Bright Lights #3 - Karen Y. Bynum - Witch Way to Turn

2012 is rapidly coming to a close with 2013 looming large on the horizon. Who better to see in the New Year with than Karen Y. Bynum? (That's a rhetorical question...there's nobody better to see the New Year in with and to even have given that question a moment's thought is, frankly, insulting. *HUFF*)

Sorry. I meandered.

Ladles and Jellyspoons, I would like to introduce you to the lovely Miss Bynum. She bravely agreed to come visit my blog and impart some of her wisdom, experience, a wee bit of crazy and tell us about her latest book: Witch Way to Turn.

Don't worry, I'll let Karen do most of the talking...

Karen Y. Bynum (Likes devouring cookies and souls)
Karen Y. Bynum is an author of young adult paranormal fantasy.  Her debut novel Witch Way to Turn is published through Lyrical Press.  She grew up in Hickory, North Carolina where mountains and magic surrounded her.  Even as a child, she wrote her own faery tales and prattled incessantly to her imaginary friends.

After graduating from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Communications, she went on to become certified in culinary arts from The Art Institute of Charlotte.  But it wasn’t until her aerospace engineer husband accepted a job in Virginia and they relocated that she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

With the support of family and friends, Karen embarked on a journey with the voices in her head.  They wouldn’t stop talking (yes, she does answer back) and their stories took shape. 

Karen currently lives in coastal Virginia and enjoys reading, tweeting, writing and spending time with her husband and their spoiled rotten Vizsla named Rusty. 

Spartagus says: No, I wasn't used as the model for this cover

Q - Hi Karen, your brand new book Witch Way To Turn is out NOW! You've had some time to process it all, how does it feel being a published author?

A – Hi Gareth! Thanks so much for inviting me on your blog! Yay!! I have to say it’s awesome. *smiles really big* One of my stories that was knocking around inside my brain for so long is now out in the world! 

Q - Do you ever introduce yourself as a writer? :0) 

A – Hmm. I haven’t—probably because I don’t write full-time, yet—but I think I shall try it out. ;)

Q - You've got a string of positive reviews on Amazon; has that been heartening that all your hard work is being received so well by your audience? 

A – It’s a wonderful and giddy feeling! I’m so thrilled to know that readers love Breena, Myles and Orin as much as I do.

Q - Breena, the MC of Witch Way To Turn is a strong (female) protagonist, did the character come to mind first or the story? 

A – Breena definitely came first. From the start she told me her story. The first memory I have of her was near the end of chapter one when blue light erupts from her hands as she tries to protect her foster sister.

Q - When dealing with elements of Fantasy or the Paranormal are you inspired by anything in particular? 

A – Pretty much anything can be inspiration for me, especially dealing with Fantasy and Paranormal…a leaf floating to the ground can hold a tiny civilization on a collision course with the brittle grass below. A woman with a Prada bag gripped tightly in her hand could be a dragon in human skin, just searching for her next victim.

Oh and definitely music too. It’s probably my greatest on-the-go inspiration.

Q - In Witch Way To Turn you set up interesting relationships, including an important one between Breena and her foster sister. How important is it for you to set up strong character dynamics in your stories? 

A – Great question. Yes, Breena and Jenny’s relationship was vital to the story. The way they interacted with their special language and love for one another made everything about the story extremely real to me. Definitely important! When the characters are real in my mind, they come alive on the page. *talks to the voices in my head* ;)

Q - It's usually difficult to boil down the essence of your story into one genre or classification, does that ever restrict your choices as a writer or do you just write and worry about how to pitch it later? 

A – Hard hitting question…love it! Most of my stories I worry about how to pitch it after I’m finished with draft 624, and this usually works well for me. ;) The one—my grim reaper story—that I did write a pitch sentence for before writing the actual manuscript received a request from an editor; however, for some reason I’ve yet to finish writing it. Eep! So, I probably won’t be writing pitches anymore before The End is written. lol

Q - How was your experience working with Lyrical Press? Could you give us some insight into how long the process was from pitch to publishing? 

A – I have met so many wonderful people through Lyrical. For one, my editor is amazing! All the Lyrical authors are so supportive of each other, and I was extremely impressed with the cover for WWTT. I’m grateful to Lyrical for giving me the opportunity to share my work.

As for the process, I queried Lyrical in November of 2011, was offered a contract in December of 2011, started edits in January of 2012, finished edits in April 2012 and WWTT officially released on August 6, 2012.

Q - Do you have a particular writing spot or a time of day you like to write? 

A – I’m an early bird writer. So I am usually up by 4:30AM on Monday through Friday and at least by 7:30AM on the weekend. My morning writing spot is either the dining room table or the recliner by the fireplace in the living room. If I write at night I can be found in my writing cave—which consists of a large monitor on my desk from college—in the bedroom.

Q - Do you write every day? 

A – Yes, indeed. My soul dies a little if I don’t.

Q - Once you have your story down, do you like to use Beta Readers or have friends critique it? 

A – Most definitely. My beta readers are the best! Not that I’m partial or anything. ;)

Q - Were you nervous about letting people read your work for the first time? 

A – The first time I let someone read my very first work, I was an absolute basket-case! O.o I’m actually still like that with first drafts.

Q - What has been the general reaction from close friends and relatives? 

A – The reactions have been wonderful! So supportive and excited. I love it!

Q - What are your thoughts on the uses of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter etc) for writers. Has it helped in your development? 

A – It’s extremely important. For an author who is just starting out—like myself—it’s a great way to get your name out there and build a brand for yourself. I have to admit that Twitter is almost as addictive as coffee. So, I have to be careful that I don’t spend too much time on there.

Q - Do you have any current favorite authors/books? 

A – I just recently read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, and OMG, it was amazing! Also, the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning is just…WOW. I’ve never seen character development like Mac, the heroine! So fantastic.

Q - Do you suffer writer's block? 

A – Yup, on occasion.

Q - Is it important for a writer to also be a reader? 

A – Very!!

Q - Library or Bookstore? 

A – Bookstore because I can get coffee there. :)

Q - Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to? 

A – Nope! No music for me. The voices in my head are too easily distracted. :P

Q - How do you choose your next story? 

A – They normally choose me. :)

Q - What are you writing now? 

A – A dark, gritty New Adult book with dragon shifters and a twist!

Q - What excites you most about writing? 

A – Learning about the characters and seeing the story develop right before my eyes. Anything is possible and their lives are in my hands! Bwahaha ;)

Q - One piece of advice for new writers? 

A – Set a word count/page number goal and then strive for it every day. Read inside your genre and out. Treat people the way you want to be treated. And remember that tomorrow is a new day.

And finally - You're are going to be stranded on a desert island (for a wee while) but I'm going to allow you to take 1 book, 1 piece of music, 1 movie, a bowl of your favorite dessert and 1 person you'd like to share the island with for a while (alive, dead, fictional or matters not) What are your choices...and if you want to elaborate...tell me WHY? 

Ahhh! How will I ever choose? Hmm, okay—as a romance writer—this answer could go in all kinds of steamy directions! LOL *decides on the PG/angst filled route* ;) Here goes…

(Music – Star Wars: A New Hope soundtrack) Why? Well, isn’t it obvious? It’s awesome! Plus, having an instrumental would help creativity. And let’s face it, if I’m stuck on a desert island I’m gonna have to get creative at some point…otherwise, I’ll get bored. LOL

(Movie – The Princess Bride) Why? True love. Adventure. Despair. Revenge. Forgiveness. Happily ever after. It’s all there! Besides, I can literally watch that movie over and over and over and it never gets old.

(Favorite dessert – brownies) Why? If I only get one sweet treat, it has to be chocolate. And brownies are a classic!

(Person – Ian Somerhalder, as Damon from The Vampire Diaries) Why? Well, erm, uh…for obvious reasons? teehee *looks into his crazy eyes and swoons*

And finally… (Book – Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl) Why? I’ve never read this series, but I’ve wanted to for a long time. Herein lies the angst…I’m on a desert island, and after I fall in love with the book, I can’t get the rest of the series! Step aside, vampires, that is true torture. ;)

Thank you so much for agreeing to appear on my goofy little blog. :0) Say hi to Banshee for me! :0)

Thanks so much for inviting me! It was my pleasure. Banshee says hi, but she’s upping her required daily sacrifice…so, bring on the white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies! :)

Karen's book is available everywhere so there's really no excuse not to buy it. You can read about it below and follow the links at the bottom to buy a copy. Banshee would appreciate it...and trust me when I tell you, you don't want to upset Banshee. :0) And remember, if you enjoy a writer's work, post a review, let the writer and other readers know what you thought! 

Witch Way To Turn
Can you give one guy your heart and another your soul?

The last thing eighteen-year-old Breena Cross needs in her life is more complications. It’s all she can do to balance studying, working, trying to keep her foster-sister safe and drooling over the new guy at work. But things go from complicated to crazy when a fit of rage ignites the dark magic inside her and she finds herself fending off the supernatural underworld.

Myles, Breena’s drool-worthy coworker and vampire convict, is carrying a load of secrets--one of which is that he’s fang-over-lip in love with Breena and in danger of violating the terms of his sentence.

Orin is a soul-hungry assassin sent to kill Breena. However, he takes one look into her eyes and sees his own lost humanity. For once thinking of someone other than himself, he chooses not to end her life, even though it means risking his own.

Despite a convict and an assassin fighting over her, all Breena wants is custody of her sister. But to do this, she will need help from both Myles and Orin. And if Breena doesn’t learn to control the darkness within, she could lose her sister…forever.

WARNING: Contains strong language and some graphic content.

Where to find Karen on Social Media and Buy Links for Witch Way to Turn


  1. Thank you again for hosting me, Gareth!! This was one of the most fun and creative interviews I've ever done!! LOVED your questions! :D Happy Happy New Year!!

  2. Karen!
    LOVED this interview. Your passion for this genre is exciting! Keep up the good work and best wishes in 2013!

    1. Hi Valerie! Thanks so much!!! It definitely is my passion! :D Happy New Year!


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