Karen J Carlisle is an writer and illustrator of speculative fiction - steampunk, Victorian mysteries and fantasy. She lives in Adelaide with her family and the ghost of her ancient Devon Rex cat.
She has started various other long-term affairs with fantasy fiction, (tabletop) role-playing, gardening, historical re-creation and steampunk – in that order. From the age of nine, she longed to be a writer.
Karen has had articles published in Australian Realms Roleplaying Magazine and Cockatrice (Arts and Sciences magazine). She has written short stories, SF/comedy, non-fiction articles and speculative fiction. Her short story, An Eye for Detail, was short-listed by the Australian Literature Review in their 2013 Murder/Mystery Short Story Competition. Hunted, was featured in A Trail of Tales, as part of the 2016 Adelaide Fringe.
Karen has always loved chocolate - dark preferred - and rarely refuses a cup of tea.
She is not keen on the South Australian summers.
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.
When times are dark, fiction can whisk us away to other worlds to find new friends and have fantastical adventures. This collection of short fantasy, steampunk and fairytale fiction was created to entertain those in isolation or quarantine, or anyone needing to escape the worries of the world for a while.
When Miss Matilda Meriwether finds herself in the employment of The Department of Curiosities, she realises this is the perfect opportunity to uncover the truth she has been searching for.
But the Queen has other plans for her.
The Department of Curiosities is a steampunk tale of adventure, a heroine, mad scientists, traitors and secrets.
All for the Good of the Empire.
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.
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?
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.
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 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.
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)
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.