Interview With Author Karen Osman

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)! 

My name is Karen Osman and I’m an author, writing psychological thriller books. I have always written in some form or another from a very young age. I loved it and it was, and continues to be, a daily part of my life – even on holidays! I started writing novels in 2016, when I won the Montegrappa Writing Prize for The Good Mother, which then led to a three-book deal. Since then I have written The Home (published 2018), and The Perfect Lie (publishing August 2019)

What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?

My second novel, The Home, is a psychological thriller, set between the 1970s and 1980s, about successful career woman Angela whose memories of an abusive children’s home affect her adult life. The book delves into the darkness of living in a children’s home, casting a shadow over family ties and what it means to belong. Abandoned as a baby, Angela is desperate to escape her supposed refuge, yet despite being adopted and taken into the hearts of a wealthy couple, the scars of her childhood remain. When Angela discovers the identity of her birth mother Evelyn, their reunion is no fairy tale and as sinister events start to unfold, Evelyn fears she may not survive her daughter’s return. It was motherhood that inspired the plot; As a mother of two young sons, 2 and 4 myself, I still remember that double-edged maelstrom of emotion of those new-born days – a mix of joy and worry – and it’s been a powerful influence in my writing for my new book, The Home. At the same time, I was researching about the horrors of children’s homes in the ‘60s and ‘70s, much of which only came to light many years later. It’s incredibly disturbing that such events could have happened in places which are supposed to protect children. From here, I started to develop the outline of a plot and the character of Angela was born.


What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I’m a huge fan of the psychological thriller genre and this inspires me. I love the pace, the plot, and the whole premise that even the best of people can be driven to carry out chilling deeds. I’m also inspired by my own experiences, such as motherhood, travel, culture, and the news.

How do you deal with creative block?

I don’t have time for it! When you’re up against a deadline, you have to write whether you’re feeling creative or not. However, one thing I do to avoid a creative block is to plan my novel as much as I can. I also ensure that I get enough sleep, good food, and exercise to keep my brain sharp.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

The biggest mistake I have made with one of my books was not planning the outline sufficiently in at the beginning of the writing process. Needless to say, there was a lot of re-writing and editing to be done after the first draft.


Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

Luckily, my publisher takes care of these areas although I do have an input.

What are you reading at the moment?

Cecilia Ahern’s Roar – a fabulous book. I run an online show called Karen’s Bookshelf and it’s actually the book of the month for that.

How has your creation process improved over time?

Having written three books, I’ve learnt a thing or two about my own writing approach and if there’s one takeaway to share it’s this: the more I plan and research at the beginning, the easier it is when it comes to writing the book. Now, this isn’t the case for every author and I know there will be some people reading this, thinking, ‘absolutely not – it happens organically!’ While that may be true for some people, it wasn’t the case for me and moving forward I’ll be spending at least 20 – 30 per cent of my time in the planning phase. 

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

1. Writing Is Not Just About Talent 

There’s a common misconception that writing is all about talent and while that certainly helps, it’s more about commitment. There were days when I simply did not want to sit down and write 1500 words, but I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t meet my publisher’s contracted deadline. So while passion, motivation, and talent can take you far, I’ve learnt that developing the discipline required on a daily basis is what really gets you across the finish line.

2. Planning Prevents Writer’s Block 

Having written three books, I’ve learnt a thing or two about my own writing approach and if there’s one takeaway to share it’s this: the more I plan and research at the beginning, the easier it is when it comes to writing the book. Now, this isn’t the case for every author and I know there will be some people reading this, thinking, ‘absolutely not – it happens organically!’ While that may be true for some people, it wasn’t the case for me and moving forward I’ll be spending at least 20 – 30 per cent of my time in the planning phase. 

3. Social Media Was A Lifeline 

Once I’d stopped using social media as a way to procrastinate (the only way was to put a block on it during my writing time), I became very aware of just how useful social media is in connecting people when you’re locked away writing. Sometimes I went for long periods without having a conversation so the various Facebook groups and pages made up of readers and authors was a fantastic support in terms of advice, information, and book recommendations. A particular shout out goes to the UK Crime Book Club whose administrators and members always ensured a friendly welcome and lots of info. 

4. Hard Work Pays Off

Finishing one book, never mind three, is an absolutely exhilarating feeling and while it’s quite strange not to have your novel as part of your daily life anymore, the relief and sense of achievement at sending the book off to your publisher is indescribable. You’re high on adrenalin. You’re excited. For the first time in months, you feel a sense of freedom! You then calm down slightly, sleep a lot, before entering a period of anxiety as you wait for your publisher’s feedback…but that’s a whole different blog post. Either way, you’ve completed a book and no one can take that away from you. So I’ve learnt hard work does pay off, so go ahead and celebrate every milestone.

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

My first novel was very much about personal creativity but I think it resonated with a lot of readers so I was very lucky in that regard. For my second and third novels, the big idea at the centre of my book was very personal but in terms of plot and pace, I try and work towards what readers want.


What role do emotions play in creativity?

I believe emotions play a huge role in creativity. The ability to harness powerful emotions and work through them using the pen is something I’m grateful for every day.


Do you have any creativity tricks?

  1. Write when you’re at your best.
  2. Try and spend a portion of your time ‘thinking’ in nature. I find the more relaxed I am, the easier the ideas flow.
  3. Experience other creative mediums such as visiting an art gallery, reading a book in a different genre, or taking up a creative hobby.


What are your plans for future books?

My third novel, The Perfect Lie, is about a lawyer who is representing a young woman who has been raped. As the case develops, the lawyer is reminded of a past she would rather forget and her perfect life starts to unravel. It’s out in August 2019. I’m currently working on my fourth novel.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

  1. I’m from the UK originally but have lived in Dubai as an expat for the last 15 years.
  2. Prior to moving to Dubai, I lived in Japan and Italy teaching English.

Social Media:

IG: @karenosmanauthor

FB: @karenosmanauthor

Twitter: @karenauthor

www.karenosman.com

Author: NFReads.com

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