Karen Walker is a writer with published essays in newspapers and magazines, as well as an anthology series. After a 30+ year career in marketing and public relations, she went back to college to complete a Bachelor's degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2005 from the University of New Mexico's University Studies program with a major emphasis in Creative Writing. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband, Gary, and their dog, Buddy. When she’s not writing, you can find her doing international folk dancing, singing at retirement communities with her trio, Sugartime, hiking, reading, or hanging out with friends.
1) How did you develop an interest in writing?
The short answer is ever since I read Little Women when I was around 8 and fantasized about being Jo. The long answer is that in 1978 I unexpectedly lost custody of my 3 1/2 year old son. To save my sanity, I began keeping a journal. Around the same time, I started a public relations firm with a friend and began writing press releases, op-ed pieces, and feature articles, all with someone else’s name on them. Fast-forward 30 years and my wonderful husband told me I could quit working and write-full time. That was in 1999 and I haven’t looked back since.
2) Tell me a little about your blog - address, how long you've been blogging etc.
I began my blog in May of 2009 after taking an online class on doing a blog book tour with Dani Greer http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com/. My book launched in February, 2009 and I had no clue how to market it. Dani’s class taught me so much about blogging, but I never got around to a blog book tour - until now. You can find me at: http://www.karenfollowingthewhispers.blogspot.com. The blog is a continuation of my spiritual journey towards healing.
3) I see you are working on a MS - please tell me a little about it.
My husband and I took a trip to Scotland and Ireland in the Fall of 2009. While in Scotland, a voice whispered, “Tell my story.” I ignored it, thinking I pretty much imagined it. But in Ireland, in a magical forest surrounding Blarney Castle, the
voice came back, stronger and more insistent. The working title for this foray into fiction-writing is “The Wishing Steps.”
4) What other styles do you write?
I wrote nonfiction for 30+ years and still occasionally write feature pieces for local newspapers and magazines. I still love personal essay as a form, which is why I love blogging so much--because posts really are short essays.
5) What authors do you admire?
I have very eclectic tastes in reading. If I want to totally escape for a few hours, I’ll read Jodi Piccoult or Nora Roberts. If I want deeper, I’ll go to the classics. I still read a lot of nonfiction: biographies, memoir, self-help, spirituality. I’m currently reading a book called “Awakening the Buddha Within” and loving it.
6) What music, places, people inspire you?
I sing in a trio called Sugartime. We perform at hospitals, retirement communities, nursing homes, etc. We sing music from the 30’s to the 60’s. I love the old standards, Broadway tunes, and my music from the 50’s and 60s. I don’t listen to music while writing, though. I’m one of those people who needs absolute silence to write.
7) How long did it take you to write your current MS?
8) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing?
No, I don’t have an outline. I just have this darn voice that is very fickle, if you ask me. It’s been an amazing journey discovering who and what this voice is. I can’t really talk about it--it’s quite overwhelming. I’ll probably blog about it at time point.
9) What is your writing process like? Certain hours that you find more productive, a routine, a set amount of time or a number of pages you make yourself write every day.
I found that for me, setting a certain time constraint or word-count goal doesn’t work very well. I set myself up for failure that way. Instead, I set my intention to write every day and I park myself down at the computer and hope for the best.
10) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us?
In the beginning…there was self-hatred.
My friend Chuck waltzed around the room, his then 11-year-old daughter, Sivan, snuggled in his right arm, her eight-year-old sister, Amali, nestled in his left. The two girls’ arms were wrapped around each other behind their dad’s neck, and their giggles could be heard from where I sat on the other side of the large dance studio, where our community of folk dancers gathers every Saturday night. Watching this man with his children, I couldn’t help thinking how lucky those two little girls are and how different their childhood is from mine
You can find “Following Whispers” at amazon and smashwords.
This Interview is the beginning of a Blog Book Tour for Karen. You can find more information and fun facts about her by visiting:
7/11/11 - Spunk on a Stick http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/: Managing Expectations
7/12/11 - Ann Best http://annbest-jen.blogspot.com/: Writing and White Hair
7/13/11 - Whole Latte Life http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/: What I Love About Self-Publishing
7/14/11 - Pk Herzo http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com/: My Journey to Publication
7/15/11 - KarenG http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/: Making Good Choices: A Writer's Journey
7/16/11-The Alliterative Allomorph tp://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com: The Liberating Effects of Writing a Memoir: 7/18/11 - Mystery Writing is Murder http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/: Finding Balance While Juggling Life
7/19/11 - Thoughts in Progress http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/: Finding Success as a Writer
7/20/11 - Tossing it Out http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/: Do's and Don'ts When Writing Memoir
7/21/11 - StraightfromHel http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/: Writing Memoir versus Writing Fiction - Is There a Difference?
7/22/11 - Alex J. Cavanaugh http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/: 10 Ways To Maintain Sanity While Writing