Karin Blaski, Runner Up in Summer 2010 Flash Fiction Contest!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Karin Blaski lives in Rockford, Illinois with her husband of 20 years and her three children. As an Assistant Professor at Rock Valley College, she has encouraged many of her students to follow their dreams, finally taking the path herself last year. In July 2010 she finished her first novel “Secrets of Hopelight,” a science fiction adventure for the young adult market. She is currently agonizing  over query letters as she seeks representation. Current projects in the works include short stories, a YA paranormal romance and the second book in the “Hopelight” series. She is thrilled to have WOW! publish her first piece of flash fiction. Her own grandfather provided the inspiration for the grandfather in the story, and she dedicates “Knowing” to him. You are invited to visit Karin’s Blog for The Morbidly Thoughtful at http://www.keblaski.com/.

interview by Marcia Peterson

WOW:  Congratulations on placing in the top ten in our Summer 2010 writing competition! What inspired you to enter the contest? 

Karin: I’d been reading The Muffin since March 09 and I’d been considering entering one of the writing contests to get more exposure for my work. That summer, I was doing Internet research on Kathleen Ortiz who represents the YA genre in which I write and saw she was going to be the judge for the summer 2010 contest. I thought if I am ever going to do this, now is a good time.

WOW: You mention that this was your first piece of flash fiction. How did you find the experience of creating such a short work? What was the editing process like for you?

It was surprisingly difficult, but satisfying. With so few words, I had to make each one count. My first go around didn’t pass my 14-year-old son’s litmus test, so I scrapped it and started over. He’s my best critic; completely honest with me when something isn’t working. The version I finally submitted took about a week to pull together, then I let it sit for a week before I edited it again and I waited another week before I clicked send. I am a better editor when I let the work sit for a while. Fresh eyes.

WOW: We’d love to know more about your writing routines. Could you tell us when and where you usually write? Do you have favorite tools or habits that get you going?

Karin: I’ve read that writers are supposed to write every day, but with three kids, a husband and a full time job I’ve found that goal to be impossible to reach and frustrating to try. I can say that I think about writing every day. As far as getting the time to actually write, my family has been very kind to give me one day a week to myself. I spend most of Saturday holed up in my bedroom, propped up with pillows, Mr. Kitty coiled around my feet. I write long hand on legal pads and then do a first pass edit when I type the work into the computer. Whenever I finish a story or a chapter, I send it off to my beta readers for feedback. I also carry around a mini-recorder for when inspiration hits and I can’t write but need to capture the idea before I forget. It goes everywhere: while I’m chauffeuring the kids, on the edge of the shower for those steamy aha moments, by my bedside at night. The advantage of writing one day a week is I never have writer’s block, too many ideas pent up from Sunday through Friday.

WOW: With such a full life, you’ve found some great ways to make your writing happen. Love the mini-recorder idea! Last summer you completed a YA novel. Can you tell us about that? What did it take to complete that big goal?

Karin:I had been thinking about an idea for a YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel for a couple years and at the encouragement of some friends, I decided I’d better write it or forever regret not writing it. It took me from September 2009 until June 2010 to complete and then another three months of editing to get it ready for agent review, which interestingly has been more challenging than writing the novel in the first place. There is a lot of competition out there! But as Tom Hank’s character says in the movie A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

WOW: Do you have any favorite YA authors who inspire you?

Karin: So many. A few favorites: Kate DiCamillo, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, J. K. Rowling, Louis Sachar, Edward Bloor, Suzanne Collins and then there are all the adult genre writers I enjoyed reading when I was YA like: Ann Rice, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King…

WOW: What about New Years goals or resolutions? Do you set them? What are your writing plans for 2011?

Karin: I don’t set New Years resolutions any more. When I did, they were usually regarding weight and well, they were pretty much forsaken as soon as the Valentine’s chocolates came around. I do have a writing goal to finish my second novel. This one is a YA paranormal romance with a heartbreaking twist. I wanted to write a love story for teens that wasn’t wrapped up with a happily ever after bow at the end. I’m about halfway finished. My beta readers are very enthusiastic and are nagging, I mean encouraging me to complete this one faster than the last.

WOW: Best of luck with your second novel, and thanks so much for chatting with us today, Karin! Before you go, do you have any tips for our readers who may be thinking about entering writing contests?

Karin: Sure. I’ll say the same thing I tell my students, go ahead and give it a try. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You don’t win, but that would happen anyway if you didn’t try—and who knows, there just might be an Amazon gift card and an interview with your name on it at the end of the story.


Come back and join us on Tuesdays for more contest winner interviews!

The Winter 2011 Flash Fiction Contest is OPEN


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