Author Bullying

11 Mar

AUTHOR BULLYING.

unnamedCyberbullying is everywhere. Not just with teenagers in chatrooms but in all areas of cyberspace. In the UK, the woman who campaigned for Jane Austen’s portrait to be put on the ten pound note was bullied – severely and it even went to court. The poor woman was scared for her very life!

Last year there were an awful lot of news stories about authors being bullied by other authors and reviewers.  One poor author, I heard of, gave up her dream career forever after a really nasty spate of bullying on Goodreads.

It seems to me, from reading the news and posts in different groups on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads, that this issue hasn’t been resolved at all, it’s on-going and authors are still being harassed.

A friend of mine, an author-in-the-making, commented recently that all this nastiness is making her think twice about finishing and publishing her novel sometime this year. My advice to her is; ignore the bullies. Finish your book and let the readers be the judge. (And I’m speaking from experience.  I’ve come out of the other side of bullying a stronger person.)

Bullying is nasty behaviour. I will not ever agree with people who try to excuse it as some sort of disorder – it’s nasty and behaviours like that can be stopped and people can change for the better. Bullying stems from some bitterness and anger deep down in the bully themselves. These people are actually to be pitied and prayed for. They need help. However, in the meantime, their behaviour is destructive to not only themselves, but to their victims and to the writing industry too.

WHAT IS BULLYING?cyberbullying-prevention-week1

Some consider bullying to be deliberate attempts to control another person through verbal abuse – which can be in tone of voice or in content such as teasing or threats – exclusion, or physical bullying or violence, which the victim does not want. Bullying occurs in all walks of life and at all ages.

  • Bullies have a strong need to be in control and to exert their dominance over others.  People who bully others are often driven by the desire for power. They can be impulsive, hot-headed, and dominant. They seem to enjoy being able to subdue others.
  • Bullies are often rewarded for their behaviour. It may seems counter-intuitive but it’s true. A bully often receives positive reinforcement when they bully others, which only makes them continue their behaviour. They either end up with your lunch money or can often become more popular – even if that is only because everyone is wary of them. They also command a lot of attention for their behaviour.
  • Bullies lack empathy and may even gain pleasure from other people’s pain. Studies shown that bullies score low on tests of empathic reactivity, and have also found that bullies can be more likely to develop anti-social personality disorder. They ignore the rights and feelings of those around them. This is no excuse, empathy and compassion can be developed.
  • Bullies lack the ability to control their emotions. Bullies simply don’t seem to know how to control their anger and frustration, which may result in severe overreactions to small provocations. Again, this can be learned.
  • Bullies are heavily influenced by their family backgrounds. Bullies tend to come from families that are characterized as having little warmth or affection. These families aren’t close to each other. Parents of bullies also tend to use inconsistent discipline and little monitoring of where their children are throughout the day. Sometimes parents of bullies have very rigid discipline styles, with physical punishment being very common.

I do not condone bullying and I do not think there ever can be an excuse for bullying.  All those points above aside, we as adults have a responsibility to be the best people we can be. We cannot continue at the age of 35, 50, or even 75 to continue in behaviours that are destructive to ourselves and others around us, and that are, let’s face it, down-right childish and selfish in an adult.

The rise of bullying in the writing sphere is distressing. I myself have been bullied. It caused me to think twice about my career. I have six novels and I actually thought of quitting – seriously. I felt useless and really downtrodden. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, the bully made me feel lower than the lowest.

I backed off from my Facebook ‘author’ account, where I networked with writers and readers, and created a private one for friends only. I am still wary of what I do on that ‘author’ account. The bullies are still there in the groups I am part of etc. No matter what you do to cut them from your life, if the bullying is in your career, somewhere, somehow you will come up against them again.  For me, this has been a path to realise my true worth and my true potential – my faith in my Saviour has been invaluable in this fight.

anne-rice-vampire-chronicles-booksEven the well-known and respected Anne Rice – author of Interview with the Vampire and many more - has noticed the bullying of authors. “They’ve worked their way into the Amazon system as parasites, posting largely under pseudonyms, lecturing, bullying, seeking to discipline authors whom they see as their special prey,” Rice told the newspaper the Guardian. “They’re all about power. They clearly organise, use multiple identities and brag about their ability to down vote an author’s works if the author doesn’t ‘behave’ as they dictate.”  You can read all of the interview HERE.

She herself has been victim of bullying on Amazon… yes, Anne Rice was bullied.

So, to all of those who are bullied, take heart – you are not and never will be alone. We victims will come bac7208334970_be74c61804k, we will rise again, and this time we will be stronger!

Never give up!  What does not destroy you, will make you stronger!

God bless you all.

Karen xxx

The right time to write!

24 Feb

Writer At WorkWhen exactly is the right time to sit down and write?

This is a question that I’ve recently discussed with an author friend, and one which every writer asks themselves at some point or other. When is the right time to write?

It could be….

Early morning when it’s quiet and the world is asleep.  For me this works.  There’s no one about and no one to demand my time or attention… other than my characters that is!  ;-)

After breakfast or mid-morning, when the three cups of coffee you’ve just downed hit your brain and you have the shakes.  Perhaps… but I don’t drink coffee.  :-/

Just after lunch in the afternoon.  You’ve had a productive morning and you’re raring to go. Or are you?  For me, the lure of the sofa, a good book, or the T.V is too strong in the afternoon.

In the Evening when the kids are asleep, hubby is fed and your mind is clear.   Yeah right!  It’s more like my mind is numb from the day’s mayhem and I need to unwind and relax.  I very, very rarely get any writing done in the evening.

As and when.   Well, I think this happens for all writers.  Inspiration is always lying and  waiting in ambush, ready to pounce when you least expect it.  I’ve even learnt to write on the pad I keep on my bedside table in the dark!  I also find that inspiration has a sense of humour.  It likes to wait for me to get into the shower, get covered from head-to-toe in soap suds and then dump a chapter idea or two into my head! *sigh*

The answer is different for all of us.  We write when it best suits us.  My author friend used to write at night when the world was going to sleep, but she said she hated getting up at 11 in the morning.  She felt she was missing a good chunk of the day.  I agree with her, it somehow feels more productive to me if I get up at 5 am write.

All novels begin in our heads and what’s very important is having the time to think.  Agatha Christie, the renowned British crime writer of 66 detective novels, did much of her writing in her mind.  So, when was the best time for her to plot her detective novels?

“The best time for planning a book is when you’re doing the dishes,” she said.   That is excellent advice from someone who should know.  After all, the Guinness Book of World Records hails Agatha Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time.  She sold four billion copies of her novels and is eclipsed only by William Shakespeare and the Bible as the world’s most widely published books.

So, the right time to write is any time or anywhere.

I recently read this about writing… “When we’re not writing, our subconscious often does the writing for us. No wonder so many writers keep a notebook by the bed, in their purse or car.”

How do we do that?  Like I said, think.  Think about the story line.  Think about the period/era/world the story is set in.  Think about the characters.  Think about every day life within your story.  Think, think, and think again.

Daydream about it.  Plot it out in your head.  Imagine yourself there.

writerFinally, let your idea incubate a little more in your head.  The grey matter will mull it over until it starts writing itself.  You’ll know when it is ready to be transcribed to paper or to the computer.  So, when the right time to write comes it will literally pour out of your head.

But, what do you do when you get stuck or get writer’s block?  Begin the process again.  Think, dwell, mull, daydream.  Sometimes, I admit, even that doesn’t work.  So, I get out my folder and read through some of my other ideas.  I may even write a little of something else.  It never takes long to fire your imagination back up – after all, you’re a writer, it’s what you do.  Soon, you’ll be champing at the bit to get back to your story.

So, only you can say when the right time to write is, but the most important time is when you’re not writing at all.

Happy Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Happy-Valentines-Day-Wallpaper

I would like to wish a very Happy Valentine’s Day to all my wonderful readers!

Without you none of my hard work would be worth it – so to show you some love, I’d like to give you a FREE book!

Yes, FREE!

Absolutely FREE!!

Enjoy!

Happy-valentines-day-teddybear64-19164072-404-475

Simply click on the link below and download!

LettieCoverPhoto

AMAZON.CO.UK

AMAZON.COM

Tired and worn from years of chasing hardened criminals, Detective Inspector Samuel Harris wonders why he is still in the police force.
Then, in 1923, his niece, Lettie Jenkins signs up to join the police just as women are allowed among the ranks.
Sam knows she’s walking into a lion’s den. Is she tough enough for the streets of London?
He soon finds out when she finds herself face-to-face with her first murder victim.
Lettie is full of energy, enthusiasm, and a passion for the job that Sam has long since lost.
Will he stand by and let her take on all the force and London has to throw at her? Is she a tough enough woman to handle being a police woman in a man’s world?

with-love

Dirleton Castle

11 Feb
Whilst I am feverishly writing away on my Pride & Prejudice Continues book three, I am also writing – much more slowly, I must add – a debut novel under a pen name. The novel is set in Dirleton Castle, East Lothian,Scotland.
dirletoncastlex-450Dirleton Castle was home to three different families over the course of four hundred years: the de Vauxs, the Halyburtons and the Ruthvens. Each family left its mark and, though now in ruins, the castle remains a great place to visit.
There are three distinct phases of building at Dirleton Castle. The first castle was started in the early thirteenth century by the de Vaux family, originally from Normandy.  John de Vaux became the steward to Alexander II’s Queen Marie de Coucy and the round towers of
the first castle may have been modelled on her father’s French chateau at Coucy, near Amiens.
alexander2The five-towered castle, perched on top of a rocky knoll and given extra height by the deep ditch surrounding it, must have been a magnificent sight.
A high curtain wall protected the living quarters of Lord and Lady de Vaux
and enclosed the multitude of castle workers .
The formidable defences were tested with the Wars of Independence when the castle was besieged by the forces of Edward I of England. It changed hands several times until, following the victory of the Scots in 1314, Robert the Bruce ordered the demolition of the castle to prevent it ever being used against the Scots again. However, significant portions of this early castle survive.
Dirleton passed by marriage to the Halyburton family in about 1350. In time they rebuilt the battle-scarred castle to their own design. Most
significant was the new east wing, incorporating an impressive Great Hall, capacious vaults and a block of private apartments to replace the cramped quarters in the de Vaux towers.
In 1505 the castle changed hands, again through marriage. Its new owners were the ambitious and powerful Ruthvens, involved in many of the key events of the sixteenth century. When not plotting political intrigue, the Ruthvens found time to remodel the castle a third time, building an elegant and gracious house adjoining the de Vaux tower. The fourth Lord Ruthven, the first Earl of
Gowrie, had a keen interest in gardens and it is under the Ruthvens that the gorgeous gardens at Dirleton first started to flourish.
Involved in one plot too many, in 1600 the third Earl of Gowrie was killed during an attempted royal coup and as punishment the family forfeited the castle and lands.
Oliver_Cromwell_by_Samuel_CooperFollowing Cromwell’s invasion in 1650, the castle, one of the bases for resistance, was besieged by 1600 men. The castle was taken, and again partially demolished. After a brief stint as a field hospital the castle was never inhabited again. The Nisbet family bought the estate in 1663 but built themselves a new home in nearby Archerfield.
From the late 1700s the castle gardens were developed, with the castle itself as an elaborate garden ornament. The gardens continued to be developed in Victorian times and into the 1920s when the castle was taken into state care.

My novel is set in Medieval times during the Scottish Wars of Independence. 

 King Edward I was determined to take all of the British Isles as his and as stated above the castle exchanged hands many times.  Little is known about those days and so I have chosen to place my characters there when the castle was in English hands.
Here is what I currently have for the blurb.  All your comments are most welcome.  Thank you!
Scottish War of Independence Series ~ Book 1
York, England 1303 ~ Lord Guy Sumner is granted Dirleton Castle in East Lothian, Scotland as recpompense for all his family suffered at the Battle of Rosslyn.  He intends to make the Scots pay for killing his brother and father.
 
Dirleton, Scotland 1303 ~ Dougal McCrae amongst others does not take the invasion of his land by the English lightly.  He hates Sumner with a passion and when the English Lord crosses the line, he too vows vengeance.
 
Blood and revenge are set to flow in the Scottish lowlands, while King Edward marches to take the whole land and make it his.
 
The Scots have other ideas!
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Lady Katherine Ferrers – the Wicked Lady of Markyate.

30 Jan

 

 

Lady Katherine Ferrers

 

Lady Katherine Ferrers

“The Wicked Lady of Markyate”

There have been many reports of horses found in the fields surrounding the Markyate area in mornings, looking as though they had been ridden hard, tired and covered with foam. These horses were thought to have been ridden all night by the ghost of Lady Katherine Ferrers who has now become known as ‘The Wicked Lady’.

The-Wicked-Lady

One winters night in December 1970 the manager of the Wicked Lady Pub, Douglas Payne, was out walking his dog on Nomansland Common when he heard the sound of a horse galloping fast towards him. The terrifying reaction of his dog told him that he was not imaging anything. Mr Payne looked but could see nothing at all. The galloping horse passed so close he felt as though he could have reached out and touched it.

For several generations Markyate Cell had been the home of the Ferrers family. Around 1635 only Sir Knighton and his elderly father, Sir George Ferrers, remained. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Sir Knighton married the beautiful heiress Lady Katherine Walters of Hertingford, but he died within the year and not seeing his child that Lady Katherine was carrying. Sir George Ferrers died a few months later they were both buried at Flamstead. Lady Katherine gave birth to a daughter whom she also named Katherine at Markyate Cell. Soon after, lady Katherine returned to her family’s home in Hertingford with the young baby. A rich young widow during the time the country was in the grip of Civil War was not to remain a widow for long, especially as many of the King’s supporters were hard driven to survive and desperate for money.  She was persuaded to marry a strong Royalist supporter Sir Simon Fanshawe of Ware Park. Soon Sir Simon Fanshawe was on the run from Cromwell’s men when Parliamentary forces overran Ware Park.

Markyate Cell

Lady Bethell at Hamerton in Huntingdonshire gave Lady Katherine and her small daughter refuge. The young Katherine was to remain with her mother there until she reached the age of twelve, which was the legal age for a girl to marry then. Sir Simon Fanshawe wanted to gain control of the young Katherine’s large estate and enlisted the help of a willing priest, John Laycock, to marry her to his sixteen year old son, Thomas Fanshawe – Katherine’s own stepbrother. The marriage was doomed from the start as young Thomas returned to the family estate in Ireland and Katherine remained with her mother and Lady Bethell until they both died. Aged eighteen the young Lady Katherine, alone and neglected by her husbands family, decided to return to live by herself back at her father’s home, Markyate Cell. It was here that she met the farmer Ralph Chaplin, also from Markyate, whose land overlooked the busy thoroughfare of Watling Street.

It was not unusual for young men from good families to be highwaymen as a means of earning another income. Ralph Chaplin, a dashing young fellow, farmer by day and notorious highwayman at night, must have made a great impression on the lonely, yet adventurous Katherine. Soon, Katherine was enjoying the thrills of being a highwaywoman.

Katherine hid her highwaywoman’s disguise in a secret room in Markyate Cell. Built into the kitchen chimney was a concealed staircase leading up to the secret room, and there was a secret passageway that led from her bedroom to the stables. By day Lady Katherine was the beautiful, young lady of the manor, but as night fell she wore her highway disguise and become the merciless highwaywoman who would stop at nothing, not even murder, to get her demands. She was said to hide in the trees and jump down upon her unexpected victims.

It’s not known how long or often Lady Katherine and Ralph Chaplin preyed on travellers around Markyate, but while out robbing a baggage wagon on Finchley Common, North London, Ralph Chaplin was shot dead. Overcome with grief and anger, Katherine terrorised the people of Markyate. She burnt down homes while the occupants slept, murdered the constable of Caddington on his own doorstep as he answered a summons, and farm animals were found slaughtered. The people and travellers in Markyate feared for their lives. No one would have thought that a beautiful rich young woman could do all this. lockwoodthewickedlady

On the way to the Inn at Guster Wood near Wheathampstead, the driver of a wagon full of supplies picked up two men in need of a lift. They climbed into the wagon and sat amongst the bales and baggage. Dusk was falling as they were passing through Nomansland Common where Lady Katherine lay waiting ready for ambush amongst the trees. She suddenly appeared and shot dead the driver without warning. Katherine still unaware of the passengers among the supplies and was fatally wounded when one of them shot her. Katherine fled ridding as fast as possible back to her home but died by the entrance to her secret door.

Her appearance and her black horse found roaming in the grounds identified her as the highwayman of Markyate. Lady Katherine’s body was taken secretly at night to the Church of St. Mary’s in Ware but was not laid to rest in the Fanshawe’s family vault. The door to her secret hide away was bricked up for more than a hundred years, when in 1840 part of the house was destroyed by fire, which was thought to have been caused by the ghost of Katherine. None of the local workmen would work there, so men were called in from London. They opened the entrance and broke down the oak door (later they found a hidden spring which would have easily opened the door). They were disappointed not to find anything but dust and cobwebs. They hoped to find the ill-gotten treasure that was reported to have been hidden in the grounds. There has been no report of the treasure being found, but there is a little rhyme that children in that part of Hertfordshire still sing today.

‘Near the cell there is a Well
Near the well there is a Tree
And under the Tree the Treasure be’

Markyate wasn’t free of Katherine for long, her ghost has been seen riding like the wind through Watling street and galloping as far as Kimpton, then swinging in the trees at the grounds of Markyate Cell. Mr Ady who lived there in 1894 repeatedly saw Lady Katherine’s ghost on the stairs and wished her good night. Once, seeing her with her arms stretched out in the doorway, he called to his wife who was outside “now we’ve caught her!” and they rushed upon her from both sides, but caught nothing. When the Markyate bypass was being made in 1957 a workman found himself warming his hands with a young man with long dark hair, slim in build, and wearing a dark knee length cloak with ornate clasps and long leather boots. The young man promptly disappeared. In 1912 a night watchman gave the same description again when the council were extending the sewer from the High Street to Hicks Road.

6

Separating the fact from fiction…

Did she dislike her young bridegroom? Did he ignore her wishes and waste her wealth? Did his bored young wife fall in love with a highwayman who introduced her to a thrilling life of crime? This is the stuff of legend and fiction which has grown more elaborate in the retelling. There are no authentic documents to confirm or deny the film fantasies. Many of the stories being published seem to be based very much on what appeared in the original film, which, in turn, relied on a novel (The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton by Magdalen King-Hall).

What we DO have to examine are the deeds and legal paraphernalia about land transactions – the Fanshawes certainly sold off Katherine’s inheritance. Her manor at Flamstead, for instance, came on the market in 1654 and Markyate Cell and the farms around were disposed of in 1655.By 1660 the Fanshawes were unexpectedly back in favour. Cromwell had died, and before long the monarchy was restored to power. King Charles II was welcomed back to London in May 1680 and the following year Thomas Fanshawe was created a Knight of the Bath by a grateful monarch. He deserved that reward…not only had the Fanshawe family fought and suffered for the King but Thomas himself, having been involved in a Royalist conspiracy, had been sent to the Tower of London in September 1659. But by the time Thomas received his knighthood his 26-year-old wife was dead. Was she shot in June 1660 while riding as a highwayman on Nomansland at Wheathamstead, as legend says, or did she die while with her husband in London celebrating the King’s return?

$_35

Katherine was buried at St Mary’s, Ware, on June 13, 1660, described in the parish register as “Mistress Catherine Fanshawe” (her name is spelled in various ways). There had been no children –some stories suggest she died in childbirth. Much has been made of the fact that her funeral took place in the evening, as if a disgraceful secret were being covered up. But apparently such timing was not unusual in those days.

Had she died while trying to ride back to her secret staircase at Markyate? Well, we know that her husband (described by the diarist Samuel Pepys as “a witty but rascally fellow, without a penny in his purse”) had sold Markyate Cell five years previously, in 1655, so there is a significant dating flaw in the tale of that fatal adventure. And no-one is even sure that the couple had ever lived at the Cell – it had been let out to various tenants whose names are recorded in local documents.That’s all a huge disappointment to the people of Markyate, who quite enjoy the possibility that the ghost of “Lady Katherine” can still be seen galloping across the park.It can be a creepy place. It stands on the site of a Benedictine Priory, converted at great expense into a grand house in 1540 and rebuilt in 1908 after a fire.

10122_1994846_IMG_00_0000Sir Thomas Beecham, the conductor, lived there in 1916. And there IS a secret chamber. It was discovered by workmen in the 19th century behind a false wall abutting a chimney stack. News about this undoubtedly added fuel to the legends.When the film The Wicked Lady was made the then-owner of the Cell, Ernest Sursham, refused to allow filming in the grounds. He did not want to encourage sightseers. And the Cell today remains very much a private home. Dunstablians might be fascinated to know that that an archway near the house, added in the early 20th century, was designed to be similar to the ancient Anchor Archway, still preserved in High Street North.

Interview with Karen Aminadra by Stephanie Hopkins of Layered Pages

23 Jan

Interview with Karen Aminadra

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Karen Aminadra is an English author who was born in London, and grew up in Hertfordshire, England. As a teacher, she worked in academies, schools, and universities in Ecuador, Russia, and Spain as well as the U.K. She returned to England in 2005 where she met the man who was to become her husband. They settled in Northamptonshire where Karen embarked on a writing career to fulfil a life-long ambition. She is now the author of five novels, Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues, Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2, Relative Deceit, The Uncanny Life of Polly, and It’s a Man’s World. In 2012 she received a B.R.A.G Medallion ™ for her debut novel Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues and in 2013 she was once again honoured with a B.R.A.G Medallion ™ for Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2. More information can be found on her two blogs http://kaminadra.blogspot.co.uk/ andhttp://karenaminadrablog.wordpress.com/  

Stephanie: Hello, Karen! It is always a pleasure to chat with you and congrats on winning the B.R.A.G Medallion. First off I would like to say that your stories are fantastic and I have enjoyed them very much. They are not only engaging but your character development is brilliant. Please tell your audience about your book, Rosings.

Karen: Hi Stephanie.  Thank you so much for interviewing me and thank you for the compliment—for me the characters are the most important part of any story. If they cannot engage me and I cannot love them, how can I expect my reader to?

Rosings began when a few readers asked me to write a little something about Anne and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  I was happy to oblige and Rosings was born.  The story is about poor Anne the downtrodden daughter of the inimitable Lady Catherine De Bourgh.  We know from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that Anne, in her mother’s opinion, is sickly and of a delicate constitution, and that Lady Catherine had intended Mr. Darcy to marry her.  Well, we all know how that turned out. I turned my imagination to wondering what Anne’s life would be like once the prospect of marrying Mr. Darcy was no longer an option.  The De Bourgh family had to continue so Lady Catherine hatches a plan to marry off her daughter.

 

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Stephanie: I absolutely love your portrayal of Catherine De Bourgh. How long did it take you to write your story?

Karen: Catherine De Bourgh is a favourite of mine too.  She comes from a different time, her sensibilities are different to her daughter’s. I guess it is like trying to get your Nan to understand today’s society. It is almost alien to her generation and Lady Catherine doesn’t like change at all! The book took me about three to four months to write out the first draft, of course, after that there are weeks of editing etc.  However, once I have a story planned out, I really like to crack on with it and get it written.

Stephanie: I don’t blame you. Getting your story down is the most important. Editing can come later. Is there a scene you wrote that had you bursting out laughing? 

Karen: The scene with Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins in the drawing room was funny.  He’s such a great, fun, and bumbling character to write.  I may well have to slip him into one of my other books just for the fun of it.

Stephanie: Who is your favorite character and least favorite character? If you have any. 

Karen: My least favourite would have to be Monty, without a doubt.  He doesn’t address Anne correctly, he takes liberties, and you just want to slap him in the end. If there was ever a character that you want to fail in his endeavors, it’s him. My favourite is probably Mr. Watkins senior.  He’s a really nice chap, the kind of friend you’d want to keep close.

Stephanie: He sounds like and interesting character. Who designed your book cover? 

Karen: I had an idea of what I wanted for the cover but I passed the mechanics of it over to Moon Rose Covers.

Stephanie: Where there any scenes that you found a challenge to write?

Karen: There were a couple of scenes where Lady Catherine is angry, and in my mind, she became someone whom I know and has always behaved in such a way.  As a writer, your life and experiences often come out in your work and I was surprised to see Lady Catherine take on this person’s personality, but it fit so well.  Those scenes were difficult to write but I felt so good after they were down on paper.

Stephanie: I agree. Those scenes are difficult to write. What do you love most about writing?

Karen: Hmm… I love spending entire days, weeks, and months in my own imagination.  It’s such an escape.  I write first thing in the morning, while it’s dark outside and the rest of the world is sleeping.  I find that I get the most done at that time of the day and I love that aspect of my work.  I also love the freedom it brings.  If I am unwell, then I don’t have to work.  I have no nagging boss and I never have to deal with rush hour traffic.

Stephanie: Your love for writing sounds just like mine. J Where in your home is your favorite place to write? Do you have a favorite coffee or tea by your side when writing?

Karen: I actually don’t have a desk.  I used to write in the living room but that gave everyone an excuse to interrupt me.  Now I sit on my bed with the laptop on a tray over my legs – glamorous, eh? I like working in my bedroom actually. It’s a sanctuary.  No one, apart from my husband, is allowed in.  It’s private.  As for what I drink, I sometimes have a juice of some sort, but I don’t drink coffee – it gives me palpitations. However, I am a huge tea fan.  I’m English, of course I have tea by my side when I write. I drink a decaffeinated blend of tea, either PG Tips or Tetley, and I drink it with soya milk (most Brits have white tea.)

Stephanie: My bedroom is where I write often. Sometimes in the living room. But only when I’m the alone. Sometimes early in the morning, I will get up and write while in bed. Some of my best ideas are in the morning. I’m not a coffee drinker all that much. I do love tea however. So funny how similar we are, Karen. I use soy for my tea as well.  What is up next for you?

Karen: That is strange how similar we are. I’m glad I’m not alone ;-)  So, what’s next for me? Since receiving a B.R.A.G Medallion for Rosings, I wrote and published a spin off from my novel Relative Deceit called It’s a Man’s World. Right now I’m taking a few days off to collect my thoughts before I dive into another project. I know my readers are desperate for book three in my Pride and Prejudice Continues series, so doubtless that will be on my ‘to do’ list. I also have a few other ideas in mind. I have been planning a children’s series for a while now and I’d like to get working on that too.

Stephanie: Can’t wait to hear more about your children’s series! Is there a message you would like to tell your readers?

Karen: I would like to say thank you for coming on this fantastic journey with me.  It’s been so much fun and it’s made even better by the support and loyalty of my readers. I love the emails I receive from you all and I especially love your thoughts on the characters’ lives in my books. From time to time, I’ve even been asked to write something particular and that’s how Rosings was born. So, I cannot do it without you – thank you all, again.

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book? 

Karen: Rosings is available in ebook version from Amazon, Kobo, and Xinxii. It’s also available to order in paperback from all major stockists.

Stephanie: Thank you, Karen! Please come back to Layered Pages and chat with me again soon! 

Links – Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CM4QZ4W/ Kobo –http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/rosings Xinxii – http://www.xinxii.com/en/rosings-p-343468.html

Paperback – Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/1490492291

Twitter – @kaminadra Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/karenaminadra

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Karen Aminadra, who is the author of, Rosings, one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Rosingsmerits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

Interview with Karen Aminadra by Maria DeSouza from For the Love of Fiction.

15 Jan

Interview with Karen Aminadra

by Maria Desouza from For the Love of Fiction.

Karen Aminadra is an English author, who can usually be found with her head in the clouds, muttering inanely to herself.  She mostly resides in her writing cave, and is occasionally allowed to come out to eat.  Her love of reading, writing short stories and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels.  Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since.  Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.  She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work.  Today, with her feet firmly back in England, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.
ImageFTLOF:  Have you always wanted to be a writer or was there a particular incident that sparked your inspiration?
KA:    I don’t know if I’ve always wanted to have a career as a writer, but I’ve always written little stories.  I won a fiction competition at school when I was eleven and I loved writing that story.  Once I got my own computer it seemed to fill with ideas and half-hearted attempts at novels.  So, I guess you could say that it was always in me to be a writer.
FTLOF:   Is it harder for you to write a male or female character?
KA:    That’s an interesting question.  I usually write with a female protagonist, but I am working on a novel with a male one.  I’ve had to think differently for that.
In my novel crime novel Relative Deceit, the antagonist is male and I liked that.  I was able to keep him calm and clear-headed without needing to add emotions which are always popping up with female characters.  As to whether one is easier than the other, I don’t know.  However, they’re equally fun to write.

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FTLOF:  If you could see the world through the eyes of one of your characters, which one would it be and why?
KA:    Haha- that’s easy!  It’d be Polly from my chick-lit novel The Uncanny Life of Polly.  When she returns home from a world book tour, she discovers that her book is becoming real.  How many of us wouldn’t want that to happen?
FTLOF:  Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?
KA:    Yes, and I hate it.  I really hate not doing anything.  I’m not the kind of person who can be inactive for long.  Usually, to combat it, I talk things through with my husband.  I read him my latest work in progress and we thrash ideas out for it.  Even if he comes up with the silliest ideas, it means my head starts to work and think on the book again.  It doesn’t take long for the spark of inspiration to ignite after that.
ImageFTLOF:  Best advice for anyone starting out writing?
KA:    Just do it!  Don’t think about it too much.  Don’t worry about correcting errors – that’s for the 2nd draft.  Get the story down, even if it’s disjointed.  And remember, a little bit of writing is better than no writing.  In the end, all those little bits will come together and form a whole.
FTLOF:  How do you know when your work is a short story or a novel in the making? What triggers that decision?
KA:    I usually only write short stories when I’m in the editing stage and I’m itching to write something while waiting for the corrections to come back.  I always challenge myself and try to writing a story in 1000 words only.  It’s quite fun.  Some of the ones I’ve written I’d like to make into full length novels.
FTLOF:  If you could bring one of your characters to life,   what one would you choose and why?LettieCoverPhoto
KA:    I would choose Lettie Jenkins from the novel that’s at the publishers now.  The working title is It’s a Man’s World.  She’s a female policewoman in 1923, the year that women were allowed into the police force in the UK.  I think she would be a fascinating woman.  She’s the product of the emancipation and is on the cusp of a new era for women.  (Update: It’s a Man’s World was released on 13th January 2014.)
FTLOF:  What scenes are the hardest for you to write?
KA:    Death scenes.  Not murders, but when a character or their relative dies.  In Relative Deceit I wrote a death scene which had me in tears for ages.  I still can’t read it without crying.  I couldn’t write for a few days after that either.

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FTLOF:  Do your fans have any impact on your writing?
KA:    Yes the
y do.  I’ve had emails asking for me to write about this character or that character in my Pride & Prejudice Continues series.  I like that.  It’s always really lovely to get such feedback.
FTLOF:  If you had a chance to go on a date with one of your characters, what one would it be?
KA:    Haha – certainly not Nicco from The Uncanny Life of Polly.  You’ll have to read it to know what I mean ;-)  I think, I would choose Erik Hallquist, the tutor, from Relative Deceit.  I have a thing for Scandinavians ;-)
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