Interview with Karen S. Bell

Published 2013-09-13.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Brooklyn and loved to go to the local public library and take out a stack of books, the maximum allowed. Then I would read them avidly getting them back before their due date. I devoured them. All kinds of books, biographies, autobiographies, mysteries, historical fiction. You name it. I have continued that pastime into my adulthood. Always with a book. The more you read, the better your write.
When did you first start writing?
I always had a penchant for writing but not the discipline to keep at it. I took a writing class as an adult and wrote a short story, The companion. The teacher said, picture a naked lightbulb hanging from the ceiling and...go. The story wrote it itself and it was nothing about lightbulbs, but about friendship and heart break losing a loved one. I wasn't sure where to set it but after a vacation to Alaska, the setting was a no brainer. I was hooked. But it took several years to attempt my first novel.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My second novel, Sunspots, was a catharsis for me. My first husband died when I was young and my children were quite young. An accident and then your life turns upside down. Although, the story is a fiction the feelings were real. The MC moves through the pain and life offers a sweet conclusion. Like my own journey.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Quite frankly, no interest from the big publishers. My first novel, Walking with Elephants, looks at the work/life struggles of modern women. That book was written a good ten years before all the published work that has come out since. I was an unknown, no cred, no connections. Some editors worked with me a little bit then dropped me. I couldn't get an agent. A small press published it and then within a year closed shop. No one would pick it up. So it was a no brainer and I have a lot of computer skills. It took me ten years to find that publisher and I didn't want to wait another ten. My second novel also did not develop I will take a stab at traditional publishing with my third novel, but I won't waste too much time with it. It is really easy and satisfying to do it yourself.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords makes it easy to send out your work in all different formats to reviewers.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting caught up in the story, where my characters take over and tell me what to write and story ideas pop into my head wherever I am. Being in the zone.
What do your fans mean to you?
Still trying to grow a fan base. Lots of books have been bought or given away but still waiting for the random review. I cherish the few fans that have been identified and hoping for more.
What are you working on next?
My work centers around women's issues, empowering women. My first novel, Walking with Elephants, as I said dealt with women and the workplace and balancing family demands. My second novel, Sunspots, deals with losing oneself to another person, in this case, a husband. The theme of giving away your mojo and then fighting to get it back. Marriage can be suffocating, rather than a healthy companionship. My third novel will deal with women and society. Modern women are are turning away from their divine feminine aspect. Choosing to behave more like testosterone-fueled males. We can be powerful and feminine, sexual, but not like dogs in heat. The backdrop of this theme will be an MC who has the ability to to travel to different realities and be taught the divine feminine power by the ancient goddess of myth and lore. A hero's journey of sorts inspired by the work of Joseph Campbell.
Who are your favorite authors?
Here's the thing. I read a book by a best selling author and think, "Right, this writer is really gooood. " Then I read a second or third work and think, "eh." So no writer at the moment grabs me completely.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life, the thrill of being alive. Being grateful for the chance to be apart of this great human experiment. Of seeing all the beauty around me, being loved, and giving love. I am humbled by experiencing all that. Grateful beyond words.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to swim. I live near the beach and also have a house by a lake. There are many community pools as well. I interact with my kids, grandkids through Facetime because they all live quite far from me. I go to the movies, eat out frequently, and travel. A great, great, life.
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