Today on the blog I have author Carol Keen. Carol is the author of The Beauty Series and Evil Forebodings. You can find all of her published works here.
1.) When did you decide to become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
I think I have known since I was a very young that I would write books. I felt it more and more as I grew up. I started making up stories at the age of two. Once I could write, I was writing stories. In my teens, I found out I loved research papers and writing was quickly becoming a passion. I started writing because I have so much that I wanted to share, and I didn’t always remember it all later, so it had to be written down.
2.) Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from? Why do you write what you do?
My ideas seem to come from everywhere. I’m washing dishes, folding laundry, watching a TV series, vacuuming, riding on a trip, and countless other activities and ideas just start coming to me. I probably have an overactive imagination, but it seems to be a good thing.
I’m currently writing in all kinds of genres because I can’t throw out a really good story that has formed in my mind just because it is in another genre. So far I have some retelling of Fairy Tails aka romance, and a mystery/thriller/supernatural.
3.) Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you? How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
It’s kind of a mix. My book ideas are pretty well formed in my head and “gelled” before I start typing it up. I have a mental outline/story and then I just write. Things that I don’t have filled in just unfold as I write.
I’m told my books are getting more and more interesting, so I would say my creativity is growing and spreading out into more and more stories. I now have a list of book ideas waiting to be next in my writing queue. I have a Sci-Fi I am working on this April unless I work on a sequel to a current book. I also have a YA trilogy planned, among other things.
4.) What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing? If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future? If you would, please tell us what was hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your book?
I think editing is the hardest, because tiny things slip through that have to be corrected. I’m thankful for my editors as well as my beta readers.
Past that, the rest of it is easy other than setting aside chunks of time to write, especially without interruptions.
Both now and in the future, I think we periodically face a wall where it’s hard to find the line between what will make other Christians upset to read, and what our over all readers need to be reading. We deal with judgment periodically from other Christians who don’t see eye-to-eye with other author’s viewpoints. I’ve watched it for a long time from a reader’s viewpoint, and now as an author, it concerns me.
The hardest thing about finishing my last book was dealing with the writing software that I’m still mastering. That has been a bit of a challenge. I think I about have the hang of it, but it seems to create some errors when it goes from format to format.
That is a harder one. My first published book took me one week to write. The second book I published took eight years from start to finish. There is a longer story behind that of course. My third book is in editing and it took about three months.
5.) Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
Marketing would be the first one. You probably hear that a good bit. It can be a major challenge. Learning this specialized writing software would be the second massive frustration I have had. Surviving the system would be the third. Each place you publish has rules and risks. It’s quite an adventure to figure out where to publish and trust to help keep your work safe, while being able to reach the most readers.
6.) On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
When I am reading what I have written, and I am interested in it as much as if I were reading someone else’s book, that is thrilling to me. I love being able to bring the characters in my mind to life with words.
7.) What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
I’m always reading. I have been an avid reader since learning to read at an early age. I have my own blog, and I typically read anytime I’m not writing or doing something else. Last year I read 98 books that I know of. This year I have read 67 and it is almost April. Right this moment I’m reading George McVey. I’ve started his Western series, Redemption Tails, and they are very good!
I have so many favorite authors, this is hard because I don’t want to leave anyone out, and I can’t possibly list everyone I admire! Some of my very favorite authors have many, or all, of their works on my bookshelves.
James Byron Huggins – This is an author who I have all his books on my bookshelf. I was thrilled back when I found out about a man writing such amazing books in my own area! That was a powerful inspiration to me. His books range across varying topics and they all have powerful imagery that sticks with me.
Melanie Wells has a really nice trilogy that I enjoyed. She has a good grip on evil and God in her series. If I were able to encourage her to write more books, I would certainly do so! Her books motivated me at a harder time in my life.
Stephen R. Lawhead – I have been hooked on his books since the first set I bought on a whim in a salvage store! We were on a ministry trip and a local store in that area had lots of books from a Christian book store that had been totaled and the inventory that wasn’t damaged was sold off. I bought the entire Song Of Albion Trilogy in hardback and leaving the story to do what had to be done was almost painful I was so enthralled with it. I’ve been a fan since, and Mr. Lawhead has almost one complete shelf in one of my bookcases. (It’s a very long shelf!)
Ted Dekker is very well known, but I do like several of his books. He isn’t afraid to lay things out there like they really are. He doesn’t mince where evil is concerned and I like that. Emmanuel’s Veins is one of my favorites of his.
Bonnie Calhoun – This woman is an incredible influence in my life, and her books are so much fun! I’ve been in her Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for a while now, and part of where I am now comes from what I have learned just blogging about the books on tour.
I can’t even start to list as many authors as I would like to list, and I do feel badly about that. I guess next time I will need to list five other author. Now that I am publishing books, I meet more new authors that I like every month.
8.) If you would like and have the time, write a paragraph or two about anything you wish.
I’m really excited to have this interview, and be on this fantastic blog. I look forward to writing more books. I love hearing from people, so feel free to drop by on Facebook and send me a PM if you like. Connecting is fun! I hope that you will give my books a look see, and if you like them, please leave a review. That goes for any book you read, by any author. We all need reviews in order to have our books stay alive.
Carol E. Keen currently resides in Alabama with her husband and family. She spends her time writing, reading, working on photography, and working with her much loved critters. She started creating stories to share with others at the age of two years old. She was published for several years in FAMA magazine (Freshwater And Marine Aquarium) as a contributing editor. She published her first book on CD, called Simply Seahorses. She is overjoyed to be publishing her fiction to share with you now.
Carol currently has more books in the “works”. Please feel free to follow her for updates.