CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

VBT Pit Stop & Interview with Karen Bell - Walking With Elephants


Today we are pleased to welcome Karen Bell, with her novel Walking With Elephants. It is said that this title can be compared to Bridget Jones meets Emma Bombeck, but it's much more and I am very excited to have Karen with us today. Welcome Karen.


Walking with Elephants is Karen Bell’s first novel, although she is not new to writing. After earning a graduate degree in mass communication she spent 15 years as an editor and writer of business materials. She says, “Inspiration for this novel came from my direct contact with the joys of Corporate America and the balancing act that comes with being a working mother.” Currently, Ms. Bell resides in Ponte Vedra, Fl with her husband and photos of her children, granddaughters, and grandson who live everywhere BUT Ponte Vedra, Fl





WI: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As a young woman. Writing always came easy to me and poetry writing as well. I started a novel when I was in my twenties but my children were young and I could not focus. But I always had the urge inside me. Felt a need to do it.

WI: What inspired you to pen this particular novel/book?
One day at work, I walked into the ladies room and there was a woman pumping her breast. Somewhere, right now, I thought to myself, there is a baby crying. It didn’t seem right to give up mothering to sit in a cubicle all day. I also experienced first hand how awful women are to each other in the workplace. There definitely needs to be changes in how we incorporate the blending of raising families and work and creating a camaraderie among women who work together.

WI: What road blocks did you come across while writing this story?
Carpooling, cleaning house, grocery shopping and cooking dinner were the most interruptive. I started this story several different times and it was when I wrote in the first person that I found my voice and it got easier. But it took ten years to finish this book.

WI: What do you do if a story just doesn't seem to flow the way you were hoping it would?
Nothing. I wait and it comes to me. In fact, my characters take on a life of their own and sometimes lead the story and tell me what’s next. Also when I am in the midst of writing, I am thinking about it all the time and the story comes to me in bits and pieces away from the computer. It’s a weird unstructured process of which I am just carried along and telling a story that seems to want to be told. That’s the fun of it for me. The hook.

WI: What has been the hardest thing about marketing this story?
Knowing where to market, the right place to spend time, energy, and cash. I’m always looking for some website that I can mention my book. I found a book club online and I kept suggesting my book as one of their monthly selections and low and behold it became this December’s selection. Being a pest sometimes works, LOL.

WI: What is one thing you wished you knew before, that you now know about marketing?
That I wish I had a publisher who had a budget for advertising and to get newspapers to write reviews. I sent every newspaper a query for a review and none responded except my paper here in Jacksonville. She gave me quite a good review.

WI: What is one piece of advice that you received to help your writing that you still carry with you today?
Just start writing anything and it will morph into a story. I took a class where the instructor told us to think about a naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling and then…go. My story morphed into a tale about two friends who flew small planes in the Alaska wilderness. I really did…go.

WI: Tell us what a day in your writing life is like, do you have any writing quirks?
My biggest obstacle to writing is…writing. Once I start I’m good. My third novel has a learning curve about Greek mythology and I am stuck because I think I should become an expert. It is a departure from my other two novels so it’s a little scary. I have to get inside the story, have it be a part of me so I am thinking about it all the time. Have a thought just pop into my head. I’m not there yet with my third novel. It is more of a chore right now. And I’ve been very distracted because my publisher closed and I had to learn how to be a publisher. I am also shopping my second novel, so my creative juices are on hold. But I don’t listen to music or anything. The story grabs me while I’m away from the computer and then I have to write down what came to me and that gets me to the computer and to write. I also rewrite all the time. Comb back through before I move on. Sometimes it’s necessary because if I stay away too long from the writing, I forget what I wrote and repeat myself.

WI: Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I hope I get traction with my second novel. I feel it is very, very good, but the process to get it published is painful. I don’t like it at all. I also am afraid of a success because right now writing is a calling but I have no deadlines except the aging process, LOL. It is my life’s dream to be taken seriously, to be considered talented. But I also have other interests and I do not want to be consumed by commercial success and having no personal life. Be careful what you wish for is the old adage.

WI: Are you currently working on any new projects?
Yes, I mentioned my third novel that will weave the goddess realm into our reality. And my second novel, Sunspots, is a paranormal romance of sorts. I think of myself as writer of magical realism with themes that circle around the empowerment of women.

WI: Do you have any upcoming events or special news you would like to share with our readers? 
Well, on January 9, I will be a guest at a book club in Pompano Beach, to discuss my novel and sign some books. I hope to give away books on this tour at every stop.

WI: Where can readers find you?


WI: Where can your book be purchased?
Amazon, B&N.com, Smashwords, and just google it—it’s everywhere online both print and all eformats

Suze Hall is at a crossroads. Her nemesis at work, Wanda, has been promoted and now will be her boss. Her husband, Bob, is leaving her and the three kids for a six-month sabbatical down under. To top it off, her best friend, Marcia, is missing in action--playing footsie with some new boyfriend!

Adding to this disaster stew, David, the gorgeous hunk who broke her young-girl's heart has coincidentally popped back into her life and has something she desperately needs to keep her job.

Walking with Elephants, a lighthearted slice-of-life story, brings to the table the serious work/family issues facing women today. It explores the modern dichotomy of a workplace that is filled with homemakers who still must cook, clean, carpool on nights and weekends, shop for prom dresses, and "create" the holidays—such as Suze. But it also is filled with women who have the same drive as men, have no family responsibilities, and will do what ever it takes to get ahead.  

So step into the shoes of Suze Hall and commiserate over workplace politics, titillate your sexual fantasies, ride the wave of a working mother, and fall-down laughing. 

The cover is a symbol of the message of empowerment of women. The protagonist, Suze, writes and essay at the end of the novel suggesting a paradigm shift from the patriarchal societies that have been in place for centuries to a matriarchy, such as is found in nature. Like elephants, hence the title.

 Reviewer said it's like Bridget Jones meets Erma Bombeck.



We want to thank you for taking time to chat with us today and offering your writing & marketing experiences. You can follow Karen's tour HERE for chances to win a copy of Walking With Elephants and let her know you stopped in today by leaving a comment.

We wish you much success in the future.


61 Responses to "VBT Pit Stop & Interview with Karen Bell - Walking With Elephants"

BK said...

Thank you for taking time to chat with us today Karen. It was a pleasure having you with us.

Karen S. Bell said...

You are most welcome.

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