Friday, January 13, 2012

Guest Post Author Karen Wojcik Berner

How/why did you start to write?

I write to make sense of the world. I cannot remember a time when writing was not a large part of my life. Sometimes I think an event has not really happened until I write about it.

How did you become an author?

In college, I double majored in English with a writing concentration and communications. I had known since I became editor of my high school newspaper that writing was going to be my career, but after college, I didn't think I had enough life experience to write a novel, so I put fiction aside for awhile. Lack of life experience, plus the fact that money is required to move out of one's parents' home. I went to work in magazines for ten years.

Many years later, I had a very vivid dream about a woman that I could not shake upon waking.  Then a character popped into my head while I was in the shower, of all places, which was the only five minutes of quiet time I had with a six-year-old and an infant. What if these two met? I knew it was time to revisit fiction.

What was your first published piece?

My first published piece was a story for the local newspaper on a dance company coming to perform in my hometown. I was a sophomore in college and talked my way into meeting with the features editor having nothing more to show than clips from my college and high school newspapers. He bought the piece on spec, and I worked as a stringer with them for a few years.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

Nothing. I have always been a writer and have been lucky enough to make a living at it. That is rare, I know, and I am very grateful. Throughout the course of the writing jobs, I have been an orchestra publicist, a magazine editor, a freelance writer, and now a novelist. All of those years writing and editing everything from a restaurant menu to editorials about the paint industry helped strengthen my fiction. The most important thing I learned is that no first draft is perfect. Everyone, from Shakespeare to Stephen King has written and rewritten so many times they cannot count.

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me -- a gorgeous full moon shrouded slightly by whispy clouds, people and their stories, decisions made that don't seem to make any sense. Material is all around us.

Successful marketing techniques?

A blog can be a very successful marketing piece. Think about it. A blog showcases your writing as many days per week as you choose to post.

When I was conceptualizing Bibliophilic Blather, I started thinking about what I can offer the community that maybe others could not. After all of my years editing, I thought that might be it, so I started Editing for Grammarphobes to help writers who need refresher hints. Who could possibly remember everything they learned in English class?

Flash Fiction Fridays showcases microfiction by authors of all genres writing on various monthly themes. It is fascinating and a great writing exercise, especially for those who write longer works. It has really helped me to focus on making every word count and cutting the superfluous.

Thank you so much for having me here today, Leanne.

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