Karina Fabian is an author of science fiction and fantasy, comedic horror and whatever other genre fits her fancy. She writes from flash-length stories to full novels. In non-fiction, she had written writing classes, articles on parenting, and a devotional. You can learn about her varied works at her website Fabian Space. She has also been very involved with the Catholic Writers Guild Since it's inception, and has served in a number of positions since it's inception. She is passionate about Catholicism, Fantasy, Fiction and writing in general. So let's go on a wild ride as she answers 20 questions about reading, writing, life, and faith.
1. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living?
LOL. I'm not really doing this for a living right now. To be honest, I'm not sure what I'd do. I was in the Air Force because I had an ROTC scholarship, but I was glad to get out when my first child was born. I love being a mother and wife--and Rob supports us very well--but I also go nuts when I am ONLY caring for family and home. However, since I did fall into writing so naturally, I don't know what that would be, at least if I had to make money at it. It's kind of scary, really. I'd be content to do volunteer work, wherever I was needed. I'm an organizer.
2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you nurture that dream?
I've always loved writing, but in 1995, I decided I really wanted to work at it. Somewhere around 2000, I decided to make it a career (or maybe an avocation, since "career" implies a certain income.) The first thing I did was dedicate to writing--I gave up reading for Lent, took up writing. Since then, I've made myself write or do something related to writing every day, even if it's just a sentence before bed. I seek opportunities to motivate and challenge me--I especially like writing for anthologies. I attend and teach at writers' conferences online and live, and I social network and market my works.
3. Who were some of your biggest supporters and contributors to your early success?
My husband, without a doubt. He's my idea man, my first source and my logic check. Then my writer friends--we support each other, whether it's idea swapping or encouragement or nagging. Finally, my publishers and editors who take what I always think is my best work ever and make it even more amazing.
4. What advice do you wish an artist had passed on to you early in your career, which you only learned through experience?
I was blessed to get a lot of good advice early in my career, so I have a hard time answering that question. The one bit of advice I STILL wish I could get is how to take my marketing efforts and make them more effective. I know all the general stuff, but not how to tweak them to work for me, if that makes sense.
5. What authors influenced your writing style and format?
I can tell you what writers influenced how I look at a story and the world, but my writing style and format? I'd have to leave that to the critics. I did one of those analysis things online, and for the same section of a story, I had three or more disparate authors cited as "Your style is like…" I've been favorably compared to a lot of famous writers, but then again, who's going to compare you to an unknown?
I write in my style--quirky, often funny, with unique angles on everyday things. I have broken convention and tried new things because the story liked it and it was fun.
6. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?
Get an idea.
Daydream about it. Write scenes. Giggle a lot if it's that kind of story.
When it's next on my list (as determined by publisher or time), I usually have the beginning, the ending and a few stops between. So I write and let the characters lead me through.
Edit five ways (on word processor, reading through for content, reading aloud for flow, reading backwards for grammar and nits, printing out and reading.)
Start the next one
Get a rejection? Send it on to the next publisher.
Get an acceptance? Do a happy dance and tell all my online friends.
7. Do you use a playlist when writing? Are certain books written while predominantly listing to the same music?
I seldom have music while writing. It distracts me. On rare occasions, I will make a soundtrack for my novel, like the spy music CD my husband put together for me when I was writing Live and Let Fly. If I do that, though, I need instrumental music. Words get into my head and throw off my typing.
8. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it?
Depends on the story. I have a few that are one-story wonders. Others continue to grow in my mind. It's kind of frustrating, because I write in multiple genres and many worlds, and I can't record their stories fast enough, so I have to pick one while the others live their lives.
9. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas that you would like to work on?
1. Neeta Lyffe: I Left My Brains in San Francisco. This is the second Neeta Lyffe book, and was requested by Damnation Books after I finished Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.
2. Just finished Discovery: Three spacefaring nuns must uncover the secret of an alien device before it destroys the minds of their fellow crewmembers.
1. Witch Androvitch and the Boy Who Wouldn't Bathe. This is a children's book, but it's written at too high a reading level for the story, so the publisher asked for a rewrite.
2. "Christmas Spirits: From the Case Files of DragonEye, PI" for a serial during Christmas. You'll find it starting mid-November at Fabian Space.
1. Gapman: a superhero spoof in the DragonEye, PI universe.
2. Damsels and Knights: When a griffon takes human form and goes undercover to track down a murder, she doesn't expect to fall in love with a human--one she hated as a griffon, no less.
10. What does your typical day or week look like for our mind, body and spiritual development? Do you try and keep to a specific regime or schedule?
My typical week is a stew of novel writing, marketing, blogs, chatting online with friends, doing work for the Catholic Writers' Guild. I pray daily, often in the car while driving the kids around. I care for my kids, though as they get older, I am moving more into chauffer/psychologist phase as opposed to nursemaid/playmate. It's a good shift! I have set chores for myself and the kids so the house stays nice (usually). I adore my husband and spend as much time with him as I can. I practice haidong gumbdo, though not as often as I should. That's Korean sword martial arts. Lots of fun.
11. What of your books or published stories is your favorite and why?
The one that's out…until the next one comes out. I love all my books. I write in a variety of genres and styles and each has its own origin story as well as its own story.
12. What of your books was the hardest to write and why?
Discovery, hands down. I started this as a NaNo project in 2006, but could never get it to finish. After much effort and discussion, I realized the story was too small and not science fiction enough. However, then it became so big, I was intimidated. The faith factor is HUGE, and I didn't want to preach, and the science was beyond my then knowledge. (Thank heaven for subject matter experts!) Also, the cast grew to 31 named characters. Then, as I would get going, the computer would die, taking the story with it. (Even the backups, for which I have no explanation.) I just finished it this month, almost five years after starting it, and I am so proud and relieved!
13. Many of your books are available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of ebooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means?
It happens. It's not legal and it's not fair, but it happens. I don't go out of my way to look for bootleg copies of my book, but I wish folks would grant me the honor of paying for my work. If I were a chef, I wouldn't be expected to distribute my product for free, so why do they expect authors to do so?
14. Some authors monitor torrent sites and have their publishers contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you?
I have never monitored a torrent site, but a few times I've come across (through Google alerts) a site that has bootlegged my book, and I do let the publisher know. I think the publisher and I both deserve to be paid for our work, even with electronic books. There's a lot of up-front money that goes into creating a book, even the e-version. Libraries, of course, are different because they lend them and get them back and monitor the book's whereabouts--and they bought it first.
15. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?
I'd love to see that as their goal; unfortunately, I don't see that happening, and in today's world, we need technical skills to get into the workforce. So that has to be a consideration, too.
16. If you could only recommend 10 books to a reader looking to be a well rounded and whole person what books would you suggest?
(In no particular order)
--7 Habits of Highly Effective People
--The Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer (great comprehensive history written for kids to comprehend but with enough meat for adults wanting an overview of civilization)
--Shakespeare (if you can't get through the English, get a kid's adaptation so you know the stories. Yes, I know some folks will call that sacrilege, but I prefer to watch Shakespeare rather than read him.)
--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes
--A Wrinkle in Time
--One of the Harry Dresden novels by Jim Butcher
--The Secret Life of Bees (beautiful use of language)
--One of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels
I suppose I could have put a romance in there, but a well-rounded person can live that for themselves.
17. What are some of your favorite contemporary religious authors to read?
I don't really read "contemporary religious" books. I'm pretty mainstream in my reading when I do read, but a lot of my favorite authors (see below) incorporate faith into their writing, which I find refreshing.
What do I mean by "when I do read?" Busy as I am and also because I have an obsessive nature, I can either read or write. I cannot do both easily. So usually, I am writing, with spurts of gorging on books after each book is done.
18. What are some of your favorite fiction books and authors now?
Authors, in no particular order: Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Fred Warren, Michelle Buckman, Ann Lewis, John Desjarlais, and whoever catches my eye the next time I'm book shopping.
19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?
I hate this question because in general I don't re-read books--there are too many out there I still haven't read. However, the most important books I'd take are the Bible, a Roman missal (with all the prayers, etc), a couple of survival guides, and a scrapbook of my family.
20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists particularly those looking to have their art reflect their faith?
For everyone: Write. Learn. Get crits. Rewrite. Submit. Accept rejection; submit again. Rinse and repeat.
For those wanting to incorporate faith in their writing: Start by knowing your faith. Know what you believe and why. Then learn how to express it through your characters without preaching. Faiths are complex, and humans don't see any doctrine as cut-and-dried and are suspicious of anyone who tries to tell it that way. Do not narrate faith and do not allow your characters to narrate or dictate faith.
Thank you Karina for taking the time to answer some questions for the Readers at Book Reviews and More and for Catholic Dad's Online. I am sure it was an eye opener. In many ways Karina is like a catholic cross between Christopher Moore and Chuck Palahniuk. He writings are quirky fun and wlways worth a dive between the covers.
Books by Karina Fabian:
Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (2009)
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator (2010)
Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life (2010)
Mind Over Mind (2011)
Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I (2007)
Leaps of Faith (2008)
Infinite Space, Infinite God II (2010)
Firestorm of Dragons (2008)
The Zombie Cookbook (2009)
The Book of Tentacles (2009)
Twisted Fayrie Tales (2009)
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead (2011)
Mother Goose is Dead (September 2011)