- GUEST WRITER AND AUTHOR -
Today, I present my interview with an author who was inspired to write after a serious illness.
Welcome, Karen ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I started writing three and a half years ago after a serious illness. My intuition kept on calling me to write and I could no longer ignore the call. I now can’t imagine not being a writer.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
When I was studying teaching at university the children’s writing elective was full and I was really disappointed. However, in our subject Language 3 we had to write a story. The lecturer commented on my paper that I should write and made a point of speaking with me. It stuck in my mind. I was also involved with the making of the big book Gangmangang. Then as I teacher I loved children’s books and promised myself one day I would write them too. It was a dream stuck in limbo until I finally decided to make it real a few years ago.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
At the moment I am a panster when I write. But I do plan in my head when I am thinking of a new idea. Other times I just write until I get a draft done. I do research online and read lots of picture books. I shoot from the hip most of the time. I am hoping to venture into junior readers and want to try planning.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I love the freedom and the fun of writing. I have lots of quirky ideas and enjoy the challenge of turning them into stories. Being a writer is a celebration of being me.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Everything about being a writer is slow and nothing can be rushed.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I was a teacher. I loved Kindergarten and I specialised in children’s literacy.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
It has not been achieved yet but I do have my first picture book Feathers hopefully coming out at the end of this year.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I have some quirky picture book stories that I am working on and I am thinking of having a go at a junior reader.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Lots of things can inspire me from images, something someone says, a thought, our dog Elmo. Things my kids did when they were little.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Children’s picture books
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Keep going it is very competitive and challenging so just move forward and be true to you.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Sometimes when I try too hard it all goes to mush.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I get into a routine and then it gets ruined. My husband’s passion is travel so as soon as I get on a roll we go away. Then when I get home again I have to start all over again.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Home, our local coffee shops or our library.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
The warmth it brings to my heart.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Too many to name. One of my most favourite picture books is Cicada by Shaun Tan. It totally cracks me up.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
Your story made me cry or I just love this. Just seeing someone laugh at one of my funny stories is gold.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
None because everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
For sure. My first picture book Feathers is in response to my own serious illness.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Family and friends, travel, Elmo our dog, the sea, yummy food, stories, music, flowers, hugs.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
22. All of my stories are edited if they are being published.
23. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Each day is perfect because it is new.
24. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My husband, he gets me and because we are so different we would come up with a solution together to get off the island.
25. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
This is hard but world peace leads to world harmony.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To keep on writing and doing the best I can.
27. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
I love watching book trailers and I am sure they help sell books but word of mouth is still the best way to sell books. That includes on social media.
28. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
There are bits of me in everything I write so yes.
29. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Yes, but so does learning my writing craft. As they both go together.
30. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
No. It is not an option.
31. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
This is a hard one. Feathers was a story that also helped me heal.
32. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Success as a writer is every time you believe in yourself and put pencil to paper.
33. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
Readers should feel uplifted, empowered, enriched or just plan happy. Each story has its own message so there is not one thing a reader should know. It is what the reader wants to know from the story.
34. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
It is not a goal but it would be wonderful.
35. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
A book cover is vital so lots.
36. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To be a successful children’s author with my books published.
37. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
You are your brand and marketing hugely important. Once the story is published the hard work begins. As an author you need to promote your books.
38. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
39. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
kind, lovable, quirky, fun, independent
40. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Meanness for no reason.
41. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey.
42. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Ooh this is hard. Magic does happen if you believe.
43. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
A picture book contract.
44. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I write daily inspirational quotes for writers on Instagram. Check them out and my other pages.
Clancy's comment: Go, Karen. Good luck with a picture book contract.