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Keepsake that Educates!

Interview with K Wodke


Karen Wodke lives in Kansaswhere she attended HutchinsonCommunity Collegeand KansasWesleyanUniversity. She spent a number of years writing songs and performing in a band before turning her attention to fiction writing. She is married with four grown children. She enjoys time with her family, gardening, and fishing (mainly catch and release). In addition to writing James Willis Makes a Million for young readers, she and her co-author PJ Hawkinson have published two short story collections for adults, Catch Her in the Rye and Blue. Karen’s short fiction has appeared in various publications including Foliate Oak Literary Journal, Tainted Tea Magazine, and Adventures for Women Magazine. In addition to the website she shares with her co-author, Karen has a blog based on James Willis Makes a Million: Being Your Own Boss. She is an avid reader. Author’s website

 Interview with K Wodke author of James Willis Makes a Million.

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.

What is the last book you read?  The last book I finished was The List by JA Konrath and Jack Kilborn. I am currently reading Helper 12 by Jack Blaine and Butterflies by Susan Gervay.

What were your earliest memories of writing?  I guess it was when I was in third grade and my assignment was to study a list of words and use each one in a sentence. For some reason, I became inspired and tried to make my sentences really interesting. That was the first time I remember using words as tools to build an image. I used to carry around a small pocket notebook and write in it, just my impressions of things or items I wanted to remember. I wish I had that notebook today, but it was lost long ago.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?  A high school English teacher, Miss Helman, encouraged me to write. She had all her students keep journals, and even entered one of my stories in a scholastic contest.

Are you working on a new book?  Yes. I am working with my co-author PJ Hawkinson on a novel. It won’t be a children’s book, although we do have one of those in the pipeline.

What inspired you to write James Willis Makes a Million? I like the idea of showing youngsters that they have more control over their own destinies than they might realize. Developing a character who starts his own businesses seemed like a good platform for expressing this idea.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Not often, no. If I feel a bit dry, I write anyway. It may not be my best material, but all writers know the first draft is never the one we end up using anyway. I go back and revise.

What is the most difficult part of writing?  Actually, I feel that marketing and promotion are the most time-consuming and arduous aspects to writing. Editing can be tiring as well, but is necessary.

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? Spending time with family, working in my garden, fishing. I also do a lot of reading.

How do you react to a bad review? I haven’t had what I would call a bad review. I have had parts of reviews that were critical, but I consider the opinion carefully and learn from it.

What do  you hope that readers will take away from your book? I hope they will see James as an example of someone who changes his life by sheer force of his will, his belief in himself, and his willingness to work hard.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?  Can I count deceased authors? I admit I would find a dinner absolutely fascinating if it were attended by the following: JRR Tolkien, Asimov, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, JA Konrath, Jenefer Shute, and Lucinda Brandt. Of course, I would want my co-author, PJ Hawkinson, there.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?  I don’t have a set schedule, and I need one. Generally, I spend about an hour a day on promotions, and several hours on writing/editing. But all too often the promotions eat into my writing time. My goals at this point as far as writing is concerned is to finish editing the novel I am working on with PJ, Betrayed. It is not a book for children, however.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Parents have to make their own decisions about reading material for their children. The only thing I would suggest is that the parents read the book first and make sure it contains a message that is consistent with their personal family values.

What advice you would give to new writers? Read a lot. Read everything you can and pay attention to how your favorite authors put together sentences and paragraphs; how they lay out a plot or storyline. The second thing to do is write a lot, even when you don’t particularly feel like. The third thing, and it is critical, is to carefully proofread your work. Have someone you trust read it also and give you their opinion.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Yes, I would like to say that a book can be your best friend. It’s there anytime you want to read. And, books are, dollar for dollar, the least expensive form of entertainment. Since books can take you anywhere, it’s also a very cost-effective way to take a vacation. Plus, you can go places inside a book that you could never go in real life, including into the future, the past, or places that don’t even exist in this world. Books allow you to dream without limits.

Thank you for this interview.


August 27, 2011 - Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , ,

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