Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I’m chatting to the poet Karen about her writing and books. Welcome to the tearoom, Karen.
Thank you so much for inviting me over for tea, Paula.
Now we have our refreshments can I start by asking you how long on average does it take you to write a poem?
Anywhere from five to ten minutes. Poetry is easy for me when it comes to the traditional style but it would take me much longer… Hmm, I do apologize but I must try a slice of this lovely looking Victoria sandwich. Oh yes, that’s lovely. So, yes, as I was saying, it would take me much longer to write a poem in other styles, especially complicated styles.
Tell me a little about your latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
You must try this earl grey tea sometime. It’s wonderful. Ah yes, my latest project. Well, presently I am also a freelancer and so I’ve been researching the histories of small communities in the surrounding area of where I live and the local paper runs the articles. I’ve been doing this for about a year now and my plan is to eventually compile enough of these articles into a book. It will be a historical non-fiction book with articles on old mining towns in Idaho.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Funny you should ask. As you can see I look nothing like the photo I gave you so yes, I did consider it and decided to do so. Harper Anderson isn’t my real name but I will tell you the name of the beautiful boy in the photo. His name is Alvin and he is my boxmas and I assure you he is quite happy to be the face of Harper Anderson. The only issue is he requires a raise of extra biscuits each time his identity is revealed. It’s in our pawtract.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
Well I’m not sure how to top revealing that I am indeed not a dog but since the aim here is to surprise I guess I could reveal that I do indeed feed Alvin leftovers and play the harmonica for him. Alvin is musically inclined and really has his howl down wonderfully.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Oh, it’s absolutely chaotic. I have this ability to get tunnel vision and so once I start writing, I cannot stop and I absolutely abhor being interrupted. The reason I say it’s chaotic is because I am usually surrounded by papers, or worse, multiple stacks of papers, especially if I am researching. I’ll forget to eat sometimes if I’m really in the zone but once I am in that zone it is very difficult for me to see or concentrate on anything else.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
No, but I do wish to be more of a structured writer at some point. I wear many hats besides being a freelancer and author so I’m usually juggling many things at once. Some days I can pump out 3,000 words easy peezy while other days I may not even touch a pen.
When reading your work through, do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?
Absolutely not. My job as a writer is to tell the story and while much of me and my mind goes into the story, I do not push my own biased emotions onto the characters or stories. This is especially true with my freelance work. I tell the facts and only the facts, not my opinion or someone else’s opinion nor do I use words to manipulate the reader into a certain narrative I wish to be pushed. I don’t believe in that. That is terrible journalism. However, this is also why I enjoy poetry because through poetry I feel I can truly express my emotions and so yes, in reading my own poetry I can very clearly see what my emotions were at that time. On that note, I think I’ll have one more slice of that Victorian sandwich.
Do you plan your poems or let the poems lead you?
The poems always lead. Every time. I can be making a cup of coffee or walking to the post office and the words of the first four lines will usually come racing into my mind and I will start scrambling for a pen but lately I’ve realized it’s easier to just turn my camera on and start recording and I’ll go back later and write them down. If I hit a weird slump when I can feel the energy ceasing…well, I’ve been known to throw a poem together from multiple unfinished poems or two to three lines I’ve written on various scrap papers from other brain hits in the past.
Were any of your poems inspired by real people?
Maybe I should change this tea out for something stronger. Yes, I would say over half of the poetry I have written has been inspired one way or another by a real person or someone I knew. The remaining poetry is pure imagination or based off historical events.
Did you uncover things about yourself while writing poetry?
Yes, writing has always been very therapeutic for me so while in the moment I may not experience self realizations, it is later in re-reading my poetry that I gain insight into my most inner self. If I weren’t a writer, I wouldn’t mind working in the field of psychology. A person’s mind is a fascinating place.
Thank you so much for joining me, Karen. If you would like to know more about Karen’s writing and books please check the links below.
Amazon Author Page with Books by Harper Anderson: https://www.amazon.com/Harper-Anderson/e/B07GX2RFLL/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1
Author Harper Anderson Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/harperandersonauthor
Sins of an Old Soul Purchase https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GKWJMWS/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i4
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.