Author Interview: Karen King

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Firstly, read a lot. I have been an avid reader since my childhood and firmly believe that a love of reading inspires a love of writing. Then write a lot. Practice makes perfect. Don’t think you have to write a novel, start off with small pieces, observations, short stories, then gradually write longer pieces. Finally, when you have finished your story resist the urge to send it out right away. Put it away for a couple of weeks then take a look at it again. You’re sure to see things you want to change.

Do you prefer ebooks, printed books or audiobooks most of the time?

Most of the time I read ebooks, they’re convenient, especially when travelling, and saves having to  carry heavy books around with you. Also ebooks obviously take up less room. I have four huge bookcases full of books and really don’t have room for many more, but occasionally I will buy a paperback because I do love the feel of turning the pages as you read. I’m only just getting into audio books, they’re brilliant for listening to when I’m ironing or on long car journeys.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

Yes, I used to write my romance novels under the pseudonym of Kay Harborne and children’s books under Karen King, but when social media started to take off my publisher told me that I should stick to one name as my name was my ‘brand’ so now I write everything under the same name.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

I have to send my publisher a brief synopsis of my story before they contract me, so the basic idea and the main characters are sorted out. I’ll often have a chat with my editor to flesh out the idea further and establish the main plot points, especially when writing thrillers.  Then I spend a couple of weeks getting into my characters. To do this I often set up a Pinterest board for my book and trawl Pinterest looking for images of people similar to how I imagine my characters to be. I pin these, and anything else connected to the story – settings, hobbies, pets etc – to my board. Then I fill in a character profile sheet for each character, detailing important info such as hair colour, eyes, fears, personality traits, background. Only then do I start writing up the story.

How do you use social media as an author

I have an Author page on Facebook and Instagram where I post about my books, book reviews, writing news and a few personal photos of my pets, garden, etc. I also try to post a couple of times a day on Twitter, and to share some of my favourite authors’ posts and reviews of books I’ve read. I’m too busy writing to do much more than that.

 How long have you been writing or when did you start?

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, I wrote stories and poems as a child – but have been self-employed as a writer since 1985. I started my writing career working on teenage magazines such as Jackie, Patches and Blue Jeans, then children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Postman Pat, Barbie and Winnie the Pooh. I’ve written a variety of children’s books; picture books, easy readers, plays, educational, joke books, and young adult novels. In 2007 I sold a Pocket Novel to People’s friend, which was republished by Accent Press, then Headline. I now write romance novels and thrillers.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve had over 120 children’s books published, ten romantic novels and four thrillers so far, with another two thrillers in the pipeline.  It’s hard to choose a favourite, but my romance The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is very special to me, as is my new thriller, The Family Reunion, which will be published in January.

What books did you grow up reading?

So many! I read the entire children’s section of the local library. My favourites when I was young were the Just William books by Richmal Crompton and The Secret Seven and Famous Five by Enid Blyton. In my early teens I loved the Agatha Christie mysteries and The Saint books by Leslie Charteris.

 What is your favourite, and least favourite part of publishing?

My favourite part is holding the finished book in my hand. My least favourite part is doing the proof read. I’ve done so many rounds of edits by this time that I hate the story and want to rewrite it completely!

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Out Now! The Spanish Wedding Disaster

Out Now! The Mother In Law

Out Soon! The Family Reunion

Writing about the light and dark of relationships

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