This week, I am interviewing Christian author Karen Brueggeman. Karen is the author of Fruzzle’s Mystery Talent. Karen was born in Chicago, Illinois and has always had a love of writing. From a young age, Karen would write short stories and monologues. Karen worked as a success coach for many years, but always found herself going back to writing. She fell in love with kid’s books that not only entertained the child, but also gave a positive message, so she began to write.
ALLEN: Ilyan, it is good to have you here with us today.
KAREN: Thank you for having me here on your blog.
ALLEN: What do you think prepared you or qualified you to write in your chosen genre?
KAREN: I have been writing as long as I can remember and in addition, I have an extensive educational background. God also blessed me with 3 lovely children who I used to make up bedtime stories for. I started to realize that I could help other children with everyday problems so I started the Fruzzles series.
ALLEN: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
KAREN: I have 3 kids (18,16, and 11) and they inspire me everyday to follow my passion of writing and helping kids. I also enjoy photography and do it part time. My church life is filled with amazing people who I adore. As far as help, that would be nice, but for the most part I’m on my own. However, my kids have been amazing cheerleaders for me. I also do find that a lot of my fellow authors are very morally supportive and I thank God everyday for putting them in my path.
ALLEN: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
KAREN: I love the beach and watching my youngest build sand castles. I also enjoy photography, especially capturing the lovely sunsets God provides us. Oh and I love to cook.
ALLEN: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books —Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
KAREN: While I am working on my book, I co-illustrate it with my son. In addition, I hire several proofreaders as well as an editor. I want to make sure it’s perfect. As far as my covers, I pull my favorite picture from the book and put it on the cover and then I use Photoshop to add the title.
ALLEN: What do you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?
KAREN: So far for promotion, I have done lots of social networking. I use mostly Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. I have been featured on a few different author sites and gave my book away for free for a few days. I also was asked to read at a few elementary schools, which helped introduce more kids to the Fruzzles (the character I created and my books are about).
As far as ebook versus print, I have my book available in both forms at Amazon, my website (http://www.FriendlyFruzzles.com) and Barnes & Noble. I am so excited that ebook is an option as I feel this gets more books into kids hands since it’s so much cheaper.
ALLEN: Have you done anything writing-related, but besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
KAREN: I love helping people, especially kids, but I have also recently wrote a book that I’m working on getting published that helps people with divorce. It breaks my heart to see someone sad and if I can help in someways ,through my words, than it’s all worth it. I am also going to be donating a lot of copies of the book to the Abuse, Counseling and Treatment shelters. I hoping that my words will help someone get out of an abusive relationship.
ALLEN: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
This story tells the tale of Brown Fruzzle, who is struggling to discover his special talent. Aided by Wizard Fruzzle, Brown Fruzzle goes on a journey of self-discovery to uncover what he is best at in life and it might turn out that he has a very special talent after all.
Fruzzles Mystery Talent is a brightly colored children’s book that is easy to read. The story is easy to follow so young children will be as happy reading it with a parent or on their own. The pictures also offer bright illustration to every scene, so young minds can follow the tale with ease as well as be inspired to use their imaginations. There is also an activity for the kids in this book, where they have to find all the swirls.
ALLEN: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
KAREN: I write to help others. I think it’s important to teach kids important life lessons and what better way than entertaining them with a story.
ALLEN: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
KAREN: I met a wonderful Christian lady at a nursing home who inspired me to never give up on my dream of being an author. I used to volunteer at the nursing home and would read stories or just visit with the residents One day, I was there and one of the residents saw a picture of the Fruzzle character I was working on. She asked me about it and I mentioned how I was writing the book, but I kept hitting walls and was ready to give up. She inspired me to never give up.
ALLEN: Tell us one place you want to visit, or person you want to meet, and why.
KAREN: I would love to go to Europe. I am Italian and would love to see where my ancestors are from. I would also love to see all the beautiful cathedrals that I hear about. Someday, I am hoping I can make this a reality.
ALLEN: Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.
KAREN: I would have to say my kids, especially my girls. The things they say are some of the silliest things ever. Like just recently, we went to a Christian concert and they had to stand the whole time so when we got home, my daughter said, “Finally, I get to bed my legs.” We all laughed because we knew she meant to say, “Finally, I get to lay in bed.” It was one of those moments that even though it was a simple mistake, it was so funny. I still chuckle when I think back on it.
ALLEN: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.
KAREN: I love watching young children play and how easily they play with other kids with no discrimination. I wish we lived in a society where people all got along as easy as young children.
ALLEN: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written (plots, finding needed information, getting a cover done)?
KAREN: With the relationship book I wrote, I was completely done with it and then my computer crashed. I lost it all. Starting over was hard but I knew God wanted me to rewrite it as I knew it could help people.
ALLEN: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
KAREN: I am working on three things…One is the relationship book on getting over your divorce (under pen name K.Marino). I’m also working on my 2nd Fruzzle book, “Fruzzle’s Huge Test” and my 3rd book, “Fruzzle’s Motivational Day.”
ALLEN: How many books do you have out?
KAREN: Currently just 1, but hopefully with a little help with formatting, I can get my relationship book out very soon.
ALLEN: What are your future projects?
KAREN: My future project is getting more educational based Fruzzle books for children.
ALLEN: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life?
KAREN: My first book “Fruzzle’s Mystery Talent,” is based on a girl in my daughter’s school who felt like she wasn’t good at anything. Brown is based on her and Wizard is based on my daughter who helped her discover that each of us has a special talent. In my 2nd book, “Fruzzle’s Huge Test,”the main character is based of a local citizen in my city whose business has brought many jobs for the community. Finally, my 3rd book, “Fruzzle’s Motivational Day,” is based on a guy Terry Thompson, author of “Push Start,” as his encouraging words helped me so his character “Motivational Fruzzle” will now help others.
ALLEN: What is your favorite book/character?
KAREN: My favorite book is Charlotte’s Web. I just love how they all helped each other.
ALLEN: What is your writing style?
KAREN: Playful for my kids book and personal for my relationship book.
ALLEN: Thank you so much for your time, Karen. I have certainly enjoyed spending this time with you. In closing, please tell us where your book is available.
Thank you so much for this wonderful interview. You can find my ebook or softcover at:
International Amazon: mybook.to/Fruzzles
You can find me at:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendlyFruzzles
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/KBrueggeman1
Feel free to check out my book trailer at: