Q&A with Karen Campbell (and bonus Giveaway!)

25 Jun

Today it’s our pleasure to welcome Karen Campbell to the site. Hailing from Scotland, and a keen fan of Glasgow Rangers and Irn Bru, Karen is the author of Violet’s Story and the short story collection Little Whispers. Her new novel The Knowing – a Glasgow-based, supernatural crime thriller – is due for release on June 30th.

We also have two signed copies of The Knowing to give away – see the end of the post for more details.

~ ~ ~

karencampbell2First up, tell us a bit about yourself. Are you really as grumpy as your bio says you are, or is it all for show?

I am quite grumpy in the morning, especially if I feel that I have been woken up before I have had about twelve hours sleep. (Which I never get with three dogs and an annoyingly chirpy girlfriend from the moment her eyes open.) I get better once I have had a cup of tea, but it’s touch and go some days. I’m joking, I think. I am generally quite a cheerful soul, I just swear too much, and with the Scottish accent it makes me sound grumpy!

the knowingYour new novel The Knowing is out at the end of June. What inspired you to write a “gritty, supernatural crime novel set in Glasgow”?

As a Scot, I think it is important to show Scotland in my writing. I lived in Glasgow for a bit and it has a gritty feel about it. Saying that, I love Glasgow, it has a great vibe and I will always have a softness in my heart for the city. The novel itself came from a short story I wrote and kept going back to, adding another chapter and another until it finally dawned on me that I had a book.

With British lesfic on the up and up, how important is Glasgow as a setting for the book? Would the story have worked as well in another city?

The story could work anywhere but I don’t love other cities as I love Glasgow. It was important for me to have Scottish characters in a Scottish city because I am very proud of my country. Glasgow is a wonderfully vibrant city but it also has a dark underbelly and a colourful history, which makes it perfect for a bit of creepiness.

The Knowing is the first part of a trilogy, and you’re currently writing its sequel, A Love Like Ishinnie. Do you have the series completely mapped out, or are you adapting it and developing it as you go along?

I know how the second book ends and I almost know how the last one ends, but there are a lot of in-betweens, and the fun I have with writing is that I like it to take me along on the ride and see where the story goes.

violet's storyYour debut novel Violet’s Story was a first-person account of mental illness. Were there particular issues that you wanted to address with the novel, and was it difficult to get inside Violet’s head?

This was my first serious dabble into writing, which I started when I was about 21 and went back to over the years. I wanted to show that love was the cause of her madness, and it wasn’t hard for me to get inside Violet’s head (maybe I shouldn’t admit that). I think there is a bit of madness in everyone and, as writers, we can tap into that side of us to make a character credible. Or maybe I’m just doo-lally.

LittleWhispersThere’s quite a gap between Violet’s Story in 2001 and the publication of The Knowing. Was it a case of getting back into writing, or are you sitting on a big stash of unpublished stuff?

I never stopped writing, but it was mostly short stories, nothing to grab me. After recovering from two episodes of cancer, I thought I only have one shot at this life and I need to be doing what it is that makes me happy, and so I knuckled down a bit and got a bit more serious about it. I got plenty of ideas for more books, from this hiatus, and now I just need to get around to actually writing them down instead of having them flying around the recesses of my mind.

If you had to choose between Irn Bru and Rangers getting back up into the Scottish Prem, which would it be?

Rangers every time. There are other drinks but there is only one Glasgow Rangers!

~ ~ ~

Many thanks to Karen for letting us peck her head with our questions, and to Lily at Austin Macauley Publishers for setting up the Q&A. You can find out more about Karen and her novels by heading here to her Facebook page.

And now for the GIVEAWAY! If you fancy getting your hands on a signed copy of The Knowing, we have two up for grabs. To be entered into the draw, just leave a comment in this thread or email us at uklesfic @ gmail.com (take out the spaces when you use the address). Closing date for entries is  July 3rd at noon BST. Good luck!

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6 Responses to “Q&A with Karen Campbell (and bonus Giveaway!)”

  1. RJ June 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    All quite interesting. Sign me up!

  2. Merle Fletcher June 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    Great to get to know the authors, wait for each one to see who I can discover and which books are new, thanks, Merle

  3. Henriette June 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    Sounds interesting …

  4. Maz Tucker June 25, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Really interesting, will look out for them

  5. Marie Foose June 26, 2014 at 3:44 am #

    Sounds interesting! I always enjoy when the location is a character in the story.
    Please add my name to the list!

  6. Widdershins June 26, 2014 at 3:57 am #

    Oh I know what you mean about mornings. Mrs Widders knows not to engage me in anything but one syllable sentences until after my 3rd cuppa.

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