Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Karen Malena. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.
Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
First, I would like to thank Don for having me as a guest on his blog!
Until this last year, writing truly energized me. I would even “write” in my mind while walking in nature during lunchtime at work and during long drives as well. Much of my creativity came during these moments of solitude and quiet.
I also looked forward to losing myself in my writing even if I only had an hour a night to do so.
Unfortunately, this year I lost both parents within nine months of one another, and this is the first time that writing has exhausted me or felt more like a chore. While being caregiver for my mother who had Alzheimer’s, (we lost Dad first), I was mentally exhausted and drained from creativity. I’ve also felt that during grieving, I could not find my writer’s “voice” for the longest time. I’m looking forward to releasing the awesome creativity and energy that only writing can bring.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
During the writing of my dystopian book, I considered using a pseudonym for the first time. Most of my books are inspirational fiction, and the subject matter of this one did not fit into my usual style. The book was dark, and the villain, darker still. I felt that it might be best that nobody would know that a woman was the writer. However, I ended up using my first initial and last name.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am far too insecure of a person to harbor an ego. I’m the type of author who builds others up, whether they are first time students in our writer’s group, or one of my peers. A big ego could only be a hindrance; genuine humility, to me, is a blessing.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Each time I publish a book with one of our small publishing companies, I have always felt it is money well spent. The ladies that edit for me also are a valuable part of the writing I do, and they are worth their weight in dollars! Also, I believe it is good to invest in a good printing company for bookmarks, banners and such. The way we present ourselves at author events shows how much we care about our readers.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
For me, true success is when a person that you don’t know comes up to you at an event and tells you how much your work meant to them. That something in your story resonated with them as a person, and they feel that you’ve touched them in a very personal way with your words. I have always wanted to be known as a best-loved author in my town, and though not achieving that status just yet, there have been many small successes along the way.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
I’ve joked with other authors that if the police or FBI ever were to take our computers for any reason, they would certainly see subjects of questionable nature at times and probably arrest us! The internet is a great source for research. It is also valuable to speak with the types of people who do the work that our imaginary characters do, interviewing them to learn all that we can to be as realistic as possible.
Also in writing “Reflections From my Mother’s Kitchen,” I had to talk with older family members to find out more about my great-grandfather and I spent quality time reminiscing with them about stories long gone.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
I don’t spend very long on choosing names, nor have I regretted any of them.
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
I think that “filler” material or scenes that move a story forward without having any excitement in them are most difficult for me. I know that we have to have paragraphs or chapters that propel the reader forward, and I am terrified of truly boring scenes that are a necessary evil if only to get the reader from point A to point B.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
John F. Kennedy. I would probably be much too shy to ask him anything. I’d be content with a handshake and an autograph.
Peter, from the Bible. I would love to know his thoughts and feelings meeting Jesus for the first time, and how it was for him to grow from such a boisterous, angry youth, to one of the biggest leaders in the early church.
Diana Gabaldon, author. I am absolutely in love with her “Outlander” book series and writing style. I would want to sit for hours in a class she taught, and then come away with her autograph in one of my favorite books of hers.
My parents. Although that counts as two people, I would love to know what beauty awaits us in heaven.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
My fantasy cat book “Piggy” has enjoyed a little success largely due to my son’s YouTube fame. My son, Matt, has a very popular YouTube channel, Matt3756, and often talks about his cats, sharing pictures of them and videos. I decided to write the story of his cat, Piggy, and make it a fun adventure book, which has not only been for kids, but crazy cat ladies like me as well.
Karen Malena comes from a close-knit Italian family which has given her the inspiration to breathe life into stories, some humorous, others, a bit thought-provoking. She’s active in her community encouraging new writers through local library programs and one-on-one mentoring.
She’s a compassionate animal lover with a biting sense of humor which you may see on her Facebook cat page, Piggy and by a novel of the same name. Karen is a member of a monthly writers group, Pittsburgh East Scribes and Ligonier Valley Writers. She has written several other novels, mostly inspirational fiction.
She is also a member of AlzAuthors, a community of writers who bring Alzheimer’s awareness to light in a caring, compassionate manner.
About Karen’s Books:
Kate Anderson discovers a haunting photograph that opens the door to her family’s past and her future.
Love Woven in Time
In the quaint town of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Harry and Rose meet in their golden years. A warm friendship is forged and their lives become intertwined in ways even they won’t believe.
But will Rose’s secret from her teenage years, something so terrible she’s never shaken it, tear their new found friendship apart? Will the sins of Harry’s past revisit him and shatter all hope for happiness?
Love Finds a Way
McKenna O’Malley has always longed for love. Though she harbors a dark secret, she dreams about breaking free of the legacy of her father—a convict she’s never met–and the shrouded mystery surrounding her mother’s death. Tim McMillen struggles with his own demons. Plagued by alcohol, fueled by anger, he finds himself jobless, homeless and alone. When Tim and McKenna meet, they find one another as kindred spirits. But the challenges they face may threaten all chances for happiness and even push McKenna to the very brink of sanity.
Sound of Silence
A dark, all-encompassing law blankets the country.
Driven by one terrible secret, a powerful politician brutally suppresses speech for the sake of order and holds the country in the palm of his hand.
Ray Warren does the unthinkable. In a bold gesture he seals his fate in a moment of kindness, a moment that marks Ray, his wife, and beautiful daughter as dangerous fugitives and sets a society toward rebellion.
In Sound of Silence an ominous new society is introduced leaving us with the question: What if?
What do a cat and mouse have in common? One little kitten is about
to find out.
“We don’t always have to fight or prove ourselves to be big and strong.
Sometimes it’s the smallest of creatures who can teach us life’s greatest