Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and tenth, is of multi-genre author V. Karen McMahon.
V. Karen McMahon, born and raised in southwestern Virginia, has lived in Virginia’s horse country for many years. Her career included owning and managing an art and gift shop. After many years of working as an editor and writer for several companies, culminating in consulting work after retirement, she decided to turn her writing skills to personal writing. To-date, she has authored books, short stories, poems and song lyrics. Her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in Kindle version and in paperback version from CreateSpace.
Karen has had 12 books published so far including children’s books, short stories, poems, and songs, along with 7 novels to-date, the latest being is ‘To My Last Breath’…
Patricia’s mother had told her all of her life that no matter how much she thought she wanted to die, when the time came for the last breath, she would struggle for it. Patricia always wondered how her mother knew that, but throughout her young and tragic life, she had more than one chance to test that theory. Travel with Patricia on her journey to struggle through depression and tragedy while she seeks the happiness that seems to elude her.
And what others say about Karen’s book…
To My Last Breath keeps the reader engrossed in the storyline and turning the pages. Readers can identify with the main character on a personal level. The powerful situations and the believable characters take on a life of their own, allowing the reader to feel the emotional ups and downs experienced throughout the story. This is one the avid reader won’t want to miss.
And now from the author herself:
I was a young widow with a young child, working for the U.S. Government as an admin (government glorified secretaries). I mostly typed about eight hours a day, but it just came naturally to me to correct anything I saw that wasn’t correct. A boss caught on and sent me to a government writing course, and then put me in charge of writing letters—which I could have done without the course, but protocol and all…
Then my life changed when I was rear-ended by a large truck on the 14th Street bridge in D.C. and ended up with plastic bones in one of my wrists / hands. The doctors told me to forget typing as a way to make a living (I tested out at 105 wpm then and put out more letters in a day than most of the others did in a week). So, thinking I’d have to find another way to make a living, I allowed the insurance company of the person that caused the accident to “test” me to see what else I was suited to do for the rest of my life.
Now try to imagine a girl in her early 20s with a baby, being told she had just been tested and that the top suggestion they had was that she become a writer! I’m serious—a writer. Only one useful arm and no means of support other than the insurance company but I was supposed to just be a writer! I laughed, and cried, and told them they were insane, and went about the therapy to make my arm, hand and fingers work again. It took over a year, and then I went back to my old job. I only type somewhere between 90-100 wpm now and nobody’s tested me lately.
After that I remarried, had another baby, and helped my second husband run an engineering firm of 20 people for several years. To be able to be near the younger one when she started school, I opened an art shop which I ran completely for 11 years. When she left for college, we closed the shop and scaled down, but I needed to work. To my surprise, I was hired as a technical editor / writer to work on proposals, and I found out that I was good at it very quickly and did it for many years.
I was forced to retire early because I had to have open-heart surgery, and after I recovered somewhat, my old company and others were hiring me to work from home. I was being paid quite well and loved the work, and loved being able to juggle my hours at home and still get them the work so quickly that it amazed them. But in 2008, it began to change—government became anti-business, and companies started scaling back or closing. I would go to a company reunion with all of the old people I work for and each year there would be less and less—another one laid off, another one left and got another job. All of my contacts were drying up, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
My oldest brother died in 2008 and I sat by his side and held his hand for three weeks. I had some really strange things happen to me in that nursing home and when I told everyone about it, they insisted I write it down. I began by thinking I’d write this story, print it out and send it to his friend who was encouraging me, and my friends and family; I was not even thinking “book.” But everyone that read it said I needed to write more. I always say I have a gnome in my head that does the writing, and it is the gnome that decides when and what I will write and I have no control over it, but the gnome was listening. I remembered ONE line from a story I wrote in high school that my teacher had embarrassed me by reading out loud and saying it was the best story any student had ever written…one line about a little girl swinging on a rusty fence gate.
So, with no consulting work coming in and bored out of my ever-loving mind, I asked the gnome if he (not sure why it’s a he) could write a book around that line, and he said, “Yep” and we started. And my first full novel, Back There: A Female Assassin Proves You Can’t Go Home Again was born, completely around that one sentence. And then I started to try to find ways to display all of this stuff, for family and friends that kept asking for it. I built my own website for them to go read the new stuff.
Then I found out how to get the books up on amazon in kindle, and then how to get paperbacks made of them, and the gnome did the rest. Each book was his decision and had its own “strangeness” attached. For instance, The Frozen Leaf was written AROUND the cover picture. I found a leaf in trash can lid filled with water and then frozen and thought it was beautiful. I took a picture of it and kept it on my desktop for about a year; then the gnome decided he could make a story around that leaf. My last one came from a dream I had that I made the mistake of telling my daughter about and she insisted I make it into a book.
So now I write books, and people tell me they’re pretty good, and each time I hear it, I think of that silly guy who told me the only thing he thought I’d be REALLY good at was being a writer! I guess I should have listened then! But since I didn’t, back then, and it just “happened” now, I call myself the Grandma Moses of Writing.
You can find more about Karen and her writing via…
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