Monday, March 12, 2012

Guest Post Karen Malena, author of "Son of Mine"

Hello, I’m Karen Malena. You are not going to hear a lot of professional jargon, big words or fancy lingo. You are going to hear a simple, yet amazing story, a journey of creativity which began in earnest about two years ago, but really a much longer time ago.

My love of the written word really came into play in my fourth grade year when I learned to do book reports. I was such a voracious reader even then it actually got me into trouble.

I was, and still am, the type of reader who will read something over and over again trying to soak it up.

That year, a book called The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell was my favorite. I devoured that book to the point when it was time for my book report, I wrote passages from the story word for word causing the teacher to accuse me of copying. I did no such thing. I was only guilty of loving that book so much I practically wanted to digest it.

As the years passed, reading was a comfort to me in my childhood. My home life was filled with fear as my mother was going through mental health issues which caused her to be hospitalized many times. These were the times I wanted to lose myself in a book, become someone else. My companions, my books, helped me to feel a sense of normalcy even if just for a short time.

When I became a teenager, I was diagnosed with curvature of the spine. A year long road to recovery would follow. Once again, beloved books were my solace, my healing.

Shortly afterward, I felt the creative juices stirring. Why couldn’t I put pen to paper? Why couldn’t I begin my own novel? Something which would knock readers socks off.

I set out to write a story about two best friends with a very tragic ending. I can’t remember now how long that story was, but it felt great, serious and sad. I couldn’t wait for my mom, who was well by then, to read this masterpiece. I just knew she would clutch it to her bosom, moved to tears by the sadness of the story.

What happened next was not the outcome I had hoped for. My sad tale caused my mother to burst into gales of laughter. It was melodramatic and sappy. I slunk away, tail between my legs and tore the offensive story to shreds. It would be a long while before I would write again.

My life was to take a big turn a few years ago. After a divorce and remaining single for several years, I met a man online who lived an hour away from me. Now you have to understand. I am from a very small town. There was no way I would ever consider relocating to another town-- especially one which seemed like the big city to me.

After some time praying and reflecting, the move felt right to me. I married my online sweetheart, yet something was missing in our lives. A spiritual element was lacking in our world.

We spent two years of searching for the right church. Something which would inspire us and challenge us. We found a great church and joined a small group bible study.

It was in this bible study I would meet up with my destiny. A man who was a writer and had a few published works was in the class with me. After telling him of my dream, he talked with a few others about starting our own writer’s group.

It began in earnest with our members submitting perhaps a chapter or two of something they had been working on for critique. I had an idea simmering, but my insecurity held me back. The thought of someone laughing at me once again was always in the back of my mind.

I told a woman in our group of my story and the instant and positive feedback I received from her floored me. She loved the sound of my story! This was the first encouragement I had gotten for an idea of mine in a long time. I left that night feeling high as a kite and began my story.

Over the next several months, bits and pieces of my story emerged. The people in my group began telling me, “You really have something here. Wow, you really write gritty and from the heart.” I left each group soaring.

Months later, my dear friend from the group, Karen Vogel would tell me of a young publishing company named Trestle Press she was looking into. Would I want them to contact me about my story? I felt scared as the insecurity threatened once again, but found myself saying yes.

The rest is history. My first novel, which was then entitled Son of Mine came out on October 8, 2011. Nothing in the world can prepare you for the excitement you see when your name appears as an author on the online bookstores. Everything I had dreamed about as a young girl had now come true.

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