Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Interview with Karen Collum

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Now that we're back in the swing of things, lets dive into our next interview. But be sure to check in tomorrow when I announce the winner of Aubrie Dionne's ebook.

Now on to a wonderful writer I know you'll be glad to meet. Her children's book SAMUEL'S KISSES is launching tomorrow! Say hello to Karen Collum.

Hi, Karen! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a stay-at-home mum to three pre-school boys. My eldest son is 5 1/2 (that half is very important) and my identical twins are 2 1/2. I'm also in the last few weeks of my pregnancy with a baby girl. Prior to being at home with the kids I was a primary school teacher (equivalent to elementary school).

Wow! You've got your hands full. How long have you been writing?

I've always loved words and dreamed of being an author but it wasn't until four years ago I took myself and my craft seriously and decided to do something about it. I enrolled in a beginner's course in creative writing and began the long process of learning the ropes of what it means to be a writer.

Tell us about this great new picture book you've got coming out.

SAMUEL'S KISSES is my first picture book and will be released on December 1
in Australia, although the official launch won't be until February next year when the post-Christmas madness has settled. It's a warm and fuzzy story of how one little boy's kisses can make the world a better place.

Sounds great. How did the idea of the book come to you?

As a toddler my eldest son used to blow kisses to complete strangers when we were at the shops. I was always amazed at how the adults responded. They couldn't help but smile and engage with him in some way. I knew it would
make a great story one day, and it has!

What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Time! Life with three little children is exceptionally busy and I have to make time for me to write. When I'm not heavily pregnant and exhausted, I usually get up at 5am three or four days a week to have a couple of hours of writing time before the kids wake up. I'm not an early morning person but I look forward to that time that is just for me.

Let's get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Good question! I don't need anything in particular to be honest, although silence is my best friend. I can't write with music in the background, for example. I often write my first draft of picture books in a notebook on the run somewhere, but when it comes to really working with them I use my laptop and need quiet to hear the words and make good decisions about the text.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

It would be to read people's minds. I'm fascinated by what makes people tick and human behaviour and sometimes it would be great to be a mind reader, especially in conversations with my husband! LOL

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: hyper, mosquito, and megaphone.

As I am hyper-allergic to mosquitoes and end up with massive welts whenever I am bitten (which is often!), I don't need a megaphone to yell for the insect repellent - I'm quite loud enough as it is! (And that is a true story, by the way!)

Yikes! Here's the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

My husband is great and will help out with looking after the kids if I'm doing a writing course or have a deadline on a freelance article that I'm working towards. My parents have also been incredibly supportive, but I have to say that there's a group of Australia children's authors who have been absolutely wonderful in their support. In particular, Kathryn Apel, Susan Stephenson and Dee White have been sounding boards, confidantes and critique buddies of mine and I'm so very thankful that they are my writing buddies and friends. I've also got a great network of people on Twitter with whom I have regular contact. Twitter is an awesome place for me to find support while I'm limited in my capacity to leave the house without children in tow :)

And finally, where can people find you online?

I'd love people to come and visit me at my website, http://www.karencollum.com.au/. When life isn't quite so crazy, I blog about once a week and share my journey as a writer.

Karen, thank you so much for spending time with us. Good luck with your mini-launch tomorrow and especially the big launch in February!


Zoe said...

Cute book idea! Thanks for the interview, Dorothy and Karen!

Gina said...

Congrats on the book launch tomorrow and the growing family! Samuel's Kisses sounds like a magical little book indeed and that cover art is very cute. Best of luck on this and your future endeavors...and thank you to Dorothy for another great author spotlight!

Eileen Schuh: said...

Awesome to see two of my great cyber pals in the same place. Congrats on your launch, Karen. Another great interview, Dorothy.