Interview with Karen Little


How does it feel to have Filled with Ghosts published?

It doesn’t seem real. Then again I didn’t write it to feel real, I wrote it because as a writer you can record the words and ideas tapping at your skull, hand them over to a bunch of characters so they can express them, and appear sane (hopefully).

What three words would you used to describe Filled with Ghosts?

I think I made a good job of choosing the title, so I like to think they are the three words that sum it up best.

What was the inspiration behind Filled with Ghosts?

I was writing poems at the time, and reading them at events. My work always overlaps; I don’t specifically sit down knowing whether something is going to become a poem, short story, or novel.I free write, and have an associative not a logical mind. This has been exercised previously as a professional dancer and painter/sculptor. So the book began before I realised I was writing one, as a recording of diverse ideas, notions, dreams. I did a short scriptwriting course and wrote a ten minute play revolving around the character Tila and her belief that she had found a guru who would understand what she considered ‘mystical experiences’ and which others might consider psychotic episodes. That was the seed of the book.

How do you find the writing process? Which bit did you struggle with the most and why?

I love every stage of the writing process, but I have to be in the right frame of mind for each process, and I don’t force it. So I wrote 70.000 words, then I structured it, chopped it back, redistributed. Structuring, deciding which character handed over which part of the plot was the challenge and satisfaction. Seven characters in first person divulging their truth is not a typical first novella. It is a novella because I threw out so much so as not to overwhelm, because it is not a light read, and I felt I could only get away with/show to best advantage my style of writing in a pared down form.

How do you find the time to write?

I have the advantage/disadvantage of having mental health issues that free me from the working world at present.

Do you ever get writers block? How do you deal with it?

I don’t believe there is such a thing. Sometimes things need to germinate, and I understand how frustrating that must be for a disciplined person who has set themselves a certain number of words to do, or is squeezing writing in between a job that pays, kids, partner etc (believe me I have had to do all of that)..but sometimes you are are getting on with the writing job in the subconscious without it coming out on paper. If I don’t feel like writing, that isn’t a block: I might paint, walk the dog. Read a book, see friends. However long that takes.

What book are you currently reading?

I am reading Oliver Sack’s biography.

What advice, if any, would you give your younger self?

She never listened to advice, but was so thin skinned and easily hurt, and never realised people might be spiteful or jealous when they said the things they said. I would gently ask her to keep the faith. Having said that, I have explored a number of creative areas as a result of those wounds. Maybe she should have made a bit of money, and realised it wouldn’t have killed the muse (or would it?)

How did you decide upon the cover of Filled with Ghosts?

I sent the ink drawings I had planned for each of the seven characters. The book is divided into four parts, and each character speaks once in each section, and each has an ink drawing to represent them. When I sent them to the publisher he sent a concept idea that put those drawings on the cover as well as to introduce each chapter. I loved the idea (of course) and he fully grasped the idea that there was an element of art journal in the book, and he hand wrote titles and character names. I feel I stumbled upon just the right publisher.

What have you got planned next?

I am well into a ‘sequel’ which has some of the original characters rubbing up alongside new characters. I am also working towards getting my poetry collection organised, like the new novella, it’s written, but now  the work starts. Putting one piece against another piece. Structure is my obsession.

You can buy Filled with Ghosts online at Amazon today.

Amazon UK: Filled with Ghosts



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