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Thursday 24 October 2019

TORN - an interview with Karen Moore

Today I have a very special guest on my blog: the fabulous Karen Moore, whose debut novel Torn will be released next week through Darkstroke Books.  I've know Karen (and her novel) for some years through our writing group, so this is a very exciting time for both of us.

Welcome, Karen!

What prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, from the days of penning long epistles to my childhood penfriends to creating colourful English essays at school.  Writing then became a fundamental part of my career in PR and marketing.  Here I discovered that the more creative aspects of the job, such as writing articles and press releases, were the most enjoyable.  I started writing creatively as a hobby and quickly became smitten.

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?

A young mum and her daughter escape from a troubled past in Sicily and settle down to a new life in North Wales.  When the daughter suddenly disappears, the mother is forced to return to her former home and face the dark world of organised crime in a bid to rescue her.

What was the inspiration for this book?

The main driving force was the devastating migrant situation in the Mediterranean that continued for so long, with so many people not even surviving the journey.  My own travels and love of Italy and my experience of living there were also a major contributory factor.

Did you do any research for the book?

Yes, I followed news reports on the continuing migrant situation and the action and inaction of various agencies in response. I visited Sicily and North Wales several times to gather background information, as well as doing the usual desk research.

Cefalu, Sicily

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

I find mornings are the most creative time for me when I’m fresh and full of ideas!  I like to settle in front of my computer with a strong cup of coffee (or two!) and blast away for a couple of hours.  It’s important, almost cathartic, to capture these thoughts.  Refining that output comes later on.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

Some are easy and just come to you naturally such as Hanna, the protagonist of Torn.  Others take a bit more research depending on their role.  For example, Hanna’s daughter needed a name that would suit both an Italian and UK setting.  Eva seemed a perfect fit.

Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?

My debut novel Torn developed quite organically which made the writing journey fun but also a bit of a roller-coaster!  I’m trying to be more structured with my second novel, while still allowing myself flexibility.

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

I read quite widely depending on how the mood takes me and whatever I find appealing in a given moment.  I’ve particularly enjoyed the Nordic Noir genre with its moody landscapes, gritty characters, pacy action, and underpinning social issues.  I would like to think that some of this has rubbed off on my own writing.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

The best part has to be coming up with ideas and shaping them into some sort of structure, with a credible plot, characters and timeline.  I have a tendency to race ahead with ideas, so my constant challenge is to pay attention to the detail needed to get from A to B.

Now the book is on the point of being published and ‘out there’, how do you feel?

Excited but nervous!  It’s been part of my life for so long, it feels as if you’re releasing a part of yourself to the public.  I just hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed the writing.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Just do it!  Persevere but only if you’re enjoying the journey – you spend too much time on it not to.  If something’s not working, spend time on reviewing why not.  Get feedback from other writers and polish the finished article as much as you can before submitting.  Trust in your own judgement – each writer has a unique perspective and a unique way of expressing him/herself.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ve just started work on a sequel to Torn, so watch this space!

Torn is available to order at

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