Interview with Kat Karpenko

What is your writing process?
I start with an event that stimulates my imagination. In "Emma's Ghost" it was the resident of Mahone Bay telling me about finding love letters in the wall of his old home while doing a renovation–great plot line for a story. Then I develop interesting characters in a period setting incorporating the history of the place and times. In the case of "Emma's Ghost", the developed characters started guiding me through the story line as my imagination asked "now what would Emma or Laura do?" and "how can I bring the threads of both stories together?' It becomes a puzzle where the pieces all have to fit into a conclusion you are satisfied with.
How do you approach cover design?
I was lucky to find a creative cover designer on Upworks.com. I knew the images I wanted on the book and saw an imaginative cover he had created that could be adapted for mine. His cover had the merged faces of a wolf and a dog. We changed this to the merged faces of my two main characters, Laura and Emma, with a background of the Halifax Explosion. It all worked very well. So, I guess you need to form an idea of the strong points of your story and combine them with a creative design, always asking "what will grab the reader's attention".
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It would be difficult to choose five favourites. I have been an avid reader all my life but tend to like historical novels. Off the top of my head : "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck, "Centennial" by James Mitchener, "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte and "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas. These are all period tales with an absorbing plot and dynamic, unforgettable characters.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read historical novels which teach me about former times and places. They are page turners but not overburdened with poetical descriptions. I need action and topics that interest me. Wilbur Smith and his stories of Africa are of particular interest. Some of my favourite Canadian writers are Alister Macleod, Ann-Marie MacDonald, and Thomas Raddall.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Fire.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing stories as a child.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing Is experiencing creative energy. When you struggle with words, characters and plot and they finally come together in a satisfying way, there is a great sense of accomplishment.
What are you working on next?
My next novel will be the story of my Grandfather coming to Canada and leaving many family members behind. I have a wonderful old photo of their 1928 departure in Ukraine when all the family gathered to say goodbye. I often wondered what emotions were like on that day and wrote a short story about it. We do not know what happened to those left behind but the history tells a dreadful tale under the rule of Stalin and the Bolsheviks. It will be a work of fiction based on the history of the times and the imagined journey they took to get to Canada.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy outdoor activities like cycling, swimming, hiking. I am a snowbird spending winters in Mazatlan, Mexico and summers visiting friends and family in Canada and the USA.
What are the driving forces behind your writing.
I am inspired by historical events and the drama associated with them. Making the reader see and feel the tragedies and joys of my characters in their historical setting, puts the reader in touch with the past like no history book can. History tends to repeat itself so there are lessons to be learned.
Published 2017-08-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Emma's Ghost
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 50,570. Language: English. Published: August 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada, Fiction » Romance » Adult
In Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Laura discovers love letters dated 1918, in her deceased grandmother’s house. Visitations by the resident spirit drive her to write the story of the lovers, Emma and Andrew, who met in Halifax after the largest man-made explosion in history before Hiroshima. What happened to them and Laura has unexpected resolutions in an action-packed, historical tale.