Friday, June 23, 2017

The Amazing Tale of Karen Dionne

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Okay, so say you’re a writer.  Say you’ve written for years, with moderate success. Say you fill your life with helping other writers—with organizing conferences and doing the complicated stuff and generally being wonderful and supportive and enthusiastic and hardworking.

And then just say, you have a great idea for a book. And you do it and do it and do it.  And then-wow. It sells to a publisher. A big publisher. And it really really sells. Sells so well you can finally—well…it’s not about the money.  

But you still worry—what if everyone hates it? Lee Child reads it. Says:   I loved this book.  Publishers Weekly gives it a star and says: Exceptional.

Good, huh? But wait, there’s more.

And then one Sunday morning, you open the New York Times.  And the review says: “Brilliant. …in its balance of emotional patience and chapter-by-chapter suspense, THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is about as good as a thriller can be.”

That means you are Karen Dionne.

Wow. And Karen Dionne is about as good as a person can be! No one deserves these accolades and this success and this  much fun more than she does.

She’s crazy on book tour, but promises to stop in. 

Hey, Karen! Congratulations! So--your novel takes its title from a Hans Christian Anderson fable. That’s about a young woman named Helga, who was beautiful and terrible during the day and an ugly (but very sweet)  frog at night.  So--does that inform the novel?

KAREN: Yes—in “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” one of Anderson’s longer fairy tales, the main character is the daughter of a beautiful Egyptian princess and the evil Marsh King.  And right, by day, the girl is beautiful like her mother, but has her father’s wicked, wild temperament, while at night, she takes on her mother’s gentle nature in the guise of a hideous frog.

In the novel, Helena is also the product of an innocent and a monster, half good, half bad, and like the Marsh King’s daughter in the fairy tale, she struggles with her dual nature.
  
HANK: It’s crazy psychological suspense, and also a “back to nature” novel. What’s it about?

KAREN: THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is the story of a woman whose father escapes from a maximum-security prison, and is coming her way through the swamps of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness. Only Helena has the skill-set to track him down, because she grew up in the marsh, living with her mother and father in total isolation until she was twelve. Even though she never saw another human during all that time, she loved her life—until she learned that her father kidnapped her mother when her mother was a teen, and that Helena is the product of that abduction.

Now a grown woman with children of her own, Helena must use the hunting and tracking skills her father taught her when she was a child to hunt him down before he can kidnap her and her two young daughters.


HANK: It’s such a scary idea, you know? Telling the story of the daughter born to a kidnapped woman and her captor.

KAREN: I’ve always been intrigued by people who rise above a less-than-perfect childhood, and certainly the situation of a child born to a kidnapped woman and her captor is extreme. That said, I didn’t consciously decide to tell the story of such a woman; instead, I woke up in the night with the first sentences of THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER fully formed in my head. I wasn’t dreaming about this character, she was just there, talking to me.

Middle-of-the-night ideas don’t always look quite as wonderful in the morning, but this one did. So I wrote a few paragraphs in her voice as if she were telling me who she was.

HANK: And?

KAREN: Before long, I was so captivated by this as-yet-unnamed character, I decided I needed find a story for her. I love books that offer a modern spin on a fairy tale, such as Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child, so I pulled my childhood fairy tale books off the shelf and started paging through them. When I discovered Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” I knew this dark, complex tale would form the perfect backbone for Helena’s story.


HANK: It’s so gritty, and realistic, and raw and  wild.   The novel’s set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and that’s a place you know well.  Right?

KAREN: Yes! During the 1970s, my husband and I homesteaded in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with our infant daughter, living in a tent while we built our tiny cabin, carrying water from a nearby stream, and sampling wild foods, so I definitely bequeathed to Helena my love of wild places and my ease with nature.

My living situation wasn’t nearly as extreme as Helena’s, so some of the skills she possesses, I do not. Though I can recognize many wild plants and know which parts are safe to eat and how to cook them, I’ve never hunted, or fished, or trapped—our meat came from the grocery store. That said, I can bake a mean batch of biscuits in an iron skillet on top of a wood stove, and I know how to get a lot of mileage out of a single bucket of water. (Step one: use the fresh, clean, hot water to rinse your dishes. Step two: use the still-warm soapy rinse water to wash the floor. Step three: use the dirty mop water to water your houseplants, or the garden.)

My husband I lived in the Upper Peninsula for 30 years. We came back to the Detroit area when our children were nearly grown so they could have better job and education opportunities, and also to be closer to our aging parents.

 HANK: In your book, Helena has a complex relationship with her father.  Because  at first—she doesn’t know the real reality.  As a child, she’d never seen another person!

KAREN: Exactly. Helena’s father is a self-centered narcissist who doesn’t deserve her love, yet she gives it to him unconditionally. In turn he uses her natural interests to shape her into a miniature version of himself, so in that sense, she is as much his captive as her mother.

And yet she doesn’t feel captive, or deprived in any way; she loves her life in the marsh, hunting and fishing and foraging, and she loves her father, the same as any child. It’s not until she grows older and begins to develop her own moral compass that she questions what he does.

This is what makes her situation so heartbreaking: her father has taken advantage of the normal love a child has for a parent and twisted it to his own ends.

HANK: Were you influenced by other novels such as Room or A Stolen Life as you wrote? What other books or writers have influenced you?

KAREN: While I did read A Stolen Life for research, I deliberately avoided reading Room as I was writing because I wanted to keep my mind clear in order to stay true to Helena’s story.

As for books that influence me, I adore terrifically written novels that take me deep into a world I know nothing about: Paulette Jile’s News of the World, Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, as well as older titles such as Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth and E.M. Forrester’s A Passage to India.

HANK: Wow.  SO happy for you!  (And oh, by the away, gang, rights have been sold in 21 countries, and the book has been optioned for film. La dee dah. Just another normal day. J 
And I know you are racing around—so stop by when you can.

 The very idea of living in the wild like that makes me run for an electrical outlet. How about you, Reds and Readers? Could you live in a tiny cabin in the woods?


And I’ll give an autographed copy of THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER to one lucky commenter!

**************
Karen Dionne is the author of The Marsh King’s Daughter, a dark psychological suspense out June 13, 2017 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. She is the cofounder of the online writers community Backspace, the organizer of the Salt Cay Writers Retreat, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, where she served on the board of directors. She has been honored by the Michigan Humanities Council as a Humanities Scholar, and lives with her husband in Detroit’s northern suburbs.

90 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Karen, on your new book and all the great reviews. I enjoy stories that are, in some way, a retelling of the fairy tales we loved as children and I’m really looking forward to reading your tale of the marsh king’s daughter . . . .

    Alas, there will be no cabin in the woods for me unless it comes equipped with all the creature comforts we have come to know and love. I like the idea of being so in touch with nature that you know which wild plants are safe [and how to cook them] but those tents and tiny cabins hold no charm for me . . . .

    A gazillion years ago when the children were very young, we spent the night in the high desert in California, in hopes of seeing Halley’s Comet. I remember the hard, hard ground, the bitter cold, and cooking pancakes and canned bacon on a camp stove in the morning. And after all that, the comet sighting was a complete bust. Can I tell you how very much in disliked that camping experience? I lucked out later when I was the troop leader for a small group of senior Girl Scouts . . . none of the girls had any interest in camping unless it was in a cabin with beds and a bathroom.

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    1. Hi, Joan! Your reply made me smile! Thanks so much for your interest in my book!

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    2. On pretty summer nights, we used to try to sleep outside in our (rural) back yard. We did not last long.

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  2. Wow, Karen! You're living the writer's dream! Congratulations. I love that you turned to Andersen for the spine of your story. I think folklore and the old fairy tales that grew out of it touch very deep places in our psyches, and Andersen was such an interesting writer.

    Little cabin in the woods? I lived there for 25 years, although it wasn't as primitive as your experience. My husband and I happily inhabited an 800 sq. ft. A-frame on three acres of trees, about twenty minutes outside the nearest large town. It was an affordable option when he bought it, relying on a well, a septic tank, and a burn barrel. In later years we got trash pickup, but in other ways we stayed far behind the curve of civilization: no pizza delivery, and folks out there still don't have high speed internet, as far as I know. I was perfectly content when it was the two of us living there, but less happy when I lived there alone. Coyotes howled from the nearby creek bed when I walked my dogs after midnight; maps of the area were not correct, so neither repairmen nor ambulance drivers could find me in a pinch; and the nearest work that suited my skill set was 75 miles away. I don't regret my move into town at all. Life changes, and so do our choices about how to meet it. My years out there gave me a different perspective on rural people and rural issues that help me understand a lot of what's going on in our world today. Sometimes I miss the freedom I had there, to get up from my computer and roam the ridges and valleys with my dogs, soaking in a less structured, more natural world.

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    1. What a wonderful experience! I totally understand about changing needs and circumstances. After living in the Upper Peninsula for 30 years (not all of them in our tiny cabin!), we moved back to the Detroit area for better job and education opportunities for our kids, and to be closer to our aging parents. Life doesn't stop, and I don't regret it, but like you, there are times I really miss living in the woods. For a time, it truly was idyllic, and that's what I wanted to convey in my novel.

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    2. Gigi, I can picture that! And the lure, and the reality. We can become very attached to "stuff" and technology.

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  3. Holy cow, Hank! Thank you so much for the fabulous introduction! This past year has been truly astonishing. I knew when I got the idea for The Marsh King's Daughter that it had the potential to be very commercial, but everything that's happened so far has been so far beyond my expectations, I feel like at this point, I'm just along for the ride. That New York Times review! Astonishing!

    Thank you so much for having me!

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  4. So happy for you! You're still in book to her today, right? Safe travels, sell piles of books, and have such a wonderful time!
    Speaking of which, you had a wonderful event with Lee Child in New York… If you get a chance, what was that like? And what question do people ask you the most?
    Xxx

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  5. Thank you, Hank! Yes, I'm still traveling, but this morning, I'm on my way home! It's been an amazing 10 days. I met so many wonderful booksellers and readers! What a privilege it was to go on the road to talk about my book, including sharing the stage here in New York two days ago with Lee Child! As I know you know, he's an amazingly generous and kind person, and the interview was a lot of fun! We live-streamed it on Facebook - gotta love technology! The signage for the event still makes me smile: "Meet Karen Dionne" it says in large letters, and beneath it, in smaller type, "in conversation with Lee Child." That's just plain wrong!

    As for the question people ask the most, people who've read the book, on meeting me and hearing me speak, ask how a nice person like me could have written such a book. I'm betting that's a question that every Jungle Red writer hears!

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    1. Karen, congrats on the book and the success you are enjoying. And I hope you took a photo of that sign where you were the big name font over Lee Child, that's a moment to treasure I'm sure.

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    2. OH, that's wonderful. ANd yes, he is amazing. Incredibly gracious, and authentically, well, nice. And brilliant. Is that interview still available somewhere?

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    3. We live-streamed the interview on FB - it's still available here. And yes, I definitely took a picture of the signage! https://www.facebook.com/karen.dionne/videos/10213589812641401/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

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  6. So many congratulations, Karen. I've been seeing the buzz about your book everywhere! I can't wait to read it.

    I grew up camping in the Sierras and then camped with my sons in New Hampshire when they were young. I love being outside with crisp fresh air, although I don't know much about foraging. These days...well, maybe I could live in a cabin off the grid, but I do need a good bed, a strong reading light, and a comfortable chair.

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    1. It's such a funny thing, what appeals to one person, and not another, isn't it? I could happily go back to those homesteading days, but I like your requirements! We read by the light of a kerosene lantern - it's a wonder we didn't go blind!

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    2. HANK here: You could go back? SO interesting. SO does it feel strange to be jet-setting and feted in New York?

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  7. Karen, THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER sounds like it's right up my alley. Going in my TBR queue.

    A remote cabin off the grid... how about a remote cabin ON the grid? Or transport my house with all its creature comforts to a remote spot with an amazing view?

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    1. Thanks for your kind words and your congrats, Hallie! A remote cabin ON the grid sounds perfect!

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  8. To have met and known Karen so many years, then see her achieve such wonderful success, is heartwarming and inspiring. Love to see long hard work rewarded. Go Karen! I hope we're looking at Marsh King on that best seller list for two years! Just love this news.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jack! I really appreciate your kind words and support! (P.S. - re your prediction - I hope you're right!)

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  9. Congrats Karen--what a story! I have relatives who have lived in the UP for years and wouldn't change--however you haven't mentioned the WINTER:). That's what would put me off! I loved Steve Hamilton's series set in the UP so I bet I would love this too.

    I lived in rural Tennessee for several years and had friends who built their own cabin, which I lusted over. We heated the house with a woodstove (and for a short while, coal--oh that was filthy.) And we gardened and I canned. But it wasn't off the grid--although there wasn't much of a grid back in the 70's! I look back on it fondly, but don't want to turn back the hands of time.



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    1. Thanks for the congrats! I'm betting there were probably a great many of us writers types who longed for the peace and isolation of living on a beautiful piece of property away from civilization's commotion. I'm in Detroit's northern suburbs now, but still go out into the woods and sit down on a log to write whenever I can.

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    2. Jim Jackson lives in a cabin in the woods in the UP, but only in the summer. They've spent time up there during the winter, but it's rough.

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  10. THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER is easily my favorite novel of the first six months of 2017. I was simply blown away by it and began to sing it's praises on Facebook and my blog almost immediately.

    My spoiler-free review on BOLO Books (http://bolobooks.com/2017/05/the-marsh-kings-daughter-the-bolo-books-review/) seems to have struck a chord and many folks have reached out to thank me for featuring it. And I know that they have gone on to recommend it to other folks. The groundswell is huge.

    I fully expect that we'll be seeing the book and Karen Dionne's name popping up on many award short-lists next season. Congrats on the continued buzz, Karen. See you in Toronto.

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    1. Thanks, Kristopher - you're very kind. Yours was a fantastic review (thank you thank you!), and I'm thrilled to see it getting such wide play. Your enthusiasm for my novel means the world to me!

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  11. If the zombie apocalypse breaks out and society breaks down, I'll have to adapt and learn to live in an off the grid kind of way.

    But unless that happens, I'll stick with my creature comforts like indoor plumbing and electricity. You can have your tiny cabin in the woods (cue horror movie soundtrack) to yourselves.

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    1. Ha! If a zombie apocalypse breaks out, I think we'll have worse problems to deal with than no electricity or running water. :)

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    2. Yeah, but if there is a zombie apocalypse, I want to be on YOUR team, Karen.

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    3. Oh come on Hank, I'll make you your own big barbed wire bat, we can call it Lucille 2.

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  12. I wouldn't mind living in a tiny village sort of off the grid (cue Three Pines), but I don't want to be hunting and foraging--there are other things I'd rather spend my energy on, but I definitely understand the appeal. Just the title of your book, Karen, intrigues me immediately. Without knowing anything else about it, I'd reach for it in a bookstore and start reading. (And the cover does the title justice--moody, dreamy....hinting of the unexpected--like a fairytale... Congratulations!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Flora! The novel shares a title with the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale of the same name, and the fairy tale forms the spine of the story. I've loved fairy tales since I was a child, as I'm willing to bet that all of us did!

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    2. Yes, and it's so fascinating how SCARY and creepy they are! Are they creepier because we are adults, do you think?

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  13. I couldn't live in a tiny cabin in the woods as i have too many health concerns and conditions which need treatment. Perhaps when I was younger but I need comfort. Not luxury but ordinary comfort. Congratulations and best wishes.

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    1. Yeah, individual circumstances vary. To be honest, when I look back, I'm rather astonished at what my husband and I did!

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    2. Did you discuss it all the time? Was there a lot of planning, and worrying, and organizing? Was there much--relaxing? It feels as if you'd always be preparing for the next thing.

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  14. Congratulations on this compelling novel which I would treasure greatly. Living on a tiny cabin in the woods is not appealing to me. Too remote and isolated and too primitive, but a small town would be fine as long as there would be basic amenities. As I get older it is more important to have necessities.

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    1. Yes, at some point..we need light. And running water. Hot water. And a whole lot of other stuff. I guess I am..spoiled. xooo

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    2. My cabin had electricity and running water. Actual heat and AC. Small and remote does not equal completely off grid.

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  15. The book sounds amazing, Karen. More for the TBR pile.

    I could vacation in a cabin in the woods. Or get away for a weekend. Like Flora, I wouldn't want to hunt and fish, though. But eventually I'd need to come back to civilization to get a little bit of social interaction.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Maybe the cabin has room service?

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    2. I could totally to a cabin in the woods with room service! LOL

      Mary/Liz

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  16. Yes, as Lucy said--what about WINTER?

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    1. The Upper Peninsula is beautiful in winter! We used to take the kids on winter picnics - we'd go out into the woods and build a fire and stand around it roasting hotdogs and find a little hill to sled down - it was great!

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  17. I love every bit of this: Karen's generous heart, her blockbuster success, and Hank's fabulous interview. Good things really do happen to good people. :) I can't wait to read this one!

    As for the cabin, I'd like to think I could, but really...I'd probably make it about a week before I sprinted back to civilization. And if anyone had to rely on my gardening skills for survival, we might not last for that week. ;)

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    1. Yeah I'm with you, LynnDee! About a week. Then it would get itchy, and buggy, and clammy, and uncomfortable. I am seeing myself as more and more set in my ways. My city-girl ways. Sigh.

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  18. Wow Karen, this is going on my TBR pile right this minute! Congratulations.

    "I’ve always been intrigued by people who rise above a less-than-perfect childhood, and certainly the situation of a child born to a kidnapped woman and her captor is extreme." This give me chills. Am thinking of Amanda Berry, kept captive in Cleveland for ten years. This stuff really happens.

    Speaking of cabins in the woods, that's the happy place where I go when I need to get into my head and out of the world. Mind you, I prefer all the mod cons, but surely a cabin could have a dishwasher and wifi, correct?

    I cut my teeth on a matched set of Grimm's & Anderson's fairy tales. There alone you have the plots for several dozen books!

    Ann in Rochester who sincerely hopes she wins the giveaway.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words about my novel, Finta! As I've been touring, I've asked each audience if they also loved fairy tales as a child, and almost without exception, everyone raises their hand. We're in good company!

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    2. Ann, absolutely dishwasher and wifi. ANd yes, it does really happen. Ah.

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  19. I will be reading this book, but not until after our trip to the Upper Peninsula next month! If you don't mind, I'll wait until I'm safely ensconced in my own, on-the-grid cabin.

    Love the idea of twisting an ancient fairytale into a contemporary thriller. Congratulation, Karen.

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen! I hope you enjoy the book!

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    2. Oh, cannot wait to hear about your adventures, Karen! xo

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  20. Congratulations on the wonderful reviews and success of The Marsh King's Daughter! I really enjoyed your interview as well as learning about a new to me Hans Christian Anderson fable.

    I do not think that I could live off the grid like you did when you were homesteading -- I'm pretty attached to my creature comforts, but I do love to fish. Thanks for visiting Jungle Reds and introducing us to your book. I look forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks, Celia! I do think it's funny and slightly ironic that our Grand Adventure all those years ago led to my present success. And it only took 40 years!

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    2. Yes! EXACTLY. And that is SUCH a lesson.

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  21. I am off to Ohio to teach a seminar at Seton Hill College tomorrow afternoon and a lecture tomorrow night! I will check in as soon as I can later today. ANd you all seem to be dong fine without me! Karen, maybe we will cross paths at 35,000 feet! (But not too close...)
    Talk to you all soon...

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    1. Phew - made it home! 1-hour flight delay out of Laguardia meant I hit the worst of the rush hour traffic, but I'm here now! Did you all have fun without me? :)

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    2. Oh, I was just going to ask that! All the flights between Boston and New York we're delayed like crazy… And my flight was so late too!
      Come home, dear Karen! I hope you are still flying even without the plane!

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  22. Karen, welcome to JRW and congratulations on your book! The Marsh King's Daughter sounds like the perfect title for this book. Borrowing the title from a Hans Christian Andersen fable reminds me of Agatha Christie titles borrowing from nursery rhymes.

    Hank, could I live in a tiny cabin? Perhaps. it depends on how far it is from civilization. A friend and her husband live in a house (not a tiny cabin) on the grounds of the Arbortheum (sp?) so their house is surrounded by a lot of green!

    IF my cabin could get solar energy and I could use my smartphone for emergencies, then I could live in a cabin. If there is clean water (not polluted), then yes. If I can grow my own food and if there was a farmer's market within walking distance, then yes.

    If I needed to drive a Big gas guzzling SUV in order to get to the cabin, then no.

    It would depend on WHERE the cabin is.

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    1. Thanks for the welcome, Bibiophile! I agree that The Marsh King's Daughter is the PERFECT title for this book. Would you believe that one of the publishers who bid on the novel did so on the last-minute condition that I change the title to "The Hunter's Daughter"? Um, no . . . And I hadn't thought about Agatha Christie and nursery rhymes!

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  23. Welcome to Jungle Reds, Karen. We met briefly at the Putnam dinner at Bcon in New Orleans. Congrats on your amazing success! I will leave the cabin living to others, although I do understand the appeal of getting back to nature, if even for a short period of time. I do think it clears your head and gives you a new perspective.

    Do you have any ideas for your next book? Will it be in the same vein?

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    1. Hi, Ingrid! I do remember meeting you, and hope we cross paths again! As for the next book, I'm working on it as we speak. (Well, not technically, but you know - ) It's another standalone, also psychological suspense set again in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and will a fairy tale element. Now that I'm back at my desk, I can't wait to get back to work on it!

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  24. This book sounds so scary to read but I'm a gonna do it anyway -- while nestled under a puffy down comforter (because the air conditioning is keeping our bedroom so cool), with a few great pillows for a back rest, a glass of chilled chardonay and a brick of luscious brie, water crackers on the bedside table. I'll have a Z-Bar reading lamp for easy reading, a remote control to check the televised news from time to time and my trusty iPad whenever I feel the need to check in on my social friends. Guess I'm not a great candidate for "enjoying" the woods anytime soon.

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    1. Haha - I love the picture you drew! I hope you enjoy the book!

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    2. Oh Pat, we are all coming to join you!

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  25. If I were blessed to win the hat draw, Karen please redraw. I just reserved my copy of Marsh King's Daughter. Congratulations on your success.

    I would have to say no to the cabin in the woods. Having lived that experience as a child (property in the woods in Washington State) I know how much hard work and planning is required for this life style. hmmmm.
    What about a virtual cabin? I could have a hologram room where one of the programs is mountain cabin. experience the dream knowing the safety of civilization is on the other side of the wall.

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    1. Thank you, Coralee! I'd love to hear what you think of the book. A hologram room would be useful for a LOT of things!

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  26. This is great, and yet another reminder that I need to read this book!

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    1. Stephanie, you need to come guest blog here too! Your new book is terrific. Let's pick a day!

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  27. Karen, your book sounds fabulous. Going to order it now! What a great concept, using Anderson's creepy story as the germ of it. I am fascinated by people who can live in the wild, like your Helena.

    My husband is a big fan of homesteader videos on YouTube, so we keep up with several couples who are doing that sort of thing. I might have been tempted in my twenties, but now, not so much. My outdoorsy fantasy is to take a canal boat holiday in the UK.

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    1. Thank you so very much, Deborah! David Morrell read the novel in ms and called Helena a female Rambo. That's one tough little girl! (And what an honor!)

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  28. I just posted a review of The Marsh King this past Monday on my reading blog. It's always interesting to approach reading a book with the positive buzz thus one has received. I have to say it lived up to the hype. Congratulations, Karen, on a unique and fascinating book. I enjoyed reading the material here today, too.

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    1. How lovely! Thank you so very much for the read and review - this means so much to me. I'll check it out!

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    2. Such a great review-- but of course!

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  29. How about a nice cabin with all the amenities? I used to enjoy camping but my rule was I did not get out of my sleeping bag before the sun hit the tent and warmed it up. We camped in the mountains in New Mexico way back when we lived in El Paso and craved greenery. The last time we camped was 15 years ago? We were Up North in Minnesota on Memorial Day weekend. It always rains that weekend. My husband bailed and checked us into a motel. What a wuss. He enjoys his creature comforts in his old age! Karen, the premise of your book is very engaging. I am super curious about the daughter's feelings towards her father now. And what of her mother? Must read.

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    1. Thanks, Pat! Helena's relationship with her father naturally evolves over the course of the book, and really forms the heart of the story. I particularly loved writing the chapters where she is small, because her love for her father was simple and pure. A real joy! Later, of course, things grow more complicated. If you get a chance to read it, I'd love to hear what you think!

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  30. Karen, this book sounds fantastic! I am delighted by your success and really looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks, Jenn! I really appreciate your enthusiasm and support!

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  31. I live in a house in the woods...on a lake, and I do enjoy sitting out on the deck listening to the wind chimes and watching the woodpeckers and hummingbirds while I read or stitch. But, then we have a nice meal we bought from the grocery, with a glass or two of wine. Not quite living off the land!!!
    Congrats on your major success and best wishes for you as you continue to use your gifts to bring us readers and fans what we crave...a good story!

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    1. Can I come visit you? Your place on the lake sounds wonderful. Thanks for your congrats and good wishes!

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  32. What a travel day! Crazy crazy crazy! I just arrived at my hotel… And I must have food! More to come!

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  33. And I am reading all these comments again, so wonderful, and laughing like crazy. We're talking about amenities and etc.… I arrived, after a crazy journey, at my hotel, only to find: it has no food.

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  34. Sounds like a book to check into!

    I feel guilty saying I need my creature comforts, knowing that so many people-right now- are doing without so much, and through no choice of their own. (Think refugees and victims of atrocities.)

    Hank, I hope you have eaten by now!

    Deb Romano

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  35. The only food I could get, delicious! Was a delivery from Domino's. I got two salads, and I am very happy. Xxx what a glamorous life, right? But again, now I am cozy and happy and all is well. Thank you, dear DebRo!

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  36. Intriguing! I've done only a little camping, canoeing, drinking water from a lake in the Boundary Waters.
    Lately, I prefer to view nature through a window these days -- but the memories are good.
    I'll have to read THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER for vicarious time in the woods, and insights into people who appear to be good, but aren't.

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    1. Vicarious living is what books are all about! I love being immersed in places and worlds I'll never be able to visit. I hope you enjoy the book!

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  37. I have been looking forward to this, so interesting to learn of Karen earlier life and ideas! Instead of a tent, maybe I could rent one of those rustic cabins some of the nat'l parks have! Thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  38. I've met Karen at the 2009 Backspace Conference in NYC (and you, Hank, at a LSFW meeting in Edison, NJ, not long after that :)) I just want to say, I bought the book already, but my daughter Allyson took it shark diving to Fiji with her last week, so I have to wait until she comes back after the summer!

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