Karen Fowler has stopped by to visit with us today. She has some sage advice for writers, and she shares some of her works with us. Please welcome Karen.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
The art term “still-life” depicts a moment frozen in time, and I thought it would be an apt name for a story where the paintings show a suspended moment or idea, but together tell a story. From there, the title short was written, but it wasn’t until I started Indie Publishing that I realized I could make a collection of it as well, tying them all together by the theme of painting.
What do you think readers will appreciate most about your book?
Still Life Paintings is a genre sampler in a way, and unlike typical story collections, this one crosses genres quite a bit. The first story is sad, the second one touching, and the third has a happily-ever-after ending. So there’s something for everyone!
Tell us a bit about your writing process.
My process depends on what I’m trying to accomplish. For shorts and collections, I just fly by the seat of my pants, making everything up as I go. For longer works, that approach has only left me with a migraine trying to make a cohesive story from rambling pages, so I tend to write with vague chapter outlines as I go to help keep me on track. Before writing each day (let’s pretend I do get down to business each and every day!), I go back and read over the last chapter. It helps me to focus, and I get some of the minor editing done at the same time.
What is different about this book compared to others you’ve written?
I’d say this collection (barring the first story) is a bit perkier than my normal. While I am a fan of the mythical happy-ending, I’m far too cynical to create them in my writings. The most I can manage is resolution, contentment, and other middle-of-the-road endings.
Most unique or unusual research you’ve ever done for a book?
Does watching hours of Ghost Adventures count? How about True Blood episodes? No, then I’ll have to go with where my current work in progress has taken me– to the legends of the Strega (witch) in Italy.
What is your greatest writing strength?
I tend to write vividly, usually because the story plays like a movie in my head. I attribute this to my other career as a photographer. In fact, I believe my writing has become stronger due to the visual-meets-the-verbal melding. My brain has rewired itself, which has turned out to be a good thing!
What is the hardest part about writing?
Doing it– the actual sitting down and pecking away at the keyboard. I find this is harder to do now that I have a few published books under my belt. The writing doesn’t flow as unfettered, and I can totally see why a lot of famous writers turn to the drink in order to free themselves from the pressure. I’m not at that point yet, but I do have a bottle of Grey Goose on standby, just in case!
Who are your favorite authors?
I grew up addicted to Poe and Anne Rice. Orwell, Flaubert, and Sinclair also nurtured me through angst-ridden teen years. These days, I find myself drawn to Jodi Picoult when my heart is due for a good twisting or popular paranormal authors when I want an escape. I’ve been reading a good bit of indies lately, and I have found more than a few gems among them as well. Beautiful, Naked and Dead by Josh Stallings comes to mind as does Debora Geary’s Modern Witch Series.
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
I’m currently working an a paranormal tale titled Blood Chord (think dastardly vampires, a haunted violin, and a powerful, yet unaware single mother caught up in it all), and that should be ready for release this fall. Before then, I plan on releasing another a novel-in-stories about a house that changes all who live there in subtle but profound ways, aptly named Home Is Where The Haunt Is.
On Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/KarenPFowler