December 16, 2013

Guest Post: Karen Lopp

The two questions I have been asked the most since becoming a published author have been about why I chose to write what I write about, and how I edit my books. I was drawn to write Historical Western Romance by a number of factors. I could identify with the spirit of the Old West since I grew up on a farm. While we had a lot more conveniences than people did in the 1800’s, some things never change. The livestock must be fed and watered every day, no matter what the weather or what you had planned. For example, my sister-­in-­law grew up in North Dakota on a dairy farm. When there was a wedding they partied hard, until it was time to go milk the cows; then everyone would go home, change into their work clothes, milk the cows, then change back into their tuxes and go back to partying! It was just something you did, without complaint, without being asked, and not expecting anyone else to come over and help. That type of rugged individualism was epitomized with the pioneers, ranchers, and business owners of the Old West. I applaud the courage and strength it took to make a life in the untamed wilderness.

Reading is also a huge part of why I write and why I write Westerns. I have read every single one of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour’s books – multiple times! Their descriptions were so accurate that when I took my first trip to New Mexico, it felt like going home, the scenery and sights were so familiar to me. I also found fascinating tidbits of information from researching my family tree, I discovered most of my ancestors migrated West. My roots are out here, so it was a natural choice to write about the West.

Editing is a different story. For me, the best method is just sitting down and writing out the entire story before I even go back and do a spell check. I’ll admit, ignoring the red wavy lines under a miss­typed word can be hard to do, but it keeps me from getting side­tracked. Once I have completed my first draft, I will do a grammar/spell­check and fix those mistakes before reading over my manuscript, checking to make sure I didn’t leave out any explanations or descriptions, since I prefer to read action scenes and sometimes forget to paint the picture for a reader.

One of my most successful methods in the editing process, however, is using a beta reader. I hand my book off to her before I even send it in to my publisher to be edited. After I get my book back, with all holes and issues marked, I’ll re­read and correct those areas and then put my book on ice for a few months. This helps me to have a better eye to spot any other issues I might have missed by being to immersed in my writing and forgetting that the reader can’t see what is in my head! I also belong to a critique group, and they are fabulous. I value their opinions and have learned a great deal from them. There is nothing like having someone un­familiar with your story read it.

Steeped in a rich family history, Karen Lopp has always been drawn to the courageous lives of the women who lived through the hardships of the past and triumphed. 

A transplant from Oklahoma, where she grew up on a farm just one mile away from where her great-grandparents settled in the land run, Karen now lives in the enchanted land of New Mexico and has a running competition with her dad on who can grow the tallest hollyhocks. Books and tales of ancestors were staples in her life and she fell in love with history. Enthralled with the short stories her grandmother wrote and passed down, she took the plunge (with encouragement from hubby and kids) into the world of writing. And is now hooked. Her inspiration comes from research into her familytree and their interesting lives. 

Connect with Karen through Twitter or Facebook.

Karen is currently promoting her Historical Western Romance, Effie's Outlaw:

Boston heiress Effie Sheridan takes matters into her own hands when her fortune is being stolen. The last thing she expects is to be kidnapped by a gang of train robbers. Forced to pretend to be an outlaw's lover to stay alive, she questions her sanity when she is drawn to the gruff, yet charming bandit who risks everything to save her.

U.S. Deputy Alex Marshall is mad enough to spit nails when the beautiful, city-bred girl lands in his arms. Unable to abandon her to the cruelties of the gang, he searches for a way out of the responsibility. But her courage and sweet kisses begin to chip away at the bitterness inside his heart and he must choose between revenge on the gang that slaughtered everyone he loved or redemptionfor saving a woman he can never have.

Effie's Outlaw is available for purchase here.

As part of her tour, Karen is hosting a giveaway!


  1. Thank you, Aria, for hosting me today.

  2. Excellent post chock full of advice for all writers! Thanks for sharing, Karen :)

  3. I love reading personal things about authors. I have read many of Louis' books and I know I am too lazy to want to live a farmers life. LOL Thanks for sharing and the giveaway. It is always nice to meet a (for me) new author.

  4. Ooh, Karen's book sounds right up my alley. I too appreciate learning an author's background and why she writes what she writes. With two pet goats in the yard, I certainly appreciate the responsibilities of 'farm life'. Hee, hee :0)