Interview with Karen Aminadra
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.
FTLOF: 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.
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.
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.
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.
FTLOF: Do your fans have any impact on your writing?
KA: Yes they 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.
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 😉