke to their heart.
Writing Advice from Karen Malley
Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out?
A: Get the first draft down on paper, but don’t show it to anyone yet. Learn how to edit and do your best to edit your story first. Join a critique group with other authors. Once you have a well-edited draft, then it’s time to reach out to an editor or publisher. And read, read, read. You’ll find out what works and what doesn’t work.
Q: What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received? How has it impacted your life?
A: I went to a Christian writing conference before I was ever published and had my first three chapters critiqued by an editor. I had never read a book on editing before, and she suggested Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renne Browne and Dave King. I read it cover to cover, and it improved my writing dramatically.
Q: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Why do you think this was not good advice?
A: Write on a schedule. That doesn’t work for me. I have a full-time job and a family, so I fit writing in where I can.
Q: If you could go back and change one thing in your author career, what would it be and why?
A: I’d say I would have started earlier, but I’m not sure that would’ve been a good idea. As I’ve gotten older with more life experiences, I think my writing has gotten richer. I’m not sure I’d change anything.
Q: What is one writing resource that you couldn’t do without?
A: It may seem like an obvious answer, but as a writer of Christian fiction, all my writing is based on the Bible.
Just for Fun
Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?
A: Teleportation. I’d love to be able to go anywhere in the world instantly. I could live anywhere, regardless of where my job was since I wouldn’t have to commute. I’d visit all the National Parks and various countries around the world.
The question “Where would you like to go for dinner?” would take on a whole new dimension. Paris, anyone? It would make researching books in different locations easy. I wouldn’t mind never sitting in traffic again!
Let’s Connect with Karen Malley
Q: What are you working on next?
A: Moonlight and Mystery is the first book of a trilogy. The second book, Recipes and Redemption, will come out in April. I’m currently writing the third book, Love in a Lifeboat. Each book is a standalone, but the characters carry through all three books.
About Moonlight and Mystery
Beth Tarrington has it all: a gorgeous fiancé, a lucrative career, the latest model car, and a high-priced condo. On top of that, the Tarrington name opens every door in town. So why is she so discontent?
When everything falls apart in Beth’s life, will she finally find the strength to stand on her own two feet? Is God really willing to stand by her side, even after she’s ignored Him for so long?
When Jason Brooks meets Beth, his head tells him to run in the opposite direction. Beth is a high-society snob engaged to another man, and he’s not sure where she stands with God. So why does God keep bringing the two of them together?
Can these two find love, in spite of everything that stands in their way?
Purchase Moonlight and Mystery on Amazon
About Karen Malley
Karen lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons and is now, by far, the shortest person in the house. A perfect weekend would be spent hiking and camping with her three guys. She loves God, her family, playing games, and has a goal to visit as many National Parks as possible! When not in the great outdoors, she’s either at work as a scientist or at home writing stories in her pajamas.