Interview with Karin Mabry

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Judy Blume. I was in the fourth grade and we had just moved from Virginia to Michigan that year. I was having my tenth birthday party and one of the 'cool girls' gave me a set of Judy Blume books, replete with 'Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret.' I thought it was a nice present but my mother took in upon herself, in the coming days, to abscond with the entire collection, which of course, only made me want to read them more. As it turned out, when I did sneak into my Mom's room to read them, I had no idea what all the fuss was about as I didn't understand what was taking place. It took years for me to realize why my Mom thought the gift inappropriate for a fourth grader but those books had a lasting impact. Perhaps I should write romance books?
How do you approach cover design?
Since I have only published one book and it was a non-fiction book about commercial carriage driving, I felt like the cover didn't need to be a professional piece of art. I followed Smashbook's guide to cover art in that, if you removed the name of the book and there was only a picture left, would it describe what the book was about. I had a friend take a picture of me on the carriage with my horse, Scout and Scout is the predominate image you see. I, as the driver of the carriage, am present and the carriage is in the picture with an obvious cityscape behind us, but Scout is what you notice about this cover. He is a horse, in tack, attached to a carriage, in a city. My book's name is 'Horses in the City' so I thought the picture covered that nicely.
What do you read for pleasure?
I am a tough reader to please because I owned my own used bookstore. I used to spend all day, every day, either talking about books, selling books, buying books or reading whatever struck my fancy. Having said all that, I am a believer in the adage 'Read the good books first or there might not be time.' I rarely find modern literature that really feels worthy of the name 'literature'. These works could be called fiction, yes, but not poetry, not in sync with the moon, not works that make my soul move. I love Ranier Maria Rilke, even though he ruined me for all other poets when I was in my twenties. He embodies what I think a poet should be, should do, should show. But, for pleasure, I try to stick with the classics. I just finished a book I think most people would have read in high school called 'The Moon is Down' by John Stienbeck, which was amazing. I also just finished Barbara Kingsolver's 'Animal Dreams', which I thoroughly enjoyed, as well.
Describe your desk
My desk is in a state of flux. It was clean a week ago, I swear it was. But what was supposed to be a place for my laptop and my notebook is so full of other things that my laptop sits on my lap. There is a method to my madness but one would not know it by looking at my desk.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I don't have a hometown. When I finally realized that about myself, it made it easier to see where I fit in in today's society. Most people have a place where they can go which will remind them of all the growth they experienced as a child in order to grow into an adult. I have no such place. There is no place where people would remember little me, when I was six years old, going to the grocery store with my Mom. This has led to a specific kind of disregard for things which are commonly revered because of the amount of time for which they have existed. I don't discount the sacrifices of others, in the past, I just don't believe in tradition for tradition's sake. How did all this effect my writing? Well, when I started writing, I loved it because of the ease with which I could travel with the medium of my choice- a pen and paper. I didn't need wifi to write a poem, I didn't need a YouTube video to tell me if I knew how to open myself on a page. I didn't even need a publisher, telling me how great I was. I needed to write. So, I would think I learn self-sufficiency, growing up in the non-linear way I did.
When did you first start writing?
A friend of mine took me to a coffee shop our freshman year of college. My friend had already tasted the glorious gifts of writing poetry and had left me alone at our table, a couple of napkins laying in front of me and a pencil. Having recently both been introduced to poets we had never known existed but whom we were sure we would love had we ever met them, we were intoxicated by words and love and sunshine and the moon. It never occurred to me to try my hand at speaking for the gods on an earthly plane. But that night at the coffee shop, I gave it a try. It was my first poem, written alone. I remember writing it in a frenzy, amazed at how easily the words came and then, it was over. I was a poet.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The book I am working on now has to do with friendship and Southern femininity and the things people will do to those they love.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Everything. Writing has already given me more than any sales dashboard ever could. Discovering writing was one of the most life-changing events to ever happen to me. Writing saw me through everything in my early adulthood. Writing held the promise that I would make life matter more to me, for me and through me than the average person. Writing was a level playing field, as far as I was concerned. If Jack London could go from a complete nobody to the most famous writer in the country in five years, who's to say whether or not I can "actually" write? If I say I am a writer, I learned, that is what makes me a writer. Claiming the title.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am inspired to get out of bed each day by the fact that I am still on this Earth, allowed to get up every day and breath air on this mysterious, amazing, wild planet we call home. That, and my family.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was about a plate on a shelf and what that plate's life was like when it came to life. I was in sixth grade.
What is your writing process?
I subscribe to Natalie Goldberg ('Writing Down the Bones") and her philosophies on writing as well as Buddhism and how the two correlate. By this, I mean that a human's thoughts are like clouds, floating by in the sky and should be treated as such. So, a daily writing practice wherein there is no filter to my fingers on the keyboard nor my pen on the page. I purposely don't think about what I am going to say next, even if my next thought is,"What am I going to say next?" I have found that by 'keeping the wheels lubed', so to speak, it makes fiction writing so much easier as it just flows and flows and flows out of me. That and a great premise.
Published 2017-11-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Horses in the City -Tales and Reflections of a Memphis Carriage Driver
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 29,010. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Entertainment industry
Ever wonder what it's really like inside the commercial horse-and-carriage industry? Let me, a long-time carriage driver, take you on a journey through the ins and outs of life on the carriage. This book is a meaningful study of my relationship with my carriage horse working in an urban environment (Memphis, TN) and why it is so good for working horses to work. Come take a ride!