Saturday, May 2, 2015

IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS with Karen McCullough


Karen with her infant grandson
My guest today is author Karen McCullough.
Karen's wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Awards she’s won include an Eppie Award for fantasy; three other Eppie finals; Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

Welcome Karen. Let's jump into this interview:

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, What would I do when taking a break from writing?

(Karen) Given that I have a day job and family obligations, writing is my break time. But when I do take breaks from everything else, I like working in the garden, reading, and watching sports.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write for myself or my readers?
A black Iris from Karen's Garden

A. Both of the above. I write what is inside me to write. Those voices in my head tell me their stories and I write them down, but I try to do it in a way that my readers will enjoy as well. I try to make it a great story and a fun read.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I consider writing a job, a vocation, a hobby, or a passion?

(Karen)  Passion, definitely a passion.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Do I write longhand, on a laptop, tablet, etc.

(Karen)  I write a lot of notes for the story in longhand, and do my brainstorming that way, but I do the actual writing on either my desktop or my laptop. I use Dropbox so I can access the story in progress from either machine.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Why did I start writing? If I can't write for an extended period of time, do I react in a weird manner?

(Karen) . I kind of slid sideways into writing. I was a computer programmer for some fifteen years, until I kind of burnt out on it. (You know you’re burnt out on programming, when you start dreaming lines of COBOL code.) I moved into writing software documentation, then into writing about computers and software in general.

Karen and her husband at Fenway Park in Boston.
 It was raining buckets.
(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, In what ways do I consider myself different from most of my co-workers, family, or friends?

(Karen) . I’m an introvert who prefers watching others to participating in most things. I’m also comfortable spending long hours in the company of the voices in my head, translating them onto the screen.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I take manuscript rejections well. And how do I feel about reviews, both good and not-so-good?

(Karen) . Does anyone take rejection well? Of course not. But you do get used to it. I don’t submit as many things these days as I used to, and in some cases I know reasonably well that they’ll be accepted when I do. I’ve spent the last couple of years getting rights back to my older published books and republishing them myself, so I only have to worry about the reviews and not the rejections. I don’t agonize over reviews the way I used to. It’s good to have them and I know that while most of the reviews I get are positive, there will always be a few negative ones. That’s just the way it is. I try to see if there’s something I can learn from them, and every now and again I find a nugget that tells me what I need to improve in the next book.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I be a Pantser or Plotter?

(Karen) . Mostly pantser. I generally start a book with a pretty good idea of the opening scene and maybe the next few beyond that. Usually I have a gleam of an idea of how it will end. At some point, though, I have to sit down and think about how the rest of the story will go. I generally do a sort of rolling outline, where I try to ouline a chapter or two ahead so I know what I’m going to write next. Most of the time, though, I really don’t know how I’m going to bring it all together at the end until I get there and somehow it does work!

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, If I had a second chance to start my writing career from the beginning, what would I change?

(Karen)  I would try to do more in the same genre rather than skipping around so much.

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, Would I prefer, honey, jam, or syrup on my waffles or pancakes?

(Karen)  Syrup. Especially the maple syrup my brother makes. He taps a group of maple trees in his backyard, then boils it for hours and hours until it becomes a thick, rich syrup. And it’s delictious!

(Lynda Asks:) IF I WERE YOU AND WROTE BOOKS, And I was stuck in solitary confinement, what five items would I most want with me?

(Karen) My tablet, a power source, a good supply of coffee and chocolate, and a nice comfortable chair. Come to think of it that sounds almost like heaven.


Website: http://www.kmccullough.com
Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenMcCulloughAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kgmccullough
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-McCullough/e/B0043TJ870/


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