Meet This Author: Karen Schaler

How did you get your nickname “Christmas Karen?”

After I wrote my first movie, the Netflix original ‘A Christmas Prince’ that became an instant holiday hit with two sequels, I went on to write three more Christmas movies for Hallmark and Lifetime, and three Christmas books for HarperCollins Publishers in 18 months. I also trademarked and brought my Christmas Camp books and Hallmark movie I wrote to life creating a real-life Christmas Camp for grownups at The Phoenician, an award-winning AAA Five-Diamond resort, earning my nickname in the press as “Christmas Karen.” However, my nickname actually goes back decades with friends and family calling me “Christmas Karen” because I’ve always loved the holiday and birthday is on December 19th. I’m also very proud to carry on the family tradition of embracing all things Christmas with my great aunt, who was featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! after being born on Christmas Day and being legally named Merry Christmas Day. True story! So, having Christmas spirit is in my blood and has always been in my heart.

Why do you think Christmas and romcom movies and novels are so popular right now?

There is so much uncertainty and negative news in the world today that I believe Christmas movies are a safe haven, an escape, something we can count on to bring us joy, and know we’re going to get a happy ending. I know I’ve always counted on Christmas movies as my escape. When I was reporting from war zones and doing difficult hard news stories, and I would always look forward to the Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. Christmas movies are a family tradition. I promised myself and my family that someday I would write a Christmas movie because I wanted to try and give back a little of that holiday happiness and joy that Christmas movies have always given us over the years. I feel truly blessed and grateful that I’ve been able to do what I love so much, writing stories that are uplifting, full of heart and hope. I think we all need that right now. I know I do.

You have two new Christmas movies and two Christmas books out this year and you’re currently working on new Christmas projects. What’s your secret for writing Christmas 24/7?

Honestly, my nickname “Christmas Karen” is a genuine one because I truly love and embrace all things Christmas and feel like it’s a gift that I’m able to write Christmas stories year-round. People always ask me how I get into the holiday spirit when it’s spring and summer. If I find I need a little extra Christmas inspiration I light scented Christmas candles and listen to Christmas music. One of my favorite ways to get in the Christmas zone is to bake the Christmas cookie recipes I share in my books. I mean who doesn’t want to eat holiday treats and dance around to cheerful Christmas music year-round?! I embrace Christmas 24/7 and feel truly thankful that I can share the stories I love writing so much with my readers and viewers.

For your last novel Christmas Camp, you wrote the original Hallmark movie first then the novel. Have you written a movie for Finding Christmas that we can plan to see?

Actually, I wrote Finding Christmas, the movie, first, and then the novel! I know, so many people think that’s backwards to the way it usually works, but with my background as a TV journalist, I see things so visually that process really works for me. I love writing the movie and creating the characters and the world they live in and then really doing a deep dive into the story when I write the novel. It’s really the best of both worlds for me creatively. As a storyteller, I feel truly blessed that I can bring the characters I’ve created and love so much to readers with my novels and to television and feature film viewers. It is my Christmas wish come true!

How did you help design the cover for Finding Christmas?

My book covers are so important to me, offering readers a first glimpse into the world I’ve created. I honestly put as much thought into my book covers as I do the story themselves, often seeing the cover in my mind, before I even start writing. So, I’m very grateful for William Morrow of HarpersCollins Publishers for allowing me to help design this cover for Finding Christmas. After all my years of telling stories in television, where I’ve worked as a national TV correspondent, anchor and host, I think very visually. For Finding Christmas and my first books, Christmas Camp and Christmas Camp Wedding, I wrote the movie screenplays first, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to share with my readers for the covers. For this book, Finding Christmas, the cover and the town of Christmas Point are actually inspired by Leavenwroth, a magical Christmas town I grew up near in the Cascade Mountain Range, about 115 miles east of Seattle, Washington. Leavenworth has a beautiful gazebo very similar to what we created that I always loved so much and wanted to honor. I also then made sure we added all the details, like the white twinkle lights, the wreaths, and Dasher, our fabulous furry friend. They are both very important in the story. So, this cover is very well thought out, and the design team did a phenomenal job bringing it all to life. When I saw the final cover, I got tears in my eyes, happy tears and grateful tears, because it was perfect, exactly what I wanted to share with my readers.

Can you tell us what you’re currently working on?

I’m very excited to be working on several more Christmas projects. I’m currently writing a holiday feature film script and TV script, in addition to a new Christmas novel, Christmas Ever After and novella sequel for 2020. Also, something new for 2020, I’m writing a summer rom-com TV movie and my first summer beach read novel will be coming out, shortly followed by the novella sequel. Another big focus for me right now is that I’m working to expand my trademarked real-life Christmas Camps globally as more hotels and destinations have reached out wanting me to host Christmas Camps. I know it sounds like a lot, but honestly, everything is tied together. Even with the Travel Therapy TV segments I do I always focus on the power of positive storytelling that I hope can help uplift us all.

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