Interview with Karen J Carlisle

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was in my final year of highschool, I wrote a science-fiction/comedy. It was influenced by my favourite stories at the time - Star Wars, Doctor Who, Blake's 7, Asimov and many others. It took me a year to write and filled 210 hand-typed pages. I only ever let my best friend read it. She was quite miffed that I killed off her favourite character. I only recently found out that my brother had read it too. I really should try to find it, but that means braving the shed.
What is your writing process?
I have notebooks all over the house and in my bag. When I get an idea, I try to write down as much as I can. These notes get filed into a box for future reference. I waver between handwriting the manuscript in one of my notebooks or typing it into Scrivener. For shorter stories (under 24,000 words) I write the entire first draft before I review it. With a book length manuscript, I write a chapter or two, then review. My first draft is a 'splurge' or freewriting exercise - everything goes down on the page. If I am unsure about a word or fact, I put down all my options, so not to lose the flow of the words. However, sometimes the perfectionist in me will insist that I have to do that research before I continue. I have a few trusty beta readers who helps me with obvious errors, repeats or very loose ends. I belong to a writers' group (which includes published authors and editors) who help me with rewrites and suggestions.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Only five?
Blue Moon Rising by Simon R Green- It is a rollicking fun fantasy with fun characters and is such a gloriously easy read.
Lord of the Rings - Tolkien's detailed descriptions create complete pictures in my imagination - complete with an entire music score. It has a element of hope throughout.
Soulless series by Gail Carriger- I love the way she turns a phrase and the dichotomy of Victorian manners meets the inconvenient supernatural world, with just a hint of steampunk.
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham - A very interesting exploration on the nature of man in the face of change and uncertainty, and how fragile we can be when one of our senses is robbed from us.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - unpredictable fun with some really great quotes. Always cheers me up and brings back memories of a much less complicated time.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
In school, I devoured Agatha Christie and Lord of the Rings then moved onto many of the Star Wars extended Universe novels and Doctor Who link in novels. I just could not choose between detective, fantasy or science fiction. I could not resist the urge to create my own worlds and characters...
I really, really should try to find that first manuscript, in the shed.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love speculative fiction - steampunk, science fiction, fantasy and detective stories (set in the early 20th century mostly). I also read a lot of non-fiction. I have a bookshelf dedicated to sixteenth century Florence and the Medicis - the art, costume and life of the times. I also read a lot of gardening books and have a subscription to Gardening Australia.
Describe your desk
Organised chaos. I know where everything is. I get grumpy when someone moves things.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love creating things.
I draw. I photograph. I sew. I embroider. I write. It has been pointed out - many times - that when I am not creating something, I get grumpy. I am lost. I have so many characters and pictures - all beating on the inside of my head - all wanting to escape into the world. Some words can have the most amazing sound. They can produce an emotion or a paint a mental picture. The same sentence can evoke so many differing meanings for individual people. Words have such a myriad of ways they can be strung together. They can spark new ideas and discussions. They can bring hope. They can be fun.
Published 2014-05-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,330. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
Daemons, fairies, magic: it's all real! The Otherworld is bleeding through cracks into our world. And Adelaide is ground zero. Aunt Enid is just your average seventy-something year old. - and the only person standing between The Dark and the fate of the world. When people start disappearing, Sally is drawn into a secret world and soon discovers her Great Aunt Enid is a Protector Extraordinaire.
The Adventures of Viola Stewart #7: The Illusioneer
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,280. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Viola has returned for her last adventure – a grand tour of Europe. Will she finally let go of the past or will it haunt her forever? A chance meeting at the Carnivale di Venezia leads Viola to Paris and the worlds of Illusions and magic and intrigue. Seeing is believing… or is it?
The Adventures of Viola Stewart #6: Tomorrow, When I Die
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 15,480. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
A life is in danger. Is it part of another plot by the mysterious Men in Grey? Viola must find out the truth before it is too late. A knock on the door could change everything. It's all just a matter of time.
The Adventures of Viola Stewart #5: From the Depths
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 11,850. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Viola Stewart needs a holiday. But even at the beach… there are things afoot.
With a Twist of the Nib
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,750. Language: Australian English. Published: February 6, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
A collection of ten speculative fiction short stories. Dwarves, vampires, time travel, detectives, steampunk adventures or supernatural events - take your pick. With a Twist of the Nib is full of quick-read stories - reading times from under two minutes to under fifteen minutes per story. Perfect for commuting, waiting in line or when time is short.
The Adventures of Viola Stewart #4: Eye of the Beholder
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,640. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Romance » Historical
With her friend, Doctor Henry Collins, at her side, Viola Stewart runs foul of mummies, curses and the paranormal. But this time the threat of Bedlam looms over them...
The Adventures of Viola Stewart #3: Three More Short Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,680. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Romance » Historical
The Men in Grey return – with plans for Viola. Will the lure of technology seduce Viola or will Henry lose her forever? Viola Stewart returns in a new series of short adventures, with a hint of romance. This Victorian Mystery series is set in a steampunk fantasy world and has a gaslamp flavour.
The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Doctor Jack
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 36,510. Language: English. Published: May 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
Someone is stalking the women of London. An unexpected encounter puts our heroine in grave peril. Viola is detectiving again, chasing secret societies and nefarious plots. Doctor Jack is a novella (36,000+ words)
The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Three Short Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,470. Language: English. Published: April 9, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Viola Stewart is a widowed optician with a penchant for dectectiving, who stumbles upon a secret Society of Men in Grey. Set in a Victorian steampunk fantasy world, this series has a gaslamp flavour. Three Short Stories: Day of the Dirigible, An Eye for Detail and The Magic Lantern. Approx. 8000 words.