Q&A With Karen Banes

What do you write?

Mainly non-fiction, although I’ve also had several short stories published and even won a short fiction award with Polar Expressions Publishing. My specialties are travel, lifestyle, parenting and family issues and alternative education. Sometime I combine all my specialties and end up writing about long-term family travel and homeschooling my children on the road.

I have two Kindle ebooks about freelance writing out right now, and three non-fiction books in various stages of planning, writing and editing. I also have a young adult novel on the back burner. I’m an academic at heart and actually love the research and fact finding that goes into writing non-fiction, but I also love reading fiction and can’t resist dipping in and out of writing it too.

I also write book reviews, fiction and non-fiction, and provide copy editing and proofreading services to other authors.

Tell us about one of your books in 3 sentences.

My book 52 Tips for Freelance Writers is, as the subtitle states, a guide to simplifying and organizing your freelance writing life. I went from being completely clueless about freelance writing at the start of my career to having a file full of tips, tricks, useful links, databases and free tools for writers. This book shares all the things it took me years to uncover in a (fairly) neat little bundle.

Why do you write? Give us three reasons.

To make art, make money, and make a difference. That was the tagline of a freelance writing blog I ran for three years. Why work to make money and save making art and making a difference for your free time? Why not produce great writing on topics you’re passionate about and get paid to do it?

Is it always that simple? Hell, no. Sometimes you end up writing a piece that meets only two, or even just one of those objectives. But when you write a piece of quality, well-crafted writing on a topic that’s really important to you and an editor pays you good money for it, it feels great.

Complete the following sentences:

My first ever published piece of writing was…

A short story in a British small press publication called Quality Women’s Fiction, about two decades ago. I doubt it still exists.

A book about writing I love is…

Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott. (Man it was hard to choose just one.)

A novel I love is…

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. (That was even harder. I hope the next question isn’t “One of my offspring I love is…”)

My favorite place to write is…

Outdoors, on a sunny day, in the shade.

Something/someone who helped me improve my writing is…

Stephen King, and his book, On Writing. I’m not even a huge fan of most of King’s novels. Horror isn’t my thing, though I did love 11.22.63. Well-written time travel is, apparently, my thing. On Writing is full of great advice about language, the craft of writing and determination in the face of adversity.

Writing is…

My passion, my stress buster and my job. How lucky am I?

Editing is…

Hard work, but hugely satisfying. I love taking a rough draft and making it the best possible version of what it is. I love that moment when you’ve edited a piece to death and you realize that it’s finally saying exactly what you wanted it to.

Publishing is…

Necessary in order to get your writing in front of your audience. Whether you’re a traditionally published author or an indie author, the process of publishing can be a series of minor headaches with the occasional migraine thrown in.

In spite of the steep and never ending learning curve, I love the freedom of being an indie author and am grateful to be writing and publishing at a time when technology has made the process so accessible. I have a very independent nature and an unconventional outlook so being an indie author, able to publish on my terms suits me just fine.

Describe yourself in six words.

Curious. Compassionate. Creative. Adventurous. Unconventional. Confusing.

Why confusing?

I’m a feminine feminist. A friendly introvert. A healthy eater who loves chocolate. An environmentalist who loves powerboats. A (mostly) mature, (often) sophisticated adult who loves Harry Potter. I’m a mass of contradictions and I’ve given up trying to figure them out or justify them.

What’s your next big writing challenge?

I have titles and outlines for several new non-fiction books about parenting, alternative education, and green living. At this point it’s time to start researching and see which project has legs.

What advice would you give to a brand new writer?

Buy my ebook How To Start Your Freelance Writing Career From Scratch: No money, no contacts, no problem. It’s aimed at brand new writers and those who are writing as a hobby and want to turn it into a career. It covers everything I’d want to say to a new writer but it’s about 50 pages long. I can’t possibly hog that much space here, and if I get started you’ll have trouble stopping me. If you’re a new or aspiring writer, consider buying it. It’s a pretty good deal.

What does your current Twitter or other online profile say?

Freelance writer. Book reviewer. Word nerd. Author of 52 Tips for Freelance Writers. Tweeting about writing, books, & publishing.

What would you like it to say?

Bestselling, award winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. I run writing retreats and workshops in exotic locations all over the world.

Where can we find you online?

Website:        http://www.karenbanes.com/

Book Blog:     http://www.karenbanes.com/blog.html

Amazon:         https://www.amazon.com/author/karenbanes

Twitter:          https://twitter.com/KarenBanes

Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/karen.banes.9?ref=tn_tnmn

LinkedIn:       http://www.linkedin.com/pub/karen-banes/56/321/188

Pinterest:       http://pinterest.com/KarenBanes/


A whole month.

It’s been exactly a month since my last posting, and in that time a few things have happened.

The most major of course was my mothers funeral. Thankfully it went well, with the expected attendance, it was nice to see relatives I have not seen for a few years, it’s funny that with some people you might not see them for years but when you do and start chatting it’s as though you last saw them yesterday.

It is however disappointing when you inform people of the death and other than a brief email you hear nothing else, not even when you send them a copy of the last picture that was ever taken of my mother. I think is fair to say I expected more from a couple of people. I thought they had some respect for other people even when they die, but in these cases I appear to have been proved wrong.

With the funeral behind us things have been getting back to normal, or as normal as anything is here. The book writing has taken a back burner of last, there has been too much else going on all around. So I am concentrating on writing a few short articles on a number of subjects that have taken my fancy and I will return to the book when I feel some inspiration for it.

A week today Sue my wife starts a weeks holiday, she certainly needs it. We were planning to go away somewhere for a few days but nothing has taken our fancy at all to be honest, we had looked at places we have never been to or maybe just passed through in the past but on reflection we perhaps need somewhere we know so we can just relax and recharge our batteries. What will happen I guess is that we will just potter about the house for the week and not really achieve a lot. That’s not what we need but I would bet that’s what’s most likely to happen in the end.

So there you have it, a short recap of the last month, hopefully it will not be a month before my next entry.