Today I’m chatting with Karen Cogan, an author friend from Prism Book Group.
Tell us a bit about you and your background.
I have written fiction since elementary school. I remember writing and illustrating stories for my second grade teacher. Since I’m a terrible artist, I’m sure she wondered how the picture went with the story!
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
My hobbies away from the computer are thumbing through recipes, mostly on the computer. I garden occasionally. I have a passion for learning new horse techniques and ride my quarter horse most days.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
My writing style is mostly free-style. A story line occurs to me and the characters that are to fill the rolls. I have an idea of what problems they will encounter and how the story will end. Then, I begin writing and let the characters lead me where they will go.
Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
One of my novels is set in Ouray, Colorado. It is a beautiful town set in a valley between the mountains. I became fascinated with the mining history and early settlement. I spent time poking around the town with my husband and getting photos. After that, I did extensive research and enjoyed writing a historical novel set in that location.
Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?
I have written in several different genres. I have children’s picture books in print and middle grade novels. I also write sweet, adult contemporary and historical novels. I have written a time-travel novel set in the time of Lafitte, the pirate, in Galveston, TX. It is scheduled for release in January.
Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?
Besides a horse, I have cats and dogs. I always thought of myself as a dog person. However, we took in a cat we found abandoned at a store and she has become one of my “babies”.
In what genres do you read?
I enjoy reading in the genre of mystery and suspense, as well as inspirational romance.
What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
I hope my readers take away the message that, while life is unpredictable, there is a plan for our lives. Though we are not always in control of events, they may be assured that God knows the plan and will bring it to fruition.
Lynn parked her truck in front of the adobe school building, took a deep breath, and let her body adjust to the stillness. It was an odd sensation after jostling over miles of rutted roads in her attempt to find this place. She stared at the doorway for a moment, mustering the nerve to go inside. Since, she’d come this far, She might as well get out of the truck and find out how far over her head she had gotten herself in this time.
Copyright © 2012 Karen Cogan
Lynn’s thoughts scattered in a million directions as they grabbed their bags and wove their way through the holiday crowds to wait in the car rental line. When they finished the paperwork, they found the dark blue Probe that Greg had reserved for the ten days in which he was to stay at the rental property.
He handed the keys to Lynn. “I may know Albuquerque, but you know Houston.”
“At least well enough to get us home.”
They drove into the late afternoon rush hour traffic. The sun looked pale and anemic peeking through the gray clouds. Lynn turned on the wipers as a light drizzle began to fall.
“This is my least favorite type of weather. Cold and rainy,” she said.
“I thought you disliked snow the most.”
“Snow can be pretty when you don’t have to drive in it.”
“OK. If it starts to snow, I’ll drive.”
Lynn laughed. “Fat chance.”
It was dusk when Lynn pulled next to her mom’s Lincoln in the parking slot of the red brick townhouse. The decorative outside lantern glowed with a soft welcoming light. She turned off the engine and stretched her arms. “We’re here.”
“It’s an attractive place. Georgian?”
“You got it. I didn’t know you knew architecture.”
“I don’t. It was just a lucky guess.”
Lynn started to the trunk. Greg stopped her and said, “I’ll get your luggage after we meet your Mom.”
She smiled, grateful for the offer. She couldn’t wait to get out of the cold drizzle and let Mom know they were here. Mom would have worried all afternoon whether they would be delayed at the airport, have an accident or lose their luggage. The sooner they got in, the sooner they could ease her mind.
Lynn preceded Greg up the porch steps to the polished oak door. A glow of light shone through the oval etched glass window. Rectangular windows beside the door gave off their own assurance of the warmth and light within. Lynn felt a surge of homesickness for her mother and for the childhood she had left behind.
She rang the bell.
Footsteps reverberated on the marble entry. A shadow crossed in front of the light and poised to open the door. Lynn reached out, ready to embrace her mother.
The door swung open and Lynn gasped. Her arms fell to her sides. Her throat went dry.
“Mark,” she croaked.
“Hi, Lynn.” He smiled a welcoming smile. “It’s good to see you. You look wonderful.”
He noticed Greg, behind Lynn in the shadows. The surprise on his face spoke volumes as he stepped aside to let them enter.
“Your mother told me you were bringing a friend.”
And let you believe it was a female friend, Lynn thought, feeling her face heat with embarrassment.
“This is Greg Martin. He teaches at my school. Greg, this is Mark Andrews.”
The men shook hands and exchanged a greeting as they sized each other up. Lynn wondered what Greg must be thinking. She hoped he knew she had no part in this and was, in fact, chagrined at the comparison Mom had arranged.
Still, it was typical of Mom. And since, it wasn’t Mark’s fault that he had been invited or that she resented his presence, she would have to smile and make the best of things.
Mom glided into the entryway. She was dressed in a peach angora pantsuit, giving off the first impression most people had of her as soft, sweet, and easily led.
Lynn grimaced. They did not know her iron will as Lynn did. Maybe someday, these awkward moments would be funny. Perhaps she and Greg would look back on them with amusement. At the moment, she was not amused.
“I thought I heard voices,” Joyce said.
She held Lynn in front of her as she did when Lynn was a little girl. “I don’t think you’ve been eating well. We’ll have to work on feeding you well enough to finish one more semester.”
She turned to Greg. “This must be your friend.”
Greg extended his hand. “Greg Martin. It’s good to meet you, Mrs. Martin.”
She looked from Lynn to Greg. “Martin? You have the same last name. How quaint. But do call me Joyce. Mrs. Martin sounds so old.”
As “Joyce” wrapped her arm through Lynn’s and led her away, Lynn thought it was funny how her mother wanted to appear old and frail when it suited her purposes and young when it did not.
“I have a nice roasted chicken dinner I bought at the deli this afternoon. It’s all warmed and waiting. You can tell me about your trip while we eat. Did your luggage arrive? I’ve been so worried about having you travel this time of year. I hear there’s a lot of crime at the airports.”
Lynn glanced behind her and wondered what Mark was thinking about being invited to a dinner where his romantic interest showed up with another man. And Greg? His face was an inscrutable mask. She feared that behind that mask were some very interesting thoughts. Just what those thoughts were, she would have to wait until they were alone to find out.
from 5 star review:”
“There is plenty of humour and well drawn characters with sub plots that draw us in. Ms Cogan uses the New Mexico setting to set the mood and even play a role in the plot. I really enjoyed this story.”
A native of Houston, TX, Karen spent her early years enjoying life along the Gulf Coast. After high school, she attended Texas A&M as well as the University of Houston where she obtained a B.S. in early childhood education. She has written numerous articles and stories, books for children and novels for adults. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary and historical romance, and now lives in the Southwest with her family and assorted pets.