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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Interview: author Karen Metcalf + giveaway!

Lookie! Today's special. Remember the novella I reviewed a few weeks ago? I've got the author, the insanely sweet Karen Metcalf, here! And a giveaway for TWO! Don't scroll down yet though. First read this interview; it's really, really good. Woot! 


Okay, first off, it's the question every author has had to answer a thousand and two times; will you tell us about your novella IN THE STORM?

To put it simply, it is about a girl who gets so angry she clicks over to an alternate world.  This limbo between dimensions appears to be her private sanctuary, but it may just be her purgatory.

When did the idea for your story first hit you and what (if anything) did you know right off the bat?

I was lying in bed during an intense thunderstorm. I love them, but I know not everyone does. I first pictured Mitchell being comforted during such a thunderstorm. I jotted myself a note, and the next morning I began to work on it right away.

Was there a point where you felt like giving up trying to get published, or even just finishing IN THE STORM?

I originally stopped after the first 30 or so pages. I got stuck for a little while. That was when I sent it out to a few friends and family to see if this was even worth pursuing. I thought the whole idea of suddenly writing a book was laughable and pompous. They read it and demanded I finish it, so I did about a month later.

As for publication, it is very tough to get novellas published today, especially stand-alone. I started by submitting to two novella competitions, but neither was interested. I began to look for magazines that might publish longer fiction, and stumbled upon my publisher, Vagabondage Press, who published novellas in their magazine, “The Battered Suitcase”.  I was just about to submit when I realized there was a small blurb that they were considering publishing novellas as stand-alone pieces.  I crossed my fingers and submitted.

In your own opinion, do you feel that the plot is more important to the success of a story, or the characters and their interactions with one another?

I saw my characters first. I had only a vague idea of the ending up until I was about halfway through the writing process.  The plot wrapped itself around my characters. It wasn’t until I wrote them that I began to know them. Knowing them dictated how they acted, which created the plot. In that way, I think they are one and the same.

How do you balance out time for writing and time to spend with loved ones?

When I began to write IN THE STORM, I was living about 5 hours away from the rest of my family. I think traveling home was part of the reason I stopped writing the first part; it killed my flow.  Now, I live all the way across the country, and only get to see them about twice a year.  As for my boyfriend, Marco, he works in the morning, and I work in the afternoon. This gives me a lot of time to myself, and morning seem to be my most inspirational time.  This leaves us the evenings to spend together.

When reading IN THE STORM, there were a few times that it was hard for me to keep reading--they were so emotionally draining! Was it hard to write some of these more intense scenes?

I felt that I couldn’t write it unless I put myself there. I had to envision those things happening to me. That was extremely hard to do, and sometimes I was typing through tears.  For the most part, I think I wrote my own reactions, which is why I have such sympathy and love for my characters. 

What would be the best advice you could give a teen who would like to have a future in writing?

You most likely have a great passion for writing, so don’t let your self-consciousness get in the way!  None of us ever truly expects to “make it”.  Do not worry about what other people say before they have even read your work, and don’t let them read it too early. Most importantly, don’t edit yourself. That can come later.

The idea behind your novella is thrilling. (The details were genius!!) Was there anything that helped you come up with the specifics of Carly's traveling?

Thank you! Honestly, I wish I knew. I told my family that I felt like I was possessed by an author much better than myself. I just went into a zone, and sometimes my theories surprised even me.  Often, Carly’s shock at Morgan’s words is really my own. Even re-reading now, I can’t believe I wrote some of those things. I wish I could say it was planned from the beginning, but I was not aware that most of it would happen until it did.

Are there any scenes that you're particularly fond of having written? We'll look for them!

I love my description of the stars and the moon as a hammock. It is the closest thing to poetry I have written in years, and I was surprised to find I still “have it”. My favorite scene is the ocean, as I am obsessed with waves, and have paintings and portraits of them all over my house.

And finally, the most difficult of the list: Cats or dogs?

I have to admit, I am not much of a dog person.  Cats are just the best lap warmers. I have a 20 lb cat named Hank, who we adopted from a shelter.  He’s so sweet even my boyfriend has joined the cat cause!


Honestly, I can't even get across how nice Karen is, and I want to thank her for stopping by!

Now, for the contest.

Two of you lucky charms will be getting a copy of In The Storm! I'm really excited for you guys, because I honestly loved this story. 

Here's how to enter:
-Leave a comment! I'm simple. Just be sure to include your email address that way I'll know how to get in contact with you if you win. You can add a few more entries in if you blog or tweet about it; just leave a link to your extra entries when you comment. 

Giveaway ends April 1st, and I'll anounce the winners the 4th. 

Yay. Now that that's settled, I'll leave you to your day. In The Storm is out now, so be sure to check it out!


Aleeza said...

oooh, id love to win a copy!
my email address: aleeza876[AT]yahoo[DOT]com.
also, the interview's really got me into the book. the whole alternate-world thing sounds really interesting!

Mandy said...

My e-mail is yeoama(at)

Kate Evangelista said...


I'm Kate Evangelista, author of Taste, and I just wanted to take this time to introduce myself. If you have the time, please stop by The Coffee Bar by using the link below:

I hope to see you there.


Karen said...

Good luck guys!