Author Interview with Karina Bartow for Wrong Line, Right Connection

Please join me in welcoming author Karina Bartow and read about the inspiration behind her latest release. Wrong Line, Wrong Connection is a historical romance set during the 1960s and follows a switchboard operator on her path to romance. The nostalgic cover caught my eye immediately!


Title: Wrong Line, Right Connection

Author: Karina Bartow

Genre: Historical Romance


Could a mortifying day on the job end up netting you true love?

When switchboard operator Mabel Jennings reports to work on a Monday in the summer of 1964, she doesn’t have any interest in finding love again. Out-of-towner Roy Stentz rings up her station, however, and makes her reconsider.  Mabel’s intrigued by his deep yet kind voice, but she endeavors to remain professional. Her attraction frazzles her mind, causing her to transfer Roy to the wrong line. When he calls back to give her another try, she repeats the mistake, humiliating herself.

The haphazard introduction sets an unexpected romance into motion. Though she falls quickly for him, Mabel’s bittersweet past refrains her from giving Roy her full devotion.

Can she overcome her memories of love lost to embrace the new one calling out to her?


What was the inspiration behind your latest release? 

My mom cleaned for a family friend, Mabel, for thirty years, and she became a grandmother to my sister and me. Because of her clever wit and the deep impact she made on my life, I used to tease her that I’d write a book about her one day. She passed away when I was fifteen, but I kept my promise by putting her as a secondary character in the first book I ever wrote, Forgetting My Way Back to You. My writing coach liked her so much, though, that she worked on me for years to write a stand-alone story about her. Eventually, I conceded and used several true aspects of her life—like her career with the telephone company and her real love letters from her husband—to sculpt Wrong Line, Right Connection.  

Where do you get your ideas? 

From all over the place. A lot of times, the concept begins with a What if? notion and builds from there.

Do ideas for plot or characters come first?

It varies from book to book. With Wrong Line, Right Connection the characters obviously came first, both because of my old friends and because of a character spotlight I wrote about Mabel while promoting Forgetting My Way Back to You. A fun post on my blog became the makings for a novel!  

Have you ever traveled when researching information for a book? 

Yes. I didn’t get to visit the main setting, Louisville, Kentucky, for this book because I wrote it during the pandemic, but I did go to the hometown where  Roy, Mabel’s love interest, lives a few years ago. I’ve incorporated vacations to Florida, Pennsylvania, and Arizona in my books. I hope I can find inspiration in Paris someday!

When did you begin writing? 

When I was nine, but I didn’t take it seriously until I was eighteen.

How many hours do you dedicate each day towards writing?

Usually three to four hours if circumstances allow.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I have Cerebral Palsy and can only type with one hand, so I have to pace myself a bit more than able-bodied authors. Still, I typically finish a first draft in close to a year, so I’m pleased with that speed.

What does literary success mean to you?

I try to keep a balanced perspective on how I measure my achievements. I doubt I’ll ever be a Nora Roberts, but I accept that. I never knew what kind of profession I could do on my own due to my limitations, but I’ve managed to get where I am independently, for the most part. No matter how many books I sell or what type of accolades I garner, that fact gives me the utmost fulfilment. 

What writing tips or marketing advice would you like to share?

First and foremost, never give up. Also, be willing to learn and adapt, especially when working with editors.

Which authors inspire you?

Nicholas Sparks and Marie Benedict.

What project are you currently working on? 

In time, I’m hoping to continue my “Unde(a)feted Detective Series” with its third novel, but meanwhile, I’m releasing a new installment of it by means of a short in a podcast. It’ll drop sometime in 2023 in author TG Wolf’s Murders to Die For series.    


Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio.  Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her.  Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want.  Her works include Husband in Hiding, Forgetting My Way Back to You, and Brother of Interest.  She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!











Barnes and Noble

The Wild Rose Press


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