Ask Away

Queensland Writers Centre invited me on their BLOG TOUR. WOOHOO! I’m answering their questions and yours too. Where do your words come from?
My memoir, ‘Me and Her: a Memoir of Madness’ is based on my own experiences and  journals I kept. It’s about a stressful time in my life when I became Manic. A Publisher is  currently considering it for Publication.

My crime novel ‘Sayonara’ emerged from a true life story. A few years ago, our Japanese exchange student vanished without a trace. I then fictionalised what happened, retaining some memoir elements.

The idea for my Kids Sci-Fi Chapter Book, Josh and the It’ came after studying a graphic picture. I imagined and explored what led up to this final scene, then I wrote the story backwards. This week I’m sending it off to the Publishers.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up around the working class suburb of Liverpool, Sydney and left there after winning a scholarship to Goulburn Teachers College. Teaching young children and my real life experiences has given me rich fodder for my writing. My family and I now live in Brisbane surrounded by bushland.

What’s the first sentence/line of your latest work?

‘The motel manager hates me. That’s why she insisted I vacate the room that morning. She had it in for me for sure. But I didn’t expect her to call the Police as well.’          Excerpt from ‘Me and Her: a Memoir of Madness’.

What piece of writing do you wish you had written?
I read almost every Genre. I’m in absolute awe of Kate Moreton’s ‘The Forgotten Garden’, a cleverly crafted historical mystery. The amount of Research towards that book was astronomical.

What are you currently working towards?
My works-in-progress are my crime novel ‘Sayonara’ and Book 2 in my Kids Sci-Fi series.

Complete this sentence … the future of the book is …
Boundless. The Digital Age is here! Print books, E-books, and digital reading devices offer the Reader huge choices. It’s time for Writers to embrace them all.

This post is part of the Queensland Writers Centre Blog Tour, happening October to December 2009. To follow the tour, visit Queensland Writers Centre’s blog The Empty Page.  Hyperlink:

Without QWC, I would NOT be here today. They’ve nurtured Me and My Writing to this stage. I would like to thank all my Tutors, Writing Consultants and the office staff for their support and encouragement . XX

NOW, what questions do you have for me? … Ask away.

This post has been updated and edited.

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14 comments to Ask Away

  • Sally

    How long did the Memoir take to write? What about the others?

  • Sally, the Memoir took four years to write. Soon after I started, I joined the QWC and developed my writing skills through Consultations and Workshops. The Kids Sci-Fi Adventure took less than four months to develop from a short story of mine. I’ve worked on the Crime Novel for just over a year and its almost completed with the help from QWC and the Year of the Edit.

  • crazybeanrider

    With your material coming from journals, how do you begin to organize what goes into the book and what doesn’t. I have so many journals, letters, art and so forth, that I am at a loss to even begin sorting. I have been encouraged to write a book, but the thought overwhelms me. So I was just wondering how you begin?


  • Hi, Karen and congratulations on being part of QWC’s blog tour. Great to see what you are doing/have done summarised here. A few questions re science fiction: how long have you been involved in science fiction for? How long have you been going to the science fiction writing group at Qld State Library (I guess it’s only for avid sci-fi fans, right?)? Do you find that ‘soft’ science fiction crosses between fantasy and would it be better called speculative fiction?

    Also, as you read across genres, are you determined to situate yourself mainly as a sci-fi and YA sci-fi writer, or are you still experimenting with different genres of writing?

    P.S. I love Kate Morton’s writing also.

    Congrats again. I’ll go over and check out ‘The Empty Page’ blog now.

    Joanna :))

  • Oh, one other thing. Did you ever find out what happened to your exchange student?! Joanna :))

  • Doh. May as well ask it (should have all been in my first post!). How long have you been writing, Karen? Have you always had a fascination in creative writing? Yup. You know who. Joanna :))

  • Hi Boo, What’s important to a Memoir is the Story, the narrative. You must start at a dramatic/pivotal point to entice the reader in. I remembered most of what happened to me but used the letters, faxes, journals to add detail. Later I went back and visited places where my story was set to add further perspective. Best Wishes with your memoir… Karen :))

  • Hi Joanna, I started writing Speculative Fiction (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy) short stories just over a year ago and joined Vision Writers at the State Library, Brisbane shortly afterwards. My Junior Kids SF Novel is a mixture of contemporary, Sci-Fi and fantasy elements and I absolutely LOVED writing it. I would love to write more books in the Kids SF Series and plan to write a sequel to my Crime Novel … But you’re right, I do love experimenting with genres. CHEERS,KAREN:))

  • Hi Joanna, Yes I did find out what happened to her. Sorry I can’t tell you. You’ll have to read ‘Sayonara’ … Karen :))

  • Hi Joanna, I love your questions!! I’ve always READ across the genres, searching for a Good Story to read. It wasn’t until I became Hypomanic with Bipolar Disorder that I started to write in earnest and haven’t stopped writing since …Karen :))

  • Thanks for that, Karen. Will be good to catch up with you again at the Queensland Writers Centre party on 3 December.

  • Hi Joanna, I’ll be at the Christmas Party at QWC with Bells on. It’ll be great to see you there! Cheers, Karen :))

  • Thanx Jesse! … Karen :))

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