Today we welcome the lovely and prolific Karin Gillespie, aka Karen Neches, whose novel Earthly Pleasures was released this week. Earthly Pleasures is about a greeter in Heaven named Skye who falls in love with a mortal on Earth.
Karen Neches is a pen name for Karin Gillespie, the author of The Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big-Ass Novel with Jill Conner Browne and three novels in the critically acclaimed Bottom Dollar Girl series.
We sat down with Karin/Karen to find out a little more about her very busy dual-named life, in which she has been at the helm of the well-reputed Girlfriend’s Cyber Circuit
DB: Tell me a little about the Girlfriend’s Cyber Circuit…I hear you got some great press last summer in the NYTimes, right?
KG: Yes, Amanda Ashby who wrote You Had Me at Halo was touring at the time and they interviewed her in the Times Style section. It was so exciting. We’ve also had a mention in the Village Voice. The GCC, by the way, is a virtual tour for women authors and we’ve been in existence now for four years. It’s been gratifying to connect with so many wonderful authors.
DB: Would love to hear the backstory on your book.
KG: Earthly Pleasures is about a greeter in Heaven named Skye who falls in love with a mortal on Earth. Skye, who know nothing of the customs on Earth, discovers that all of lessons can be learned through five Beatle songs.
Over three years ago, I had this sudden thought: Lovely Bones meets Bridget Jones. I was so excited, I felt like I’d discovered how to turn rocks into gold. Then I spoke with a publicist who said, “What a horrific notion.” She hated the pitch because the two books were so different. Too late. I was already 70,000 words in. My agent hated it. My editor wanted to use it for kindling. I almost gave up on it. I cursed the novel many times but now it’s my favorite.
Also, I wrote it during the honeymoon phase of my marriage. I’d been single for over twenty years (I used to say I was in the “hospice stage” of being single. I didn’t think I would ever recover.) Anyway, I finally met “the one” after so many years and I had love on the brain. I ended up dedicating the book to my husband.
DB: So how’d you get anyone interested in your novel that your agent/editor/publicist hated?
KG: I already had two novels published and a third on the way, so although they didn’t like Earthly Pleasures initially, they did give me suggestions for improving it. After many, many re-writes (it took me two years to write) my agent ended up loving it. My critique group always adored it so that’s why I persevered. The plot is extremely twisty and I think I got too hung up on it at the expense of characterization. So I had to go back in and rethink all my characters.
DB: Unmarried for 20 years and THEN married? Wow–you give hope to many women. HOw’d you do it (and were you married before?)?
KG: I had a brief marriage in my early twenties and then a long, long drought settled in. I dated, of course, and there was one horrific broken engagement but no wedding bells. Basically when I found myself in my forties, I gave up. I was tired of dating and was ready to embrace my single status. Not long after that I met David at a dinner party. In typical chick flick fashion we disliked each other on sight. But, later on, we connected over a library book. And so, yes, dear reader… I married him.
DB: How does this release differ from that of your other successful novels?
KG: I have a three book series called the Bottom Dollar Girls written under the name of Karin Gillespie. Those books are very Southern and focus on women friendships. Earthly Pleasures is sort of a paranormal love story. Very different indeed so I used the pen name Karen Neches. However, all my books are humorous, feature quirky characters and have twisty plots
DB: What’s the one question you’ve never been asked that you’d like to answer?
KG: Did anyone ever tell you your a dead ringer for Angelina Jolie? If you see my photo, you’ll understand why I haven’t been asked this question but I would to hear it all the same.
DB: As a published author, what’s it like to be pampered and primped and filthy rich 😉 ?
KG: I have a very humbling story about being a published author. Once I spoke at Cocoa Florida library and the crowd was sparse and composed primarily of elderly retirees. The librarian apologized for the small turnout. A retiree who was listening in said, “You should have been here last week. There was an author who had a long line out the door.”
“Who was the author?” I asked wearily.
“I don’t remember,” said the retiree. “I just remember the name of his book. It was called Overcoming Incontinence.”
This is a true story. On the other hand, actor James Woods once called me out of the blue and optioned the film rights for my first novel. Being a published author is a series of highs and lows and I’ve finally gotten used to them.
DB: If you had to choose between a steady dating gig with George Clooney or a spot on the New York Time’s bestseller’s list, which would you pick, and why?
KG: The list, hands down. First of all, George Clooney is out of my league. I’d feel obligated to be perfectly plucked, pumiced and polished if he were continually on my arm. Secondly, New York Times Bestselling author looks way better on a book then “just another one of Clooney’s twinkies.”
DB: What’s next in store for you?
KG: I’ve written a book about a group of 40-somethings who revive their 80s girl band.
DB: Karin, thanks so much for your time, and best of luck with your novel!