Exclusive Interview with
Karen S. Bell
When did you start writing?
I seriously started writing about twenty years ago.
What makes writing your passion?
I love the process if finding what right word, the cadence of a sentence and bringing to light the visuals I an see in my mind.
How long have you been writing?
twenty or so years
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
A strong sense of satisfaction that I actually completed an entire novel. It was very emotional and brought tears to my eyes as I typed the last period.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My characters just come to me out of the ether. They lay in wait for me to start writing and nudge me into their existence. A strange and wondrous process. As they form they take on some characteristics of people in my life including myself. Or at least what I am aware of in myself.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Trying to get traditionally published and what a closed door it is. And marketing.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
Just sit down and write when I've put it off to long.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Write because you love it and need it. Have a thick skin because what you really want only is achieved by very few writers. The odds are against you. Keep your day job and write for the pleasure of it. Making a living is not a given. Not even close. Amazon has allowed my writing not to be a total hobby and my work has won some awards.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Apply to a prestigious writing program at a university and start to network.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I read them all and relish in the great ones and learn from the scorching ones. Sometimes I learn that the great ones interpreted my work at a level not intended and the scorching ones didn't understand the story or seemed to read a different book.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Elation and fist bumps that someone who is not personal friend actually thought I was good at my craft.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
All the time.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Sunspots is a tragic tale about a young women who loses her spouse after just a few years of marriage. That happened to me and was a way for me to deal with the pain of that loss.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I choose a book on reviews and plot summaries. The cover is of no importance to me.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I would love to interact with my readers who aren't friends. So far that has not happened.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I love being appreciated but I'm basically an unknown.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I love authors that write with a love of words and intelligent themes and plots. Towles, Picoult, Updike, Hoffman
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
It's too late for me. I'm already too old for those dreams.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No. It would be too annoying.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Any one who gets every book published and sold in stores.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Bumped into a few of them a few years and they can be quite hurtful with bombing your ratings and scary too.
What would you say to your readers?
My books are a social commentary, so please take in the messages.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in north Florida with my husband and two furry kids, I have four grown children who live all over the place including Germany. I have four grand children.
What is your day job if you have one?
Retired but I used to be an editor/writer at a large public accounting firm.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love to travel, play games, and dine at fabulous restaurants. COVID 19 changed most of my travel for pleasure and social outings, even now because it keeps blooming when we thought it was gone.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes, I grew up in Brooklyn and had a lot of personal freedom. Public transportation allowed me to hang out in Greenwich Village and NYC haunts. I could walk to Brighton Beach. Great Kosher deli was right around the corner from my apartment building as well as a fabulous NY bakery.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
just an aching need. But my first novel was inspired by my workplace experience and how women treat each as adversaries instead of comrades in arms. I also walked into a woman in the ladies room pumping her breast and realized how crazy it is that our maternity leave in this country is so lacking and inhuman.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
My latest novel is not finished and will be about trying to understand what is reality. We all interpret the world around us in a unique way thinking that we are unified and like minded. O course, we understand differences of ideology but I'm exploring how we see the world around us, how we relate, the connections in our subatomic space, and perhaps that there are multiple dimensions and universes.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Civics, Civics, Civics. NO BANNED BOOKS.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
Humans respected our earthly home and stopped destroying it and the species we live with.
What is your favorite music?
Share a secret with us 🙂
I wish I was fluent in French, German, Italian and could live easily in those countries if we lose our democracy.