Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Author Interview: Karl Beckstrand

Karl Beckstrand
author, A Sky So Big

Give us a bit of your background.

I’m from San Jose, California, but I’ve lived in a lot of places—including South America. I have a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU and a certificate in broadcasting and film. Since 2004 I’ve run my own publishing company (my first publisher died the day we were going to print!). I teach media at a state college and speak on traditional vs. digital/self-publishing. I enjoy volleyball and kayaking (usually not at the same time).

Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?      

I love history, so anything by David McCoullugh is ideal. Other authors I love:  Tolkien, Harper Lee, C.S. Lewis, and Shel

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go? 

Greece—I’ve been near, but have yet to enter that island paradise.

What is your favorite genre to write? 

I’m enjoying putting together biographies of late (mostly family stories). They inspire me.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I love suspense.

What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2015? 

A graphic novel version of A Sky So Big is being illustrated now for 2016 release. I’m working on more multicultural/multilingual children’s books and biographies of great Americans.

Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader? 

I love it when someone says a book I wrote held them captive—or that the twists were totally unexpected.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing? 

My books are my life laid out in color (you may note my obsession with food, since it finds its way into most of my books).

Where do your ideas come from? 

I’ve never had writer’s block. I am constantly ambushed by story ideas—things I see people do, or things my family says; I scribble them on scraps of paper and file them for future use (but I have more ideas than time to write them).

How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published? 

I have written about 30 books; fifteen have been published (because of translations I have about 43 titles out).

Please share about your book 

I inherited the manuscript for A Sky So Big. It’s a gripping story—written by someone who grew up exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains on horseback nearly a hundred years ago. My challenge was to develop the characters while preserving the action, authentic detail, and earthy vernacular. The other thing that was so appealing about this story was, in addition to a tough, dark hero, there are some gutsy female characters who are unintimidated by the worst kinds of opposition.

If you could sum your main character into five words, what would they be? 

Outcast, rebel, different (half-Mexican, raised by Indians), loyal, fearless

What are your hero and heroine of the story like? 

What if you came home after a journey and your family was no longer there? What if someone else was living in your house, running what you used to manage—and trying to kill you? Could a beautiful woman be behind it? Wade Forester has to stay in the shadows. His father has disappeared, and his sister won’t speak to anyone. Patricia Laughlin is searching for her family as well. Few people gain her trust or approval. Wade must decide if risking his life to help Patricia means aiding the enemy. And Patricia must decide which killer to trust with her life.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book? 

A man and a woman clash amid a Nevada silver rush scheme that leaves both unsure who to trust—and scrambling to stay alive. Enter a mystery that will make your heart pound and fill your lungs with the “rarefied air” of the old Sierra Nevadas.

Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning author of fifteen books and more than 40 online titles (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Raised in San Jose, California, USA, he received a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a film certificate from Film A. Academy. Two publishers produced his early titles; since 2004 he has run Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker, consultant, and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, radio, and TV broadcasting. He teaches media at a state college and contrasts traditional publishing with digital publishing (in English or Spanish). His e-book mysteries, nonfiction/biographies, Spanish & bilingual books (with pronunciation guide), and app feature diverse characters and usually end with a twist. He has lived abroad, been a Spanish/English interpreter, and enjoys volleyball and kayaking (usually not at the same time). Beckstrand’s multicultural work has appeared in: Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble/Nook, Border’s Books, Brodart, Costco, Deseret Book, EBSCO, Follett, iBooks, Ingram, Kindle/Amazon, Kobo, Mackin, Overdrive, Quality Books, The Children’s Miracle Network, The Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives, Papercrafts Magazine, LDS Film Festival, and PremioBooks.com. Find: “Karl Beckstrand” on FB, Amazon, Twitter, and KarlBeckstrand.com. https://karlbeckstrandblog.wordpress.com/


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