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Interview with Karen Osman

About the Author

Karen Osman is an award-winning writer of The Good Mother which won the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Award in 2016 and The Home published in 2018. Both novels were instant number one bestsellers. Her third book, The Perfect Lie, was recently published on 8th August 2019 to critical acclaim.

Karen is the Managing Director of Travel Ink, a communications agency and also the host of Karen’s Bookshelf, an online show all about books.

Karen lives in Dubai and the UK with her husband and two children

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself, like your hobbies and what you usually do when you’re not writing?

A. Sure thing! My name is Karen Osman and I’m an author. I’m also a mother and a business owner. I’m originally from the UK but have lived the expat life for the last 20 years across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. When I’m not writing books, I’m usually looking after my two young boys but in my (limited!) free time, I love reading, going to the cinema, and anything to do with health and wellness such as a good exercise class, some yoga, or swimming.

Q. What is your favorite book from your childhood?

A. I used to read so many Enid Blyton books and my favourite series was Mallory Towers.

Q. Can you describe for us your ideal writing space?

A. Anywhere with a view! I’m a city girl at heart and love being at the top of a building looking out! I’m probably in my ideal office already though, which is overlooking the Arabian Ocean and Atlantis The Palm. I keep the décor clean and minimal so there’s as little distraction as possible. Occasionally, I’ll play music but it has to be music without lyrics. On my desk, I have water, tea, and my notebook.

Q. What inspired you to start writing?

A. Like most writers, people and places are a huge source of inspiration. I also draw from my own experiences. For example, when I wrote The Good Mother, I was looking after a toddler and pregnant with my second child. Motherhood is such an emotive journey and I channelled a lot of that into the book.

Q. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

A. I’ve written my whole life since I was a very young child and I really can’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve always written in one form or another, mainly as a journalist and copywriter, but novel writing is relatively new. It’s a different type of writing for me, which requires a lot of concentration and dedication, but the satisfaction of seeing a book come together is incredible.

Q. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

A. Getting started! Sometimes, I’m more motivated than others! But I developed a trick where at the end of each writing session, I would leave a few bullet points to prompt the writing the next day. I also struggle with writing the middle of books. I find the beginning and the endings the most exciting and easiest to write.

Q. How do you come up with the titles for your book?

A. I don’t really have a process to come up with titles but I would probably say I would usually base it on the main theme of the book. Sometimes my publisher will change the title, for example, with my first novel, The Good Mother, the title was originally Dear Michael.

Q. What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?

A. My favourite part is seeing the books on the shelves – it’s an absolutely incredible feeling! I agree though, the publishing journey can be tough but I’ve been very lucky with my agent and publisher who have supported me every step of the way. My least favourite part is how unpredictable the publishing industry can be.

Q. What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

A. I would say try and find the time to write a little each day. It’s not easy in today’s busy world but the more you can develop the daily habit, the easier the words will flow. I would also suggest read a lot and read widely. Look at how your favourite authors develop their characters and the plots – it can be a great learning curve. Finally, read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

Q. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

A. Yes, I’m currently working on my fourth book which I hope will be available next year. It’s a little too early to share anything at the moment, but I have a feeling it’s going to be my best yet!

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