Here is, once more, an interview with an independent author. May you find it informative, entertaining, and perhaps even inspiring to go out and locate her books!
This interview is with author Karen Rodgers.
Dear Karen, can you offer us a little insight into who you are?
I am a middle-youth, small town woman who has had a difficult time discovering what I want to be when I grow up. I have been nowhere, yet my heart has traveled a million miles. I am an intent study of the common thread that binds all of us—our humanity. I expand my imagination by reading, researching, watching, and listening. I live, I observe, I write.
What is the reason that you started writing? When did you start writing?
Writing not only provides a necessary creative outlet for me, it is quite simply something I must do. It is my favorite vehicle of expression.
Growing up, I never knew the “one true thing” I was meant to do with my life. I never had any aim or direction. In the three years I attended college, nothing quite captured my interest and I never obtained a degree. I spent many years in a job I hated. Like so many, I fell into the routine of doing what was necessary to get by. Somehow, the things I wanted to do fell by the wayside. However, the one constant of my adult life has been—I have always written.
Six years ago, my life took a miraculous and unexpected turn. I became a mother at the age of 41. Realizing the magnitude of this blessing, my husband and I took the necessary measures to enable me to stay at home to raise our son. I knew this was my opportunity to pursue my passion.
With a wealth of rich life experiences to draw upon, I began to transform my stories onto the page. I love the written word. One of my greatest pleasures is to be able to turn a phrase in such a way that it strikes a chord in the reader and touches their soul. The most rewarding thing a reader can tell me is, “you made me laugh” or “you made me cry”.
Last year, I self-published two short stories on Amazon; “Letting Go of Nobody” and “Dating Pool”. More recently, I self-published a novella, “Eleven”, in February of 2013 through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. So at the age of 47, I have discovered my purpose. I am a writer!
Are you writing under a pen-name, do you use your own, or is your work out in both ways?
So far, I have only written and published under my own name, Karen S. Rodgers.
What, do you think, is your best book? And why is that?
I am most proud of my book, “Eleven”. I worked very hard on this story and left it all on the page. So far, it has received very good reviews from the readers. That has been a huge source of validation.
Naturally, after the best book, what is your worst, if there is one? And why do you feel that way?
Actually, I am proud of all my works.
How do you think your writing has changed over time? Did it change at all?
I used to be more concerned with the technical aspect of writing. However, I had a critical experience that impacted me quite a bit. I submitted one of my short stories to another published author for critique and edit. When he was done with his edit, he had practically changed the entire story. I could have let that experience discourage me, but I decided not to listen to him and to write from my heart instead. Because of that process, I learned to be true to myself and worry less about being so technical. I may not always be grammatically correct. I may not always be technically correct. But if I touch and impact my readers, that is all that matters to me. I learned that criticism is subjective—don’t take it personally and tell my stories in the manner I see fit.
My writing is more of an emotional process. I write with an intentionally descriptive style to create vivid imagery, allowing the reader to “see” the characters and surroundings in their mind as they are reading the words. I want the characters to feel real. I attempt to create an emotional attachment between the reader and the characters. I want it to impact them so deeply, that they cannot (and do not want to) forget the characters.
And can you say that writing has changed you?
Most definitely, yes! I have found my voice through the process of writing. In addition, some of my followers have found my work to be inspirational. I’ve realized that you can have a profound and positive effect on other people through written word.
Writing has also brought several new people into my life. Through this process, I have made new friends—some in person, some online. One can never have enough friends! That has been one of the most rewarding incidental aspects of this new path I have taken.
What is the most daring thing you ever did or tried in your writing? In which book did that happen?
Most definitely, the most daring thing I have done in my writing has been the major love scene in “Eleven”! I had to step outside of my comfort zone and force myself not to care what others might think. Mind you, I live in a small town that likes to gossip. Oh well, if nothing else, I gave them something to talk about. Wink, wink! And it is a well written scene.
And, if your feel up to it, what is the most daring thing you ever did in your life? Feel free to skip this one, not everybody is up to revealing much about themselves…
Although my books are fictional, several of the elements are based on real life experiences. With that in mind, you will have to read my books to try and figure out what I have or have not done. Another wink, wink!
Is there something you still want to have a go at, in your writing life? Is there a challenge you envision that’s worth pursuing?
I am currently in the process of penning a series. “Eleven” was the first installment and I am working on the second. It may seem like a tall order, but there will be 11 installments of the series, which is titled “Journeys”. I look forward to telling each and every one of the stories!
Has your writing ever been compared to the writing of another (perhaps even famous) writer/author? And do you like that?
Quite a few readers have told me “Eleven” reminded them of “Bridges of Madison County”. I take that as a compliment!
Do you have one or two favourite books (written by someone else)? If so, what are they, and why do they appeal to you so much?
I delved into the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice back in the early 1990’s. It wasn’t so much the story line…I loved her writing style. She has such a flow to her words and developed rich characterizations. All of us should be so lucky!
Which book you ever read would you label as least readable book, so far? Feel free to comment as liberally as you want to the why.
Even though it was a literary giant, I never finished “War and Peace”. It never pulled me in…so I put it down. In addition, I didn’t have the desire to finish “50 Shades of Gray”. The story line didn’t have enough “meat”. It was all erotic “bones”. A great story won’t allow that to happen! The reader should be so captivated, they don’t want to put the book down.
Is there a book that you know of that should never have been published, in your opinion?
Unfortunately, I don’t remember the titles of the books that were crap. LOL.
Is there a writer that you would love to co-write a book with? And what genre would you like to write in then? Something you’re familiar with?
I think it would be fun to foray into the mystery genre. I’m not sure about a co-author…maybe Dan Brown???
Let’s see… is there something in the realm of ‘wise words’ you once picked up that you would like to share? This does not have to be limited to writing, there is more to life than writing. At least, I heard there is. 😉
“To thine own self, be true!”
I also like what Anne Rice once said, “If you want to be a writer, write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more, nothing less.”
And as a last question, what is cooking with you? What’s your work in progress? Is there a tip of a veil that you can lift for us?
I’m currently penning “Girls of Autumn”. It is the story of a friendship between eight middle-aged women who experience a simultaneous upheaval in their lives within the span of a year. Once completed, I think it will be a major touchstone for several readers, especially women.
If there is anything else you would like to share, for example a thought, some promotion for your book(s), then here’s your chance!
I’m just getting started on this new journey. I covet the encouragement, advice, and input of fellow indie authors. I greatly appreciate the support from my fans and readers. I would love for you to follow me on this journey. You can find me on Facebook. My author/book fan page is ‘Eleven –Journeys’. Of course, you may also find my work on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Thank you so much for including me in your fabulous world!
You can find out more about Karen Rodgers on Facebook.
Thank you, Karen, for your time, and for sharing your words with us!