Summer read recommendation! The Life Lucy Knew – Lucy is about to discover everything she believes to be true about her life…isn’t. Read on for a question and answer between Parent Club and Karma (the author). Learn more about the story and about Karma’s writing tips.
The Life Lucy Knew By Karma Brown Q & A
What inspired you to write The Life Lucy Knew?
I was writing an entirely different book, when about 20,000 words into that first draft everything fizzled and I was left with a looming deadline and a dead novel. Panic ensued (there may have been a midday bourbon shot to try and quell it), until I remembered an article I’d read a few months earlier. It featured a 29-year-old man in England who, after a serious bicycle accident, woke from his medically induced coma with these fantastical memories that were not experiences he had lived through. Yet despite the memories being false, they felt incredibly real to him. Like many people I’ve told about this story, I had no idea confabulated memory disorder was a real condition. Or how complex and unreliable our memories really are. As I read the piece I thought, “What if this happened to me?” and almost instantly Lucy’s character started to take shape.
This is your third book – did you feel more or less pressure in writing this book?
This is actually my sixth book (of seven), but who’s counting! It is my fourth published book (my fifth will be out in 2020), but I wrote two “practice” books before my debut was published. I’m not sure I felt more (however, I definitely didn’t feel less) pressure when I was writing THE LIFE LUCY KNEW—outside of the looming deadline thing—but I can say it was as scary to write as my first novel. I think there’s a misnomer that every book gets easier, and I wish that were true. Certain elements of the writing process and publishing journey are easier, mostly because you have experience on your side, but the actual crafting of the world, the characters, the story…it’s hard every time. But it’s also fun, and incredibly satisfying once you see it on the shelf.
What is your process to create your story arch? (i.e. do you storyboard, write out arch, do page layouts, just free write chapter by chapter)
I have a running file of story ideas, often inspired by people in unique and mind-boggling situations, like the London man with the false memories. And once I have an idea I can’t stop thinking about – and usually the beginnings of a character who won’t stop chattering to me – I write down a formal pitch for the story, starting with a “What if…?” question. If I can’t answer that question, I know the story doesn’t (yet) have legs. Then I craft a full synopsis and outline, and only then do I get to work on the actual writing. I tend to draft in a linear way, saving the end for last, but no always—each book is slightly different in that regard. What never changes is the reality that writing a novel is a long process involving much coffee and early mornings and endless Internet searches and loads of self-doubt and plenty of evenings where I ask (force) my husband to brainstorm scenarios. It’s a lot of work, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also say it was a lot of fun.
What are your tips for getting published?
- Always be writing.
- Always be reading.
- Always be learning.
- Find a caffeinated beverage you love, and never run out of it.
- Just keep going.
The Life Lucy Knew is available in major bookstores everywhere.