I'm delighted to welcome my good friend and fellow author, Karen King, back onto my blog. As a busy writer, Karen is actually celebrating three new books at the moment. Her YA book Perfect Summer which we will hear about today; a fun-filled romance called I Do? Or Do I? plus The Cornish Hotel by the Sea which will be released on 13th July. All published by Accent Press. Karen will be back on my blog in July telling us all about that Cornish hotel by the sea – and I can't wait to read it.
In total Karen has more than 120 children's books to her credit; she also writes short stories for women's magazines, and for many years worked on children's magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh, My Little Pony, Fireman Sam, Barbie and Sindy, as well as the iconic Jackie magazine.
Having read Perfect Summer, as well as being a great story, it's quite a gritty teenage read featuring disability and child abduction. It's set not too far in the future in a society obsessed with perfection. I know that her book has prompted many discussions and debates in schools. So hats off to Karen for tackling these topics.
Here's the blurb:
Set in a society obsessed with perfection, 15 year old Morgan is best friends with the seemingly perfect Summer. But when Morgan’s brother, Josh, who has Down’s syndrome, is kidnapped, they uncover a sinister plot and find themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh before it’s too late? And is Summer’s life as perfect as it seems?
I asked Karen if she found it a difficult subject to write about?
She said: “Yes, the storyline is quite gritty and I wanted to make sure I tackled it sensitively. Another difficulty was that the story is set in the not- too- distant future so I had to try and guess what technology would be available then. The first edition of Perfect Summer was published a few years ago so I’ve now updated it for this new edition.”
And I believe it has already won an award?
“Yes, it was runner up in the Red Telephone Books YA novel competition in 2011 and I'm thrilled that it has been republished by Accent Press. They are also the publisher for I Do? Or Do I? and The Cornish Hotel by the Sea.”
So, what inspired you to write Perfect Summer?
“I’ve been concerned for a long time about society’s obsession with physical perfection, especially when I read an article about girls as young as four and five worrying that they are too fat. Another concern of mine is how disabled people are treated, so both these concerns sowed the seeds of this story.”
As well as writing for children and YA, you also write contemporary romance novels. So when and why did you turn your attentions to this genre?
“I started writing romance novels about ten years ago. I’d been wanting to write one for a long time but I write for a living and couldn’t spare the time it would take to write a 75,000 word book – most of my children’s books were under 10,000 words. Finally, when all my children were grown up and left home, I had more time and less financial pressure so decided to take the chance and write a romance book.”
So, for you, what is the best part of the writing process? And what's the hardest part?
“Seeing the story in your head come to life on the screen/page. It’s a marvellous feeling when it all starts to come together. And the hardest part is getting the story out of your head and onto the screen/page.”
Karen, I know that you're a tutor for The Writer's Bureau and run writing classes, plus you've written a book on writing called Get Writing Children's Fiction, but in a nutshell what advice would you give a budding writer?
“I'd say, write, revise, rewrite. Make sure your work is the very best you can do before you send it off. Too many new writers send of hurried first drafts. And never give up!”
Thank you so much for chatting on my blog today, Karen, and I'm delighted to print an extract from Perfect Summer. Good luck with all of your new books!
Extract from Perfect Summer
Summer and I hurried upstairs while Josh was busy watching TV. Summer plonked herself down on my bed while I got my things ready.
“Want some music?” I asked, pressing the silver button on the comm-panel. The latest hit from Krescendo, our favourite band, blasted out and a hologram of them playing beamed onto the wall.
Then I pressed the green button, my wardrobe doors glided open, and a rail of clothes slid out. I glanced over at Summer, feeling awkward as always, that my room was so small and my wardrobe so sparse. Summer’s wardrobe was a huge walk-in affair full of designer clothes. Luckily, she was sprawled out watching Krescendo so I quickly grabbed the clothes I needed for the weekend and shoved them in my rucksack. Thank goodness I’d found an immaculate emerald green Maliko dress at the recycle store the other week. That would be perfect for Roxy’s. I knew Summer would let me borrow her clothes but felt better if I wore something of my own.
I took out the dress and zipped it into a freshpack to keep it crease-free. I glanced at the image screen on my bedroom wall and grimaced. My make-up needed renewing and some strands of my chestnut hair were escaping from the ponytail I’d swept it into. I swiftly fixed it and applied more make-up. I didn’t want to turn up at Summer’s looking a mess, Tamara and Leo expected everyone to always look their best.
“Ready.” I pressed the buttons on the CP again to close my wardrobe doors, and switched off the music.
“Have a nice weekend,” Mum said as we popped in to say goodbye. She looked so pale, with dark circles under her eyes. I could tell the visit from the Ministry had upset her and hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should stay. But Dad was due home soon and I was so looking forward to the weekend. I loved going to Summer’s house and being spoilt for a bit. It was like living in another world. She was so lucky.
“Thanks, we will.” I leaned over and tousled Josh’s chestnut curls. “Bye, Josh.”
“Play, Maw,” he said, scrambling up.
“Maw going out now. I’ll play with you when I come back.” He puckered his face as if he was going to cry, but Mum took his hand. “Come on, Josh, let’s pick some tomatoes for tea.”
Josh’s face lit up. He loved helping Mum in the garden. Everyone had a vegetable patch, compost and water butt by order of the Ministry as part of the Planet Protection Programme. I hated gardening but Josh loved helping Mum water the plants with the rainwater collected in the butt, and picking the vegetables. Summer’s parents had a gardener, of course.
Mum led Josh out into the garden while we went out the front door. before Josh could realise I was leaving. I had no idea how much I was going to regret not playing with Josh one more time.
Discover more about Karen King.
Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page
Karen King Young Adult Books
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