Today, Writing Wicket is showcasing Karen Black.
Karen lives in the eastern United States with her husband and three little aliens who are disguised as cats. She is fascinated by the supernatural and draws on that fascination along with her background in criminal justice to create stories of drama and suspense, with a touch of paranormal. Karen has published a collection of short stories, some of which were also published individually. She is one of the Seven Fates writers and released her first novel, Race into Murder, this spring.
I asked Karen:
Q: How often do you write?
A: An average of three or four days a week. Sometimes I go into overdrive and spend days hovering over my laptop, but then there are times I don’t even look at a story for a week or more.
Q: What genre(s) do you write?
A: Drama, suspense, mystery.
Q: What is your favourite genre?
Q: What motivates you, in writing or otherwise?
A: My primary motivation in writing is my long-time friend and editor, Robert Arend. He is probably the only one who can get me moving when I go into a writing slump. I tend to work on six or eight projects at a time and have found that going back to a story gives me new incentive, as opposed to sticking with one from start to finish. I tend to allow life to interfere with my writing and don’t put it at the top of my priorities.
Q: What do you enjoy most about writing?
A: I like the way the characters take on a life of their own. I’m never sure how they will develop.
Q: What do you like least about writing?
A: The stiff shoulders from staying in one position too long!
Q: If you could start your life over again, what would you do differently?
A: Strange as this will sound, I wouldn’t change much, if anything. Although there have been some bad times, and some things I’m not necessarily proud of, there have been wonderful times and things I’m delighted to have accomplished. That being said, I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am if my past was different, and right now, I’m happy with both.
Q: Have you ever cried with one of your characters?
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment (in writing or non-writing)?
A: I have always loved to read. When retired, I wondered how hard it could be to write a novel. I found out. After publishing a variety of short stories, I recently completed a crime novel, which was published this year. I think my biggest writing accomplishment is getting the next one underway, even though I realize how much time and effort the first one took.
Q: How does your life unfold in a normal day?
A: Two cats harass me until I agree to get up and feed them. My husband and I have coffee on the deck if the weather is accommodating, in the house if it isn’t. From that point, all bets are off. It becomes a decision about what needs to be done, as opposed to what we’d prefer to do, and we try to balance the two.
Q: Who are your favourite author(s)?
A: James Patterson, Dan Brown, Lee Childs, Dick Francis
Q: Do you have a favourite book? What is it?
A: I love books, particularly reference books, but I don’t have a favorite.
Q: If you could be any author, who would you pick and why?
A: Karen Black, because overall I’m happy with my life.
Q: Have you set goals? If so, what are they?
A: My current goals are to have a first draft of my next novel completed by the end of this year and to have at least two short stories finished and ready to publish, within the same time frame.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I have begun two novels and half a dozen short stories, all in various stages of completion. I jump between them.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
A: Right now, I simply hope to entertain readers.
Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A: Don’t believe everything you hear or are told. Do the research and trust your instincts.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: A Veterinarian.
Q: Is writing your full-time job? If not, what is?
A: I’m retired, so writing is as a full-time a job as I have, though I spend less than forty hours a week doing it and I take as many vacation days as I want to.
Q: What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?
A: I believe in research, research and more research. If an actual historical figure is used in writing, I think the truth about that figure should be incorporated in the publication.
Q: What book(s) have you self-published?
A: Long Stories Short and Race into Murder.
Check out Karen’s book, Race into Murder, on Amazon.
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, and family dynamics. Buy it on Amazon. Also available locally from the author and at other local retailers.