Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Karen Strong, author of that fun blog Musings of a Novelista.

Welcome, Karen!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?


Karen Strong

Hello everyone! I currently reside inAtlanta. My day job is in software development and my team provides intelligence to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Although I do love being a techie geek, I also love to write mystery, paranormal, and speculative fiction for kids and teens. I have very limited time but some of other interests include science, astronomy, and SEC college football. My favorite hobby is shoe shopping and I have perfected walking in 4 inch stilettos. Ha, ha.


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I have a home office where I write most of the time. But sometimes I write at the coffee house in my neighborhood.


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

When I remodeled my house, I special ordered the desk. I like that it has enough space for my printer and laying out my manuscript pages.

Karen’s desk 


3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I’m a plot chick, so I usually have outline and index cards to help me organize scenes and subplots. I sometimes have any craft books I’m reading for reference. One of my favorites is THE SYNONYM FINDER by J.I Rodale


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love the chair in my office. It’s one of my favorite places to curl up to write long-hand and revise scenes. Also a fabulous place to read books.

Karen’s chair 


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

 I usually drink ice water but if it’s Friday night and I’m feeling fancy, I’ll sip some Ballatore Spumante Rosso.


On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I have so many favorites! But I would choose Scott Westerfeld for concept, Deb Caletti for characterization, Laini Taylor for description, and Suzanne Collins for plotting.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

My day job takes up a lot of my time during the week but I try to write between 9pm and midnight. I tried writing at 6am before going to work but I’m a night owl by nature and I find some of best writing for me takes place between midnight and 2 am – but I always pay for it the next day.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

When I have software releases scheduled for the day job, I can sometimes go several days to 2 weeks without writing because of the long hours required. Otherwise, I usually write 1-2 hours a day during the week. Most of my writing happens on the weekends. But I never write more than 4 hours at once – my mind goes blank after that.

 My Kindle is actually my biggest distraction. I have SO many books that I want to read!


4. Why do you write?

I’ve been making up stories since I was 5 years old. I couldn’t see myself not writing – it’s a part of me.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Writing is so unique. Techniques can vary from person to person but I do have a favorite writing quote from Joyce Carol Oates:

“The first draft may be stumbling and exhausting, but the next draft or drafts will be soaring and exhilarating. Only have faith: the first sentence can’t be written until the last sentence has been written. Only then do you know where you’ve been going, and where you’ve been. The novel is the affliction for which only the novel is the cure.”


6. Care to share a favorite picture?

 my favorite picture from my Hawaii Writing Retreat in May 2012


Thanks, Karen, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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12 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Strong”

  1. mooderino says:

    Love the Joyce Carol Oates quote. And great interview.


  2. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell and Karen – loved reading this .. and Karen your work sounds very interesting, let alone demanding …

    I too love the Joyce Carol quote …. fun to see the pics and how motivated you are Karen, mind you Nutschell let’s not leave you out ..

    Cheers Hilary

  3. Karen Strong says:

    Nutshell, thanks so much for featuring me today. :) You already know how much I love reading the Wednesday Writer’s Workspace posts!

  4. Elisa says:

    That was a lovely interview and now I feel I have no excuses for not writing! Dang Karen, you are busy!! :)

  5. You do have a big desk!
    I think if I tried writing after midnight, my brain would shut down and not come back for days.

  6. Fabulous interview. And I loved the pictures. Great author choices for concept and plotting. How do you keep your writing space so neat? Mine is a disaster.

  7. It was great reading this. I visit Karen’s blog and have spoken with her at conferences. Now I know more about her.

  8. Nas says:

    This was a lovely inspirational interview. Thanks for sharing all about yourself, Karen.

    All the best!

  9. Karen has a great work space! I love Westfield and Collins too. One of my favorite critique partners live in Atlanta (suburb). Lenny Lee at Lenny’s World. He’s now 13 and a really cool kid.

  10. Lexa Cain says:

    This is such a beautiful workspace, one of the classiest I’ve ever seen. (Mine’s a dinky table next to my bed. Kinda pitiful.) I loved how you separate your fav authors by what you admire about them. Too right! :-)

  11. DEZMOND says:

    that’s a nice desk and a nice chair

  12. Ah, I remember that picture well! Your writing space is fantastic. I love the chair, great idea!

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