Karen McQuestion's essays have appeared in Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Christian Science Monitor and several anthologies. She is the author of six books self-published on Amazon’s Kindle, one of which, the novel, A Scattered Life, caught the attention of an L.A. based production company and became the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for film. A Scattered Life will be published by AmazonEncore, Amazon’s new publishing division, on August 10, 2010. McQuestion lives with her family in Hartland, Wisconsin.
1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Morning is premium writing time for me, and uninterrupted time is best. If I even think I might be disturbed it throws me off. Sometimes I write at the library to get away from all the distractions of home.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Each day I hand write in a notebook, and then the same day I enter the pages into my computer. The next day I’ll read over and tweak the previous day’s work, using it as a jumping-off point for the next few pages.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
I think most writers take it all in: the world around us, movies, the news, stories people tell, personal experiences, etc. and we subconsciously draw from all of that.
4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
I try to do two pages a day, but generally I will build some momentum (and write more pages in a sitting) as the novel progresses and I have a better feel for the story.
5: Being a self published author how do you come up with your cover art?
Of my six covers, half used purchased images from istockphoto.com and the other half used photos taken with my digital camera. My daughter, Maria, has a knack for the visual and did most of it using a website called fotoflexer.com.
6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I’m not sure I chose it as much as it’s all I ever wanted to do. For a long time, I held back from talking about it, realizing that becoming a novelist was a very impractical goal. Still, something compelled me to write, and as I kept at it and saw myself improving, I felt more and more sure that I was on the right path.
7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
Yes, I own a Kindle and I love it! Recently my husband has become intrigued with the iPad, so I imagine at some point there will be one in our household. Since my books can be purchased on the iPad using the Kindle app, I’m fine with that.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
I have so many favorite authors. A few I can think of off the top of my head: Delia Ephron, Anne Tyler, Claire Cook, Nancy Horan, John Irving, Stephen King, Jeannette Walls, Anne Lamott, David Sedaris, and Audrey Niffennegger. I just recently started reading The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall and am really enjoying it.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I like the idea of book trailers and am thinking about creating one for my AmazonEncore title, A Scattered Life. If I work it right, I’ll have it ready for the paperback release in August.
10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
Right now I’m working on a novel featuring an unconventional friendship. I’d love to say more, but I’ve learned that if I say too much I jinx myself.