Writers on Writing: My Interview with Karma Brown
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Sometimes I’m inspired to write about a social media post. The following tweet in particular moved me:
As a published author in the nonfiction nutrition/diet/health space who is now pursuing a fiction writing career, I know that I am perseverant. It is a defining quality I have that inhabits me, and I credit this quality for helping me go from being an expert who wrote to becoming a published author. As I continue on my writing journey and move toward a career in fiction writing for young adults, I will continue to persevere, voraciously read, learn the craft of fiction writing on my own and from amazing mentors and to expose myself to other thoughtful readers and writers. But I’m not under any illusion that it’s easy. It’s not. But I appreciate the honesty debut author Karma Brown shares in her tweet. It shows us that even though the road to becoming a published author can be long and hard and peppered with rejection, success is possible. Kudos to Brown for sticking with it to see her dreams realized in her debut novel Come Away with Me which is now on my TBR list.
I was so impressed with the perseverance and never give up attitude Brown showed in that one tweet that I reached out to her to learn more about her and to share her insight with others who want to write books. You can read her thoughtful responses to my questions below:
EZ: I love your name. What are its origins?
KB: My parents were 1970s hippies! That pretty much sums up how I got my name (which I do love, now that I’m older and past the terrible days of Boy George’s Karma Chameleon). Also, not to be left out, my sister’s middle name is Free.
EZ: Did you study writing in college or is it something you just did, learning on the job (or was it a little bit of both)?
KB: I did a post graduate journalism degree and without question that’s where I really learned to write–and how to handle critical feedback. Now I work as a freelance journalist and every day is different, which is one of the best parts of being a writer. That and being able to make up stories all day in my head, while wearing my pyjamas.
EZ: What has been the most rewarding part of becoming a published author? The most challenging? The most surprising?
KB: Most rewarding has been to see my book on the shelf. All that hard work, right there for all to see. The most challenging is a toss up between finding patience (publishing is slooooowwww) and dealing with frustrating disappointments, of which there are typically many in an author’s journey. The most surprising is how amazing it feels to hear from readers who have loved the book. I knew that would be a lovely perk, but it’s been even better than I could have imagined.
EZ: Any other books in the works?
KB: Yes! My sophomore project, Because of You, hits shelves July 2016 and I can’t wait for this one to get out into the wild. I have a personal connection to this story, and am so excited to have been able to write it. Here’s the blurb:
When Ben and Hannah receive the heartbreaking news that Hannah will likely never get pregnant, her best friend Kate offers to not only to be her surrogate, but to use her own eggs to do so. Everything is going well until Kate suffers a devastating aneurysm—at 26 weeks pregnant—and ends up in a coma, on life support. Hannah and Ben know their baby is at great risk if delivered so early—something Kate’s husband, David, is pushing for, as he believes removing the stress of the pregnancy could give Kate’s brain a chance to heal. What follows is an emotionally charged story about two mothers – one desperate to protect her unborn child, the other on the brink of death – and the impact those struggles have on their families and friendships.
EZ: When do you most like to write?
KB: I am an EARLY morning writer, though I didn’t start out that way. When I first started writing fiction I did it in the later evening–but that was long before having a child. My daughter is an early bird and has trained me to get up at an hour most think is still the middle of the night (5 a.m.). But what I’ve discovered is how fresh my brain is first thing in the morning, without the pressures of the day trying to push in and take over. So now when I’m drafting a story I set my alarm for 5 a.m. every day, brew a pot of coffee, and get to work.
EZ: Your advice for anyone who wants to write a novel?
KB: Being a new author I’m not sure I’m qualified to offer advice, however I can say what’s worked for me is to write EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even on days when the words feel impossible to find, the best way to get a book written is to be committed to the writing of it. I know that sounds simplistic, but books don’t write themselves (if only!). So you need to write. And set a deadline, but be sure to make it realistic. I can write 2500 words a day, but it’s taken me some time to sort out how to do that. Even if you write 500 words a day you’ll have a novel-length (first draft) book in fewer than six months–so go for it!
EZ: As a writer, how do you stay physically fit?
KB: Running for me is a lifesaver–not only does it allow me to eat the necessary chocolate and other treats required to get through writing deadlines and tough days, but it’s the best stress buster and plot-hole fixer I’ve found! If I’m feeling stumped on a plot point in the book, or am not sure where I need to go next, going for a run usually clears out the cobwebs and gets me back on track.
From Amazon.com: An unexpected journey leads one woman to discover that life after loss is possible, if only you can find the courage to let go… One minute, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next, a patch of black ice causes a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined. Tegan is consumed by grief—not to mention her anger toward Gabe, who was driving on the night of the crash. But just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, Gabe reminds her of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and so begins an adventure of a lifetime. From the bustling markets of Thailand to the flavors of Italy to the ocean waves in Hawaii, Tegan and Gabe embark on a journey to escape the tragedy and search for forgiveness. But they soon learn that grief follows you no matter how far away you run, and that acceptance comes when you least expect it. Heartbreaking, hopeful and utterly transporting, Come Away with Me is an unforgettable debut and a luminous celebration of the strength of the human spirit.
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