Friday, November 1, 2019

#AuthorInterview - "The Keys: Voice of the Turtle" by Karen Hulene Bartell

Thanks so much for chatting with me, Karen!
Author Interview Questions

What kind of research did you do for The Keys: Voice of the Turtle? Did you travel, use the Internet, speak with experts on a topic, etc?My husband and I flew into Miami and drove through the Keys along the Overseas Highway to Key West, so I did half my research in person and half on the computer, when we returned.

What process did you go through when you picked your characters’ names for The Keys: Voice of the Turtle?Finding the name for one of the main characters—who is Native American and a turtle aficionado—was the most difficult. I searched online for Indian names and found the name Keya, which in the Lakota Sioux language, means turtle. The title is The Keys: Voice of the Turtle. The setting is the Florida Keys, and the premise is protecting sea turtles and their nesting beaches. It fit perfectly.

Are your characters based on anyone you know?All my characters are conglomerates of people I’ve known, have met, have seen on the street—and myself.

How long have you been writing? When did you decide to become an author?Writing stories has always come easily. I’ve been writing since I was nine years old, but I’ve only been published the last 36 years. I “broke into” writing with cookbooks and textbooks, but I only decided to become an author, when we lived in Taiwan and came up with an idea for a thriller about China retaking Taiwan.

What did you do when you received your first Acceptance Letter? My husband and I bought the most expensive bottle of champagne and toasted to the book’s success.

We all need a little inspiration in our lives. What’s your favorite quote and why?Not sure if it’s inspirational, but I find Anton Chekhov’s quote about writing useful, when I’m struggling to show, not tell. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Any advice for the aspiring authors out there? Particularly those who are feeling a little discouraged?
Write every day. Besides instilling good habits, it keeps the storyline going in your imagination even when you’re not writing. Some of my best ideas come to me when I wake, which leads me to believe my mind has been working on the plot while I’ve slept.

The Keys: Voice of the Turtle by Karen Hulene Bartell


Hours after arriving in the Florida Keys to help her cousin Keya create a turtle preserve, Ruth discovers a washed-up body and not one, but two apparitions—Maita, the angry victim's spirit, and Bart, a swashbuckling ghost. Ruth's curious ability to connect with the ghosts may help them move on, but how?

Keya is in a probate battle over her turtle-nesting beach. Land-hungry relatives want it bulldozed and developed. Like Ruth, she has a special gift—she can talk to animals. Between Ruth's help and Keya's unique ability, they work to save the property, but is it too late?

Can Keya save her beloved turtles? Can Ruth find Maita's murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? There's more than meets the eye to Keya's land. Add in a dashing sailor who believes in her, and Keya may have more than she bargained for…


Conveying this land to the turtles would be my way of leaving the world a better place.” She turned toward Ruth. “Does that make sense?”

Ruth nodded and gazed at Keya as if for the first time. Her cousin’s intentions were clear. “But legally, how can you will the property to the turtles?”

“Easy. I leave it to the Turtle Refuge.” Keya laughed inwardly as they meandered along the beach. “And this is where you come in. When you’re writing the brochure, add a few paragraphs about planned giving and charitable bequests…” Her words broke off as Keya stared as if in a trance.

Ruth looked at her. “What’s wrong?”

Her hand shaking, Keya pointed to a shady patch of beach half hidden by sand dunes. A lifeless hand lay tangled in seaweed, its fingernails broken and bloodied.

Racing behind the sandbanks to help, Ruth skidded to a halt, her heels digging into the sand. A woman’s bloated body lay staring at the sun, her eyes opaque and unseeing. “Do you recognize her?”

“No.” Keya shook her head as the cat gingerly approached, sniffing and meowing. But Earnestine said she smells familiar.”

“Knock, knock,” called a man’s voice.

Ruth flinched at the sound. “Who’s there?”
Buy Links:

Amazon eBook:
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The Wild Rose Press:

About the Author:

Author of the Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

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