Ask the Author: Karen A. Wyle
What would you like readers to know about you?
I knew as a child I wanted to write novels, and ended up doing it in my fifties and sixties. You never know when you’ll return to your dreams! Also: I love working, and playing, with words.
What is Division about for those who haven’t read it?
Here’s the tag line for Division, a near-future SF novel:
“New technology gives conjoined twins Gordon and Johnny new choices. But who gets to choose?”
What has been your inspiration for writing Division?
I’ve been fascinated by twins for many years, and have read articles and watched shows about conjoined twins. My habit of viewing almost everything through a science fiction lens did the rest.
What was your favorite scene or part of to write?
I’m also an attorney — an appellate attorney, which means I don’t try cases. I had a blast writing closing arguments, something I don’t usually get to do, for the trial that takes up about a quarter of the book.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Hoo, boy. I’ve been reading a wide variety of fiction for more than fifty years, and (as mentioned above) I first started wanting to write novels when I was around nine years old, so I can’t remember what books and authors inspired that ambition. As a child, I read and reread C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, Hilda Lewis’s The Ship That Flew, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, some of Edward Eager’s books (Half Magic, Knight’s Castle, Magic by the Lake, Magic or Not?), and several of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 19th century novels (especially A Little Princess and The Secret Garden). As an adult, I’ve read a great deal of science fiction and was particularly inspired and impressed by Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Children of God.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Don’t take any writing “rules” as mandatory. Find the process that works for you and don’t let anyone make you ashamed of it.
If you have trouble getting started or finishing what you start, I highly recommend National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short), which takes place every November. Writers from all over the world try to write at least 50,000 words of a very rough draft entirely within the month of November, though it’s okay to research and make notes beforehand. At that pace (average of 1,667 words a day), you won’t have much time to second-guess yourself. You can brick up your inner editor in a closet and let your subconscious guide you. You can then take as long as you like to finish, revise, and polish, after whatever interval suits you, for as long as it takes.
Seriously consider self-publishing your work — after you’ve edited it or had it edited, and run it by a few beta readers. If you go that route, it’s a very good idea to hire a good cover designer (which doesn’t have to be expensive), unless you’re gifted at graphic design and familiar with book covers in your book’s genre. If you do seek out traditional publishing, don’t rely on an agent to catch land mines in your publishing contract — and there are more nasty land mines in such contracts than ever. Hire an IP (intellectual property) attorney to do a quick review of the contract — you can find several good ones online — and be willing to walk away from a deal that could cripple your future writing career (all too common). Vet any publisher by checking Writer Beware at https://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/.
Where to buy:
My books are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats; on Barnes & Noble online in .epub and paperback; and at multiple online retailers (including Google Play, Kobo, Apple, and everywhere else Draft2Digital distributes) in various ebook formats.
Where to find Karen:
—Twin-Bred series: Twin-Bred, Reach, Leaders (tag line for first book is “Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb?”)
–Additional near future SF: Playback Effect, Who, The Link
–Afterlife fantasy/family drama: Wander Home
–SF with aliens and no humans, also coming of age story: Water to Water
–Nonfiction resource for authors, law students, and others: Closest to the Fire: A Writer’s Guide to Law and Lawyers