Friday 26 April 2013

Dancing With Myself: KARIN COX interviews KARIN COX

"Are YOU talking to me?"

Q.1 So, what's up with the talking to yourself? I mean, we all do it a little bit, but to interview yourself ... got a few "personality" issues have you?

Me? Never! I'm a writer. I have way more than a few issues. To start with, there's this vampire-hunting
Cruxim who keeps rattling around inside my brain and falling for the wrong women, particularly those who are half lioness. And when he's not bugging me and convincing me to leave the house-cleaning and just finish one more chapter, there's a whole host of other fantasy characters falling in love, getting lost in museums, battling all manner of horrendous beasts, and sometimes learning something about themselves in the process. When they're done with me and I'm exhausted, a little snippet of poetry or the idea for a children's story might unexpectedly pop into my brain. And that's all while I'm awake. There is even more going on at bedtime, when I'm lying there trying to sleep. So you see, there's a lot happening up there. I almost have to talk to myself, or at least write it all down, just to stay sane.

Q.2 Sounds like it is never dull at your house. How do you find time to write?

With a toddler, finding the time to write is always a struggle. I snatch writing time while she naps, and I often stay up late to write in the middle of the night when everyone else is snoozing. I also use a program called Write or Die to make me focus and to just get the words on the page. If I don't meet my wordcount, it goes "Kamikaze" and starts to eats words before my eyes. It is a frightening but effective way to write.

Q.3 Tell me about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I always wear pants when I write, often pajama pants. Seriously, I am not a huge plotter. I find plotting everything out in rigid details makes me freeze. I prefer to know the beginning, the climax, and the end and then to work towards those three plot points, and if I take a slight detour at times and end up holding the map upside and wondering how the hell I got where I am, I just put it down to being adventurous and try to discover the breadcrumbs back to my original plot.

Q4. Are you telling me you actually turn maps around when you're navigating?

Um, yep. I have absolutely no spatial reasoning skills. I'm all imagination and very little practicality when it comes to shapes, numbers, and locations. My partner once called me, "The dumbest smart person he knows." (Me: And you won't ever let him forget that, will you? Me too: Not on your Nelly!) For a dumb smart person who struggles to navigate my way out of the house, I do have an exceptional memory — just not for directions.

Q.5. I hear you're from Down Under. No wonder you keep getting lost all the time, it's miles away! Tell me, have Aussies embraced the ebook revolution as much as Americans and Europeans have?

*Waving from the bottom of the globe* I don't think Australians have quite developed the taste for reading on ereaders yet, but I do think we're a growing market. With a good economy and a high dollar, I really think the next few years will see Aussie consumers exponentially leap on the ebook bandwagon. I hope so, at least. If not, I'll have to trade my car in for a kangaroo and start eating Koalas. (Readers *thinking*: Really? People ride kangaroos and eat Koalas in Australia? Me: No, don't be daft. Koalas are a protected species and taste like eucalyptus, and a kangaroo can kick a hole in your stomach. They may look cute and cuddly, like most Aussies, but don't be fooled. We're all hardcore down here. We have to be or the snakes would eat us).

Q.6. A little birdie (possibly a Kookaburra) also told me that you used to be an editor. Aren't editors just failed writers? What made you switch from editing to writing?

Actually, I've always written. I won my first award for writing poetry when I was just an ankle-biter. I got into editing some fifteen years ago, after studying English Literature & Communication Studies at university specifically because I wanted to work in an industry that would help with that dream. After editing for many different publishers in the UK and Australia, I took on a job as an inhouse author, writing natural history, Australiana, travel guides, social history, and children's fiction, but I always hoped that I might one day be able to make a go of writing fiction full-time. Mind you, the editor in me has often been responsible for making that dream difficult. I have enormous fear of failure lest I become that cliche: the failed writer. I still edit, but I'm just taking on fewer clients to try to focus on my own writing so that I don't let my own dreams pass me by while I'm helping other authors live their dreams.

Q.7 You write across so many genres, from non-fiction to Growth (poetry), Cage Life (short stories), and children's fiction Pancakes on Sunday and Hey, Little Sister, as well as Cruxim, which is gothic paranormal romance. Why not just stick to one thing?

Good question, and I've asked myself that a lot. (Me: Of course you have, you're me. Me too: Oh thanks, I forgot.) Basically, I just write whatever pleases me and takes hold of me at the time. I'm always beset by ideas, so when one burrows in and just won't let go, that is what I produce. I also have some more fantasy novels, a half-finished romance and a NA novel in the works. What can I say? I like variety.

Q.8. What advice would you give to authors who are just starting their self-publishing journey now?

Look and learn, and be professional. By that I mean pay for a great cover, an edit (at least one), and a formatter if you don't know the ropes or aren't willing to invest the time to learn. There is a lot of great information available in author forums and on blogs such as Dave Gaughran's or Barry Eisler's. You need to be your own marketer and publicist, too. Expect that, to begin with at least, you should pump any profits back into your business. And don't expect to be an overnight sensation: building a fanbase takes time and a little capital.

About the Author

Karin Cox edits and writes in her "spare time" while being a fulltime mum to a toddler and to a black cat with the improbable name of "Ping Pong."
She is the author of more than 30 trade-published natural history books, biographies, Australian social history books, children's picture storybooks, and travel guides, several of which have won awards. Karin has had poems and short stories published in anthologies worldwide and her ebooks CRUXIM, GROWTH, CAGE LIFE, HEY LITTLE SISTER and PANCAKES ON SUNDAY are available on Amazon. Thankfully, the busier she gets, the more creative she is (and the more likely to afford to hire a housekeeper). Karin and her partner live in sunny Queensland, Australia, where she writes from her back deck overlooking the pool, her study (overlooking her messy desk) or her couch (overlooking Dr Phil). You can follow her on twitter @Authorandeditor or visit her fanpage on Facebook or sign up for her mailing list Also, feel free to email her at

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