Best-selling author, entrepreneur, luxury travel journalist and editor, Karen has lived the expat life for twenty years across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. With her debut novel, The Good Mother, she won the Emirates Airline Festival of Literatures Montegrappa Novel Writing Prize in 2016. In September 2018, she released her second book, The Home, and she’s now writing her third thriller novel.
Karen, you are known for your Amazon best seller “The Good Mother”. So let’s start with the most obvious question: what inspired the writing of this book?
I wrote The Good Mother with the aim of creating a gripping psychological suspense novel. I started brainstorming some ideas, listing them out with a pen and paper. Inadvertently, I had placed them in two columns and I decided to put two ideas together and combine them. The journey of motherhood was the first idea and I combined this with the concept of volunteering to write to a prison inmate. The latter is something that has intrigued me for a long time – what would you write to a murderer? By combining these two concepts, I developed the plot and the characters. What really helped was that I created the plot in order to enter a competition – the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Montegrappa Writing Prize – so the submission deadline really helped me to focus. After winning the competition, I developed the initial chapters and outline into a complete novel.
You have just released your second novel entitled “The Home”. Can you please tell more about it?
I was inspired by multiple themes when writing The Home. A psychological thriller, my second novel is about a young woman called Angela who was abandoned when she was just a few days old to a children’s home in London. When wealthy couple James and Rosemary come to choose a child to adopt, Angela is desperate to escape. However, the scars of childhood remain and when Angela’s search for her birth mother Evelyn is successful, their reunion brings its own problems. Set in the 1970s and ‘80s, the book is about motherhood, raising children, marriage, deceit, violence, and betrayal.
Now that you have two published novels under your belt, how has your writing and your process changed?
I have learnt a huge amount during the course of writing these books. I have just finished the first draft of the manuscript for my third book and I applied a lot of those lessons to this process. I planned and outlined my third book a lot more as well as did a lot more research prior to the writing process. I also developed the characters a lot more deeply before writing as well.
“I’ve also just created an online TV show called Karen’s Bookshelf which will be a show all about books.”
What’s the best way to market your books? How do you use social media networks to create a buzz around what you do?
Authors are expected to do a lot of their own social media outside of what their publisher does. I use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook mainly. I’ve also just created an online TV show called Karen’s Bookshelf which will be a show all about books.
What kind of research do you do in order to give more authenticity to your characters? How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For my last book, I spent 4 – 6 weeks researching and planning. For characters, my imagination plays a huge part but I will spend a lot more time researching themes and plots, either online or on location.
How many hours a day do you write?
I write best in the morning so usually from 7:30 am until lunch-time.
What is your favorite quote?
“If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.”- Dalai Lama
Follow Karen on Instagram @karenosmanauthor