MB: How do you feel about having an alliterative name?
Kara: Great! Apparently I was almost a Tara. Doesn’t quite have the same ring, right?
MB: What is your writing process/set up?
Beverage? Depends on the time of day but I’m almost always drinking one of three beverages…black coffee, water (no ice), or a full-bodied wine.
Food? Not when I write. I like to watch TV when I eat.
Handwrite? Type? Type. I have subpar handwriting, and I like to edit as I go.
Public? Private space? Usually at my desk at home with my two dogs close by.
Music? Speaking of dogs…I have to play music so they won’t bark at all the street noises. I’ll ask my Apple TV to play classical music or a show that might influence my work. For my current project, that’s Sex and The City.
Special ritual? I’ll light a candle if I’m tackling something challenging or do a tarot card reading beforehand.
MB: Who is your audience? Particularly for your novel. Whom do you write for?
Kara: I imagine my target demographic is very similar to myself. A millennial (maybe Zillennial) woman looking for a light approach to some of the traps of growing up female. I think an older female population could relate in a retrospective sense.
MB: What is your novel’s origin? How did you come up with its premise?
Kara: I went through a breakup similar to the one Gemma, the main character, experiences in chapter one. It turned my life upside down, and I came to rediscover myself through that process. I became fiercely independent, almost to a fault. But looking around me, I wasn’t seeing this story of female self-actualization without a more traumatic spin or the segue into another romance. I wanted to write a story devoid of men and emphasize all the other relationships in a person’s life. Further, I wanted to show the dichotomy of being stuck between two different world views and how frustrating that can feel when you just want to be sad.
MB: What’s next for your project once your thesis is complete?
Kara: Thesis is my third draft, the second of which was a complete rewrite. So, I’m hoping to polish this draft and start querying agents in the spring. Exciting but also terrifying.
MB: Last book you read?
Kara: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. I don’t totally get the Sally Rooney hoopla, but I do admire her dialogue.
MB: What special writer have you heard speak? What was the effect on you?
Kara: My creative writing professor read at a reading I was also a part of during undergrad. At the time, writing was fun, nothing I thought I’d pursue. Her story came alive out of thin air, and I thought, damn I want to do that.
MB: Explain your need to dance.
Kara: It’s very similar to my need to write. I don’t think I’m excellent at either, but the way I slip into these art forms like a skin and am able to achieve meaning that I can’t express in any other way is so necessary to my existence. I don’t exactly have a choice in the matter. They’re both things I have to do and hopefully I can survive off of.
MB: What correlation do you see between dancing and writing?
Kara: I like to think of myself as a storyteller because it embodies my love of prose, movement, and even style. When I get dressed, or decorate my house, I’m using things to show the world how I’m feeling and how I want to be perceived. It used to take me an hour to pick out my clothes the night before school. But I kind of loved it. All that effort results in a character-like persona. And being in that outfit that took consideration and inspiration elevates my experience. Even if it’s a groutfit to pick up pizza. There’s a story there about a girl in sweats, a motivation to be comfortable yet trendy, getting pizza, moving through the world. I embody a character on stage. I embody the mind of a character when writing. Maybe I’m just an actor in a simulation and the veil is rubbing a bit thin. Maybe I’m nuts, because who else would try to make a living from such shenanigans J
MB: What kind of feedback did you get from your essays on fertility published in Betches?
Kara: I didn’t read all the comments, so who knows ha! But as far as people who reached out to me as well as my friends and family, I received incredibly encouraging feedback. Especially from women wanting to donate their eggs as I had, or who had benefited from egg donation.
MB: You seem close to your parents. How do they feel about your writing?
Kara: I am an only child and, yes, very close to my parents. Not in a best friend sort of way, but I love including them in my life especially as an adult. They have always supported me even if they didn’t understand it or get it. They’ve seen me dance one hundred million times, and they are always asking about my writing projects. Neither of them are readers. Like I’m not sure they’ve read a book since high school. But they are happy to read anything I write and listen to me explain the challenges of craft. A high school teacher encouraged me to pursue writing, but it was their endorsement then and years later that gave me the courage to give it a go.
MB: Is there a dog in your novel? If yes, explain the inclusion. If not, explain the exclusion.
Kara: Yes! I’m an animal lover, again to a fault. I’ve always had pets and had a dog of my own during my breakup. We actually had two dogs together, but always kept their care separate in case of the inevitable. My oldest, Winston, was my only source of comfort at the time. Yikes, I’m emotional writing this. Which I know is a recipe for disaster as time ticks on. But I couldn’t imagine my main character, Gemma, without a silent sidekick. While her world is crumbling, he gives her nothing but love and loyalty. Another relationship I think deserves value in a world of the rom-com obsessed.
MB: What’s your next project?
Kara: I always have a plethora of ideas on the back burner but never sure which deserve to be explored. Fun fact, I was born on a new moon, so I’m great with ideas and initiating. But sustaining that fire and bringing it to fruition (full moon) is where I struggle. Short stories are easier for me to grapple with. I’d love to publish a collection…but apparently no one reads them J I could also see Gemma’s story continuing. If well-received, I’d love to stay with her a bit longer.