Wednesday, June 24, 2015

GALAXY NOMADS


Today I welcome Karen Elizabeth Brown and her rescent release Galaxy Nomads - Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan, she's agreed to answer a few questions.

1. Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

One of my favorite characters from Galaxy Nomads is a mystic named Hestia. She is kind of like a mother to all the characters, who is fascinating, but with wisdom and foreknowledge. She mentors the protagonists throughout the book and is that steady character in the background. I created her with my own mother in mind. If my mother was here today, I’d tell her that this character was made as a tribute to her.

2. Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I dream of making a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Since I live in Southern Oregon, it will be a major undertaking. I’m fascinated by the imagination that went into making the creation of the parks. I’ve been able to watch you-tubes of many of the areas and some on how they dreamed up their ideas. The Animal Kingdom is especially drawing to me. They created it like a savannah for the animals and one ride takes you through a number of areas that take you away from Florida and into the African lands. It’s that kind of imagination that tickles my own brain when I want to write about other people and places in outer space.

3. I hope you get there soon, but you have quite the imagination, does travel play into the writing of your books?

Absolutely! I love to have my characters explore new places and get lost in other times. My own experience with traveling as a young person probably has much to do with it. My parents would take us camping on the weekends and on holidays. They would take us to the desert or the beach, where we would put up our own tents and wander the area. I also traveled to Europe and Japan which gave me insights into different cultures and landscapes.

4. How exciting Europe and Japan, congratulations. Tell us about your next release.

I’m presently working on a sequel to Galaxy Nomads which I’m calling Gemini: Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan. It’s about a pair of twins that have the predisposition of getting into trouble. They’re actually good seventeen year olds, but happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Their pranks catch up with them and they are faced with the antagonist’s wrath. I won’t tell you how it ends; sorry, no spoilers. However, it won’t be out until 2016.

5. Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?

Aside from teachers and critique partners, the person who has helped me the most (as a mentor) has been my sister, Retta Stephenson. Actually, she is an accomplished artist and did the cover for Galaxy Nomads. But she has the ability to speak her mind to me, good or bad, which keeps me growing as an author. I appreciate her feedback, which she does regularly, and it helps me see myself from another’s perspective. Thanks, sis.

6. Teachers are a wonderful influencee, but sister's are awesome! Are you a plotter or Pantser? Why?

My first attempts at writing were as a pantser. I just sat down and started writing. They were terrible! And one was for an inclusion in an anthology. The editor sent it back covered in red, suggesting I re-think my story. It was then that I started outlining my stories. Since then, I find that if I outline first, I have an idea of where I’m going and why. It makes writing the rest of the story much easier.

7. A manuscript covered in red is very familiar, and a good reason to rethink your approach, congratulations. Do you use a pen name? How did you come up with it?

I do use a pen name. Actually, it’s my maiden name. I decided to use it since I’ve been married twice and I didn’t want any confusion between names and my books. I’ve heard that some authors have more than one pen name according to the genre they’re writing in, but I’ll stick with the one.

8. I think it's a great name and your reasoning is sound. Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?

I love to listen to one particular album by Future World Music called A Hero Will Rise. The music is inspiring and has all kinds of moods in the music. It helps me create different worlds and scenes. It also obliterates the background noises that distract me while I’m writing.

9. Music does influence creativity, I'll check out A Hero Will Rise How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

My plots are usually developed while I’m writing my outline. Sometimes I can get stumped and it takes me days to figure them out. My characters are developed along with the outline also, but I use a character interview to help flesh them out. This is a long set of questions that I answer about each character; physical, emotional and psychological aspects of their character. After I’m done, not all the information may go into the book, but I’ve got a good grip on the character. In my next book, I want to add more in the book so the characters are deeper and the reader gets to know the characters better.

10. The formula changes as the story and characters change, you seem to have it down! As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you pursue it or follow your heart/dreams?


I wanted to be a musician when I was a child. I even traveled to Europe with an orchestra as a teenager. I went to college and began studying music diligently, practicing at least eight hours a day on my viola. I won a scholarship to study at USC-Los Angeles and even played for the famed Yascha Heifitz, who gave me a critique on my playing. But, I fell in love, got married and had three beautiful children. I continued to play on the side, but discovered writing while I was at home. I then went back to school, studying to be a registered nurse, so I could have a good job. I continued to write in my journals, but it wasn’t until I retired that I went back to school and studied writing formally. Now I enjoy it fully and spend my time at the keyboard creating unique characters and worlds.

Thanks, Karen, appreciate your sharing so much with us. We all love learning about the talent behind the masterpiece. Now onto to your release...

Galaxy Nomads
Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan

The MacKenzie clan is forced to flee from the devastating destruction of a supernova and is challenged to a ruthless game of survival. When all seems hopeless, a new generation arises to battle their worst enemy in a unique battle of wits. Will the MacKenzies survive betrayal, pirates and wormholes to the outer quadrants? Here they find a new race of people on the Patchouli planet where the female is Alpha. They learn wisdom from the mystics and seers on their jaunt through the universe and from across the galaxy two brothers are reconciled to each other. They experience love and hate in the Merridian sector when a prince is abducted and must be rescued before a cruel cousin steals the throne. An epic read that will send you spiraling at warp speed through all the MacKenzie generations.

Available at:



Meet Karen Elizabeth Brown:

My passion for writing is what fills my entire life with exhilarating inspiration. I spend my days writing, doing research, and studying about the characters of my stories. Having done some traveling in my earlier years to Europe and Japan, I find those experiences have helped color my stories with a variety of ideas for the characters and places.

When I'm not writing, I enjoy music and reading, especially fantasy and sci-fi. Born in Southern California, I migrated to Southern Oregon in 1974 where I now reside in the Rogue Valley with my family and friends.



What about you - who was your biggest influence? 
Do you have a question for Karen?


25 comments:

  1. I'm so glad Karen agreed to answer a few questions, Yolanda :)

    That was a fun *and very interesting* interview - thanks for sharing so much, Karen :)

    For me, a big influence is Spotify - gosh, I love being able to slot in the genre I "need" to listen to (right now, it's the Pet Shop Boys, but don't shoot me... I'm an '80s dude)

    Best wishes to you, Yolanda, and Karen, here's to "breaking a leg" with the book!!

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    1. Thank you, Mark. I chose things I haven't shared before and had a fun time.

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    2. Hey Mark,
      I love learning the backgrounds of creative folk. I used to interview on Blog Talk Radio, and still miss it today. Listening to music is almost essential to writing - unless it's complete silence. I enjoy that too!

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  2. Hi Karen and Yolanda,

    Interesting interview and insights into the process! Somehow the title reminded me of Jean Auel...my question is for both the authors - how did you come to write/choose the genre you do write? Do you write across multiple genres or specialise in one, and how do you make that choice? Thanks.

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    1. I'm influenced by many sci-fi writers and love to imagine the future. But I do write across other genre's, as I have a fantasy trilogy written for young adults. I go with what strikes me at the time. It's keeps things fresh for me.

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    2. Hi Nila,
      I've always loved mysteries, so it was an easy choice. Romance along with horror have also been a huge influence, but I love trying all genres. With flash fiction, I let the prompt take me there and with my novels the characters speak.I enjoy reading all genres. Thanks for the question.

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  3. Karen's a girl after my own heart. i love to travel and include these settings in my stories. :-)

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    1. I do flavor my stories with the places I've been to and experienced. I just haven't figured out how to include Disney World in that mix!

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    2. Hey Denise:
      As evidenced by the trip you left for today! Wow, I envy you both. I've only been to most of the states, but never really out of the country - I don't think Canada counts.:)

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  4. A great interview, Karen traveled quite a bit, that sounds fun indeed.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. I especially loved Japan. The people were so congenial to me and always wanting to feed me.

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    2. Sorry, Karen that statement made me laugh. I immediately thought it's better than them wanting to .... okay, I won't say it. I must be tired, I'm getting punchy. LOL
      Hey Pat, travel is always a great influence - but fun for sure!

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  5. Yolanda: Thank you for hosting me today. I appreciate your support as I launch my new book. I'm having a lot of fun!

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    1. It's my pleasure Karen, your book is on my very long TBR list, but I will get to it - I always do!
      You have a unique advantage with all that travel, I know personal experience and the little traveling I've done has greatly influenced my writing. I can't wait to see how your experiences have influenced yours! Thanks so much for being here today!

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  6. I use my maiden name too. Cool to craft a character on someone you know. I usually think of the character arc first, then craft the plot around it. Congrats, Karen!

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    1. I've used only my first and middle name. It made sense for me, and your choice makes sense for you. I don't know how I'd handle other names - I think it can get out of hand, but each person has a reason, and a method that works for them.

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    2. Thanks, Mary! I enjoy taking snippets of people's character and put them into my stories. But it's always to make a character more real.

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  7. Nice interview, ladies! I think we all inject certain elements of people we know into our characters, but it's especially neat that you used your mother as a model for the wise and helpful mystic, Karen. I'll bet that'd make your mother feel really good.

    In a way, my mother was my biggest influence when it comes to writing. She was an avid reader, and never censored my reading material. If I wanted to read something... anything!... she'd tell me to go for it. When I started writing, she and her sisters were my biggest fans.

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    1. Hey Susan, I too use people I know as characters, changing personalities and descriptions as needed, but I'm sure a few that I've used would recognize themselves. If they were readers. :) My family mostly ignores me and my writing but maybe that's a good thing.

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    2. My mother was a role model for more than just a character, she used to write short stories, poems and songs. I was fascinated by her talent and thought if she could start writing later in life, so could I.

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  8. Retta Stephenson sounds like a wonderful sister and is an amazing artist. It's great that you have her in your corner

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    1. Maurice: She's also a tattle-tale. I just found out that next Monday she's going to tell about our early life as children and how it has influenced my later years. Hmm...

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  9. So interesting to learn the meandering path Karen took to become a writer from gifted musician, nurse and then a writer. Hope she gets to Disney.

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    1. Thanks, Susan! It's a long-standing goal that I hope will be realized in the near future. We'll see!

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  10. first, loved your flash fiction - hospitality, ha haha!

    congrats karen! i hope you get to go to disney world soon - it's a wonderful place, especially the first time! and your books sounds great =)

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