We chat to “Friend” debut author, Karen Houseman. Her story, “Caught On The Hop”, appears in Special 215 — out now.
When did you start writing fiction?
I’ve been writing for the last fifteen years. Like many people, I always knew it was something I wanted to do.
My early efforts weren’t great, so I bought some grammar books and took a lot of courses. I’ve been lucky to have had some fantastic teachers who have generously shared their knowledge.
What made you send a story into the “Friend”?
My mum. I realised I was “studying the market” because she often reads stories from “The People’s Friend” aloud.
Now, I read my short stories to her when I’m editing them. She’s only fallen asleep once! (I haven’t submitted that story).
Which authors do you admire?
Joanne Harris — her “Chocolat” series is wonderful.
They are books I return to again and again. MC Beaton — I love Agatha Raisin’s wonderfully flawed character and the way she says things you couldn’t say in real life.
Julie Cohen is a writer to watch. She’s an inspirational teacher and a lovely person.
I also love Tricia Ashley and read all her books. Happy days.
Where did the idea for “Caught On The Hop” come from?
I found a frog and really did consider kissing it. Instead, I got my boyfriend to release it in a neighbour’s pond.
He’s now my fiancé, and when he read “Caught On The Hop”, he thought he was the hero! I haven’t disillusioned him yet…
What are your future writing plans?
I’m currently working on a novel set in the same little Cotswold town where “Caught On The Hop” is set.
I’m also writing a short story where my two mismatched characters, Vivian and Henry, loath each other at first sight. The only thing they have in common is their dislike of each other, until one day something terrible happens—they agree on something!
I’m having a lot of fun writing this one.
As a writer, I am always learning, creating new worlds and discovering new characters. I love this. Good luck, everyone, with your own creative endeavours. Keep writing, experimenting and submitting. And if you’ve not thought about writing, maybe have a go?
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