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Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com Interviews Karen Kondazian

Meet Award-Winning Actress and Author of The Whip, Karen Kondazian

Published February 4th, 2012

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest Karen Kondazian author of The Whip. In addition to being an author, Karen is an award-winning theater actress and she has starred in over 50 television shows and films, including the role of Kate Holliday in the TV movie, The Shootout at the OK Corral. Karen is also the author of The Actor’s Encyclopedia of Casting Directors.

In 1979 Karen won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in The Rose Tattoo, (in which her work as an actor and producer so impressed Tennessee Williams that they became friends, and he gave her carte blanche to produce any of his work in his lifetime).

Good day Karen and thanks for participating in our interview.  The Whip is your first novel. How did you enjoy the process of writing a novel and how much of your acting career influenced your writing?

It took me six years and 27 drafts to complete The Whip. I’m not sure you can call that enjoyment. I am a task master with myself and was determined to see the book through. But I did find myself many days, many hours, escaping into Charley’s world and I would look at the clock and realize that it was 5 o’clock in the morning. And that was when my best work happened. The process is so much like acting. As an actor, you do intensive research, you create a backstory for your character, you let your mind dream the character in situations. How is the character the same as you. How is the character different from you. There is something called sense memory in acting where a little thing… a smell, a sound, a face, music… can trigger an emotion. So in emotional places in the book, I would choose a detail that triggered an emotion in me, and allow it to write for me. To let yourself become an instrument, a channel. You ask how much my acting career influenced my writing. Probably 100%. Unconsciously, I used everything I knew as an actor for my writing.

What was your creative process like when writing The Whip? What happened before sitting down to write the novel? How did you decide you were ready to write the book?

Twenty years ago, I actually wrote a screenplay called “The Whip”. It needed work but nonetheless, the William Morris Agency took it on and it got optioned by a Canadian producer. At that time, there was no cable television, where something like “The Whip” would have been appropriate. And so all of the big networks turned it down for content reasons. Flash forward to 2005. A friend of mine had been nagging me for years to turn the screenplay into a novel. I had been thinking about it and reading books about writing novels. Then my mother passed away. And I needed to escape into something. So I took pen to legal pad and began to write.

What do you believe is required for a character to be believable? How did you create yours in The Whip?

For me to believe in a character, I have to care about what happens to them. And as in life, when someone reveals their vulnerability you begin to understand and usually care about them. So I always try to write from the characters point of view, the truth about how they feel about themselves. The part that is rarely shared with the world.

What do you want your book to do? Entertain people? Provoke thinking?

I believe always a book should be a good read. A great story. A page-turner. Something that you literally can’t put down. Something that makes you sad because you are coming to the last pages. Something that you find yourself thinking about weeks and months later. Something that shows you the truth about yourself… and that can inspire and transform. The Whip is about surviving terrible things in this life, and how one person was able to pick herself up out of the manure and thrive.

What kind of research did you do to write this book?

Anything and everything about the 19th Century and about Charley Parkhurst. Of course, I used the internet, the library, interviews, books on the language and the culture of the west. The research never ended. Even to the extent of having to look words up in the dictionary to see what date they came into use.

What obstacles did you have in trying to tell your story?

Always keeping the logic clear. I often had to rearrange characters and situations as I would discover more research about the times. For example, in one instance, I had to change where a character was going, because I found out about a devastating plague that had hit Sacramento at that time and drove everyone out of town, killing thousands of people. And also, I had to keep in mind to always make sure that the characters personalities grew but stayed within the truth of who they are.

Did you learn anything from writing The Whip and what was it?

That anything is possible if you want it enough. I never thought I could ever write a novel. Especially one that would get published. And that would mean something to a reader.

What is your secret in keeping the intensity of the plot throughout the narrative of The Whip?

Always following the passionate need, sometimes unconscious, of each character and what they are desperately striving for.

Do you feel that writers, regardless of genre owe something to readers, if not, why not, if so, why and what would that be?

I am always writing for the reader as though they are my intimate friend. Telling secrets about myself and others… telling great stories to them around a campfire. Like we did when we were children.

Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)

I’m writing a fictionalized memoir. I’ve had such a bizarre and fascinating life, I really should have been dead by now. But I have survived it all. And through it all, have been protected somehow. And that’s what I want to write about. Trusting what life gives you and taking it all as a gift.

Where can our readers find out more about you and The Whip?

If you want to know about me personally, go to my WEBSITE  If you want to know about The Whip, book tours, reviews, and how the book is taking flight, go to the book’s WEBSITE or the book’s BLOG And if you are so kind to buy it on Amazon.  Or check your local bookstore.

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” I suggest the adventure.

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors

Click Here To Read Norm’s Review of The Whip

Follow Here To Purchase The Whip

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