Tell us about yourself and your books.:
All my work is inspired by social issues to which we all can relate. Work/ life stresses, the loss of a spouse and how marriage can sometimes swallow a woman’s identity, and the prevalence of greed in modern society.
Walking with Elephants was my first novel, although I am not new to writing. I was a dinner theater critic and celebrity interviewer for a weekly tabloid in Jacksonville, Fl and I earned a Master’s in Mass Communication from Oklahoma State University. For 15 years I worked in corporate America as a technical editor/editor/writer. I experienced first hand the politics and intrigue that goes with that territory and the balancing act that comes with being a working mother. I salute all those mothers who are the glue that holds their families together while pursuing the nine to five brass ring and they were the inspiration for this work. The audible book is available and narrated by me.
With my second novel, Sunspots, I continue to be in awe of the magical and wondrous phenomenon called life. As an observer and obvious participant in feminine values and approach to our human challenges, I bring this perspective to my work. Fascinated by the mysteries of the unseen forces that perhaps play a role in guiding our choices, I search for answers in the mundane as well as in the cosmic forces that surround us.
In my third novel, Alexa’s pact with the Devil in When a Stranger Comes…is an allegory for the evil lurking in our midst. The social decay of modern society with its excessive greed, the ignorance of our political leaders, and our indifference toward the survival of all species from the effects of climate change, among other environmental pressures, are perhaps brought forth by the darkest forces of human nature. The audible book narrated by me is available.
The genre of magical realism appeals to me and all my work has elements woven in. My current project is focused on a Bed and Breakfast that becomes a safe haven from the effects of climate change while celebrating the Feminine Divine and is set squarely in that realm.
I live in Ponte Vedra, Fl. with my husband and our two furry kitty kids. It true what they say that dogs have masters and cats have staff. We try to keep them wanting for nothing. Our four human kids have flown the nest and are scattered far and wide, alas.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My writing habits are these: I turn on the computer and go shopping, check twitter, read the news, and check Facebook. I might as well write a couple of paragraphs as long as I'm sitting here. When I'm really in the throes of the plot and characters, thoughts come to me when I'm not at the computer and later on I try to remember them and add them to the story. Not very methodical and that's why it takes me several years from start to finish, but hey I'm self-published so who cares?
What authors have influenced you?
I love the work of Jodi Picoult because she brings social issues into her works as I do, Alice Hoffman because she weaves in magic, and the Latin-American writers like Isobel Allende who write in the genre of magical realism. I also respect good writing and if I think a book is poorly written, I can't finish it.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep your day job, have someone in your life that pays the bills, and write because you love it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Turn off the news.
What are you reading now?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
What’s your biggest weakness?
Binge watching a tv series on Netflix or Hulu.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, although there are several favorites of all time like Michner's Hawaii, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone with the Wind.
What has inspired you and your writing style?
I'm a person who is not passive as to what happens around me. When I worked full time, I saw the sacrifices women and their families made. I was lucky, I stayed at home when my children were very young. One day, I went into the ladies room and there was a young women pumping her breast. The way nature works, I understood her baby was crying somewhere to be fed. Why wasn't she given better and longer maternity leave, like, for example, Germany? Boom! Walking with Elephants was given my conscious attention. The underlying premise is a suggestion that society should become a matriarchy like elephants. In the elephant world, the herd is only females and their young. Males only come around to mate. Maybe it's time for women to be in charge. Still waiting for that.
In my published work, I have written in the first person, present tense. A total no-no for inexperienced writers, but feels comfortable for me. Like I'm talking a friend who just happens to be the reader. For my latest work I decided to write in third person past tense, just because–something different.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on a two book series that deals with the effects of climate change and weaves in notions about the Feminine Divine. Normal-seeming women are really goddesses that create a safe haven, a Bed and Bedfast Inn, on high ground in Vermont as the sea levels rise and the atmosphere is compromised from the eruption of the massive volcano under Yellowstone Park. In book two the goddesses figure out how to mitigate these catastrophes–I think-haha.
What is your method for promoting your work?
I go online and find promo sites, use social media, and tell all my friends and family, unfortunately that doesn't translate to millions of copies sold. It's a good thing my bills are paid by my husband.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Total retirement. I was already old when I wrote Walking with Elephants.
How well do you work under pressure?
I worked great under pressure when I worked for corporate America. Being self-published there are no deadlines.
How do you decide what tone to use with a particular piece of writing?
My characters tell me what they think and feel. It's kind of weird. I try to keep it light because I have to have some influence over them.
Author Websites and Profiles
Karen Bell Website
Karen Bell Amazon Profile
Karen Bell Goodreads Profile
Karen Bell’s Social Media Links
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