Tuesday, July 25, 2017

GUESTOPIA: Multi-published author Karen King

Karen King

It's Guestopia time for July and our first guest this month comes in the form a prolific and talented author. Please meet Karen King.

Karen King is the author of over 120 children's books and has had two YAs published, Perfect Summer and Sapphire Blue. Perfect Summer was runner up in the Red Telephone Books YA novel competition in 2011 and has just been republished by Accent Press.

Karen is also the author of two romance novels, and has been contracted for three chick lit novels by Accent Press. The first, I do?... or do I? was published in 2016 and the second, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, has just been released. In addition, Karen has written several short stories for women’s magazine and worked for many years on children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh as well as the iconic Jackie magazine.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

And here's the interview...

Is this your first published book?

No, I’ve had about 120 children’s books published, two YA, two romance novels, two chicklits and there’s another chicklit in the process of publication.

What’s it called?

Perfect Summer

Which genre?


Which age group?

12+ there’s some gritty scenes!

Is it a series or standalone?

It’s a standalone

Are you an agented author?

No – although I have had agents in the past and may again in the future.

What created/what were you doing or watching when the first idea for this book sneaked up on you?

I’ve been concerned for a long time about the pressure society puts on people to have perfect looks then I read a magazine article about girls as young as four or five worrying that they were too fat or too ugly. I thought that was really sad. I started wondering what would happen if people got so obsessed with physical perfection that it became a ‘crime’ to be different in any way. Another concern of mine is how disabled people are treated, so both these concerns sowed the seeds of this story.

How long did you plot/plan until you started writing it?

I always plan a bit first. I write character profiles to make sure I really know my characters well and don’t change their eye or hair colour halfway through the story. Then I work out a plot outline so I know roughly where the story is going, and then I start writing it up.

Once you started, did the story flow naturally or did you have to step in and wrestle it into submission?

I started writing the story in third person at first but I felt that it wasn’t flowing right so I changed to the first person and I was away.

Has the book changed dramatically since the first draft?

Not dramatically, the basis of the story is the same. It’s more refined I guess. I rarely change the plot when I’ve revising, but I do change some phrases that I think aren’t flowing right, or make scenes more dramatic/concise.

What part of writing do you find the easiest?

Getting the initial idea. I have notebooks full of ideas.

What part do you find hardest?

Finding the time to write up the ideas. Then getting the story out of your head and onto the screen/page!
Do you push through writing barriers or walk away?

It depends. If I’m on a deadline I’ll write through them. If I’m not I’ll turn to something else for a while then I go back with a fresh mind and can usually find that the story flows okay again.

How many projects do you have on the go at the same time?

Three or four. I like a variety, and it helps stave off writer’s block if you have another project to turn to.

Do you think you’re born with the talent to write or do you think it can be learned?

That’s a difficult one. I’m a writing tutor and basically believe that writing is a skill, so like all skills it can be learned or improved – especially article and feature writing. Story writing, however, is different. You need that spark of imagination, that kernel of tale-spinning inside you, the ability to make a story out of thin air. If someone has that they can be helped to improve how they write their story down but that basic storytelling kernel of imagination can’t be taught.

How many future novels do you have planned?

I’m working on three at the moment, and also a couple of short stories.

Do you write other things, such as short stories, articles, blogs, etc?

Yes, I write short stories and blog posts. I also run a blog called The Writer’s Surgery, where I post articles and tips to help new writers.

What’s the highlight of being published so far?

Signing a three book contract for chicklits with Accent Press, two of the books, I do?...or do I? and The Cornish Hotel by the Sea are now out. The third will be out next year.

Give me one writing tip that work for you.

Just write. Get your first draft down then go back and revise it afterwards.

And one that doesn't.

Write drunk, edit sober – a famous tip by Ernest Hemingway

What question have you always wanted to be asked but never have? What would the answer be?

Can we make your book into a film? The answer would be yes!

Excellent! I imagine most authors want to be asked this, and I expect their answers would be the same too! Thank you so much for joining YAtopia today, Karen. We wish you all the best with your chick lit and YA novels.
Here's a little about Karen's latest YA, with some links to help...

Set in a society obsessed with perfection, 15-year-old Morgan is best friends with the seemingly perfect Summer. But when Morgan’s brother, Josh, who has Down’s syndrome, is kidnapped, they uncover a sinister plot and find themselves in terrible danger.

Can they find Josh before it’s too late? And is Summer’s life as perfect as it seems?

And if you would like to find out more about Karen and her work, these links might help as well!

Twitter: @karen_king

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for inviting me over to talk about Perfect Summer, Kate. :)