Name: Hello, our names are Linda Fagala and Karen Pugh. We write under the name of PF Karlin. Get it? P=Pugh, F=Fagala, Kar=Karen, and Lin=Linda.
Age: Let’s just say we’re two mature ladies and leave it at that.
Where are you from:
We both live in Sugar Land, Texas, United States.
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc:
LINDA FAGALA-I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Then I ventured off to Nacogdoches, Texas to attend Stephen F. Austin State University, where I graduated with a degree and certification in art education, which I never used. But, I did work for the local school district and met my husband, Gary. We have one son, Brian, who is married to his college sweetheart, Jessica. We are retired and enjoying a leisurely life.
KAREN PUGH-I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, US. There I attended college and received my degree in Nursing. I have been a practicing nurse for forty-three years in various settings, but presently I’m employed part time at a local hospital. I was hoping to retire from nursing after fifty years of practice but I think my love of writing may change that plan. I currently live in Texas with my husband of twenty-eight years. I have one son and daughter-in-law that I adore. They have blessed me
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
We completed and published our first New Adult romance novel, Shattered Fate, in April 2014. Currently we are working on the sequel, Destiny Reborn which should be in print early 2015.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
KAREN-I had always been interested in writing. I attempted to start writing a novel twice but received very little encouragement from the people who read my work. Of course no one could tell me why they didn’t like what I wrote. So, where do you go from there? Back then I was too afraid to push myself into venturing out. But as I matured, I saw the world differently and what was important to me in my youth lost its importance. Now I look at the world with older eyes and I was willing to take on the challenge when Linda presented me with Shattered Fate and co-writing.
LINDA-??? Growing up, I didn’t like to read or write. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would author a book. But late in life, I read my first romance novel and was hooked. Shortly after, a story based on some of the things I experienced in college flooded my mind. I thought it might be easy (har har) and fun to turn the story into a book.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
KAREN-This is tough. I think I will consider myself a true author after our second book comes out. One book is a fluke, but I think the second one is the tipping point, because writing is a passion. So, ask me this question again after Destiny Reborn is in print.
LINDA-I don’t think I will consider myself a true writer until I learn everything needed to produce a ground breaking work of art.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
KAREN–Linda! Without her I wouldn’t have had the guts.
LINDA-During the summer of 2011, I was reminiscing about how much fun I had my sophomore year in college and the beginning of the story came to me. The remainder was formulated in my mind while sightseeing through New Mexico and Colorado. When I returned home, I handwrote my thoughts. I didn’t know the first thing about writing and publishing a book, so I showed it to Karen for her opinion. She didn’t know either, but thought the story had some potential. So, after transcribing it onto my son’s old laptop, Karen and I started rewriting the story in March. I told Karen the story needed a punch, and she came up with the twist.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
KAREN-I like third person. I think it’s fun to have different character’s Points of View in a story.
LINDA-I prefer to write in first person.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
KAREN-We knew we wanted the word FATE in one title and DESTINY in the second title. So one day, I sat at the computer and played around with the Thesaurus. I came up with Shattered Fate and Destiny Reborn. Then I ran them by Linda and poof, we had titles.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
KAREN-Nothing hair- raising, but we both knew we wanted to concentrate on the romance of a relationship and not the sexual aspect. Now we do make plenty of references to sex but the relationship is what really matters.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
KAREN-I’ll let Linda answer this one. But bits and pieces of people we know show up on our pages and in the character’s personalities.
LINDA-The story is fiction, but a number of the events are based on my experiences, such as riding my boyfriend’s horse around campus, Belinda’s physical change, etc.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
KAREN-This is a Linda question.
LINDA-Some of the events are based on my experiences the spring semester of my sophomore year in college.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
KAREN-Black Beauty. It was the first book I ever read as a child and the storyline grab me and never let go. I still think about the book today.
LINDA-This might sound odd, but Twilight. I enjoyed Stephanie Myers writing style. First person was not used very often until Ms. Myers revived it in her series. I found it fresh and easy for me to adapt as a writing style. So, I embraced it.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
KAREN–Dwight Murray. He’s a personal friend and held our hand during the writing and publishing process.
LINDA-Shelley K Wall. She’s a dear friend and outstanding author. She has already taught me some things about writing that I didn’t know and no one else had mentioned.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
KAREN-Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas. I try to read at least twenty to thirty books a year, so this question changes weekly.
LINDA-Text Me by Shelley K. Wall. I like to read whenever I have some spare time and to relax. I have one problem though, once I start reading, I can’t put the book down until I finish.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
KAREN-Me. I’m the newest author I know and I like my stuff. Is that too egocentric?
LINDA-I can’t think of any. The one’s whose books I like to read have been around for a while.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
We’re working hard on the sequel to Shattered Fate, Destiny Reborn, but we have ideas for at least eleven more books bouncing around in our heads. Some have been started with others still ideas. Once Destiny Reborn hits the stands we’ll move on to our next project. Right now we’re thinking about a novella to complement our first two books, but we’ll see. We might change course and start another full length novel.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Romance Writers of America. We joined just after we published our first book as an ebook and this has been the most helpful, positive growing experience. We had the opportunity to attend the national conference in San Antonio. The meetings helped both of us with learning the craft and refining our writing, and continue to.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
KAREN-As we speak, I am trying to reinvent myself as a writer. I love being able to put the characters and situations I’ve created on paper. The whole process is a creative outlet. However, it is also a business and all writers have to remember the business part of writing, which is not always the most fun.
LINDA-At this point in my life, I do not see writing as a career. I’m doing it for fun and to get the stories out of my head.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
KAREN-I would make it a little shorter and tighten up the passive writing, but other than that, no. I love the story line just as it is.
LINDA-I agree with Karen.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
KAREN-I always had trouble as a child with reading. I was never very good at it and only read what was mandatory for school. Once I graduated college, my appreciation of the written word expanded. I took a speed reading course in my early thirties and the rest was history. I love to immerse myself in the characters on the pages before me. Once I was able to do that, I found rearranging the stories seemed a natural progression. I never really put pen to paper in any real effort— that is until Linda came along and got me into all this. I love her for it too.
LINDA-I had the idea for Shattered Fate. When the characters formed in my head, I just needed to get them out and on paper. I knew I wanted my story in book form.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Shattered Fate is a contemporary love story about two college students. In short, Boy meets girl. Girl and boy fall madly in love. Boy does stupid stuff to lose girl. Girl forgives boy then a metaphysical twist takes place to change their lives forever and we can’t tell you anymore without spoiling the plot. In Destiny Reborn, most is explained as to how and why things happened in Shattered Fate. That is until another metaphysical twist takes place. Again, we can’t go any farther without spoiling the plot. You’ll just have to read both to find out what happens to Belinda and Robert and how their destiny is changed by fate. Destiny Reborn is close to being finished and should be in print and in ebook form within the next few months.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Definitely agreeing as co-writers. It’s like a marriage. Sometimes you want to get a divorce, but you work it out in the end for the sake of the children, our books!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
KAREN-This may be betraying my chosen genre but I like Stephen King. He has a way of getting under your skin with words and scaring the crap out of you at the same time. His work is precise and to the point.
LINDA-I can’t say I have a favorite author. I like any of them that can provide an entertaining read.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Right now no, since both books take place in Texas and several other books we have in our heads do the same. However, we have some ideas for a book that would take place out of the US. At that time we’d be more than happy to visit the country the book takes placed in. We also would be open to setting up book signings in other countries. Maybe after Destiny Reborn is in print.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
We did. We took the pictures for both book covers then had Lane Simmons help us with the final product. Lane, who was in school studying graphic design, worked with the crew that did Karen’s landscaping. Lane has since changed his major to math, but still helps us out on our layout needs. Some pictures have been inserted to show you how we did the set up and took the pictures of the roses found on both book covers. It was homemade all the way.
The roses were purchased at a local supermarket.
Karen went to a glass shop to purchase the mirror, then she asked them to break it. They thought she was nuts, but they did as she asked and did a fine job of it. The broken mirror with a rose lying across it became the cover of Shattered Fate. We had planned on using a mirror on Destiny Reborn’s cover, but scratched that idea.
We used foam cord board for the sides of the booth to block out anything we didn’t want in the picture. The lights are ordinary desk lamps. We later added a lamp that clamped to the table. It directed the light over the roses to cut down on the shadowing.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
KAREN-Writing the book is easy, but it does no good to write a book then have no way of getting it to the readers. So I would have to say the business side of it is the hardest. Since we self-published, we have to pay attention to the business portion. We have to promote and sell our own book. There is no big publishing house to help us. But the business side takes time that could be spent on writing—something of a vicious circle.
LINDA-Learning that we did something wrong that we didn’t know about after the book was finished and then having to rewrite each time.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
We learned a lot. The main thing, stories have a structure and after a short time the characters of the book become real people. Linda and I discuss what they would or would not do because it might or might not be in their nature. Consistency is another big part. Your characters have to fit in the world you created to be believable. Being consistent with that world is important and trust me, readers pick up on mistakes. We went as far as drawing floor plans for the houses we describe in our books, designed a college campus, and two offices. We also did timelines so we could accurately interject situations that took place at the correct times.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write and learn. Pick your genre and start writing. Be willing to take criticism. Without listening to the people who read your books, you’ll never grow as a writer. We had Beta Readers look at Shattered Fate. Their job was to look for mistakes, inconsistencies, sentences that sounded too convoluted, and anything that might make the book sound better. We took their suggestions and made changes that improved the book. Have all your work edited by someone who knows what they’re doing, and then take their advice if appropriate. Most of all don’t get mad at your editor. Their job is to help you polish your work. Always strive for perfection. Edit your own work, and then edit some more.
This is what you should look like after a round of editing! Trust us. A good glass of wine helps!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
KAREN-Thank you, because without their support, I wouldn’t be a writer. My books need an audience and for my readers, I am grateful.
LINDA-I greatly appreciate our readers support and hope our future books will continue to please.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
KAREN–Sleeping Beauty at age nine.
LINDA-No, I don’t remember the first book I read, since I didn’t like to read, but I did enjoy reading Black Beauty in elementary school. I don’t remember the grade.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
KAREN-I love people with a dry sense of humor. They crack me up. As for crying, all kinds of things make me cry. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Heck I cry when I get frustrated or mad. I guess that says a lot about my character.
LINDA-Watching a comedy, hearing a stupid joke, and watching my crazy Pomeranian are a few of the things that make me laugh. My eyes tear up during a sad or tender moment in a show, hearing upsetting news, or when I’m frustrated.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would like to meet and why?
KAREN-Gene Rodenberry. I’m an original Trekkie and the man was a genius in my book and he was born in Texas. What’s not to love and admire.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
KAREN-“No matter how long you live, it’s what you gave back that counts.” I truly hope I give enough back for it to count.
LINDA-“A Loving Wife and Mother”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
KAREN-My grandchildren. I like to garden when it’s not hot outside and in Texas that can be a challenge at times. I like keeping company with my husband. He’s funny and makes me laugh. I enjoy traveling and time to be alone. Linda started me on beading and making jewlry. I like doing that but haven’t had much time since writing has consumed my life.
LINDA-Writing and editing takes up most my spare time. When I can, I enjoy spending time with my husband or reading or beading jewelry.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
KAREN-There at too many TV shows to mention. I just started watching the Mindy Project. The adult humor is great. Elementary and Forever hit the top ten as well. I like the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. HMMM? The last three I mentioned all have stars from the British Isles. As for movies. Action, Sci-fi, good Paranormal, and of course, the old standby chick flicks where no one dies in the end. I like the happy-ever-after endings.
LINDA-My very favorite to watch on TV is the Hallmark Channel – I like their happy movies. I also like The Black List, The Americans, Grimm, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, The Mysteries of Laura, to name a few. I watch them when I’m writing and editing. I enjoy watching Sci-fi and Happily-Ever-After movies. I do not like movies with a sad ending.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
KAREN- Favorite foods: Sushi and good old Texas barbeque. Colors: teal, aqua, seafoam green. Music: anything classical or Country and Western.
LINDA-My favorite foods are Italian and TexMex. Colors: Red, turquoise, teal, royal blue. Music: All kinds except rap and country.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
KAREN-I did it. I had always wanted to be a nurse and I am.
LINDA-Be a speech therapist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
We are constructing a website and hope to have a newsletter attached to it. The site is PFKARLIN.COM Please watch for it.
Belinda, an innocent co-ed, meets Robert, the campus player, under the most unusual circumstances in a sleepy East Texas college town. Her lack of self-confidence along with his reputation causes the young lovers problems. Despite difficulties, the charisma between the pair leads them into a rushed marriage and on a path of heartbreak. The couple reunites for one night, before misfortune tears them apart—leaving Belinda to search for her beloved Robert in her new reality
Belinda accepts an invitation to a New Year’s Eve party where she meets a breathing, flesh and blood version of Robert. However, he doesn’t want anything to do with her. Belinda’s only alternative is to go on planning and living her life as if they never met, but fate steps in and keeps intertwining their lives. They muddle through their chance meetings and even manage to turn their encounters into a genuine friendship, until he reveals his secret that changes their destinies forever.