Karen Cantwell

The Next Big Thing

I was recently tagged in a game for authors called The Next Big Thing, by someone whose writing I greatly admire, Barb Goffman. I agreed to this game, excited to have a chance to promote Barb’s work as well as my own. The only problem is, I am a terrible game player. Or rather, I’m terrible at understanding the rules! As I sat down to write this post and tag back to Barb’s own post about her short story, “Murder a la Mode,” I realized I had missed the key component of this game — inviting other authors to tag. I’m so silly. So it appears I’ve dropped the ball in this game, but I’ll plow forward… I hope you will stop by and read Barb’s post on her short story which appears in The Killer Wore Cranbery: A Second Helping. I know you won’t be disappointed!

As part of The Next Big Thing game, I am now going to tell you about my own book:

What is the working title of your book?
A Spirited Season, Holiday Tales with a Paranormal Flair

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was having lunch with two good friends who are also writers–Misha Crews and Laura Lucas. Misha brought up the idea of the three of us putting out a short story collection for the holidays. We decided to add the paranormal aspect for fun. I love writing short stories, so I jumped right on that idea!

What genre does your book fall under?
Well, I guess it falls under Holiday Anthologies? Genres are sticky things and not always as definable as you’d think. There’s a good deal of humor and romance in the six stories as well.

Which actors would you choose to play characters in the movie rendition?
Hmm. Since it’s a short story anthology, I’ll go ahead and choose one of my two stories that appear in the collection – “Squawkin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – and talk about that. There are only three characters in the story, Norbert, a turtle of a man who uses witchcraft to raise the spirit of his dead wife, Irmagard, hoping she can help him save his new marriage to a dramatic and busty woman named Naomi. So…I think Norbert shall be played by Steve Carell. Cast in the role of the overbearing Irmagard will be Jane Lynch. And finally, Kim Kardashian would be absolutely perfect for the role of Naomi.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
What’s the holidays without a little spirit?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Definitely self-published. All three of us enjoy the flexibility and control offered by doing it ourselves.

How long did it take the write the first draft of your manuscript?
Since there are six stories by three authors, that’s not an easy question. I will go ahead and say somewhere around three months.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The idea of working with friends as well as dipping my toes into some paranormal writing. I love the idea of ghosts, and thought it would be fun to write a short story about one.

What else about your book might pique readers’ interest?
Besides the fact that they are fun and lighthearted stories intended to put a reader into the holiday spirit (pun intended), we are also giving 100% of the profits to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Because, as we say, everyone deserves a miracle.


  1. Anonymous

    Ahhh yes, a true kindred soul. SO good to know someone else has never mastered the understanding of game rules (ROFL).

  2. Karen, I’ll say it again: post about your next big thing anyway. I’d like to read your answers to the questionnaire. Pretty please?

  3. Sounds like a good read. Glad you posted about it, Karen.