Broken Pieces

Author Interview – Karin Cox

How long have you been writing? My earliest memory of writing is winning a poetry contest when I was in about year four, so I was probably about eight or nine. With my (enormous) earnings, I bought a kite and I thought, Now this is a gig I could get used to! I still make about the same amount of money per annum (joking). English was always my favourite subject at school, but when I applied for university, I listened to all the naysayers who said, “You’ll never get a job if you do an Arts degree.” So I enrolled in a Science degree in the hope of becoming a zoologist. Big mistake.

Within a year, I’d transferred to a Bachelor of Arts to study English Literature, Communication Studies, and Myth and Ancient Literature, which led to my career in editing and to my job as an inhouse author for an Australian publisher. Rather ironically that meant writing books about … zoology and natural history! Writing has always been a natural state for me. I’m one of those people who jolts awake in the wee hours to scribble ideas in a notepad by my bed, or in “notes” on my iPhone. It’s cathartic, a necessary process of working through my own thoughts and emotions.

When did you first know you could be a writer? I think after I left university and began to work in publishing houses. I don’t want to sound like an egomaniac, but I sometimes read books that were being picked up by publishers and thought, “I can write something like this,” or sometimes even, “I can write better than this and faster than this.” Eventually, I think my boss realised that too, and he agreed to give me a go as an inhouse writer for an Australian natural history publisher. From then on, I never looked back, and I just kept on churning out the books.

What inspires you to write and why? Strangely, I often feel like I hate writing while I am doing it. I’m like Dorothy Parker—“I hate writing; I love having written.” I am one of those weird creatures who finds editing much easier than writing (it comes with my day job as a freelance editor), so grinding out the first draft can be a real chore because I obsess over details and nitpick words. Often, I even convince myself to quit. I need to just let go and write and worry about it later.

But writing is such a freeing experience in many ways. What mostly inspires me is that I have these ideas that just won’t quit, or I have emotions I need to get down on paper.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I haven’t yet settled into one genre, and I’m not sure that I will. Currently, I have literary fiction, paranormal romance, young adult dystopian, young adult fantasy, romance, a thriller novel, children’s fiction, and a heap of poetry all sitting in various stages of completion on my hard-drive. I also write non-fiction across many genres: social history, natural history, travel and children’s non-fiction. New Holland Publishers in Australia are just releasing two of my social history books for kids—Gold Rush and Settlement—this month, and another two will follow in April. So it is anyone’s guess whether I will eventually pick one genre or whether I’ll keep sticking my fingers in a lot of pies (and potentially getting burned by some).

What inspired you to write your first book? My first book was creative non-fiction, and it was inspired by the life story of an incredible Australian woman called Roma Blair, who spent three years in a prisoner of war camp in Indonesia during the Second World War and then went on to become a Yoga Swami. I have ghostwritten several life stories in the first person. Ghostwriting creative non-fiction or memoir is great exercise in novel writing, because you already have the plot and the characters (although it takes a lot of time talking to the person and going through photographs and letters to get a good sense of them). From there, my job was to write it true, to make it interesting using scene breaks and pacing, and to structure it for maximum emotional appeal. I no longer ghostwrite; much as I enjoyed it, I’d just prefer to be doing my own thing, telling my own stories, and publishing them under my own name. Most of my books have been children’s fiction or non-fiction, but I also love writing about history. I enjoy writing just about anything, bar shopping lists. But fiction and poetry are my true passions.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? I suppose I have been influenced by a lot of authors over the years. I have always been a voracious reader. Those who have probably influenced me most strongly are Mary Renault, CS Lewis and Phillip Pullman.

What made you want to be a writer? I am a Scorpio and I like exploring the darker side of human nature. I love philosophy and profound thought. I like to go deep, sometimes too deep. Writing seemed like a perfect fit for my nature.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Not getting discouraged. There is a point, usually about two-thirds of the way through, where I’m really susceptible to giving up. I get despondent and think, “This is rubbish. Why am I even bothering with this?” I need to push on and write myself out of that hole. Sometimes, wine helps with this, but sometimes I just need to knuckle down and realise that to simply not try is the biggest form of failure.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG15+ (some violence & swearing. No sex)

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Karin Cox on Facebook & Twitter



Post a Comment