Willy Wonka anyone? Is the song stuck in your head now? You're welcome! Anyway...the thing I love about writing is that I get to live inside all the crazy imaginative thoughts in my head all the time. If one day I actually get published and make even a penny on my book, it will feel like a dream. What could be a better gig than getting paid to play pretend? Yes, I was totally that girl who played with her Barbies too long and I have no regrets. Unlike most writers, I was NOT hooked on reading at a young age. In fact, I hated reading! Reading? Boring! I preferred to watch Saved by the Bell and make my Barbies kiss like Kelly and Zack. I didn't get into reading until high school during the HP boom. And I always liked writing, but I never considered it to be a viable career option. But there was always one thing I DID take time to focus on and that was SINGING. Broadway tunes, show choir, musicals - I loved it (and still love it) all. After choosing a 'fun' major in hospitality management, I auditioned for a varsity level singing group (yes it's a real thing), which was my life for the entirety of my collegiate experience.
Ok Karin, where does writing come into the picture?
I'm getting there! I worked as an event planner in the following years for two Big 10 universities and a museum. I enjoyed my career, but I found myself being distracted by these stories in my head - most of which were formulated from vivid dreams. So, I would write down a few scenes and tuck them away. What would those dreams ever amount to anyway? I did this for about five years until the birth of my daughter in 2016. I went back to work part-time for three months after maternity leave and then made the tough decision to stay home full time and leave my job. My baby had colic, acid reflux, a deep hate for sleeping and I developed chronic insomnia as a result. It was an extremely hard time in my life, but for some reason thinking more seriously about those 'dream scenes' helped me get through the day.
Remember that singing group from college? Well, it introduced me to life-long friends and my husband. It had its ups and downs, but mostly I had the time of my life and my experience through it (and a dream-scene!) served as the inspiration for my novel, The King's 100.
With the help of family, my husband and an awesome babysitter, I wrote my first draft of The King's 100 in one year. After a very thorough round table discussion with the best critique partners in the world, I learned that I had more work to do. And to be honest, there was something about that draft that didn't feel quite like 'me.' Remember all that kissing with the Barbies? There wasn't enough of it in my first draft! It also lacked clear stakes, felt too long at over 90k words and the world-building was unclear. Bottom line, it wasn't what I wanted to represent me as an author and my group of CP's helped me to see that.
So five months later came draft #2. And I LOVED it. So much more kissing, higher stakes, two enemy kingdoms as opposed to rival classes and fewer words. After round table #2 with the same amazing CP's, there was STILL work to be done, but it was better. SO much better. Whew!
After a few weeks of editing and writing and re-writing that beloved query letter, I jumped into the query trenches, which is where I still am at this moment in time. I did query about 25 agents with my first draft and got one full request, but it came back as a 'no' for obvious reasons.
Right now I have four agents reading my full manuscript and I couldn't be happier. I don't have an MFA. I don't even have a degree in writing, but what I DO have is an active imagination and a story from the heart. I'm excited to see what happens with The King's 100 and I hope you'll join me for the ride.
"There is no life I know To compare with pure imagination Living there you'll be free If you truly wish to be. "