VS: Kari, it is such a pleasure to have you as my guest on The Writing Mama today. Now I know a little bit about you because we are friends on Facebook. However, I am hoping to get to know you better today along with my readers. So to start, can you share a little about your family? How many children you have? Do you have any furry kids, too? Kari: I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world--but then again, aren't we all? :) We have one daughter, Natasha Lynn, and two black cats--Jacq & Tifa. Sometimes it feels very much that we have three kids running around the house, Natasha trying to catch Jacq's tail and Jacq chasing after Tifa! Tifa's my teenager kitty--she's moody and whiny and loves to be petted, but only on her terms. Jacq has only one eye and a slightly misshapen snout from birth defects, we think, and she has feline idiopathic epilepsy, which means she has seizures, and the doctor has no idea why. Last fall, Natasha was diagnosed as autistic. She's almost four (September 13) and has only just now started to speak which we're extremely grateful for. VS: Wow, it sounds like you really have your hands full. I understand the hardships of raising a child with developmental delays. My daughter Ashley, age five, has trouble with speech. It can be frustrating at times, but hang in there Kari you are not alone.
Now, you mentioned once on Facebook that you are still looking for your writing niche. I know I am still trying to find my perfect niche in children’s writing. What would you say your writing style is? Kari: You know ... I don't know exactly how I would classify my writing. I have all sorts of influences though--I try to read many different authors. Stephen King used to be one of my favorites as a child, but the older I get, the older he gets and his writing has changed over the years. And, so have I. I love H.P. Lovecraft's description and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Ultimately, what I want to do is to seamlessly blend the sharper details of literary style with the speed and suspense of popular fiction. VS: I was Stephen King fan all through high school and college. I still love his early books, but I don’t read too many of his latest works. I also love Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Such a classic.
Okay my next question for you is . . . as a mom, I find it hard some days to balance my writing life and my family life. What would you say is a typical writing day for you?
Kari: Sometimes it feels like I have no truly "typical days" :)
At breakfast, my daughter watches "
My next question for you, Kari is … is there any genre you would like to try writing, but just haven’t found the right idea for yet? Kari: Probably historical fiction. As I've mentioned before, I love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series and I love the Victorian England era. I would love to write a historical horror story. Or an alternate historical fiction. I like the idea of exploring what could have happened. I love the whole infinite number of possibilities idea. (Thanks for asking this... I may have to look into this idea!!) VS: My hubby has a series called Alternate History, which explores exactly what you mentioned. However, it is written more for the history buff and not someone who just love reading. But I bet you could give this topic some added life since it hasn’t been greatly explored by many.
Now I’m curious, what does your family think of your writing? Kari: At this point, I don't think they do. My husband is beginning to understand how much it means to me, partly because he's learning to play guitar and understands the whole need to practice thing. He wants me to be happy and, if this is what does it, then so be it, you know? VS: That’s great. I know my hubby for the longest time called my writing a hobby. He finally stopped when I had my first book published and started making some money doing what I do.
Okay Kari, you seem to be a very outgoing person and a great mom. You even have a blog all about your daughter. What things do you try to do to help encourage her to read? Kari: Natasha is fascinated with letters at the moment--in a way, I think this was the "big breakthrough" that we needed in communication with her. It gave us an activity that we could all do together and until then, we had been struggling with her wanting to be in "her own little world." So we've been working on the alphabet since last Thanksgiving. She started to say them aloud and then her preschool helped in teaching her the sounds of the letters. She knows them in ASL (American Sign Language) too so that has given her a model to help us as well. Every night, I read to her and we've been working on trying to sound out some of the words. Simple ones--"moo," "buzz," "dibble" and sorts from the Dr. Seuss book, "Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?" It all really depends on her and how much she wants to pay attention that night. The real trick is to not let her autism get me down. My fear is always that I'm unconsciously trying to limit what she does because she's autistic. So, we take it slowly and surely. :) VS: That’s really great. You know, Natasha may really like the Signing Time DVDs. I know they have been a great help to my daughter Ashley in learning to pronounce words while signing them. They might just work for you as well.
Back on the writing front, have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Kari: Yes, I suffer from writer's block all the time. :) The best 'cure' or solution I have found is to join a writing group. I'm involved in a writing group at my local Barnes & Noble and we meet every Thursday. We write three timed prompts and, after each one, we read what we just wrote to each other. No critiquing--except you can say you liked it. But nothing negative. Nothing discouraging. Knowing you're going to have to read whatever you write down is a good motivator to just write. And sometimes, just in getting pen to paper (or fingers on keys, that's the biggest challenge. I think the real solution to writer's block is to sit down and write for a short period of time every day. VS: Both are great ideas. One reason why on Mondays I post a writing prompt to get everyone ready and creative for the week ahead. I was wondering Kari, can you share a little about your blogging? What got you started? Kari: I started blogging a while back because I wanted to be able to share stories and pictures with others. I wanted to be a political blogger but realized that I didn't really have the time or the inclination to blog as much as I would have had to in order to grow my blog. Currently I am running a 100 Theme Challenge where I am writing on one word a day for ten minutes and then posting that writing--unedited--along with an image each day. VS: Very interesting idea and another way to get rid of writer’s block. I’m wondering what do you find is the most difficult part of writing? Kari: A lot of times, it really is just sitting down and doing it. I become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information that I have to put together, so I'll start writing a scene and then want to plan it out, and to do research, and to get everything perfect. Needless to say, that all contributes to procrastination when I should be simply writing, getting words on paper and THEN worrying about how it'll all make sense in the end. :) VS: Has your daughter inspire any of your books? If so, can you share what part of the storyline, character, etc? Kari: I use a lot of my writing to blow off steam. Because Natasha is autistic, I've gone through several different stages including wanting to escape from it all and to start a new life and the frustration of having a child who isn't "normal." One way I've found of learning to cope with her disability and my emotions surrounding it is to give my main characters those emotions. I have a MC who left her home, her child, her husband, because she couldn't take it anymore--only to realize later that it's not all that bad. VS: Kari, I can understand that. I know when I write a lot of stress seems to disappear. No do you have any books coming out soon? Other works in progress? Can you share a little about them? Kari: I have three books in the works, one of which is in the editing process. The one in the editing stages is called The Book Collector and has the main character I was speaking of earlier who leaves her home because she's under all this pressure that she feels she's not ready for. She checks into a motel and the motel owner offers her a book to read that night. When she reads the books, she suddenly finds herself transported into the world within the book and then has to find her way back out again, in the process, fighting her own demons of memory and expectation. The second one is a sci-fi novel called Infinite Realities. Its focus is a man who has dreams about a long-lost girlfriend, only to find that she's in danger in an alternate reality and he has to figure out a way to travel to the alternate reality and save her. Plotline: An outcast janitor travels to an alternate reality through his dreams to rescue his fiancée from an interdimensional deity who has kidnapped her in order to save his own reality from being destroyed. The third one is horror and is called The House. I've wanted to work on my own version of a haunted house story. Plotline: Realizing there is more than to life than observation, a voyeur kidnaps a struggling stay-at-home mother and her children only to fight the trapped evil spirit of the house they are hiding in through his possessed partner-in-crime. I am hoping to have The Book Collector finished by the time that the Muse Conference comes around and to pitch it to one of the publishers attending. VS: They all sound wonderful and I hope to see them in print soon. I know the Muse Conference has helped many authors see their work in print. So I wish you much success down the road to publication.
Kari, what tips can you give writing parents with young children at home to help them see publication? Kari: Write and submit. Write and submit. Be patient with your children--and always remember that they're only young for a brief amount of time. Spend as much time with them as you can--and then write at every other chance you get! :) VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”? Kari: Being a parent seems like the hardest job in the world sometimes. I guess my real advice is to spend as much time with your children as you can while they're growing up. Right now, Natasha's almost four and I'm already wondering where the time is going. I don't want to suddenly realize one day that she's 13 and realize that I've not spent as much time with her as I could have. VS: Kari, I thank you for taking the time to share with my readers and me about being a writing mama. It has been an eye opener to your daily writing life. I wish you much success.
To learn more about Kari Wolfe visit her blog the Imperfect Clarity at http://www.imperfectclarity.net/