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Karen A. Wyle
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message 1: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
Please welcome Karen Wyle to our group Q and A discussions. Karen was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle's childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist. While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9.

Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction. It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice. Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.

Her Goodreads Profile: Karen A. Wyle

Twin-Bred by Karen A. Wyle The Baby by Karen A. Wyle

message 2: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Good morning and happy Friday! I'm open for questions. :-)

message 3: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
I have a question, How did you come up with the idea for Twin-Bred?

message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments I've been reading science fiction for decades, so I tend to see events and information through a science fiction lens. I read an article about some amazing research into how twins interact in utero. The researchers documented synchronized movement, touching, even kissing. Either the article or a comment on the article mentioned that people whose twins die before birth can suffer long-term psychological trauma.

It occurred to me -- as it occurs to my protagonist, Mara Cadell -- that this enduring bond between twins just might bridge the gap between different sentient species, if one could somehow arrange for host mothers to carry fraternal twins of the two species. But why would it occur to Mara? Perhaps because she was a twin -- and a twin whose bond had been broken.

But Mara and Levi wouldn't let the mere fact that Levi was never born keep him out of the story. . . .

message 5: by Ali (new)

Ali | 24 comments Karen,
I'm an original east coaster as well and just happen to be in Terre Haute.
My question: Do you or have you ever used any of the Indiana U. press for publishing or anything? What are your thoughts on the publishing world (self and/or traditional)?

message 6: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Hello, Ali! Do you consider yourself a Hoosier now?

I've never used the IU press in any way. As for self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, my views have changed quite a lot in the last couple of years.

Twin-Bred was my first novel (not counting the 200-page, 100-chapter picaresque ramble I produced about a boy and his dragon when I was ten years old). I have a number of unpublished picture book manuscripts, and had made sporadic attempts to find an agent and/or publisher for them, so I wasn't totally unfamiliar with the publishing landscape -- but during the months I spent editing Twin-Bred, I made a point of getting up to date and finding out all I could about how to write query letters, how to find the right agent, etc. During that process, I kept encountering two themes:
--the increasing practicality and popularity of self-publishing;
--the upheaval and uncertainty in the traditional publishing landscape.

As an attorney, I read with special interest the accounts of how agents and (especially) publishers were reacting to the rise of ebooks and self-publishing by inserting far-reaching "rights grabs" in their contracts, often buried in fine print that authors were likely to overlook. I compared the timelines of self-publishing and traditional publishing, as well as the degree of control a debut author could retain. I read about how much promotion even a traditionally published author would have to do for herself, and how short a time a traditionally published book would remain on bookstore shelves. By the time I had a master list of agents to query, I had decided to self-publish.

The major negative for self-publishing is the lack of widespread bookstore distribution -- but most debut authors can't count on having their books in Barnes & Noble nationwide, and if they are carried, they're likely to be spine-out on a shelf, where no one who isn't already looking for the book is likely to notice it. (I follow another author, Roni Loren, who got started at about the same time as I did, and she's gotten great bookstore placement -- but she writes erotic romance, and her publisher, Berkley Heat, seems to treat authors and their books unusually well.)

During this same period, I did find and sign with an agent for my picture book manuscripts (Sara Camilli). I considered the task of self-publishing a picture book too daunting, since I'm no artist. The process of having the picture books submitted to editors has been fascinating and frustrating. I may eventually hunt for an artist who wants to join me in self-publishing one or more of the picture books.

message 7: by Ali (new)

Ali | 24 comments Hoosier? - I'll be polite and anser with an enthusiastic, HELL NO. INtersting info on the publishing end, thanks.

Um, like a Freelance Illustrator per sé?...if you'd like to see a taste of my portfolio send me a private message.

message 8: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments I'm doing something wrong when I try to send a message -- can you send me one (or email me at kawyle@att.net) with a link to your portfolio?

Ali wrote: "Hoosier? - I'll be polite and anser with an enthusiastic, HELL NO. INtersting info on the publishing end, thanks.

Um, like a Freelance Illustrator per sé?...if you'd like to see a taste of my port..."

message 9: by Ali (new)

Ali | 24 comments Karen,

I saw a quick review that "The Baby" is a short story. What is it about and do you plan to turn it into a full length novel?

message 10: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments It's about human cloning -- specifically, a woman who cloned her deceased husband and carried the clone. I plan to do more stories on human cloning, some involving the legal issues it could present -- but I don't know when I'll get to those stories. I'm currently revising two novels: the sequel to Twin-Bred, and a family drama with mystery elements set in an afterlife of my own devising.

While looking at photos for the cover of the latter, I came upon many photos that I thought could inspire interesting stories -- so some of those may come before the continuation of the cloning series.

message 11: by Jason (new)

Jason Baldwin-Stephens | 69 comments Hi Karen,

First off I think Twin-Bred sounds like an incredibly original idea and while I haven't had a chance to read it yet I'm looking forward to the opportunity.

Between Twin-Bred and The Baby it seems as if you have a heavy interest in genetics. If you don't mind my asking, how did that come about? Was it something that grew from your love for science fiction?


message 12: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Hi, Jason -- and thanks for the kind words! :-)

I don't know exactly when or how I got interested in genetic tinkering. I follow current events closely, and am rooting for advances in medical and biological technology. I'm sure my hopes for the future are related to a lifetime of reading SF.

As far as cloning is concerned, I'm always interested in people's visceral emotional reactions to policy questions like "Should people be able to clone people?" I see some philosophical/psychological issues that will need to be addressed if people are allowed to clone themselves, each other, famous high-achievers, celebrities, etc. -- but I'm not in favor of banning the process.

message 13: by Jason (new)

Jason Baldwin-Stephens | 69 comments Thank you, Karen.

message 14: by David (new)

David Batchelor | 15 comments Welcome to the world of authors, and good luck! You make interesting choices of story topics and I look forward to reading them!

message 15: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Thanks, David!

message 16: by Claude (last edited Jun 15, 2012 03:13PM) (new)

Claude Dancourt (claudedancourt) | 9 comments Hello Karen,

Could you describe your characters with only one word each?


Claude Dancourt

message 17: by Karen (last edited Jun 15, 2012 03:20PM) (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Yikes! Well, I'll give it a try (for a few major characters in Twin-Bred).
--Dr. Mara Cadell: intense.
--Levi Thomas (Mara's deceased twin): cynical.
--Laura Hanson (host mother): kind.
--Veda Seeling (host mother): pragmatic.
--La-ren (a Tofa Twin-Bred): promising.
--Councilman Kimball: zealot.

message 18: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments BTW, I'll be heading out soon, for a few hours. I'll try to check in by phone at some point.

message 19: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments I'm back. Any last questions before we call it a night?

message 20: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Good morning, all!

message 21: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 16 comments Hi Karen,
Interesting about your first novel at 10. Was it also sci fi and do you still have it?

message 22: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Kollenborn (kollenborn) | 2 comments What author inspired you to write as a child and now as an adult. How have these authors changed the way you perceive the world?

message 23: by Arleen (new)

Arleen Williams | 68 comments Hi Karen,
I'll admit upfront that I'm not a science fiction reader. That said the premise of Twin Bed intrigues me as does the connection between twins. I just finished The Lace Reader. Have you read it?
Also, thanks for your thoughts on publishing. You clearly did you homework. Do you find that all of your sales are on-line? Can you get into any bookstores or libraries?

message 24: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Whee! I just ran an errand -- I'll try to catch up!

Erma: I'd call the novel fantasy, of a particularly rambling sort. The dragon's relationship to the boy went through various bizarre transformations. I still have the book somewhere. It's been years since I even glanced at it. There were some bits of good writing in it -- and if I were ever psychoanalyzed, the doc could spend a decade mining that book.

K.P.: I read voraciously as a child, but I don't remember that much about what I read. I know I read A Wrinkle in Time, and that it made a big impression on me. I believe I started reading science fiction somewhere in my early teens. [I'll post this now and continue the answer in the next post.]

message 25: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Continuing my response to K.P.: There's a story that might be by Isaac Asimov, about a man who keeps hearing about a way to visit your ideal life, and toys with the idea of doing it, but is too caught up in his mundane, day-to-day existence. It turns out that the mundane existence IS his ideal life, and that he's been able to live it for a while before waking up back in the post-apocalyptic rubblescape that is his life. That story's theme of valuing the ordinary things has stayed with me.

In general, decades of reading science fiction have led me to expect progress, and to get confused about what's already been invented :-).

Two authors who've had an effect on my world view: George Eliot and Mary Doria Russell. 19th century novelist George Eliot unflinchingly confronted the immutability of the past, and in particular one's sins and errors. She showed vividly that being a good Joe, and being sorry, and wanting to make up for things, isn't enough to undo the effects of past misdeeds. (A contemporary author of YA, Caroline Cooley, does the same thing.) Mary Doria Russell's brilliant dialogue and lovable characters are an inspiration to me as an author. She's also a master at dealing with unintended consequences.

message 26: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Arleen: I haven't read The Lace Reader. It sounds intriguing! Would you call it historical fiction, fantasy, or some blend of the two?

Most of my sales are online, and mostly ebooks. I haven't got into any libraries. I have Twin-Bred on consignment in two stores and soon in another, and my local Barnes & Noble is carrying it.

message 27: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz | 70 comments I very much enjoyed Twin-Bred and look forward to the sequel. How much commercial success has this excellent book found?

message 28: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Thanks, Lee!

It does very well during free promotions :-). The Kindle is selling at a slow but steady trickle. There's a bookstore in Colorado called Back to the Books that carries paper copies of indie books, and they just sold a copy.

message 29: by Lee (new)

Lee Holz | 70 comments I'm having the same experience with my first thriller The Abomination Assignment The Abomination Assignment (The Bowin Novels, #1) by Lee Holz
I have lots of free downloads (low to mid thousands) via KDP Select that seem to pull a fair number of sales (double digits). Have you tried POD? I have through Createspace and have sold paperbacks in the low teens. My Kindle sales seem to be growing (slowly) due to promotions. I hope you do well because you deserve it with a terrific book.

message 30: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Yes, I used CreateSpace to print a paperback, and it's available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online, as well as in the few stores I mentioned earlier. Aside from one glitch about a shelf display code, things have gone quite smoothly with CreateSpace -- and I don't pay them for any services.

message 31: by Ann (last edited Jun 16, 2012 01:01PM) (new)

Ann Lee (goodreadscomannlee) | 39 comments Hello,
I have placed your books "Twin Breds," and "The Baby," on my list to read. It sounds very interesting. I was going to ask you how did you become interested in science fiction but I read the previous post where you answered that question. Good luck to you in all your writing endeavors.

message 32: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Thanks, Ann!

message 33: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Out for the night....

message 34: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinhallock) | 60 comments Hi Karen,

I find myself at the same point you were when you were investigating agents and have come to the same conclusion. Indie publishing presents a lot of opportunities, and the current climate of "seize all the rights, especially the ones that might be important in the future" is too threatening for me to go the traditional route. Indie publishing may take longer to build a fan base, but at least it guarantees authors have a chance to build a fan base. It seems to me that traditional publishing has no such guarantee. Physical shelf space is limited and new books are being constantly released, replacing those that don't sell "well". Virtual shelf space is unlimited. :)

message 35: by Karen (last edited Jun 17, 2012 05:24AM) (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Kevin, Kristine Kathryn Rusch just posted a column about the "Hurry up and wait" experience of self-publishing (get the book out as quick as you're able, and then settle in with patience for it and subsequent books to make money) and the "Wait and hurry up" experience of traditional publishing (wait for years for a book to come out, and then hope it sells lots of copies during a relatively short time). It's at http://kriswrites.com/2012/06/13/the-....

message 36: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinhallock) | 60 comments What a great blog! I'm definitely a "Hurry up and wait" kind of guy. :)

Have you done much publicity for your books? The blog said that publicity doesn't work for new author, and that's one of the areas I haven't decided on yet.

message 37: by Jason (new)

Jason Baldwin-Stephens | 69 comments Hello again, Karen!

What is your favorite sentence that you've written so far as a writer?

message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Kevin -- I've solicited book reviews from book bloggers, and done blog posts and author interviews. I think the book reviews have been by far the most fruitful publicity -- several people have commented that they downloaded my book from Amazon because of the number of favorable reviews.

message 39: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Jason -- my favorite lines tend to be spoilers, or meaningless out of context, or both. Here's two of them: the last line of the second-to-last paragraph of Chapter 19 of Twin-Bred, and the very last line of that book (not counting the Appendix). (There's a teaser for you! :-) )

message 40: by Jason (new)

Jason Baldwin-Stephens | 69 comments Karen wrote: "Jason -- my favorite lines tend to be spoilers, or meaningless out of context, or both. Here's two of them: the last line of the second-to-last paragraph of Chapter 19 of Twin-Bred, and the very la..."

Can't wait to read them!

Thank you.

message 41: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 45 comments Hi Karen

I downloaded Twin-Bred for my Kindle and read it straight through over the course of 2-3 days. The story premise drew me in quickly, the characters were fascinating and fully drawn, and your intelligent and insightful writing held me through the story, even when there were times when I had to suspend disbelief (I don't want to give spoilers, so let me just say that at the end when they build a _____________, I thought whaaaat?) Actually now that I think of my questions, I realize they would all be spoilers, so I won't ask them but I will say that I am looking forward to the sequel, for the enjoyability (?) of your writing and to follow this story and maybe to have some of my questions answered.

Thanks for a great read and for taking the time to do this Q&A,

message 42: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Mari -- thanks for your comments! I'm so glad you enjoyed Twin-Bred. (BTW, any time you like a book, it greatly helps the author if you drop by Amazon and leave a review....)

I've been hoping to publish the sequel in October, and it still may happen -- but if not, it'll probably come out in December. (November is for NaNoWriMo!)

I've had a great time doing this Q&A!

message 43: by Mari (new)

Mari Mann (marimann) | 45 comments Oh Karen, I meant to mention that and forgot! I saw at the end of Twin-Bred that you thanked the Office of Light and Letters- so did you write Twin-Bred during a Nanowrimo? My first novel, Parisian by Heart, was written during Nanowrimo 2009. It was the first time I did Nano, and I entered the novel into Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award and got to the quarter-finals with it. I was thrilled and could not be more grateful for Nanowrimo for pushing me into writing full time. When did you start doing Nano and for how long? So you plan to do it this November? What has been your experience with it? (Some questions I can ask without spoilers!)

Thanks again,

message 44: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments Congrats on making the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarter-finals!

I did write the rough draft of Twin-Bred during my first NaNoWriMo in 2010. I've since done Camp Nano (a somewhat stripped-down summertime version) once, and NaNoWriMo a second time. I find it a terrific way to get my imagination going while silencing my inner editor. I do, however, have to do a great deal of editing afterward. . . .

I am planning to do NaNo again this November -- possibly to write a sequel to the novel I did during the 2011 Camp Nano. That novel (still untitled, despite a looming self-imposed publication deadline) is a family drama with mystery elements, set in an afterlife of my own devising. (I'll probably do a cover reveal sometime in the next few weeks on my blog, Looking Around, at http://looking-around.blogspot.com.)

message 45: by Karen (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 89 comments I'm guessing I've had all the questions I'm going to have. Thanks, all!

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