Karen McCombie Interview

First of all, I hope you all had a great Christmas time! And now Christmas is over, I thought I'd cheer you up with a interview with Karen McCombie. Author of many, many books for young girls(Up to the count of 74!), Karen McCombie's books all deal with different issues and are always full of personality!  

Hi and Welcome to A Day Dreamers World

What inspired you to start writing?

I'd been working on teenage girls' magazines - as a journalist and sub-editor - for a decade or so when I wrote a few short stories for 'Sugar' magazine (now 'Sugarscape' online). I loved doing fiction so much that I decided to have a go at writing a full-length book. Luckily, a publisher liked what I sent them and commissioned me to write my very first book. I spent the whole of that day skipping around the flat whooping!

What are/were your favourite books?
My absolute favourite book is 'Catcher In The Rye' by JD Salinger, about a teenage boy having a lost weekend. It's funny, sad and brilliant. I first read it when I was about fourteen and I re-read it every few years. 
Is there a special place where you write?
My main office is my weeny back bedroom, but when I get restless I pack up my laptop and head to my second office; the cafe at the local garden centre! I'm such a regular there that the waitresses gave me a Christmas card.
How many books have you published, so far?
I think I'm about to start working on my 74th book. All have been published, or are scheduled to be published in the coming year.
After writing so many, how do find ideas when writing new books?
My characters and plots are always based in real life and there are always a million stories in real life. I just think of things people have told me, things I've heard, observed or read... ideas always come if you let your head become a sponge.
Have you ever based characters on people you know?
Oh, yes, but the trick is to change lots of their characteristics, so people don't recognise themselves. They may not be flattered with how you've 'used' them otherwise.
What about your own personal experiences, do you reflect on them when writing?
Absolutely. For example, 'Ally's World' is full of stories I pulled out of my teenage diaries.
Out of all the books you have written, which is your favorite? Why?
I really loved writing this year's 'Life According To Alice B. Lovely' because it felt like I was writing a sort of updated, funked-up Mary Poppins, starring a 16-year-old childminder. And as Rowan Love is one of my favourite characters, I'd have to say 'The Raspberry Rules' is a big favourite too. 
Which character would you say is most like you, and which book is she from?
I'm a mix of everyone in 'Ally's World' (funny worrier Ally, retro queen Rowan, animal freak Tor and organiser Linn), though I didn't grow up in a house like Ally's.  I lived with my parents in multi-stroey block of flats, with no pets allowed. Boo!
If you could live in one of your stories for a day, which would you choose?
I'd go and hang out in the sunshine of Sugar Bay with Stella Etc, and explore the mysterious, ruined Joseph's House.
Could you give some advice for aspiring writers?
Keep a notebook in your bag at all times, and scribble random notes to yourself whenever you see, hear or think of something interesting.
Could you give any sneak-peaks for your next book?
My next novel is out in the late spring and is called 'The Year of Big Dreams'. The heroine has a mum who looks suspiciously like Amy Winehouse!

Thank you so much!

It's a pleasure!

Later this week there is the 'A Sea of Stars' by Kate Maryon review and a Christmas Book Haul(My very first-so I hope you enjoy it!). As New Year approaches I will also be posting about what I'm looking forward to in the next year.

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Sophie Louise