After seeing over 80 novels published, writing and living are interchangeable for me. They are so glued together that I realized while writing this that whatever inspires me for one inspires me for the other. Peaks and valleys in one affect the other. So when I think about inspiration for either writing or living, I can lift my heart in these ways.
Ever since I was a young girl, music has made a difference in my life. Until I was five, my parents and I lived with my grandfather and my aunt. After that they lived next door. I come from an Italian heritage, and my grandfather was an immigrant. He played the mandolin beautifully. On weekends, friends would stop by with guitars and an accordion, and he and his friends made music. That music brought into the house fellowship, fun and a sense of well-being. Also in my grandfather's house was a player piano. We inserted what was called a "roll" and a melody magically played. My mother and I would sing along. She played the piano herself, and I would accompany her, too.
It was natural for me to learn to play the piano myself. Through the years, I learned to express emotion through the playing. I found joy and inspiration in the music. With this history, I never just listen to a song. I feel it. Today I listen for artists and music which can stir that deep creative part of me, whether it does that by bringing back memories, lifting me to a mountaintop, soothing pain and stress away, or urging me to write a particularly emotional scene. I listen to a variety--Josh Groban, Burning Sky, guitarist John Williams, Michael Buble, the Beatles, Brad Paisley. They all touch me, give me creative energy and lift me over the bumps.
Traveling to a place with power also renews me. I believe everyone can find places that fill them with peace and an overwhelming sense of well-being. When I was a child, I had access to a relative's farm. There was something about the fields of grass, the scent of orange blossoms and honeysuckle, the playfulness of kittens around the barn and the beauty of horses in the corral, that always washed over me in a particularly healing way. I loved just being there and soaking it in. As an adult, I feel drawn to places where I can feel a power greater than myself--the ocean, the cliff dwellings in the southwest, the Appalachian mountains, the big blue sky over Santa Fe, a memorial garden my husband and I created in memory of my parents in our own backyard. All of these places, as well as the memory of them, fill me up when I am empty and help me to keep going.
Since emotion and my creative energy are also integrally linked, the people I love and those who love me also inspire me. My husband reminds me that I always say each book is different and eventually my characters show me the way. Talking to my son long-distance reminds me the bonds between a mother and child are never-ending. When my BFF's daughter gives me a hug, I am inspired to look at the world through her eyes--in a more innocent, unspoiled way. My writing friends listen and help me get unstuck when a scene or character is being stubborn.
Inspiration surrounds me in many forms. I just have to know how to listen, where to go and whom to turn to in order to find it. Somehow I always do and life and writing flow on.
Cassidy has a secret. If she reveals to Ben that she can't read, can this CEO/cowboy still love her?
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 87th novel will be released in 2015.
Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.
Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below.
©2015 Karen Rose Smith