Author Interview – Karin Cox : Part 1

Karin Cox authorWithin the Indie Author Hub, you can learn about other authors, their thoughts and opinions, what makes them tick and how their writing process works for them.

All this week I will be releasing segments of an interview I conducted with fellow author, Karin Cox, Australian author of Paranormal fiction. Have a look at her profile and books here.

Part 1 : Karin’s Writing Process

What inspired you to become an author?  I’ve always had the gift of the gab, but I started out mostly writing poetry. My dad always wrote poetry. He is a farmer, a hard man and an unlikely candidate for lyricism. I loved that I saw his softer side in his poems. Writing was a way to release tension and to work through my own often tangled and extreme emotions. 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. If I couldn’t be an author I would be an editor. I love editing too, but I just need to focus on my own work for a little while at the moment, before I am too old to live my own dreams while I’m helping others chase theirs.

How do you juggle writing with normal life?  I usually get up, have breakfast with my two-year-old daughter, and then check my social media and do a little marketing while she plays for an hour or so. From then on, my hands are tied until she has a daytime nap at about 1.30 pm, so I go to the gym, play, swim or swing or do craft and then I research or edit in the hour or two while she is asleep. Once she goes to bed at 7.30, I edit or write from 8 until 1 am. Prior to my daughters birth, I wrote full time as the inhouse author for Steve Parish Publishing for four years. Having 8 hours or more a day to spend on writing alone would be a dream come true, but I wouldn’t trade my hours with my daughter, as she is the true masterpiece of my life. I don’t worry about burning out because I almost feel burned out all the time! Like a phoenix, I manage to haul out of bed and rise from the ashes. Sometimes you just have to “Make it happen!” and that is kind of my personal motto. To recharge, I like to take the occasional camping holiday with my family, watch a movie together, or go to the park or the beach. I have a pool, so occasionally I just go and float and zone out for fifteen minutes or so. Floating is a great way to discover clarity. Going to the gym for an hour a day also helps me to stay focussed and fit and I often read the work of other indie authors on my iPad while I’m on the treadmill. I think being a part of a tight-knit and extraordinarily helpful indie community is important. I believe we can all achieve our goals; we’re not in competition because each book and each reader is unique. 

Where do you write? My study has been taken over by my partner as his X-box “man cave” so I now mostly write in a recliner in the living room or out on the deck at a big wooden table, overlooking the pool. It is getting too wintry here to do that now, so it’s the recliner for a few months. My special writing place is simply solitude. I can’t write with other people in the room or with the TV on. I need silence.

Do you plan your books down to the last detail? Good heavens no. Whenever I have tried to do that, I get crippling author paralysis. I prefer to plot very basically. I know how the book will begin, the climax, and the ending, and then I fill in the rest as I go along, adding theme and linking elements at editorial stage. I don’t fear the blank page. I fear the point about 40,000 words in where the ending seems too far away. When I get there I just keep going. The editor in me makes it very hard for me to just “bash out” a first draft. I like to polish as I go along but that can lead to dilemmas if my desire to make it perfect conflicts with my ability to get words on the page. A good tool for me has been a program called Write or Die. I put it on a setting called Kamikaze, which means it eats my words if I don’t keep up with the self-imposed word count, and I get my draft done that way in blocks of 2000 words or so. Then, when I start work the next day, I edit that first and then set myself another Kamikaze session.

How do you decide on your characters and what they will be like? I suppose I mentally “workshop” them for a while before I begin writing them. It helps to look at photographs of people and places, and to drill down to the core of why they act a certain way. What are their psychological hurts that make them who they are and how do they show those hurts or fears on the surface?

In Part 2, Karin reveals her thoughts on the publishing industry.

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