Monday, February 8, 2010

Debut Author Stephanie Haefner-A Bitch Named Karma

Today we have the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Haefner. Many of you already know Stephanie through her blog, The Writer's Cocoon. If you don't; be sure to head over there! You can also find Stephanie at her website for even more info!

Sometimes bad karma isn't such a bad thing after all.

When did you start writing and want to see it published?
I've written ever since I was a little girl. I kept a diary and through my preteen and teen years, I wrote in it every single night, pouring out every emotion I had. My senior year of college, I became the reporter for a club I belonged to and had several of my little articles about club happenings printed in local newspapers. It was quite thrilling to see my name under the headlines. I applied to college for both Jounalism and Floriculture Merchandising and was accpted for both. I truly have no idea why I chose the Floral route. I spent the next 12 years of my life working in that field. It was 2005 I think, when a silly song during a game night with friends sparked an idea and instead of just saying to myself "Hey that would be an interesting book," I actually wrote the idea down...and began writing a novel. At that time I had no clue what I was doing...I just wrote. I ended up putting it aside and started a story closer to my heart and I wrote it beginning to end, all 130,000 words of it. I had this huge long work of completed fiction and I wanted to see my name printed on it's cover. That began my quest for publication. 

Where did you find inspiration for this fascinating concept? I love it. I also love, LOVE the title. How did you come up with that?
I became inspired to write A Bitch Named Karma from those silly "Not Another *insert choice of adjective here* Movie", you know, Scary Movie, Teen Movie, Date Movie, etc.... I wrote the book with the title: Not Another Chick Lit Novel. It started out as a chick lit story about a writer who suddenly became plagued with every single chick lit cliche she wrote in her novels and how she comically dealt with it. But the more I wrote, the more I loved the story of this materialistic fashionista falling in love with her baby and the family life she never ever thought she wanted. The name change came when I was in the process of query writing. Karma was always a theme in the book, but in the beginning, it wasn't quite as prominent. Somewhere in the query I had the line: a bitch named karma. One of my writers group members said "Hey, I like that as a title". He knew I was struggling with the title, which ended up sounding kinda spoofy...and I really was not poking fun at the genre at all. So a lightbulb went off and I added in more karma, and actually added in a character for Karma. 

How long did it take to write your novel?
My MS for A Bitch Named Karma took me a very short time to write. I think it was only about three months, start to finish. I felt so completely inspired when I wrote it- many nights I got on the computer at ten and had to pull myself away at two because I knew my daughter would be bushy-tailed and bright-eyed in only a few hours. I'd work on it during the day too...whenever I got the chance. I could not stop writing it...there was not even one moment of writer's block during the creation of this story. This was rare though. I haven't written a MS quite as fast since! 

Do you find your blog is a help to your author platform?
ABSOLUTELY! I am shocked every single day when I glance at my follower list....82 people. There are 82 people out there (only a handful of which I know in real life) who want to know about my writing life. The support is unbelievable. Never would I have thought strangers would freely hand out such amazing advice and virtual hugs and high fives! And I try my best to give back too. I started blogging as a way to "build my platform" and network...but I ended up meeting a ton of really great people!

How did you find Lyrical Press?

I was actually on, just browsing around. I thought the site only listed publications of short works, but then I saw the listings for ePublishers who published novels and accepted unagented submissions. I'd already shopped A Bitch Named Karma out to agents and got no where. It was finished and polished and I had nothing to lose, so I submitted it!

What has your experience been like with Lyrical Press?
It has been really amazing! After submitting, I browsed their site and sat in awe of the amazing book covers. Some of the other ePublishers had less than desirable covers, so Lyrical impressed me right from the get go. Then when I recieved my contract, I could not believe it. As writers we work so hard on our projects, never ever knowing if we'll find the success we desire. And then when it does actually happen, there's this moment of "Oh my God! This can't really be happening to me!" But it was. Renee and Frank were great, answering all of my questions and I really felt welcome. Since I don't have an agent (many ePublishers do not require you to have one), I had to find a lawyer to help me understand the contract. It was tough, since there are no entertainment lawyers in my area. I asked for a recomendation from an editor friend and she was a great help. I signed the contract, mailed it off, and waited for the next step. I then received a bunch of emails from Lyrical. They help their authors 100%...everyone works as a team. They have several message boards and groups for support. They asked me right from the beginning what I had in mind for cover art and gave me ideas for promotion. Then I met my editor. I had seen her books on the Lyrical website and I knew she was one of their editors. She writes romance/chick lit, just like I do and her books sounded like something I would love to read. When I received her initial introduction email...I screamed and jumped up and down! We clicked immediately and the love and adoration she showed for MY book made me feel so amazing. There is no feeling on Earth that compares with finding someone else who loves your book as much as you do (and Mom does not count!).

What did you learn about yourself while going through the writing process?
Let me tell you, a lot! I've learned not to hold let my fingers flow freely and not feel inhibited. I've learned that nothing worth getting in life comes easy. Hard work and persistence is the only way. Himming and hawwing won't get you anywhere. You have to go after what you want. But remain humble if you get it. I don't think I will ever feel like I've learned all there is to learn about anything in life.

What do you enjoy, other than writing?
I have been the artsy type ever since I was a little girl, so I thoroughly enjoy crafty things- scrapbooking being one of my most obsseive hobbies! I love to dance as well and take an adult jazz dance class- we even perform a routine for recital! Hubby got me into golf, so we do that together! I also love to travel, with Walt Disney World as one of my favorite destinations. Can't help it, I'm a sucker for a fairy tale!

Any advice to offer for aspiring writers wanting to achieve publication?
Just complaining about time and this and that...just write. I've heard so many people say "Oh, I want to write a novel some day," or "I started a novel once (or ten times) but the kids and work and cleaning the house...I just can't find the time, but I really want to do it." Make time. I think a lot of people, especially mothers, do not carve out enough time for themselves. And they so deserve it. And also, never give up. Only quitters never succeed. Start small...there are so many literary magazines, print and online, that publish flash fictionand shorts stories. Get yourself out there and do not be afraid. Rejection is a definite. Do not take them personally. Every single famous author has had their share of rejection. Use that rejection as motivation to write more, submit more, hone your skills and strengthen your abilities. 

If you had all the money in the world what are three things you would splurge on? (Non-necessities)
What a fun question!!! A big fat RV with all the bells and whistles so we could travel all around the country and not have to pay for hotels! A fabulous wardrobe- not even designer stuff, just the ability to go into the mall and buy every single thing I liked! And ballroom dancing lessons. I've done a few sessions with our local Community Ed department, which was fun, but I'd so love to be good and compete!

So awesome hearing from this really sweet lady! I hope you cool kids enjoyed this interview as much as I did. Feel free to leave comments and ask other questions, I'm sure Stephanie will pop in! :0) Happy Monday!


  1. Kristi,
    Awesome interview. I am now also a follower on Stephanie's blog and want to thank you for pointing me to her cool home on the web.

    Yaya's Changing World

  2. Kristi,
    I meant to mention that there is no link back from your picture (no picture, too) to your blog. Just thought you might like to know.

    Yaya's Changing World

  3. Awesome interview - very interesting :)

    I love the title of the book!

  4. Awesome interview - I am going to be checking out Stephanie's Blog!

  5. Great interview! I think you might have a future in this, Kristi! :)

    I love that you choose people who are taking the road less traveled as far as publication is concerned.

    And Stephanie - all this was very enlightening on the epublishing side. Congrats on your book, and much luck with it!!

  6. Thanks everyone!!! I feel like such a celebrity!!!! Thank you for this opportunity Kristi!!

  7. Stephanie: You're our own celebrity :0)
    Thanks everyone! This interview, like my others, was tons of fun. I enjoy getting to know you all better and especially when I get to help promote a fabulous writer. :)

  8. Great interview Kristi! I'm sorry I haven't been over here before, you have a very nice blog. Is there any danish? lol

  9. Oh darling Writer, we have yummy treats that due to cyberlaws are absolutely fat free. Anything you'd like, please, help yourself anytime!


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