Congratulations to Kas! She won a copy of Women of the Year!
Good morning and happy Wednesday! Today we are joined by Karen Richard. She’s here to celebrate her debut release, Women of the Year, a collection of short stories written one a month over the course of a year.
She’s also giving away a copy of Women of the Year, paperback or ebook in the US, ebook only anywhere else (shipping is nutso, sorry). Drop a comment in the space below, and we’ll draw a winner on Monday, April 25.
Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?
My name is Karen Richard and until very recently I was an avid reader only. I never had a thought that I could actually be a writer. And yet, here I am with a book of short stories published by GusGus Press which is a division of Bedazzled Ink. I started out by submitting a short story for a competition sponsored by Bink. The competition was to write a story set in January but didn’t have enough of a response to continue. They were impressed with what I wrote and asked me to write some more stories and they would published them in a chapbook. Then I got the idea for a story for each month.
What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?
Well, writing obviously makes one a writer but I think that being someone who has a story to tell and takes steps to tell that story is a writer. Being a writer to me means sharing my stories with a broader audience. I would hope that my stories make you laugh but also make you think.
Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.
I am! My book is called Women of the Year and it is 12 short stories, one set in each month. You can download the entire first story on-line from Amazon by downloading the sample of the book. Here’s the blurb:
In each month of 2015, Karen Richard wrote a story that focuses on an event during that month that impacts the life of an ordinary woman in an extraordinary way. Follow the months as a woman helps a young woman into an abortion clinic, tells of her first kiss, finds a stray puppy, deals with the aftermath of a hate crime, follows a dead body action plan, selects the perfect companion, helps give the last wish of a dying Vietnam War veteran. Women of the Year deftly weaves together humor and poignant observation with pointed social and political commentary through the lives of ordinary women just trying to make sense of the world they live in.
Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, to you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?
I don’t feel a lot of guilt about any of my pleasures except for, oh geez, this is hard to admit but reality television. I know it has brought about the ruin of our nation but I love Survivor, Top Chef, and the presidential debates. The debates even more so this year since one of the front runners actually has a reality tv franchise.
Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?
It’s totally politics! I follow politics with a great deal of passion and of course partisanship. The literal future of our country is at stake in this election, both at the national as well as the local level. It doesn’t take that much to get yourself educated about the choices you have to make because this year’s local politicians will be the future national candidates. Ted Cruz was elected to the Senate in a record low turnout for Texas and has used that as a springboard for his presidential run. And it is local elected officials that pass or work for laws that allow or prevent discrimination.
I am really passionate about it and we, this community, cannot afford to rest on marriage equality. Yes we won a huge right in the Supreme Court but opponents of this are not rolling over. The next president will appoint two or three justices to the Supreme Court and those justices may be sitting on the bench for the next generation. Remember that Justice Scalia was appointed by President Reagan in the 1980’s. I could go on and on about this and if anyone wants to discuss at GCLS this summer I am happy to do so!
What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)
I don’t have nearly as much time to write as I would like. I travel a lot for work so most of my writing is done in airports, on planes and in hotel rooms.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).
Hmmm, well, I dropped out of high school at age 16. I got my GED later that year and went on to college and law school. High school was rough for me as it is for a lot of people. I still got where I wanted to be just took a slightly more convoluted path. My mom always says if there is a hard way and an easy way to do something I will always choose the hard way. I don’t know if that is always true but she does say it.
Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?
Literally anything ever written by Ann McMan. I have the honor of sitting on a panel with her at GCLS this year and I really hope I don’t fan girl out and forget to participate. She is so smart and funny!
If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?
I would love to go visit Australia but I would want to live in Hawaii if I could. My wife loves the ocean and the weather there is as close to paradise as I think you can get.
And finally, what sorts of writing projects are next for you?
I am writing a novel that picks up on one of the short stories in Women of the Year. I don’t have a title yet but it takes place with the main character from the short story “Kelly.” It is a romantic thriller that will hopefully have some laugh out loud moments, a mystery and some romance.
Karen Richard is an attorney by day and author by night. She has held numerous jobs in her life from cook to mail carrier. She lives in the northeastern United States with her wife and their cats. When she is not writing or lawyering she is adding to her collection of new beers to try. Unfortunately she drinks them as quickly as she adds them!