Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#TuesdayswithTaryn Guest is Karen Stivali @karenstivali #Author of Meant To Be

Tuesdays with Taryn
Karen Stivali

What book(s) most influenced you as a writer?
I’ve always been an avid reader and my favorite books have always been the kind where you feel like you know all the characters personally when you’re done. As a kid my favorite authors were Judy Blume, Paul Zindel and Paula Danzinger because I’d come away from their books feeling like I had new friends. I started reading adult literature by the time I was twelve and I gravitated toward writers who painted vivid and memorable characters and focused on their relationships. I loved Catcher in the Rye and Judy Blume’s Wifey and every book Erich Segal ever wrote (Love Story and The Class being favorites). There are a few short love stories in Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey house that I must have read at least a dozen times. Plus I used to read all of my grandmother’s sweeping romantic sagas. I’ve always been a sucker for a love story.

What book do you read over and over again?
There are several books I’ve read numerous times but the one book I read over and over again is The Last Convertible by Anton Myrer. I read it for the first time when I was fourteen and I fell in love with all of it. It’s an incredible story about the lives of eight men and women who met in college, just as World War II was beginning and it follows all of them as their lives change over the next two decades. This is an incredible example of what I mean about feeling like you know the characters. When I finished reading the book I felt like I’d known them all forever. What’s more impressive is that it’s told by one of the eight friends, and even though it’s all told through his point of view you feel like you know each of them equally well. It even includes letters they exchanged while they were separated by war or because they’d move away from one another. It’s just an amazing book and when I haven’t read it for a year or so I will, without fail, get the urge to read it again.

Tuesday Trio-
1)      Movie- I am way too much of a movie buff to narrow the choice to one but some of my favorites are Good Will Hunting, The Princess Bride, The Way We Were and Keeping The Faith.
2)      Music- That’s even harder than the movie question! I love classical music and pretty much all rock and roll. For classic/oldie rock I like The Beatles and The Hollies, for 80s rock I like The Cure and The Ramones, nowadays I listen to alternative rock stations that play a mix of old stuff, new stuff and upcoming bands. Kingsley Flood is a current favorite.
3)      Decadent Dessert- Chocolate truffle loaf with caramel sauce and crème anglaise (and if you keep an eye on my blog the recipe for that may show up one day…)

Novel on your Nightstand:
Who/what are you currently reading?
I am currently reading a paranormal young adult novel that a member of my local writer’s group just completed. It’s amazingly good for a first draft and even though it’s not a genre I usually read I’m hoping she goes ahead with her plans for the sequels because I want to know what happens!

Whom would you cast as your Hero & Heroine if your book became a movie?
I get asked this question a lot and I have a hard time with it. When I create characters they form in my head, based out of my imagination. A lot of authors like to use photos as inspiration or will cast the movie in their mind as they’re writing but that doesn’t work for me. I like to see my characters as unique people, not associate them with a particular image. That’s why I prefer book covers that don’t show faces---they never look like the faces in my head.

That said, if I had to cast the movie I’d pick Robert Pattinson to play Daniel. Not the brooding Twilight version of the actor, more like the real life version---British, witty, well-read, self-deprecating and a little unsure why women swoon so much when he walks into a room---those are Daniel qualities. For Marienne I’d cast Ginnifer Goodwin---she’s beautiful but always plays the girl who feels like she doesn’t quite measure up---which makes her seem sweeter and more relatable, qualities Marienne embodies.

Blurb for Meant To Be:
Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.
When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.

For more information on this book and my other novels, please visit my
(You’ll also find some yummy recipes there for foods that are mentioned in the book!)

I can also be found at the following places:

Author Bio:    
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. 

Buy links for Meant To Be: 

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