Interview with Carlene Havel

May 7, 2013

Carlene Havel, author and novelist from United States. A writer of literary novels and contemporary christian romance. In this brief interview Carlene Havel shares her personal experiences and insights about promoting her books. Carlene is the author of Daughter  of the King and A Hero's Homecoming.

What literary genres do you write?
My published work includes one novel classified as contemporary Christian romance and (co-authoring) a book generally referred to as Biblical fiction.  My passion is writing about people and their responses to extraordinary circumstances.  For example, “Daughter of the King” is a fictionalized account of the life of Michal, King Saul’s daughter.  Obviously, the book is historical because the characters lived centuries ago.  Since Michal is the only woman the Bible describes as (romantically) loving a man, the love story between Michal and King David is an essential element.  Michal risked everything to help David escape her insane father—leading to some remarkable adventures.  Then there’s that nasty business about David betraying Michal with Bathsheba, and the intrigue that develops when a ruler takes multiple wives and concubines.  All put together, what emerges is a story that refuses to fit neatly into a single genre definition.
What were the difficulties you faced in promoting your books?
The greatest obstacles were—and are—a limited budget coupled with my own lack of knowledge of effective promotional techniques and strategies. 
What are the main methods and ways you follow to spread the word about your books?
I blog regularly and actively participate in discussion groups on Goodreads.  I ask book reviewers and bloggers to feature my work. Occasionally I purchase advertising--when it’s inexpensive and carefully focused--and I participate in giveaways.  My goal is two-fold.  First, to present a book readers can’t quit thinking & talking about. Second, to convince customers to notice/select my work from among numerous choices.  Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth!
Do you have a certain routine you follow (for example, daily things to do for that purpose)?
Other than writing, there’s no specific task I feel I must do daily.  However, my personal rule is to do at least one thing each day to increase my books’ exposure.  One day, for instance, I might search for additional book bloggers.  Later, I will contact the bloggers on that list and request reviews or set up guest appearances.  Patience and persistence are essential.
How much of your time do you spend to promote your books and how much time for writing? and do you think that the efforts you spend in spreading the word about your books takes you from your passion for writing?
Over the long haul, my time is about evenly split between promoting and writing.  I would love to shift the percentage to 100% writing.   The urge to write is always there.  What’s lacking is the time.
To what extent you feel you were successful?
I would love to be awakened some morning by a phone call from a reporter, asking how it feels for my new book to be number one on the New York Times Best-Seller list.  Meanwhile, I’m doing something I love, telling the stories I want to tell, and hearing from people who say they enjoy my writing.  That may not be success, but it’s close enough for me.
To what extent do you use social networking sites? and can you consider it primary in promotion?
Today, in my opinion, social networking sites are effective, essential, and possibly primary.  Tomorrow?  Who knows?  Someone may be sitting in a garage inventing the next big thing right now. 
What are your recommendations for people who share the same talent with you?
Be open to advice, but make your own decisions.  What works for someone else may not be right for you.  There’s no book everyone loves. Above all, never give up.  
Any final words regarding promotion for writers?
Some of the best contacts are outside traditional publishing circles.  Garden clubs, class reunions, support groups—any gathering of people could represent a possible market.  Know the difference between being persistent and being pushy, and when in doubt err on the side of restraint. Being an interesting person in your own right is your best credential. would like to thank Carlene Havel for taking the time to share with us these valuable information and insights and experience in promoting her writings. 



Carlene, you've shared lots of helpful information. Thanks especially for the tip about looking outside of publishing circles.

I enjoyed the interview very much. It's good to get insight into another author's thinking. I see we all face a lot of the same issues. Carlene is a good author and her stories tend to stay on your mind once you've read one.

Great interview, and advice on writing and promotion. We writers need to make sure we don't let our promo time overwhelm our writing time!

You're absolutely right about promotion taking a great deal of time, even more than the writing! You set a great example.

Nice article. Thanks. Promotion is so difficult and time consuming when all of us would rather write. This reminder that it is necessary is a good one.

Carlene's insight into promotion is right on. That takes as much time as writing. She has a great start with the approaches in her books. Congratulations!

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