With her debut novel, Shoe Marks, author Karen Vance Hammond shows that she knows how to bring on the chills when it comes to ghost stories. She brings true events to life in a spellbinding tale that will linger in your mind long after you read the last page.
Adopted at birth, Ms. Hammond was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, with an ear disfigurement and dyslexia. When she was eleven years old, she could barely read, much less spell her own name. She spent her scholastic years in special education. Later, she attended The University of the Ozarks Jones Learning Center in Clarksville, Arkansas, where she earned a degree in psychology and sociology.
As a child, she enjoyed horses. On her tenth birthday, her father bought her a horse, which kept her busy outside, much to the chagrin of her mother, who wanted her to come inside and do chores.
Ms. Hammond started taking professional voice lessons at the age of ten. After college graduation, she sang soprano with the Shreveport Opera. She also had the pleasure of entertaining Bill Clinton and Sam Walton (founder of Wal-Mart). She’s performed in numerous concerts, and she even cut a demo album that she distributed to churches, local functions, and individuals.
The strangest and scariest dream she’s had is about a Catholic nun who tried to kill her. Therefore, she put her dreams to good use—since The Monastery Murders depicts the dream.
Ms. Hammond is passionate about our planet. Without trees, we have no oxygen. It frustrates her to see a beautiful piece of land torn down and stripped just to put in a gas station or an apartment building. She lives in the third largest city in the nation, but she would give anything to live in the country, where there are beautiful trees, natural wildlife, rolling landscapes, and clean air.
Some of her favorite things are: books, lighthouses, and her dog, Freckles.
On Writing, In Ms. Hammond’s Own Words
What or who inspires you to write?
My teachers inspired me to write. After all, they’re the ones who taught me how to read. I had an idea for a story about a family who lived in an old Texas homestead that was full of paranormal activity. Doubting my abilities and wondering if I could even do it, I took the plunge, and Shoe Marks, a paranormal inspired by true events that took place in Texas, was born.
My family has been very supportive with my writing. When I was finishing the edits to Shoe Marks, my mother-in-law would come over to my house to cook and clean and do wash for me. The support system I have is incredible. I never thought in a million years that I would ever become an author. Now it is a career. I love my job!
Why did you begin writing?
I began writing four years ago in a hotel room where my family and I were living. It was raining outside, and I had nothing to do. With Shoe Marks already in mind, I opened up my laptop to write, and I haven’t stopped since.
Which author inspires you?
Stephen King, John Irving, Nora Roberts—the list is endless.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
It is so rewarding when I hear that readers enjoy my novel. I also get a sense of pleasure when I see students reading. After all, Shoe Marks is now in select local and school libraries across our nation.
Have you experienced writer’s block? And, if so, how did you cure it?
Oh, heavens yes! Every writer experiences writer’s block. What I do is take a break, put it down, and go do something else. More often than not, I can come back to my manuscript and continue with a fresh mind.
When is your next book due, and what’s it about?
My next novel is entitled The Monastery Murders, followed by the sequel, Identity, as well as The Cross Roads Trilogy, The Stone, and Karen’s Story—one young woman’s struggle with dyslexia and a learning disability becomes a best-selling author.
Where can readers find you online?
Readers can find Shoe Marks at SynergEbooks, Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, Fictionwise.com, Contentreserve.com, and Dicetter.com. Signed paperbacks are also available.
Be sure to read my review of Shoe Marks—then head over to the online bookstores above to purchase your copy today!