October isn’t the best month to come over here by magic carpet but my guest today is one tough gal. Here comes Karen Little and some of her friends. Hello, you lot!
Ailsa, I hope you don’t mind me bringing my dogs, Chicken and Noodles. I can’t go anywhere without them. They were fairly well behaved on the magic carpet, though we had to make a quick stop for Noodles to cock his leg on the Eiffel Tower, and I had to hold Chicken pretty tightly as she chases birds; some flew pretty close us.
Not at all- Lily will be delighted to have some English speaking canine company. Yes, we are very well off for birds over here but tell Chicken not to go for the birds of prey, they are pretty feisty! Now, first off – what would you like to drink and I have all kinds of home made cake, jam, bikkies etc – choice?
I’d love a strong black coffee; it’s my favourite tipple at the moment. I think I probably went for wine last time I was here, but I’m behaving myself these days. Ooh, and a sliver of that chocolate cake. That looks pretty healthy.
Freshly brewed coffee on the wood-stove behind you, help yourself. The cake is home-made with gooey filling, here you go. Let’s start with your books – do you write under just one name or several?
I write under my own name. It never occurred to me to do otherwise, though I painted under different names. I was kazvina for the six years I lived in Spain, for instance.
I understand that! I’m never sure if I’m Elise, Ailsa or Otter! How many genres do you cover?
I write a lot of poetry, I write a lot of prose, but there is a lot of overlap for me; my novella trilogy has been described as poetical (among other things!) I occasionally write short stories; they’re not my strong point, though strangely I met my publisher at the book launch of a short story anthology when one of mine was selected for it.
How much have you had published including anthologies etc? How long have you been writing professionally? I imagine that, like all of us, you wrote all your life before “turning pro”
I’ve had close to a hundred pieces of work published if we include everything in magazines, anthologies, on-line magazines, e-zines and my own books, the Spanish Spectres series Filled with Ghosts, Ghost Train Leaving and Ghosts Treading Water.
I ran away to London as a teenager, and got into London Contemporary Dance School, then a Dance Theatre company. Later I did a degree in Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art, London. Yes, I’ve always written but in the last five years writing has become my main “expression.” I started reading my poetry at events and then was persuaded to believe it was publishable. I still paint, and sometimes illustrate my poems as well as other people’s. My slender book Tentacles consists of ten of my poems and ten black ink drawings. Art of Rescue is poetry and prose by eight writers including myself, illustrated with my coloured ink drawings.
What was your first published work? Short story, magazine article, poem?
My first published work was a poem, and very encouragingly it was the first time I’d sent a piece of writing anywhere. Hot Pies was published in an anthology Best of Manchester Poets vol 3, back in 2012.
Wow! What are your ambitions / hopes for your writing career?
I hope I continue to be inspired enough by life to keep creating. It has helped me through some very dark times and helped me find purpose. My real life is the material of my writing. I would like to reach more people with my books, but my favourite thing is when someone tells me how much a piece means to them. Today I got an email from someone telling me my trilogy is their go-to when they can’t sleep. I have a minuscule but perfectly formed fan-base.
I know what you mean Now on to you, the author. Where do you live and with whom?
I live near the sea on the south coast of England, in a Trailer. I live with two naughty dogs, a gecko and an avocado plant called Hardy. I grew him from a stone and he ran wild; he is four feet tall and skinny, the first houseplant I haven’t killed, so I take that as a good omen. There is a stream in my garden that leads to a river and four miles later reaches the sea. I’ve only lived here six months, and guess what? My third book is set where a stream leads to a river and then to the sea, though in Spain. I wrote it before I moved here, though added detail since living here, so that felt both spooky and meant to be.
Yes, “own-life” has a habit of intruding, doesn’t it? Describe a perfect day at home for me. Where else have you lived?
I was born in the North of England, lived many years in London, and then six years in Spain. I spent one year teaching art in Marbella, and then I got a studio in a village near Ronda where my son and myself were the only English inhabitants. The villagers considered me mad because I lived by exhibiting and selling big wild abstract art pieces, and my house/studio was about eight feet wide; narrower than my present Trailer, though on two floors and with a roof terrace across the length of it.
A perfect day at home for me is taking the dogs for an early walk along the river, then writing or painting for as long as the pooches will allow. If the weather is half decent we then get on a bus to the beach, a ten minute journey, and we converse with the waves.
Tell me two or three interesting facts about you that I haven’t asked.
I recently bought a guitar, because surely it’s never too late to become a rock-star? That’s a coincidence. I have tried several times to play the guitar with no success but won one in a raffle, so think I’m being pushed to have another go!
I’ve never owned a motorbike but have ridden them many times. I worked at a motorbike hire shop and we went home on whatever bike we fancied: on my first day at Art College all my art supplies were knocked off the back of my motorbike when a lorry clipped the carrier I had bungeed them to. Well, everyone knows about my love-affair with bikes and my near-death experience doing a triple somersault off mine.
Karen Little trained as a dancer at London School of Contemporary Dance, and as a Fine Artist at Camberwell School of Art, London. She has performed and exhibited internationally.
Her first novella, ‘Filled with Ghosts’ was published in December 2015 and shortlisted for a Saboteur Award in 2016. Set in 90’s Southern Spain it was described as ‘Visceral, surreal, and utterly compelling. This is a writer who finds a strange beauty in the darkest of places.’ The second book in the trilogy, ‘Ghost Train Leaving’ was published in July 2017, and the final book, ‘Ghosts Treading Water’ will be published in late October 2017. Other books include Tentacles, ten poems, ten drawings, and Art of Rescue, with poems and poetry by various authors, edited and illustrated by Karen.
Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B076SZMKX7
Thank you for inviting me. Please come and see me when you have the time. I certainly will, thanks for inviting me.