Karen is the author of her recently published debut, The Perfect Girlfriend.
I am delighted that Karen agreed to be interviewed, and it's interesting to find how she responded to my 10 questions. It's a relief to know that the struggle and process of writing is real for others too ~ we're sharing a similar journey!
We met on the Faber Academy, Writing a Novel course, based in Bloomsbury London. For those who don't know you, tell us a little about yourself.
Yes, it was lovely to meet you and everyone else. It seems a while ago know, but I loved those autumn and winter evenings walking past the British Library to the Faber offices!
I worked as cabin crew for many years which I loved, however it was always 'the dream' to be a writer. I dabbled over the years, however didn't take it seriously until after the birth of my second son. In 2014, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Faber course. I thought I'd only be able to do it online (which also would've been great), but being at home with young children, I looked forward to the interaction with other students. Thank to the kind offers of babysitting help from family, I was able to do this.
I enjoyed reading The Perfect Girlfriend, and the storyline is about stalking and revenge. Where did your inspiration come from?
The idea first came to me while I was changing out of uniform one day before travelling on public transport. I felt this sense of returning to 'anonymity.' It made me think about the faces behind uniforms and it lead to the idea that maybe it was someone who wasn't nice, perhaps someone damaged, who really was changing their whole identity rather than just leaving their professional, work self behind at the end of the day.
Did you undertake any research for The Perfect Girlfriend?
As well as reading about Sociopaths and Nature versus Nurture, I also read a lot of self-help books. Some of them use very powerful language and I thought about Juliette reading these and twisting their meanings, rather than trying to heal, learn or self-improve.
Are there any Books that inspired or influenced The Perfect Girlfriend?
I've always loved books by an author called Emily Barr, who I think combines travel and thriller writing extremely well. I love the psychological thriller genre and I read a lot of crime fiction. I do read in other areas too, but crime is probably one of my favourites.
Being Published has been quite the experience! What has it been like for you?
It's been truly amazing and I feel incredibly fortunate. I've had so much support from so many people and I wouldn't be in this wonderful position without them. One thing that hasn't changed is the self-doubt. I still work as hard as ever and have days where it feels really difficult. Then, you get some positive feedback or a nice review and it truly helps and means so much.
Have you always wanted to write, and who influenced you to write?
I have always wanted to write, but wasn't sure how to go about it. Every time I saw a writing competition, I would get excited and think about entering, but rarely got around to it for various reasons. It was after having my second son that I realised how fast time really flew and that I needed to follow my dream. I had no idea what to do, other than to write. So I started on 1,000 words a day ( as much as possible). I took an online course, went to Literary Festivals and Meet-The-Author events, and tried to submerge myself into the writing world as much as possible. I wrote two books before I went on the Faber Course (but didn't get anywhere with them). On the course I was lucky to join a very supportive group of people and it was there that I wrote the first draft of what was to become The Perfect Girlfriend.
Do you have a writing routine?
I mainly write at home during school hours. However I always take my laptop out with me if I think I will get an opportunity to write. I take my Kindle everywhere with me as I read and edit on it. I can write anywhere, on trains, in a cafe, at children's soft play. I rarely write in the evening (it's always rubbish) I'm much more of a morning person.
Do you have any writing tips?
Write every day if possible (even when you don't feel like it). Join a local or online writing group for support and companionship as there are many ups and downs along the way to publication.
I think about this a lot because, like most readers, there are so many. Every time I write a list I always think of the ones I've left out! I like books by Kate Atkinson, Alexander McCall Smith, Dorothy Koomson, Sabine Durrant, to name a few. Old favourites include, The Great Gatsby, Rebecca, The Thorn Birds and everything by Agatha Christie.
I'm currently writing my second book which is set in a completely different world, but has another damaged, female protagonist at its heart.
Thank you so much for inviting me, it's been great fun answering these questions and is very much appreciated!
You can find Karen on Twitter ~ KJHAuthor.
Website ~ karenhamiltonwriter.com
If you would like to know more about Faber Academy, take a look at their website: faberacademy.co.uk
and on Twitter @FaberAcademy