Karen Welch…Women Writers over 50
Each week Fifty Odd features women writers over the age of 50. This week’s featured author is Karen Welch. She has two new releases just in time for Christmas.
Karen Welch chose the long and winding road less traveled to eventually arrive at her career as a writer. She always intended to be a writer, but as so often happens, life interrupted the dream. Between the time she left college to become a wife and mother to the moment several years ago when it dawned on her there might only be another decade or two to accomplish her lifelong ambition, she worked at numerous and diverse occupations, bookstore clerk, medical office manager, dressmaker and florist to name just a few. Along the way, ideas and inspirations were collected and stored, apparently in anticipation of that long-awaited “right” time to write.
Now not only a wife and mother but a grandmother, she divides her time between family, a “day” job as night clerk in a small hotel, and spinning words into novels, proving it’s never too late to circle back and make good on a long-ago dream.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’m pretty sure as soon as I could read well I started stringing words together into stories. By the time I was ten or so, I was scribbling in notebooks. I was fascinated with words and had the vivid imagination of most adolescents. That combination led me to weave fantastic tales of romance and adventure. Fortunately, I was blessed with a wonderful teacher with whom I shared some of these tales, and she was the one who first inspired me to believe writing was a thing I might do some day.
What or who inspired you to write?
Reading probably inspired me as much as any other single force. There are so many good books, so much moving prose. As an only child growing up in a small village, books were the source of friendships and the window to distant worlds. Eventually, I think I wanted to write more books of the sort I loved to read. And as I mentioned above, one very special teacher encouraged me to develop some skill beyond scribbling my fantasies in notebooks.
What is your favorite part…(paragraph…page…line) from one of your books?
This passage from “Hearts Unfold” always sends a shiver down my spine, no matter how many times I read it. I’m not sure it’s my favorite out of all the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written, but it’s the passage that came to mind as something I wanted to share here.
“The actual miracle occurred—and she had no doubt it had been a miracle—when she’d stood beneath the stars and whispered her own name into the darkness. In the cold night wind, the fog that had for so long bound her mind began to clear, and she looked up to the sky, a broad black bowl over the valley filled with stars she hadn’t seen in years. The wind rustling in the branches above her seemed to whisper words of calm and comfort, as if to say don’t rush, take time to be very certain of each step.
She thought then of her father’s words. “You,” touching her hand with a trembling caress; “farm,” shaking his head sadly. And finally, after what seemed a herculean struggle, “home.” There had been tears in his eyes, as though it grieved him to have to remind her.
Looking up to the sky again, she felt the surge of her reviving spirit. Overhead, familiar constellations winked in place. A sliver of a moon hung low over the trees, too pale to compete with the brilliance of the stars. This would have been the perfect cinematic moment for a star to arc from its orbit and trail to the horizon, she mused. But nothing moved, save the gentle twinkling and one small cloud sailing just below the moon. This, she believed, was the sign she’d prayed for. The sky she’d gazed up at as a child was unchanged. The hills had not shifted their positions. The winter cold had arrived in the proper season. Some things, the most essential of things, remained constant. In her short life, so much had changed. So much that she’d almost been uprooted and lost herself. In this familiar place was the direction she’d been seeking, the peace and stability she craved. Had her parents been standing with her there, she could not have felt more confident of the path she saw opening before her.”
What have you learned from writing?
Writing is relatively easy for me. Getting to a final draft that tells the story in the best way I can make it is nigh unto impossible. I will never publish a book I’m completely satisfied with, I’m sure. But as my very wise husband and editor told me, “You have to let someone else read it and be the judge.”
What are you working on now…or what is your next writing project?
I’ve just finished my sixth novel, Shannon’s Daughter. It is the back story of Peg Shannon, one of the secondary characters in the Miracle at Valley Rise series, but it’s a departure from the series in that it doesn’t fall into the genre of inspirational romance. While it is a love story, there’s no happy-ever-after. It will be classified as literary fiction, which is new for me. I became intrigued with Peg and wanted to explore the reasons a woman of her generation might make the choices she made. Told from the point of view of her first lover, the story unfolds in a series of encounters between these two characters across a period of over twenty years. I hope readers of the series will venture with me into this slightly different type of work with an open mind. It has been a challenging story to tell, but I believe the end result will enlighten and entertain.
Links to Karen Welch’s books:
Links to Karen’s amazon author page
and her blog page: