Skip to main content

From Short Stories to Longer Fiction - Author Karen Clarke on her Debut Novel

I'm happy to welcome author Karen Clarke to my blog today.  I've known Karen for several years now in my avatar as a (mostly wannebe!) short story writer.  I know for a fact that Karen's success in the area of short story writing has been nothing short of phenomenal - she's managed to hold her own and as I mentioned when I interviewed her, that's really saying something in an era of shrinking print markets.  Her name is very familiar to readers of British women's and family magazines.  That's one of the reasons why I'm so pleased that her first novel MY FUTURE HUSBAND has just been published.  I know it'll be an absorbing read.


KAREN CLARKE ON THE WEB:



Blog/Website     Twitter   Facebook   Amazon   Goodreads



Karen, you've been successful as a short story writer and as I already mentioned that's really saying something in these days of shrinking markets. What made you want to become a novelist? 



It sounds a bit greedy but I’ve always wanted to do both! Even before sold my first story to a women’s magazine I was writing a novel too, and that hasn’t changed over the years.





Which form do you prefer, the novel or the short story?

I honestly love both. They’re such different disciplines, but it’s very  satisfying tying up a story in a thousand words or so, and I like having several stories out on submission and the possibility of a sale. Novels take such a long time to write and rewrite (and rewrite) and although I enjoy the process immensely, it’s impossible to predict whether the end result will ever make it into print.





MY FUTURE HUSBAND was already published earlier,in Germany. How did that happen?



It was pitched it at The London Book Fair a few years ago, and created a bit of a stir. It went to auction in Germany and sold quite quickly to Random House/Goldmann, which was very exciting. We had high hopes for the same thing happening in the UK, but although I came close with a major publisher it didn’t happen in the traditional way. Instead my agent decided to submit my second novel, Put a Spell on You instead, and in the meantime published MY FUTURE HUSBAND as an e-book under her own digital imprint.










Can you tell us something about your main characters in MY FUTURE HUSBAND? 

Sasha is a very organised person, whose motto is fail to plan, plan to  fail so when her life is thrown into turmoil with the arrival of a man from the future a month before her wedding, she starts to unravel. Elliot is a reformed bad-boy with a tragic past, and Sasha’s best friend, Rosie, is loyal and funny, but her own love-life’s a bit of a mess.





How long did it take you to write the novel? 

The first draft was pretty quick – around nine months - but rewrites and revisions took nearly another year.





From submission to publication, what was the length of time it took? 

I was taken on by an agent at the end of 2009, on the strength of the first three chapters. My novel was submitted to publishers in 2010 and it was published as a paperback in Germany, and as an e-book in the UK in 2012. So quite a long time!




Did you get attached to your characters? 

Definitely – they felt like friends (or at least people I knew well) by the time I’d finished, and there’s a part of me that would like to write a sequel. I think that’s normal for most writers though!




Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you write according to plan, or do you let it just happen? 




I have to have a rough idea of where the story’s going and how it will end, but I don’t write a detailed outline – I’ve tried, but I get tied up in knots. I like to be surprised along the way, and it’s amazing how well that works – 
most of the time.



What's your daily writing routine? 

I wish I had a better one! At the moment I make myself go out and write in cafes for at least a couple of hours a day, because I’m not very good at motivating myself at home and will find other things to do. Once I get going I tend to forget what time it is, and have to force myself to stop.





Do you listen to music for inspiration when you write? Or do you need peace and quiet? 


I can’t listen to music when I’m writing, and prefer peace and quiet at home, 
but bizarrely when I’m in a busy, noisy café I can easily tune out the noise. I’m not sure what that says about me.





                                      BIO



Karen has had over a hundred short stories published in women's magazines in the UK, Sweden and Australia. Her first novel, MY FUTURE HUSBAND was published by Random House/Goldmann in Germany in July 2012, and in the UK as an ebook by The Paris Press in December. She has recently completed her second novel PUT A SPELL ON YOU. 
Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, three children 
and dog, and when she’s not writing she works part-time in a 

library, which fits in well with her love of books and reading.







MY FUTURE HUSBAND




When Sasha meets Elliot a month before her wedding to Pete, the news he brings seems incredible. He claims to have arrived from the future, explaining that their timeline was knocked off course in 2010, preventing them from meeting, and begs her to find him in the present day. 
But Sasha’s wedding plans are underway and though she’s curious, Elliot turns out to be feckless, rebellious, and engaged to a glamorous and pregnant Belle. He’s not remotely her type and is instantly suspicious of Sasha’s motives for tracking him down, convinced his disapproving father has sent her to spy on him. 

Sasha decides to ahead with her wedding, but a previous connection with Elliot’s father finds her doing the catering at a dinner party at his house. With the help of her best friend, Rosie, she soon discovers that Elliot has sadness in his past, and that Belle is up to no good.....

Get your copy here:  AMAZON      AMAZON UK

Comments

  1. Terrific interview, ladies :0)

    Karen, I adore your short stories and I know My Future Husband will be a real treat. Really looking forward to reading it.

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne,

      It was great being in the short story group with you and Karen - the advice I got from both of you was invaluable.

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed this interview, Maria. Your blurb of My Future Husband intrigues me, Karen, and I'm in awe of your short story success!

    Hmmm, think I might try writing in a cafe...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have some great cafe's in Dublin like Bewley's. If you get the right table it would be perfect for writing. It's not quite the same here in India though. I don't think I'd try it here.

      Mx

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much Suzanne, I hope you enjoy it :o)

    I can highly recommend it, Cherie. I'd probably never get any writing done if I stayed at home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find that I just have to shut everything out of my brain when I write at home.

      Unfortunately, that's not always advisable in the setting I'm in. Some of the folks around start saying you're 'playing on your computer and neglecting the kids.' Not an ideal situation. Going out is probably the best option.

      Delete
  4. Hi Maria and Karen!

    This was a great interview. I loved reading all your answers to Maria's questions Karen!

    The blurb sounds interesting and intriguing!

    All the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nas,

      Great to see you here, glad your internet is back. I've read lots of Karen'short and \i'm looking forward to this novel.

      Delete
  5. Lovely interview, Karen and Maria. I'm so pleased for you, Karen to say we pretty much started this journey together in the Story a Fortnight group. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely to see you over here, Sally. Thanks for coming over.

      Delete
  6. Enjoyed the interview and am looking forward to reading the book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Does an e-publication under your agent's own imprint really count?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous, as already mentioned, Karen's calibre as a writer has been proven again and again in recent years as her short stories have consistently appeared in periodicals in the UK, at a time when getting a short story published has been well nigh impossible. There is an incredibly high standard of writers out there and the markets are shrinking. As for your query about whether getting her book published as an e-publication by her agents imprint 'really counts', I'd like to ask you 'really counts' as what? This is the digital age and we are moving into the era of self publishing. As a freelance editor, I have edited the work of independent novelists for self publication. Many self published works do very well. And Karen did not publish this book herself.

      Many excellent books don't find a publisher because they don't fit into a certain mould, not because they're no good. Just live and let live.

      Delete
  8. Thank you Sally, Nas and Colette :o) I can highly recommend being part of a writing group by the way, the support and feedback is invaluable.

    Anonymous - e-book publication is every bit as valid as traditional publishing these days, as long as the same care has been taken with proofreading, copyediting, layout, cover design etc. Why not try reading my book, and see what you think :o)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks you Karen and Maria for a great interview. I absolutely loved My Future Husband and would highly recommend it!
    XX

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great interview, Karen and Maria.
    Congratulations, Karen, and on finishing your second one, too. Looking forward to reading that one as well!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat. I'm looking forward to the second one too!

      Delete
    2. Thank you Pat, I've almost finished my 3rd which also has a 'fantasy' twist - I think this is my genre!

      Delete
  11. I enjoy your short stories, Karen and like the sound of the book. Good luck with it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Another great interview, Maria. Karen- I'm sorry to say I haven't yet read your book but it sounds absolutely intriguing and I'm going to get a copy as soon as possible - and I think the fact that your agent has published your book is a fantastic compliment.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Whoops, just realised I can't get a copy as it's an ebook (which is the whole point of the interview!). Is there any prospect of it being published as a paperback in English, Karen?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Or I could get a kindle for my birthday. There's nothing to say you can't have both kindle books and real books!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry - didn't mean kindle books aren't proper books. I meant real as in you can turn real pages, as opposed to electronic.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Replies
    1. That made me laugh, Kath. Don't worry, I know what you meant! I haven't actually got a Kindle myself yet, but have a Kindle app on my PC so I can download ebooks :o)

      Delete
    2. Kath, I use print books and ebooks. You can download the Kindle reading app for your PC and then you can download the book from Kindle. After I had the reading app for a while, I got myself a Kindle and I am happy to say that I enjoy both ebook and print books. I till read my Kindle book on my computer sometimes because when the computer is switched on and you're waiting for an email or something you can read for a while. Like I say, ebooks and print book have their ues.

      Delete
  17. I thought I'd commented already! Great interview and good luck with My Future Husband :-) x

    ReplyDelete
  18. Enjoyed the interview - and I'm with you on writing in cafes, Karen! All the best with your novel - great storyline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rosemary - I do like the idea of time-travel!

      Delete
  19. Great interview - good luck with the book! Your story success is awesome. And Kath - get a Kindle. I promise you won't regret it! I read in both formats but I wouldn't be without my Kindle now. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lydia :o) I know a couple of people who do a bit of both - Kindle and paperback reading, and I'm coming round to that idea. I do read on the PC sometimes, via my Kindle app, but it's not the same.

      Delete
    2. Hi Lydia,

      Welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

      Delete
  20. Best of luck with My Future Husband Karen! I'd like to get into writing short stories this year-have only done novel writing and flash fiction so far, but writing short stories is something I'd like to master.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks Anita, and good luck with the short stories :o)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Apologies for arriving so late to the party. Just wanted to say huge congratulations, Karen. I look forward to reading ‘My Future Husband’
    I loved the interview. It’s always great to hear how other writers work.
    Thank you for hosting this, Maria. x

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you Rena, I hope you enjoy it :o)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good luck with the book Karen, you truly deserve it and you're an inspiration to others.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love it whenever people come together and share
    thoughts. Great blog, continue the good work!


    Also visit my site ... http://chestfatburner.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. of course like your web-site but you have to take a look at the spelling
    on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and
    I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality on the other hand I'll certainly come back again.

    Also visit my page :: http://chestfatburner.com/a-detailed-guide-on-man-boobs-surgery/

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

It's great to get your visit. Please let me know what you think of the post.....

Popular posts from this blog

Readers Beware! 5 Reasons Not To Read 'Behind Our Lives' by Charlene Carr

Our MBB guest poster today, author Charlene Carr, is hella talented, but you won't find her begging you to buy her new book anytime soon. In fact, if you're not the type of reader who would appreciate her, she'll happily advise you to take your business elsewhere - in the nicest possible way, of course. In this guest post, she gives you five reasons not to buy her book.



Charlene Carr on the Web:

Website FacebookTwitterPinterestGoodreadsInstagram

Author Bio:  Charlene Carr is a lover of words. After travelling the globe for several years and working as a freelance writer, editor, and facilitator, she decided the time had come to focus on her true love—novel writing.  Charlene writes fiction full of thought and heart. Her endings may not always be 'happy', but she always ends with hope. She is the author of seven novels and one novella. She lives in St. John's, Newfoundland and loves exploring the amazing coastline of her harbour town, dancing up a storm, and strivi…

New Release: Throwing The Light by KA Servian

MBB welcomes the exciting new author KA Servian to the blog today. After a twenty-plus-year career in the applied arts industry, including owning her own fashion and jewellery labels, this author, who is otherwise known as Kathy, decided to turn her creative skills to writing fiction. Her first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016. She now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in applied writing in around writing novels and short stories, teaching sewing and pattern making and being a wife and mother.

K A Servian on the web:
WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramAuthor Page
Join K A Servian’s Newsletter and get a free copy of: Missing the Obvious.


Keeping the pages turning..........
To create and maintain suspense and tension in a story, Try taking the complete plot outline, breaking it into pieces which hold the main plot points and then drip feeding those pieces to the reader. It's vital to never gi…

Review - 1857 Dust of Ages - The Forgotten Tale by Vandana Shanker

This has to be the first review on MBB in a very long time and it was well worth the wait. Anyone who likes Indian historical fiction is going to adore this beautiful read.

Maria Perry Mohan's Review of 1857 Dust of AgesVolume I -  A Forgotten Tale by Vandana Shankar


As historical fiction goes, this is first class. We’re literally getting glimpses of a fascinating story as seen through the eyes of today. Can it really be that an Indian royal family gave their daughter in marriage to a British Army officer?  Some say it could be impossible, but has the truth been covered up? And why?
Those glances back in time show teasing glimpses of a royal family at a crossroads. The queen’s consternation when a male hair has not been born and her greedy sister-in-law, the one who has a son, eyes up the kingdom. Would such a queen mother be good for a kingdom? Probably not.

The princess’s character comes through as a girl who has been born to lead her kingdom. The 19th century produced one of the gr…