Today I welcome Karen Dudley as my author in the spotlight!
Karen Dudley wrote a short stack of wildlife biology books and four Robyn Devara environmental mystery novels before she had an epiphany . . . she wanted to write fantasy. So she did. Her first fantasy novel, Food for the Gods, takes place in ancient Greece, and has been nominated for an Aurora Awards, a Bony Blithe award (The Bloody Words Light Mystery Award), the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher, and a High Plains Book Award in the Culinary Division. Karen lives in Winnipeg with her husband, daughter, and the requisite authorial cats. Kraken Bake, the sequel to Food for the Gods, will be released in Spring, 2014.
SEVEN SPOTLIGHT QUESTIONS:
#1: Why do you write?
I write because … the voices! The voices! Why won’t they stop?? Seriously, I write because I’m compelled to, because sometimes I am pregnant with story.
#2: What was your earliest writing experience:
A really bad poem. I never write poetry now; that’s how bad it was. The next thing I tried was a short story. I struggled with that miserable thing for weeks until my husband said to me, “Why are you writing short stories? You never read them.” It was a bit of an epiphany for me, really. And that’s when I started writing novels.
#3: Describe a day in your writing life:
Get up, make tea, feed the cats, check email, dick around on Facebook, realize how late it is, write feverishly until I have to pick up my daughter from school. Sometimes there’s a nap too. And snacks.
#4: What authors influenced you and how?
Anne McCaffrey, Sharon Shinn, Jennifer Roberson. They influenced me mostly by being so very, very good, but also because they never seemed to write FAST enough for me. It seemed I was always waiting for their next story, and I might as well tell my own while I was waiting.
#5: What are some things you learned to help with your success?
NOT to dick around on Facebook! Apart from that, there are two books that I found particularly helpful. The first is Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies for Fun and Profit: How to Write Fiction. The other is Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel.
#6: Describe your writing method:
In short, I take Lawrence Block’s advice and apply bum to chair and fingers to keyboard. Apart from that, I tend to be both a plotter AND a pantser. I never write out my entire plot in a giant synopsis, instead I have a general idea of what I want to do with the story and then I plot out a few chapters at a time, writing by the seat of my pants and giving myself the freedom to go madly off in all directions.
#7: Tips for aspiring writers:
I can’t do better than to quote what Neil Gaiman once said, which was “Read more. Write more.”
Food for the Gods is a historical fantasy, released by Ravenstone in 2012. Having been chopped up and served to the gods for tea, Pelops, Prince of Lydia, is kindly remade by the Olympian dinner guests and gifted with a talent for the culinary arts. But after heading for the bright lamps of Athens, Pelops discovers that life is not exactly golden for a celebrity chef in the golden age of Greece. Ruthless patrons and jealous rivals are bad enough, but when a couple of the less responsible gods offer to help him make a name for himself, Pelops begins to realize that when the gods decide they owe you a favour, you’d better start saying your prayers.
“Karen Dudley takes Greek mythology and gives it a wild spin. This giddy mashup of fantasy, mystery, comedy, cookbooks, and self-help column is bawdy, inventive, and just plain fun.” – Sharon Shinn, author of the Samaria series
More about Karen: