"It's impossible to discourage the real writers; they don't give a damn what you say." Sinclair Lewis

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Chat with Karen Finnigan, aka Karen Lockwood

Why do you write?

I’ve always had an innate desire to put words on paper. My grandfather published poetry, my oldest son writes too, so maybe it’s in the DNA.

What have you written?

I’ve published seven novels, three novellas, articles, and poetry. Some as Karen Lockwood, some as Karen Finnigan. I’ve also written novels that are not published. Those are the ones with which I learned my craft.

Which is your favorite?

Fires of Midnight. It’s hard not to hold a special place in your heart for your first sale.

Who are your favorite authors?

Charlotte Bronte, Anita Shreve. But I don’t have favorite authors as much as keeper books. The Thornbirds is one of my all-time favorites. Others include Rebecca, The Shadow of the Moon, The Bridal Wreath, 84, Charing Cross Road, The DaVinci Code. All of these remain on my bookshelves, waiting to be reread.

What do you like to read?

A book that draws me in and keeps me engaged, a world I don’t want to leave when the story ends. Women’s Fiction, YA, and Classics. I also enjoy Non-fiction, especially history.

What is your obligation to readers?

To create a story they’ll want to take with them to a desert island.

What is your obligation to yourself as a writer?

To write what I feel strongly about rather than what the market seems to be dictating.

Who is your favorite hero?

Mr. Rochester.

Who is your favorite heroine?

Jane Eyre.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Don’t feel you have to start writing on page one. Start anywhere, even the end. But get the emotional highlights of the story down.

What was the easiest story to write?

“White Heather” written as Karen Lockwood for the Summer Magic Anthology. The idea came to me fully formed.

Which was the hardest?

They’re all hard, but I’d say the one I’m currently working on. I shifted from historical romance to historical fiction aimed at a YA audience. I like new challenges, I guess.

Do you write by an outline?

Not really. I have a rough idea where the characters are going, but I allow them to set their own course.

If not, what is your method?

I create characters and put them into an interesting situation. Then I write by longhand whatever scene begs to be written. Later, I transfer it into my computer and save it with other scenes, then at some point I put them together into a narrative order. After that, I edit.

Do you have set hours of the day to write?

I’m not a morning person, so usually late morning to afternoon.

Writing is tough. What makes you keep coming back?

Story ideas come into my head and demand to be told. Also, it took me a lot of years to learn the craft, so I don’t want to waste that. I want to keep growing as a writer, which can only happen if I write.

Karen is currently co-chairman of the Blue Sage Writers.