Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Author Interview with Karen Stivali

I would like to welcome Karen Stivali to the Menagerie today. She’s a multi-talented author and I’m so glad she’s here. So let’s get on with the interview. Grin. Describe yourself in three words.

Obsessed with chocolate.

Aren’t we all? Snicker. Chocolate is the way to my heart. Cast your book. Tell us who would play the main characters in a movie

Although I’ve published several erotic romances my next two releases are actually Women’s Fiction with Strong Romantic Elements. What does that mean? They’re love stories. They’re super romantic, but not romance novels. The sex scenes are less frequent, but when they appear they’re extremely sensual. The first novel, Meant To Be, is a friends to lovers tale, but not in the traditional sense. There are multiple reasons why this couple can’t be together, so they resist. The majority of the book is like one years-long prelude to a kiss, but once that kiss happen, look out! It’s a story of love and longing. I won’t give it all away, but I’ll share the log line: Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

As much as I love books and movies this was a really difficult question for me. I don’t base characters on people I know or on famous people. A lot of my writer friends use photos to motivate or inspire them but for me I have to see things clearly in my imagination before I write. Even if I do take a nuance of someone’s looks or personality and incorporate it into a character, that character still manages to take on a life of his/her own. I also like to leave it up to readers to decide what the character looks like to them. That’s why there’s always such huge uproar when a popular book is made into a film and the casting choices are announced---it never fits everyone’s idea of what the person should look like. I came up with the story for Meant To Be nearly a decade ago, long before I’d ever heard of either of these actors, but if I had to cast the movie, they’re who I’d choose.

For Daniel I’d choose Robert Pattinson. Not the brooding Twilight incarnation, more like the actor himself. Self-deprecating, quick witted, a mix of shy and confident, and the ability to level a room of women with a glance while not really understanding what all the fuss is about him.

For Marienne I’d cast Ginnifer Goodwin. Beautiful in her own right but always playing the insecure friend.

I can’t not base them on what the person looks like. I’m not much on their personality, but the way they look in a given show or movie. What’s your favorite love scene from a movie?

That’s a really tough choice, because I’m a total film geek. There are dozens of love scenes that I absolutely adore. The first one to pop into my head is the scene from The Notebook where they finally admit their feelings for one another and make love for the first time. I love the intensity and the fact that they longed for each other for so many years and can’t deny it another second. That’s a favorite trope for me, as can be seen in several of my books, but none more than Meant To Be.

Gotta go with what you love and what sets the muse on fire. What’s your wildest fantasy?

If you’d have asked me two years ago, or any time in my life prior to that, I’d have said that my wildest fantasy was to publish a book. Now that I’ve done that (which I still have a hard time believing most days) there’s another fantasy that’s always been a close second. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved books and movies. I’ve always written and I went as far as to major in film in college before pursuing a different career. The movie-related fantasy has always remained the same. I’d love to attend the Academy Awards. Not to gawk at movie stars (I’m not the star struck type) or to see who’s wearing what (I love a great dress but I couldn’t identify who designed what if my life depended on it). And not just as a fan, but as someone who worked on some aspect of one of the nominated films (screenwriter or a movie based on one of my stories being the ultimate). I’ve watched the show every year I can remember and I cry at half the acceptance speeches (because, yes, I’m that sappy). My wildest fantasy is to somehow deserve to be part of all that.

That’s very cool. Go for it! If you were to lose one of your senses, which would you rather lose and why?

I’m pretty attached to all of my senses, but if I had to lose one, I’d have to say hearing. I’m one of those people who has to be able to see what’s going on plus I write, and that would be insanely difficult without sight. Food is and always has been a huge part of my life (that’s why it somehow always works its way into my stories), and smell and taste go hand in hand, so I’d never want to lose either of those. I’m a very tactile person and I love to work with my hands, so losing my sense of touch would drive me absolutely mad. I’d very much miss hearing, but at least I’d still be able to hear things in my mind---songs, people’s voices---and of course, the constant chatter of myself and my characters.

I need my music, so I’m still not willing to part with it. I have no idea which I’d lose. I keep hearing such great reasons why each sense is important. What is the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?

I can’t give you details because my mother still doesn’t know and I don’t want to incriminate the other person, so let’s just say it involved a lot of alcohol and my very best friend, who was (and still is) a guy.

Let’s shift gears since we’re already at the part that makes some blush...the Quickies:

Boxers or Briefs?

Boxers, or better yet, boxer briefs.

Top or Bottom?

Bottom (We’re talking about muffins, right?)

Pajamas or nude?


Hairy chests or smooth?

Hairy, but not to the point where it looks like he’s still wearing a sweater.

Alpha or Beta?

Beta. I find some Alpha males amusing but when it comes to attraction (or to characters I create) the Beta guy will always steal my heart.

For more information about my current and upcoming projects please visit my website:

I can also be found on:

Want a copy of her book? Look no further! Buy Links for Meant To Be:



Barnes & Noble:

Publisher's site: Turquoise Morning Press:

And here’s the official bio for Karen!

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.

Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic love stories filled with sarcasm and sexy details.

Karen has published three erotic romances with Ellora’s Cave: Marry Me (June 2012), Long-Distance Lovers (co-written with Karen Booth, March 2012) and Always You (Passionate Plume First Place Novella Winner, RWA 2012).

Karen’s first full-length novel, Meant To Be, will be published by Turquoise Morning Press on August 26, 2012. Its sequel, Holding On, will be released on November 26, 2012. A prequel to these novels, the short story All I Need, appears in the Foreign Affairs Anthology (Turquoise Morning Press, August 2012).

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