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The Little Book That Could: As Novel Continues to Win Awards, Author Reflects on the Value of Perseverance

"Sometimes your positive intentions and hard work can create serendipity," says Karen Kondazian, whose novel, The Whip, shows no sign of losing steam.
  • <strong>The Whip by Karen Kondazian</strong>
    LOS ANGELES, CA, November 12, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Karen Kondazian's critically acclaimed debut novel, The Whip (Hansen Publishing Group), has won numerous literary awards, including The USA News Book Award for Best Historical Fiction, The International Book Award for Best Western Fiction, and the National Indie Excellence Award for Best Western, and is generating serious interest from Hollywood. Kondazian has been able to ponder the long against-the-odds climb to publishing success--all without an agent.

"After my mother passed away," Kondazian explained from her Los Angeles home, "I decided to use the feelings I had to finally sit down and write the book. It took six years and twenty-seven drafts before I was happy with it and could write The End. For years, Kondazian had been fascinated by one of the most celebrated California stagecoach drivers, Charley Parkhurst (1812-1879)--a woman who passed as a man for thirty-years, to track the killer of her family. "Some people thought I was crazy writing a novel inspired by the true story of a woman who disguised herself as a man. After I finished writing the book, I realized I had no idea how to get it published. I sat there staring at my computer. . . . A week later, I received an E-mail from Transylvania--it was an acquaintance I hadn't heard from for twenty-five years. He was asking for a favor--for me to call Hansen Publishing Group regarding a photograph of Tennessee Williams and me for the cover of a book. I took care of the favor, speaking to Jon Hansen, the publisher, who then also asked about me and my writing. He suggested that I send a couple of chapters of The Whip. A week later, he asked for the whole book. I then got a call from him offering to buy the book. What incredible serendipity!"

Impressed with the book's sales (it was released in paperback and e-book in 2012), Hansen Publishing Group, validated now for its eye for quality, is issuing The Whip in Hardcover--reversing the usual time-honored tradition. Kondazian adds, "All I read about in mainstream publishing now, are the gruesome statistics about how most new books fall into a black hole in the marketplace. I was lucky."

The Whip, a beautifully written saga of the old west--alternately awe-inspiring, humorous and heartbreaking--lays bare the events that led a woman to become one of the most famous "men" in the old west. When the New York Times ran Charley Darkey Parkhurst's obituary in 1880, it spoke of the "honor to be striven to occupy the spare end of the driver's seat, when the fearless Charley Parkhurst held the reins of a six-in-hand." The novel, "a cracking good story with more twists and turns than a wagon trail through the mountains," is a "vivid, inspiring tale of success and survival against the odds," a theme close to Kondazian's heart.

"As an actress," says Kondazian, who has starred in dozens of TV shows and films (and played Kate Holiday in The Showdown at OK Corral), "what I'm most interested in are stories and characters that inspire and transform people." Charley Parkhurst's story is one of those tales--a woman living out her dreams against a male-dominant society of the 1800s. Parkhurst, in fact, may have been the first woman to have ever voted in America, when she cast her ballot for Ulysses S. Grant in 1868, albeit as a man.

"I've received emails from people all over the country, thanking me for telling Charley's story and encouraging them to put their arms around life," says Kondazian with a smile. "A hundred and thirty-five years after her death, she's still able to instill courage in people facing long odds. I love that about Charley."

The Whip is also available as an audio book from Deyan Audio Services, narrated by the award-winning actress Robin Weigert, who played Calamity Jane in HBO's "Deadwood" series. The book continues its journey into the hands of readers and listeners everywhere. It was voted #1 on Goodreads.com, Books That Should Be Made into a Movie poll (out of 842 books), and was featured on the cover of Publisher's Weekly. And finally, the little book that could, chugged its way to #1 topping Amazon's Western Novels.

"I've worked hard to get Charley's amazing story out there," says Kondazian, who's been known to show up at book clubs, bookstores, picnics and libraries, traipsing across the United States to discuss The Whip. "In some ways Charley's story parallels the journey of the book. Sometimes your positive intentions and hard work can create serendipity. The success of The Whip has been magical for me. And hopefully, it continues to be just as magical for readers. I'm grateful to say that with the hardcover book coming out and interest from Hollywood, I can now call The Whip, 'the little engine that could.'"

About the Author

Karen Kondazian is an award-winning author born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her debut novel The Whip, received five awards in 2013, including the USA News Best Book Award for Historical Fiction and the International Book Award for Best Western. She is also the author of the best-selling book, The Actors Encyclopedia of Casting Directors, with a foreword by Richard Dreyfuss.

Kondazian was a journalist and is an award winning theater actress who began her acting career at the age of eight, as one of the infamous children on Art Linkletter's, Children Say the Darnest Things. She completed her schooling at San Francisco State College, The University of Vienna and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

Onstage, Kondazian has distinguished herself portraying the women of Tennessee Williams, winning the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for her performance in The Rose Tattoo. After seeing her performance, Tennessee Williams and Kondazian became friends and he gave her carte blanche to produce any of his plays in his lifetime. She then starred opposite Ed Harris in Sweet Bird of Youth and also won the Los Angeles Ovation Award playing Maria Callas in The Master Class. She has also appeared as a series regular lead in CBS's Shannon and guest starred in over 50 television shows and films--including, starring opposite James Franco in TNT's James Dean, and playing Kate Holliday in the award-winning anthology series, Showdown at O.K. Corral.

Kondazian is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio, a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Women in Film. She is presently working on her second novel, Looking for Jack Kerouac.

For more information, please visit:

Karen Kondazian's official website: http://kondazian.com

The Whip audio book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXqfWPg_7MI&feature=youtu.be

Karen Kondazian on a stagecoach discussing The Whip with NPR's Peter Robinson at the Wells
Fargo Museum in San Francisco: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlMr48tm0dU

Media contact: Victor Gulotta
Gulotta Communications, Inc.
617-630-9286
http://www.booktours.com
victor(at)booktours(dot)com


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