Introducing Author Karen A. Wyle
Author Karen A. Wyle is my guest this week on the blog. She’s a very interesting author and you can read my review of her book Wander Home here. I can’t wait to read Karen’s take on Scrivener (see the second question in her interview) as I recently purchased it and haven’t had much time to learn to use the program. So grab a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy our chat. Please feel free to leave a comment!
Interview with Author Karen A. Wyle
Where do you write? What’s your creative space like?
I usually write on my desktop computer, which sits on a maybe-antique desk too high for good ergonomics, so I’m constantly courting carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s in a very messy room we call an office, with what might be a nice view if we ever opened the blinds. Hmmm. Maybe this setup needs work . . . .
What is your favorite writing tool?
Scrivener!!! I recently posted a paean to this program on my blog, at http://looking-around.blogspot.com/2012/12/in-praise-of-scrivener.html. Another and more detailed article showing what Scrivener can do for writers: http://www.livehacked.com/writing-2/scrivener-an-introduction-to-novel-writing/.
What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?
I don’t know whether she counts as a star, nor whether she’s done anything with the requisite emotional depth, but Lake Bell looks the part. With the right hair adjustment, Anna Paquin or Bryce Dallas Howard might fit the bill.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you realize that dream?
I wanted to be a novelist! I gave up on that dream sometime in college, and came back to it after a decades-long detour, at just the right time, with self-publishing now a viable option.
Explain your creative process. Pantser? Outliner?
I’m mostly a pantser. I never do a full outline. Usually, I start with an opening situation and a handful of characters, and then come up with a list of scenes I may want to include. The rest of the story unfolds as I write, and invariably surprises me. The only time I thought I knew the ending ahead of time, it turned out I didn’t.
Assuming I had the resources to take care of a horse, I’d prefer a horse — if it would be so kind as to pull a covered carriage to protect me from the elements. I’d be particularly gratified if the horse would learn the way home from various places I’d be likely to go, so I could relax and nap during the journey.
Do you dream about your stories? Ever written about a dream?
I sometimes dream stories that, in the dream, I believe I’ve been writing — but at least as far as I can remember, they aren’t my actual stories. I believe I have come up with one or two story ideas in dreams, but I haven’t written about them yet — I’ve just noted them down in my “Ideas” folder.
What were you like in high school? Class clown? Nerd? Cheerleader type?
I was one of the “smart” kids, and on the fringes of (tolerated by) the “smart-but-popular” set. I had three friends with whom I spent most of my time (as a foursome or in smaller sub-sets).
The only one I’ve visited is Disneyland, which I enjoy more than I can explain. There’s something about the surrounding energy that delights me.
Are you a reader? What types of books do you like best? What author(s)?
I’m a compulsive reader. If I’m sitting down, awake, and not in active conversation with anyone, I’m reading. (That’s a slight overstatement: when I’m watching TV or a movie, I don’t always read. But often I do.)
I have been reading science fiction most of my life, although I seem to read less of it these days. I have been reading increasing amounts of historical fiction, including historical mysteries, which I read for the setting and characters rather than the mystery itself. One of my favorite authors is Mary Doria Russell, whose science fiction novel The Sparrow may be my favorite novel in any genre and from any time period, and who also writes historical fiction.
What led you to write your latest book, Wander Home?
I’ve always been interested in different speculations and imaginings about life after death — and I am drawn to themes of family communication, unfinished business, and reconciliation. I don’t remember exactly when or how the setting for Wander Home came to me, but it fit my interests and preoccupations to dream up an afterlife with features suitable for celebrating one’s life and addressing lingering issues. Once I had the setting, I found a family-based story that grew out of it.
Is Wander Home your first novel? If not, what was your first novel about?
This science fiction novel addresses the question: can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? Humans have lived on Tofarn, planet of creeks and rivers, for seventy years, but they still don’t understand the Tofa. The Tofa are an enigma, from their featureless faces to the four arms that sometimes seem to be five. They take arbitrary umbrage at the simplest human activities, while annoying their human neighbors in seemingly pointless ways. The next infuriating, inexplicable incident may explode into war.
Scientist Mara Cadell has a radical proposal: that host mothers carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, who might understand each other better. Mara knows about the bond between twins: her own twin Levi died in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.
The human Council approves the project. The Tofa agree to cooperate, although no one is sure they understand the project’s purpose. In fact, the Tofa have their own agenda. And so does one member of the Council, who believes the human colonists should have wiped out the Tofa before setting foot on Tofarn. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred project through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely? . . .
I just finished (via NaNo) the rough draft of a science fiction novel tentatively titled Division, involving conjoined twins. While I let it cool off in the virtual desk drawer, I’m editing the sequel to Twin-Bred, with the working title Reach. I hope to publish the latter by late Spring of 2013.
Here are some other places you can find author Karen A. Wyle and her books. Scroll down to read her bio.
Karen Wyle Facebook page
Facebook pages for Karen A. Wyle Books:
Karen’s Blog (Looking Around):
Follow Karen on Twitter: @WordsmithWyle
Purchase Karen Wyle’s books here:
B&N online (paperback):
Smashwords (various ebook formats): http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94490
Smashwords (various ebook formats): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/239628
Karen A. Wyle Bio:
Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but moved every few years throughout her childhood and adolescence. After college in California, law school in Massachusetts, and a mercifully short stint in a large San Francisco law firm, she moved to Los Angeles, where she met her now-husband, who hates L.A. They eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University.
Wyle’s childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist. While writing her first novel at age ten, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age nine.
Wyle has been a voracious and compulsive reader as long as she can remember. Do not strand this woman on a plane without reading matter! Wyle was an English and American Literature major at Stanford University, which suited her, although she has in recent years developed some doubts about whether studying literature is, for most people, a good preparation for enjoying it. Her most useful preparation for writing novels, besides reading them, has been the practice of appellate law — in other words, writing large quantities of persuasive prose, on deadline, year after year.
Wyle and her husband have two intensely creative daughters, the older of whom introduced Wyle to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), for which she will be forever grateful.