Friday, June 1, 2012



Hello Karen, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. It is a pleasure to have the chance to get to know more about you and your writing. First tell us about your newest novel and why you decided to write it. 

I'll answer this for my most recent release, rather than for my two works in progress. 

My science fiction novel Twin-Bred asks: can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? 

After seventy years on Tofarn, the human colonists and the native Tofa still know very little about each other. Misunderstanding breed conflict, and the conflicts are escalating. Scientist Mara Cadell’s radical proposal: that host mothers of either species carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Mara lost her own twin, Levi, in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.

Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely? . . .

As for how I came to write Twin-Bred: I read an article online about interactions between twins in utero -- synchronized movement, touching, even kissing. Either this article or a comment on the article mentioned the long-term effect of losing a twin in utero. As an avid science fiction reader, I tend to see the sci-fi potential in any event or discovery. I imagined a scientist seeking to overcome the comprehension gap between two intelligent species by way of the bond between twins. It would be natural for the scientist who conceived this idea to be a twin; it would be intriguing if she were a twin survivor, and if she had somehow kept her lost twin alive as a companion, who could be a character in the story.

On a deeper level, I have always been fascinated by communication issues and the struggle to understand what is different.

You have many hobbies, tell us a little about them, such as your interest in photography. 

I started taking photographs in 1980, at the same time I started practicing law. I desperately needed some right-brain activity, and I was dating an amateur photographer. After a couple of years, I went semi-professional, submitting photos to stock agencies (who maintain libraries of images and lease them out). I like shooting overlooked details of scenery, architecture, etc. I've done portraits and weddings at times, though I'm doing neither at the moment. At weddings, I love being a fly on the wall with camera, capturing the emotions of the day.

I'm a politics junkie, which is fortunate as my husband talks politics more or less nonstop. 

As an attorney, I got involved in the legal aspects of grandparent visitation disputes about 13 years ago. For the last 12 years, I've distributed material to parents involved in such disputes, for their attorneys' use. I've also lobbied for or against various statutes on the subject. 

What is the one most rewarding thing in your opinion, about being a parent?

When your child achieves some goal that matters greatly to her.

When reading for pleasure do you tend to stick to the same genre you write or do you like to read other genres as well?

I used to read a great deal of science fiction. I still read and re-read SF, but I've drifted in the direction of historical fiction and historical mysteries in recent years. Occasionally I reread some classic from my lit-major days.

When was it that you realized writing was what you wanted to do with your life?

By the age of ten, I was planning to be the youngest published novelist ever. I was quite chagrined to find out that some British upstart had been published at age nine -- but continued to think of myself as a writer. (I wrote my first novel that year, a 200-page labor of love for my 5th grade teacher.)

When can we expect your next book out and can you give us a sneak peek?

I have a book out to several beta readers right now. Originally I planned to publish it this month, but I'm now aiming at August 2012. In Reflections (working title), the members of a family reunite in the afterlife, confront unfinished business, and resolve the mystery that tore the family apart. I have constructed an afterlife with features particularly suited to this purpose.

Tag line: Death is what you make it.

Back in your high school career, who was the one teacher you would say made a profound difference in your life, if any?

I don't remember any one teacher having that effect. Two of my English teachers, Louise Connolly (later Louise Hannum) and Lillian Young, encouraged me along the path I was already following.

What dreams do you have for future generations that you'd like to share with others?

I would like us (humans) to spread out into the galaxy and found all sorts of diverse colonies, at least some of which would combine innovative and ever-advancing technology with respect for individual liberty.

One off the board question I like to ask, is what are your views as far as 2012, and do you believe in the Mayan Calendar? 

I expect 2012 to be momentous -- politically, not astronomically or apocalyptically. I gather they were impressive astronomers for their time and their level of technology, and I'd like to learn more about what they did and how they did it.

Finally, do you have any advice you'd like to give to other aspring authors, also please leave us your links where we can find out more about you.

Warning: long answer ahead. . . . The following are mostly suggestions that I have found in various books/essays/blog posts about the process of writing fiction, and then verified by experience.

-- Read, read, read. Read fiction, biography, history -- whatever interests you. Read authors whose voice appeals to you.

-- Don't let anyone tell you whether you're meant to be, or whether you are, a writer. Even well-meaning folks may be poor critics, and not everyone who makes pronouncements on your potential will be well-meaning.

-- Keep pen and paper, or some other means of taking notes, with you at all times. Don't assume you'll remember your great idea five minutes from now -- write it down immediately! Get or jury-rig a lighted note pad for your bedside table. (A clip-on book light attached to a cheap note pad will work.) If you get ideas in the shower, mutter them over and over to yourself until you reach dry land.

-- Become compulsive about multiple backups of your idea notes, works in progress, rough drafts, subsequent drafts, etc. Use "the cloud" (Web-based storage), e.g., Dropbox or Evernote. (I use Dropbox. Once it's running on your computer, it will back up a document stored in your Dropbox folder every time you save. But check periodically to make sure it's still running!) Email attachments to yourself (and then check whether your email host is periodically deleting them). Put files on a separate hard drive and on flash drives.

-- This one is YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). That said, I and many other authors find it essential to keep the inner editor gagged and stuffed in a closet when we're working on a rough draft. Don't be afraid to leave blanks or bracketed notes as you go. (My second-to-latest rough draft had one that read "[insert appropriate South American country here].") National Novel Writing Month (, in which participants aim to write a novel of at least 50,000 words within the month of November, is a great way to accomplish this. There'll be time enough later for lots and lots of rewriting. 

-- A related point: find the process that works for you. Some authors outline in detail. Others find too specific an outline stifling, and work from less organized notes of possible scenes, or with no notes at all. Some have a fixed time of day for writing, and allow nothing to disrupt it; others flit back and forth all day between writing and other tasks. Some use computers; some still write longhand, and a few swear by typewriters.

-- Think seriously about self-publishing. There's a wealth of info and support out there for indie authors. Conversely, this is a risky time to sign a contract with an agent or publisher. Because of the uncertain and fast-changing conditions in the publishing industry, many agents and publishers are inserting "rights grabs" and other clauses in their contracts that could cripple an author's career. Some of the worst language may be hidden in unexpected places like "warranty" clauses. If you do sign with an agent or publisher, try to find a way to pay a good literary attorney to go through the contract with a microscope. Don't let the allure of "having an agent" or "being published" lead you to grab at an offer of representation or publication without vetting it thoroughly.


Purchase links for Twin-Bred:

Amazon (Kindle edition):

Amazon (paperback):

Nook Store:

Barnes & Noble (paperback):

Smashwords (various ebook formats):

Author website:
Facebook author page:
Facebook page for Twin-Bred:

No comments:

Post a Comment