Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wistful YA with Karen Amanda Hooper, YA Author

Being accomplished means different things to different people. For me, it's all about being who you are and always striving to improve upon your given talents to bring a little peace, harmony, and joy to the world. 

AMAZON LINKS - The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess
That's just what my next featured author is all about. From my first encounter with her through cyberspace, she's been nothing but gracious, kind, and humble. And just to show you that, she's offered up the first 3 books in eBook format of her latest releases. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to some lucky reader!
She's the young adult author of several Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Romance stories. Please give Karen Amanda Hooper a huge Alleyway welcome!

Hi Karen. Let me begin by saying that Karen saved my bacon last night. Somehow my cyber form lost her original answers for this interview. She scrambled to get me her responses so she could share herself with you today.

Okay, what inspired you to write your VIRTUAL ARCANA series? 

The inspiration hit when an author friend, Susan Kaye Quinn, announced her Debt Collector series had been optioned for virtual reality. (How freakin' cool is that?) I was discussing that awesomeness with a teen writer buddy and we were daydreaming about how amazing it would be to experience our favorite books via virtual reality. Then I thought about how addicting that might be, and the problems it might cause. Next thing I knew I was writing a new story idea and Virtual Arcana was born. 

Yeah, I'd chatted with Susan about that opportunity. Way, way cool...

Has your writing process differed from writing this as a series as opposed to your other full-length novels?

This one FORCED me to create an outline. I've written all my other books as a pantser. I detest outlining and plotting ahead, but I had to with VA because once I released an episode, I couldn't go back and change stuff like I did with my other novels. I had to make the process fun (or I'd probably break out in hives) so I created a storyboard with pics and colored post-its, etc. It was actually enjoyable for the two days I worked on it. But truthfully, I haven't looked at that board in months. lol. We diehard pantsers are very set in our ways.

Now, the opening description for VIRTUAL ARCANA: Book 0 is The Matrix meets The Notebook, with a sprinkle of The Giver. Can I just say how awesome that is!!! Can you give the readers a glimpse into how the three play into the story?

Thanks! :) 
The Matrix is all futuristic and techy, and so is VA. The Notebook is a touching love story about a man who didn't give up on the love of his life no matter what, and MAYBE Virtual Arcana is like that too, but you'll have to read it to find out. Don't shun me, but I haven't read The Giver, so I can't give a good example, but one of my treasured beta readers said it had a Giver-esque feel because of the controlling government, and I trust her wholeheartedly, so I'm certain it's a good comparison. 

Let me pause us here, so we can share a few descriptions from the series.

 Blurb: In a faraway future, Kelsey Zellar is starting her senior year at yet another school thanks to her twin sister’s troublesome obsession with outlawed virtual reality games. 

Every school they’ve ever attended is pretty much the same: lunchroom drama, rich kids binging on enhancement candies, and classmates rallying for or against the government’s strict control over everything from entertainment privileges to caffeine consumption. 

Unlike her sister, Kelsey follows the rules and keeps her nose out of trouble and politics while sniffing out her next flavored latte and favorite novel. But when Kelsey meets a charming book connoisseur, and accepts his offering of a tarot card, she takes the first step toward two new addictions: the guy of her dreams, and his illegal dealing of virtual escapes into her beloved storybooks. 

Kelsey straddles the worlds of fiction and reality, but is she a fool for believing in her own happy ending?

Blurb: Mysterious cards keep appearing in Kelsey’s life, stirring up questions and forcing her to keep secrets from her sister, Keekee.

Triggered by Kelsey’s fear and Keekee's worry, the twins become bright blips on their tyrannical government’s radar. 

Xander’s magic seems to be their only chance at escaping a dangerous confrontation, but is Kelsey willing to break multiple laws and finally step into Xander's illegal world of virtual reality?


The Fool ~ Virtual Arcana #0
The Magician ~ Virtual Arcana #1
The High Priestess~ Virtual Arcana #2
The Empress ~ Virtual Arcana #3
The Emperor ~ Virtual Arcana #4
The Hierophant ~ Virtual Arcana #5 
The Lovers ~ Virtual Arcana #6

I just love how this is mapped out!

You've written the gamete throughout the industry. (LUV Grasping at Eternity!) What do you see as the most challenging obstacle for newer writers in today's constantly-evolving publishing arena?

Yay for Grasping at Eternity! Thanks. <3 
I think the most challenging obstacle is never giving up. The life of a writer is emotional and challenging, but SO worth it if said writer truly loves storytelling. Keeping up with all the constant changes in the publishing world adds a lot of extra work and headaches. That part can feel overwhelming at times, but I say just keep writing what you love and the rest will follow. 

Describe your writer-self by using either five TV shows or movies, five fast food meals, or five means of transportation.

Can I mix up the categories? I like variety. 
Of course!

In no particular order: 
TV show- Lost. (Lol. Seriously though, I'm always wondering what the heck is going on and how did I get here? ) 
Movie- Love and Other Disasters. (I'm a mix of the two main characters, Emily & Peter.) 
2nd Movie- Sliding Doors (Trying to make the best of life no matter which path life leads me down.) 
Fast food meal- Rocky Road sundae. (Sundaes count as fast food, right? In my world they do!) 
Transportation: Airplane (my head is always in the clouds) 

Out of those, which is the most important to apply as a writer?
Probably the Rocky Road sundae. Maybe it's because I'm such a sucker for chocolate, but I also believe no matter how rocky the road, you have to make the most of the journey and learn as much as you can. And savor the sweet parts!  

What should fans expect from you over the coming months? Teaser please... ;)
Well, every month I will be releasing a new episode of Virtual Arcana. Dec 15th, The High Priestess is releasing and it's a mind-bender. Behind the scenes, I'll be working on the final book of my merfolk series, Sacred Seas. AND writing a companion novel to the Kindrily series. But those books won't release until 2015.  

Gosh, you really are a busy girl.

As far as a teaser, here's a little snippet from The High Priestess, it's kind of a spoiler, but nothing to major. BUT before reading HP, be sure to read the other books in the series, starting with The Fool, or you will be totally lost. 

Kelsey (the MC) is about to experience a book via virtual reality. Awol (the other character in the scene) is guiding her through the process.
Awol nodded with a pleased grin on her face. “That’s the one.” 
She walked over, tilting her head to read the title. Smiling wide, she said, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A strong dose of pentacles and cups, with a splash of swords and a touch of wands. Makes total sense.”
“I’ve never heard of it,” I admitted. 
“That’s so sad, but understandable. In the Old World, some people lost their minds and banned many great books. This was one of them.” 
“Why did they ban it?” 
“Doesn’t matter,” Awol said. “The story chose you. It’s time to dive in, heart and soul.”
What I didn’t know, or expect, was she meant it literally.
Fantastic teaser! Thank you for stopping by to leave your writer graffiti in the Alleyway. We all appreciate the wisdom etched in that place. Best of luck always!

Meet Karen: Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She's addicted to coffee, chocolate and complicated happily-ever-afters.
Karen has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. In high school she discovered her passion for putting her thoughts onto paper, but it wasn't until her late twenties that she wrote her first novel. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairytales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.
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One lucky reader will win the first three books (eBook format) of Karen's VIRTUAL ARCANA  series: The Fool, The Magician, and The High Priestess which will be releasing Dec 15th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you like to read short or long stories?
 photo Sheri2.png


  1. Congrats, Karen! I love the idea of your newest series! And I could see myself getting pretty obsessed with virtual reality in the future. That may not be a good thing. *laughs*

  2. I've always been intrigued by the mysteries of the Tarot, so this sounds interesting! Congratulations, Karen! I wish you the best of luck. :)

  3. Congratulations, Karen! I wish you the best of luck.

  4. Aww, thanks so much for the super sweet opening, Sheri. <3
    I'm so honored to be hanging out in the Alleyway.
    Thanks so much to everyone for stopping by and/or entering the giveaway!

  5. Congrats, Karen! Like Chrys said, the Tarot intrigues.

  6. What a super cool premise! And mmm, Rocky Road! =) And on a side note, I sometimes do interviews here and there, and I've always been terrified I'll lose one. Great job on scrabbling around- you'd never know!

  7. What a fabulous interview. Congratulations Karen - wishing you lots of continued success! Thank you for a warm welcome to this post, Sheri. I have only just found you via Chrys (thanks Chrys) and I love your page design. Wishing you a happy holiday time and a new year filled with joy and success. All the best.

  8. Here's to pulling that fat, er, bacon out of the fire. And for such a super interview, too! Really enjoyed reading it.

  9. That's so cool, I had no idea that's how Karen came up with the idea of her Arcana series! Great interview ladies.

  10. Congrats to Karen. I read her first book and have been meaning to get to her other books. I'll enter the giveaway.

  11. Being able to step into a book is certainly a strong premise. Congrats, Karen!

    1. Thanks for stopping by to support Karen, Nick. I really appreciate it.


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