Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Readers Write: The Challenges of The Chosen Chronicles, Guest Post by Karen Dales

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Karen Dales

Karen Dales speaks about challenges she faced while working on her award-winning series, The Chosen Chronicles. She will be a guest at FanExpo. For more information please visit her website.

I’m often asked by interviewers how long it took to write The Chosen Chronicles. It’s an easy question with a very complex answer. It usually makes me go “hmmmmmm.” The reason for it is simple. If I were to take into account the fact that I wrote Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen Chronicles and Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles as one novel, the re-writes, the lost sections due to hard drive crashes, etc., the total time would be about eight years for the two of them together.

Yes. I said eight years.

In fact it was closer to twelve years.

Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles took six months.

Now close your mouth, you’ll catch flies.

There are many real reasons as to why it took so long to finish the first two novels, but the real one is that my writing wasn’t mature enough. What that means is that I hadn’t learned enough, experienced enough and practiced enough of the writing art to get it as right as possible. The 20’s Karen wrote very differently than the 40’s Karen I am today. Practice makes perfect, and boy did I ever, especially the day I lost my whole manuscript of both books because I was stupid not to have backed it up before my hard drive crashed.

Yes, I cried. Yes, I gnashed my teeth. Yes, I thought it was the end. You know what? It wasn’t. It was a blessing in disguise because I had to write it all over and it was better than before. I’ve learned since to back up my work everywhere, especially on external media.

Other challenges where the ones that life throws at you, such as working full time, having a baby, etc., that sort of thing. I found that most way through my pregnancy all my creative energy just shifted towards the baby. I couldn’t write a word. I accepted that and for four years I didn’t write a word because I was in mommy-mode. It wasn’t until I went back to work full time that I really got a move on with the books.

One other thing caught me completely off guard. I couldn’t/didn’t want Angel of Death to end, so I froze. I got stuck. I wouldn’t write any more because of this fear. Only after being told that the story could continue was I able to write the ending. Why? Because I wanted to get to the next book, Shadow of Death.

Shadow of Death took six months to write even though I was mom and full-time worker. I didn’t worry about finishing it because I knew there would be Thanatos (which I’m currently and slowly writing).

Life happens. We all experience things that try and stop us from reaching our dreams. Sometimes they are mundane life issues. Sometimes they are issues that rise up from within us. Regardless, we must push on and exclaim “Never give up! Never surrender!”

Do you have a story to tell about your reading or writing? Send it to clelia@openbooktoronto.com.

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