Author Interview: Karen Saunders

by - April 01, 2014

Today I have a very exciting interview with the lovely Karen Saunders! 


   Kindle or Paperback?

I don’t have a Kindle, I have a Nook. I love my e-reader (perfect for reading time in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep and I'm not allowed to turn the light on in case I wake my husband!) but I love paperbacks too, they’re not as expensive to replace when I drop them in the bath (one of my favourite reading places), plus I love visiting libraries. So I can’t choose between them, I'm afraid. I'm picking both!

   What genre of books do you like to read?

I read all sorts, and pretty widely. I read books for teens and adults. I like things that are based in real life best of all, particularly historical fiction, thrillers, contemporary and rom-coms.

   Do you have a place where you go to write?

Yes, my study, where my PC is. It had a lovely view out of the window. I can stare out of it and pretend I’m deep in thought about plot and characters, when really I'm usually wondering what to have for tea (don’t tell my editor).

  Are any of your characters inspired by people you've met?

Characters – no. Actually, that’s a lie. Murphy, Millie’s huge dog, is inspired by the dog of my brother’s childhood friend. But that’s it. However the events that happen to the characters are often based on things that have happened in real life to either me, or my mates. I’m a complete disaster area like Suzy is, so a lot of her is based on my life. But I nick embarrassing things that have happened to my friends, too. One of my mates got stuck in a top overnight, which inspired the opening scene of book two, and one of my other friends told me an embarrassing story which inspired the opening scenes of Suzy three. I have another friend who, when I met her, used to eat an awful lot of jelly babies, just like Millie does. So I borrow bits of their lives. They’re not as forthcoming with their embarrassing stories as they used to be, for some reason…

   How do you come up with book titles?

My editors help a lot with this. The working title for Me, Suzy P changed several times and it was the team at the publishing house that eventually came up with Me, Suzy P, which I love – it’s so short and snappy. They came up with Suzy P and the Trouble With Three too. I’m hoping they’re going to work their magic and come up with something for the third Suzy novel (out next year) as well, I'm drawing a complete blank right now!

    What books have influenced you most in life?

I've always adored reading, but I’d say rather than books I've been more influenced by authors, particularly Enid Blyton and Judy Blume. Enid Blyton wrote the first books I remember that first fired that magic and excitement a good book can, and I still go back and re-read some of them every now and then. And Judy Blume was, at the time, ground-breaking in teenage fiction and the subjects she covered.

    If you could have an author superpower, what would it be?

The power to stop procrastinating, meet my deadlines on time and to summon up new, original and best-selling ideas at will.

  Why did you decide to pursue writing as a career?

I’d always loved English, and books, and reading, so after I graduated from university I tried to pick jobs that would use these skills. I changed job quite a lot, because I couldn't find anything that really ‘fit’. Then I heard about the MA in Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University, got a place, and never looked back. I did a lot of commissioned writing, which I really enjoyed, before I got the book deal for Suzy P with Templar, so I've been writing for about 10 years now, although not everything I've written had my name on, so you might not have known it was me!

  What's the hardest thing about writing a book?

For me, it’s getting the story out of your head and onto the paper! Actually sitting down and focusing and getting it out can take such a long time. Plus, I don’t write full time any more since I had my son, so I can find it difficult to keep everything straight in my head as I don’t write every day any more, so I lose my thread easily.

Tips for aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Read everything you can get your hands on. And write. You can’t be a writer if you don’t actually write anything! Start writing. Power through the horrible hard middle part. Get to the end. Revise, revise, revise. Get someone to critique it honestly for you. Revise some more. And keep persevering… overnight success doesn't happen for most people. It took me years before Suzy got picked up by a publisher!

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Tash! And just before you go, Suzy P and the Trouble with Three, and Me, Suzy P are both available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you’d like to find out more about them, do visit me online at, ‘like’ me on Facebook at or follow me on Twitter @writingkaren. There are tweets from Suzy Puttock @suzyputtock, so do follow her too!

Looking forward to seeing you around!

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