Author Spotlight with Karen Kostlivy
K.K Thanks, Katie for having me here with you today. I was born and raised in Northern California. I currently reside in Yuba City, California. I am married and have two grown sons that are the lights of my life.
K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
You might call this a quirk, but I call it a major annoyance that really bugs me. I make my family leave the house very early in the morning when I’m ready to sit behind the computer to write. I don’t understand why I make them leave, but they need to be gone or I can’t write. The odd thing is that my outline and characters are all ready created in my notebook, just waiting for me to transfer them to the computer. Can you say weirdo?…LOL
K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
K.K. I realized I wanted to be a writer when I wrote parts of a story I created years ago for an English assignment. The story would not leave me no matter how much I tried to flush it from my mind, it just kept coming back to me. It was like I had no other choice but to write, so I began to write.
K.S. What genre do you write?
K.K. I write middle grade fiction, fantasy adventures, however, I have numerous ideas that I want to put my pen to paper and see where it leads me.
K.S. What does your family think of your writing?
K.K. I’m truly blessed in this arena of my life. My family is very supportive and encourages me to do what I am passionate about and that is writing. So they are okay when I make them leave the house. My husband will listen to story ideas and proofreads my drafts.
K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
K.K What was very surprising to me was how much I enjoyed creating the characters and plots.
K.S. Can you share an excerpt from your novel?
K.K I love this part of the story it is from the second chapter when Mason is magically transported to Africa:
Mason stopped reading. "Teeth," he said with a groan. He threw the blankets off of his head and jumped out of bed, landing on something cold and spongy.
"Ugh! What is that?" he cried. Green moss and rocks surrounded him. The walls of his room were beginning to melt away like candle wax. Screeches of monkeys, laughter of hyenas, chirping of insects, and trumpeting of elephants resounded in his ears.
"What the heck?" he shouted and jumped back onto his bed, landing on Jamie's bow and arrows. He shut his eyes as tight as he could. "Wake up, wake up," he frantically whispered; but the sounds persisted. He could feel his bed starting to dissolve away from under him. Clutching the toys, he rolled onto the ground. Slowly opening his eyes, he could see that he was no longer in his bedroom at all. He was griped in fear and thought if he could just stay still, not make a move, he might wake up, and it would be all gone. Just some weird freaky dream … you know because he just read that message from Lutalo.
He opened his eyes. He looked around some more. Still there, he thought. Everything had changed. His bedroom walls, his desk, dresser, skateboard and laptop were all gone. Even the bow and arrows in his hand had changed. Instead of Jamie's plastic toys, Mason held gleaming golden arrows and a shimmering ivory bow. Mason had never seen more beautiful weapons in his life – not even in a museum. "Wow," he whispered, as he ran his fingers over his weaponry. He staggered to his feet and began to walk, looking for people.
He reached out and touched the jungle brush. Felt real. He then tentatively looked up at the canopy of overgrown foliage that shielded the jungle floor from direct sunlight. He looked around and wasn’t sure what to do. Should he stay or go? A distant “screech” startled him, and a big, brown hairy bug flew right in front of him. He waved his arm to protectively drive it off. He was disoriented and stepped forward, “crunch,” as he tried to make his way through the thick overgrowth. He touched a smooth tree trunk that was buttressed for support in the absence of deep roots. He curiously pulled down a broadleaf that was big, flat and thin. He looked around some more – everything was big and overgrown and damp, with vines dangling everywhere and in his way to climb through. His curiosity moved him to explore his surroundings.
At last he came to the edge of the jungle. Barren, dead land stretched out wide in front of him. Far ahead, in the middle of the lifeless environment, he could see what looked like a large village. "What is this place? How did I get here?" he thought. He suddenly saw a small figure racing toward him and shouting.
K.S. Where can we find your novel?
K.K Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life is available at Barnes & Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com ), 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), Amazon (www.amazon.com) and Borders (www.borders.com/online/store/Home) It will be distributed to major bookstores nationwide in late summer 2010.
K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
K.K. My website is www.cyberwriters.net and I have a fan/like page on Facebook under Cyber Writers.
K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
K.K. Keep writing! If a person is passionate about writing I would recommend that they keep writing and not give up. Remove the clutter from your mind and finish what you start. Also, have someone review your writing that you trust. Hire someone if you can and be open to their suggestions in regards to polishing your work.