It gives me great pleasure to interview Karen Pierce Gonzalez, the author of Family Folktales: What Are Yours.  She is a delightful person full of passion and tradition and stories. YOu will enjoy reading her book.

Welcome Karen and thanks so much for inviting WE Magazine for Women to participate in your blog tour!

Heidi, Many thanks for these questions! Karen

Karen, How is a folktale different from a story?

A story can be either fictional (invented characters/events) or non-fictional (based upon substantiated evidence).

A folktale, on the other hand, is a member of the folklore family and as such, does not to be literary. Unlike a fairytale or tall tale, it is personalized account of the specific experiences of real people, places, and things.

Folktales reflect certain themes or categories, known as motifs. The motifs are countless, and can include “lively family holiday dinners”, “children who lie to their parents”, “household pets that save family members”, and “favorite family heirlooms”.

So then, Karen What lead you to write a book about folktales?

I began using folktale motifs to jumpstart student writing projects about 18 years ago. I realized as a writing facilitator (and anthropologist linguist who specialized in folklore) that folktale motifs provided an easy format for writers who wanted to only write about specific experiences of the real people, places, and things of their lives. These writers did not want to create extensive biographies or autobiographies. In some cases they did not want to be included in the telling itself (as is the case with most narrative essay writing). They just wanted the freedom to write what they remembered from the heart. Folktales are perfectly suited for that.

After years of experiencing success with writers who attended workshops, I decided to reach out to larger audiences because I found that people were hungry for connections. They wanted to know where they have been (the past) so that they could better know where they were going (future).

I also discovered that the folktale structure provided writers and non-writers alike access their own folk heroes.

Keep in mind that not all of these folk heroes are whimsical, wonderful, and life affirming. In some cases they are dark or bittersweet. Even so, in all cases folktales give us insight into the many facets of our humanity which includes bravery, cruelty, despair, and hope.

Karen, When did you decide to write a book on folktales?

Over the years many writers have asked me to prepare a manuscript they could work with on their own.

In 2007 I wrote the first edition of the Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories workbook which quickly sold out.

In 2008 I wrote this book Family Folktales: What Are Yours?

This year (2009) I am revising the original workbook to include more information and activities.

Since 1992 I have been writing food-related folktales. The collection Folktales You Can Eat” is still in process.

Karen What are 3 tips you would give to someone wanting to write a folktale?

1) Remember that your memory of a person, place, or thing is all that you need to base your folktale upon.

2) Keep it simple. Some of the best folktales are vignette-length; often no more than a page or two in length.

3) Folktales are not meant to be literary. These are folk records and as such do not require literary training.

Karen, Do you have other classes or books about folktales?

I am preparing a tele-class for the fall for writers and non-writers alike who want to explore their family folktales.

What are some of the Other books you have written?

I wrote the first “Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories” workbook in 2007. As that edition is sold out, I have written a second edition that includes much more information about how to preserve and present folktales, including pod casts and scrapbook-related ideas.

Karen, What swayed you to write an ebook vs a hard copy book?

This e-book is intended to whet the appetite of would-be family folktale writers. I selected the e-book format because it requires of the writer minimal commitment and investment.

The workbook, on the other hand, is hard copy as it covers more territory, utilizing more writing exercises and information about pod cast techniques and scrapbookking.

Our readers want to know how they can purchase a copy of the book?

The book can be purchased online from FolkHeart Press ( and will be available (hopefully by March 27) on Kindle/Amazon.

 Thanks so much for being with us today, Karen and best of luck in your blog tour!
NOTE: This interview was part of a blog tour. Yesterday the blog tour was with Leah Dallaire  and tomorrow it continues with Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Be sure and stop by and leave a comment or two.