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Saturday, 31 July 2010

An Interview With Author, Karen Wolfe.

SA: Tell us about Dogwatch in a few sentences.
KW: I’m nearing the end of ‘Dogwatch’, my second novel featuring dog-whisperer Georgie Crane, which, like its predecessor ‘Dogsbody’ is, I hope funny as well as exciting. Neither are as yet published, but I soldier on!
SA: How did you come to write this particular book?
KW: I’d always fancied writing a crime novel, humorous and nothing too gory, but with hard edges. And of course with dogs, because I know them so well.
SA: If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?
SeersKW: It’s got to be Georgie, because she’s a strong woman who’s totally committed to what she does. And of course, I’ll always love Granny Beamish, central character in the ‘Seers’ series, who’s a complete renegade and mad as a box of frogs, but her mind-power is awesome!
SA: What qualities do you need to be a successful writer?
KW: Well, if I knew the secret, I’d be living the millionaire lifestyle! But I’d say, first and foremost, a love of books. And then an original ‘voice’, one that resonates with readers, along with a willingness to think outside the box.
SA: What is your working method?
KW: Slow burn. How I wish I were prolific! But whatever I’m currently writing is always in my head, like a secret friend, and it has to be word-perfect….which is why I average a pathetic 1,000 words a week. Factor in ‘thinking time’, though, and I do put in the hours, honest!
SA: What is the single biggest mistake made by beginners to writing?
KW: Imagining that if you ‘have it in you’, it’ll come easy. It doesn’t. You have to learn your craft.
SA: How can people buy your book(s)?
KW: They can visit my web-pages:  which has links to Amazon.
SA: To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?
KW: Depends what you’re writing, and in what style. But you have to have mastered them, otherwise how can you bend the rules?
Seers MoonSA: How much revision of your MS do you do before you send it off?
KW: Hours and hours and ………zzzzzzzzz
SA: Where and when is your novel set and why did you make these specific choices?
KW: It’s rural and contemporary, in fact they all are, although the ‘Seers’ series inhabits a parallel world in which telepaths exist alongside ‘outsiders.’
SA: To what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?
KW: Well, publishers love it! But labels aren’t always accurate. So much writing is cross-genre that you often have to pigeon-hole your offerings in order to get a look-in.
SA: What are your writing habits?
KW: Think I’ve already answered that one! Lazy and erratic, but I nevertheless keep going til I’ve finished. I cannot write (let alone function) before noon, so afternoons/evenings/nights are my creative times. I sometimes write in a notebook, but I always edit and polish on-screen, because it’s more visible than a mass of crossings-out!
SA: How do you know where to begin any given story?
KW: I always know my starting-point and my last line, and then I have enormous fun creating the bits in between!
SA: What sort of displacement activities keep you from actually writing?
KW: WHAT? Are you kidding? I’m the Queen of diversionary tactics. E-mails, phone-calls, tea-breaks….you name it. I’m up for anything, but I do get my finger out if I have a deadline. I obviously need more pressure!
SA: Do you have support, either from family and friends or a writing group?
KW: Family?? As I haven’t (yet!) gone global, they regard my writing as an amusing eccentricity. When I need intelligent input or support, I rely upon my friends at Hornsea Writers, because they know what writing’s all about.
SA: Is presentation of the MS as important as most agents and publishers suggest?
KW: Yes. Crucial. Always follow specific requirements unless you want to look like a complete amateur and have your rejected ms returned to you embellished with chocolate daubs and coffee-mug stains.
SA: How long does it normally take you to write a novel?
KW: A year, although I once managed it in a record 9 months!
SA: Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
KW: Bit of both. Apart from grammar, I don’t think anyone can actually teach you how to do it, but writing skills can be learnt, and honed.
SA: Is there any aspect of writing that you really enjoy?
KW: Plotting. And then riding the inevitable twists and turns. And characterisation, for which there’s much more scope in a novel. But short stories do call for precision, economy and pacing, all of them valuable writing tools.
SA: Do you have a website or a blog that readers can visit?
KW: No blog as yet, but features novel excerpts, and short-story ‘tasters.’

Word of the Day is divorced from the post that precedes it and produced in response to a request from a follower to provide just such a service.
Word of the Day; yack – non-stop drivel, trivial chatter. ‘Don’t get Cyril started; he’ll yack until doomsday about nothing at all.’ 

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