Thursday 8 December 2011


Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee.  Her father was an engineer, and usually mobile for that era:  she moved every few years throughout her childhood and adolescence.  After college in California, law school in Massachusetts, and a mercifully short stint in a large San Francisco law firm, she moved to Los Angeles, where she met her now-husband, who hates L.A.  They eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University.  She now considers herself a Hoosier.

Karen's childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist.  While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9.  She finished that novel nonetheless, attempted another at age 14, and then shifted to poetry.  She made a few attempts at short stories in college, and then retired from creative writing until starting a family in her mid-30's inspired her to start writing picture book manuscripts.  She produced startlingly creative children, the elder of whom wrote her own first novel in 2009, at age 18, with the help of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  Intrigued, Karen decided to try NaNo in 2010.  She completed a very, very rough rough draft of her science fiction novel Twin-Bred and spent the next ten months editing it.  She is self-publishing Twin-Bred with a rollout date of October 15, 2011 -- her older daughter's birthday.

Karen's principal education in writing has been reading.  She has been a voracious and compulsive reader as long as she can remember.  Do not strand this woman on a plane without reading matter!  Karen was an English and American Literature major at Stanford University, which suited her, although she has in recent years developed some doubts about whether studying literature is, for most people, a good preparation for enjoying it.  Her most useful preparation for writing novels, besides reading them, has been the practice of appellate law -- in other words, writing large quantities of persuasive prose, on deadline, year after year.  Whereas in college, a 3-page paper would require hours of pacing the dormitory hallway and pounding her head on its walls, she is now able to sit down and turn out words with minimal angst.  She has one professional writing credit, an article published in the Indiana Law Journal Supplement and, with minor modifications, in the monthly magazine of the Indiana State Bar Association.  This article was a "third place recipient" of the Harrison Legal Writing Award.  Whatever that means, it comes with money, a plaque, and a free lunch.

Karen has completed a rough draft of a second novel, tentatively titled Reflections, which is general fiction.  It has two alternative elevator pitches:  "Death is what you make it" and "Do you  need courage in heaven?"  She hopes to start the sequel to Twin-Bred later this fall.

Karen's voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction.  It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice.  Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.

No comments:

Post a Comment