Q & A with Karen Turner

Why did you decide to write your book?

I didn’t actually start writing All That & Everything. It came about because I started winning quite a number of awards for my short stories so I thought “gee, maybe I’m ok at this”. I asked my dad if he could do some little sketches for the stories and suggested we do a book together. He thought it was a great idea, but unfortunately he passed away before he had the chance. I knew how excited he was about the book so I decided to go ahead with it anyway. I managed to find some other sketches of his that I could use, although not every story has one and they’re not specific to the story, but I think they work anyway. I dedicated the book to dad. He never got to see it but I think he would’ve liked it.

What inspired me to write the book?

I think I was born to write. I used to write books as a child – little kiddie stories about my pets and my family. But my grandma Olive was my greatest inspiration. She was an amazingly intelligent and well-travelled lady. My fondest childhood memories are of how she would tie a blanket to the Hills hoist to form a sling and sit me in it, then she send me swinging through the air – we called it chair-aeroplane. When I came to a stop we would pretend I had landed in some foreign country. Sitting in my chair-aeroplane, with Grandma on a bench in the backyard, I saw the most wondrous places. I have galloped a camel in the shadows of the Great Pyramid of Giza, flown my helicopter into the depths of Diamond Head, dangled from a rising span of the Tower Bridge to rescue a kitten, shopped at a Persian bazaar and pushed my cart along the cobbled roads of Dublin with my friend Molly Malone. I was also the first person to fly solo to the moon!

What was the most rewarding part of the writing process?

The most rewarding part of writing happened to me one day when I gave the Torn manuscript to a friend to read. She phoned me very early the next morning to say my book had kept her up all night reading because she had to find out what happened next!

What are your top tips for writing?

My top tips for writing a book would be – just start writing. Leave it overnight to brew. Then the next day read over your work. Chances are you won’t instantly love it but you can make changes. Sometimes you do love it and that’s great. Other times you won’t like it at all. If that happens – fix it or scrap it and start again. Another tip is to really get to know your characters. See them, hear their voices and know their personalities. Imagine a situation and know how your characters will react.

What books and authors have inspired me?

I love history and I love factual history so writers like Phillipa Gregory and Diana Gabaldon are my favourites. I also love Pamela Belle and Alice Marlow (same lady) although I don’t think she writes any more (pity). If I feel like reading something a bit spicier I’ll read Charlaine Harris – writer of the True Blood series. Terrific writer who also wrote the Harper Connelly mystery series.

Why did you decided to self publish?

I decided to self publish because I’m not a well known writer so the idea of getting any interest from the big publishing houses was just a bit too daunting for me. As I was doing a collection of short stories, I wasn’t sure whether it would be successful anyway so it seemed to make sense to work with Palmer Higgs.

What do you hope your readers will get out my book?

What I want readers to get out of my book is simple. I want readers to enjoy my stories as much as I enjoyed writing them. I then want them to be keen to read other things that I’ve written – like Torn, my novel soon to be released.

Would you consider writing another book?

I will definitely write more books. I have so many characters and novels crammed inside my head that I’m running out of space in there.

Do I have any tips for new authors?

One special tip for new authors is to write the sort of story you love to read – you must enjoy what you’re writing!