Please welcome my special guest author Karen Magill. She is amazing and so fun to visit with. Here is the interview we did together.
Where are you from?
I was born in Victoria, BC Canada and moved around a lot as a child. Now I call the beautiful city of Vancouver Canada my home.
Tell me a little about yourself
I come from a family of writers – my paternal grandmother was a published author – and creative people have surrounded me all my life. Even though I have always written, I explored many areas for a career for years. But I always came back to the writing. When I was forced out of the work force in 2000 by MS, I saw this as an opportunity to pursue my writing goals.
I am single and don’t have any children. I love music and walking. I walk around the city and take photos then come home and post those on my blog with a little bit of history.
Tell us your latest news?
My latest book, Missing Flowers, is now appearing in libraries around the world. With the help of my Facebook friends that are requesting their local libraries buy it. My next book is coming along.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing from the moment I learned how to put words together. Writing was, and still is, my way to escape the drudgery of reality.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think the first time I considered myself an actual writer was when I had a poem accepted for publication in Modern Romances magazine. Someone besides my family actually liked what I had written.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A broken heart. I was mooning over my first boyfriend and thought this was the way to get him back. I wrote a really bad love story that later fell victim to a shredder!
Do you have a specific writing style?
When I write I tend to write scenes as they come to me then write the filler that will make it into a book. I don’t really plan though I am trying to be more disciplined and organized.
How did you come up with the title?
Missing Flowers refers to the prostitutes in Vancouver’s east end that have gone missing. A friend of my parents calls the prostitutes in that area ‘Hastings Street Flowers’ so I combined the two.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write paranormal because I believe those powers are within us all. I want my readers to finish a book I have written and think that that could happen. Realize that events in my books may actually happen.
How much of the book is realistic?
In this series of books of which Missing Flowers is the first, I am referencing true crimes. There was a case in Vancouver where a serial killer was taking prostitutes from Vancouver’s east end and it inspired this book. The history I relate is fact. The places I describe like Carnegie Centre and Sunrise Market are real. However, the killer I used, the cop, the psychic, the prostitute and the other characters and events are fictional.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life, or are they a figment of your imagination? (i.e. – is your hero/heroin you? – is your ‘bad guy’ you or someone you know?)
Some of the experiences that Julie Seer has on her walks happened while I was walking around Vancouver. No one is entirely based on a real person.
What book(s) are you reading now?
Right now, my reading is mainly for my blog so I am reading parts of books on history. I am trying to finish Digitus 233 by K.D. Emerson though.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I am enjoying K.D. Emerson’s book and I do like Martin Crosbie. I have on my list to read What She Knew by T.L. Burns and K.R. Hughes. I am looking forward to that.
What are your current projects?
I am working on the next in the Julie Seer series, working title is A Little Poison. It will be another paranormal mystery that combines fiction with historical facts.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Only one? John S. Hardin from Virginia has been a great supporter ever since I met him in a Bruce Willis chat room. John is also a talented writer.
If you could pick any celebrity to star in the movie version of your book, who would it be?
So many people to choose from. For the part of the drug addicted prostitute trying to get clean, I would like to see Miley Cyrus play the part. I think she could do a great job and I think that she is a better actress than many realize. As for the parts of Julie and Santoro, I think Maggie Siff for Julie and maybe Christian Kane for Santoro.
If you could pick a celebrity to play one character in the movie version, who would it be?If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. I read people’s reviews and what some dislike others appreciate so there isn’t anything I can think of that needs changing.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? (a short excerpt would be great)
I will share a bit of Missing Flowers of you. This is part of Chapter One.
The view was another thing Julie found comforting about this area. The lights from North Vancouver lightened the night darkness. The North Shore Mountains were an intense dark blue right now and seemed to be standing guard over all beneath them. The orange cranes from the Port of Vancouver were manmade sentries, their lights blinking messages to the peaks. The normalcy of it all was very soothing. Julie leaned back and began to take a few deep breaths. Walking to a plastic moulded chair and sitting down, she closed her eyes and started piecing together the fragments of the dream that still haunted her. She hadn’t seen what happened, but experienced everything from the viewpoint of the victim. It was always that way it seemed. Julie swallowed and fought to clear her mind so the dream would return.
It started with a droning sound. Julie was in a room with wooden benches, like the pews in a church. Yet not quite, something was off. This wasn’t a church. She could feel the hardness of the wood floor beneath scrawny, malnourished knees. In the dream, her arms were covered with track marks from years of drug abuse, her skin felt slimy and dirty yet it didn’t bother her. Julie had the impression that this slovenly state was normal for her. And besides, there were more important things to worry about, not that Julie was sure of what those concerns were. She did know she was going to get money from whoever brought her here. In the dream, that was the only reason Julie had agreed to come; she really needed the money.
Someone was chanting or praying. Ah, that was the droning noise. But everything else seemed so quiet, almost as if she and the voice were in a mausoleum or something. No noise from vehicles or people penetrated the stillness, it was so silent. She couldn’t really tell what was being said or where the other person was, but she was aware of a voice murmuring in the background. She sensed movement behind her, but it was so slight that she wasn’t sure if she’d imagined it.
I wish he would shut up and get on with it, she thought, so I can get outta here. She shifted position; the pressure from the floor was uncomfortable. Yet she knew that she had to stay like this, had to appear pious. Not that she was but that was how the game was played. She hoped the speech would end soon and she could do what she had to do and leave. She knew she was supposed to be repenting for something, but Julie wasn’t sure what. And still the droning continued.
She blinked. Her vision was hazy but it wasn’t anything to do with her. She could smell the cloying odour of too much incense and the smoke drifted lazily around her. Lemon scented furniture polish didn’t improve the atmosphere nor did the smells wafting from her unwashed body. Dream Julie sniffed.
I hate it here. Usually it is just in and out, give me my dough then we bugger off wherever. But not today. Dream Julie giggled inwardly at her thought ‘in and out’. That’s what it was usually. Nothing spectacular, nothing special.
Julie shifted position in her plastic chair. She sensed something wasn’t right. Something was going to happen. She felt a tightening in her chest and panic froze her throat.
I want to say something, she thought. I want to tell him to shut up, to get on with it. But if I do that he might get nasty and I need the money. He might hurt me or leave me someplace where I can’t get back. I gotta a bad feeling about this. Dream Julie felt a premonition of danger and was getting ready to stand and leave. To hell with the money and to hell with being stranded, she would survive, always had. She was tough, a survivor. That is when things changed.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting started is always hard. I have bits and pieces of A Little Poison and ideas running through my head but getting it on paper is the hard part.
What is your particular writing quirk?
Whenever I need to really concentrate I put the phone on do not disturb, a CD in the computer and the head phones on. I write while I rock out to music. I can’t write when it is silent.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Just around Vancouver. I am basing my future books essentially here so that makes it a little easier.
Who designed the cover(s)?
I like to use artists to do my covers so I can get one of a kind pieces. Missing Flowers was done by ‘arty’.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Missing Flowers revolves around prostitutes and a serial killer but I didn’t want it to be gory. There is a scene that may cause readers to gulp a bit though in most of the book I kept the explicit details to a minimum.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that there was a madam here in the late 1800s with the same last name as my great-grandmothers though I am told my relatives weren’t here at that time. I also learned a bit more about Vancouver history and the significance of some of the buildings here.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
You are going to get a lot of advice from many different sources. Follow your own instincts on what will work for you because not all advice is going to be good. And don’t be afraid of failing at first. Just keep trying until you find what works. And that old piece of advice to write what you know? It is still invaluable. I think that Missing Flowers is so much better than my previous two books not only because my writing has progressed but also because I am writing on what I love and know – Vancouver and its history.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
First of all, thank you for reading. And please keep doing so. I would also like it if you would share my works with your friends, let them know how good my books are.
Please share your blog/website/facebook/twitter here with us.
Blog is the Vancouver Vagabond http://karen-magill.blogspot.com
Website is www.karenmagill.com
Here is my Facebook page: http://goo.gl/1VL3f and I am @KarenMagill on Twitter.
Thank you Karen for being here with me today. You’re a delight to interview.