Kobo New Voices in Fiction Spotlight: Karen Walker Thompson
What a week it’s been. We’ve had so much fun learning about our featured authors’ journeys as they’ve brought their stories to life and we’ve been thrilled to share them with you.
Our final spotlight is Karen Walker Thompson, who in her new book The Age of Miracles explores what would happen to life as we know it if the earth’s rotation slowed and our days grew by many hours—all set against a backdrop of family turmoil, young love, and a coming-of-age.
And don’t forget – today’s your last chance to grab great deals on other debut titles for $4.99 at Kobo.com. Follow us on Twitter with the #KoboNewFiction hashtag.
Kobo: What dives you to write?
Karen Walker Thompson: I’ve always loved to write, even as s a child, but I really got serious about writing fiction when I was in college and took my first creative writing workshops. My first writing teacher was Aimee Bender, and she really helped me see how many possibilities there are in fiction, how many different ways to tell a story.
Kobo: Why did you choose to write about the particular subject in the book?
KWT: I got the idea from something that really happened. In 2004, I read that the earthquake that caused the tsunami in Indonesia that year was so powerful that it affected the rotation of the earth, shortening our 24-hour days by a few microseconds each. I found that news incredibly haunting, and I began to wonder right away what would happen—and how we would respond—if a much larger change ever took place. In the book, the earth’s rotation slows by a large amount and the days grow by many hours. I always knew, though, that the story would focus on the lives of just a few characters, and especially, the life of one young girl.
Kobo: Do you feel your characters speak about different facets of your life?
KWT: I try to think of my characters as real people, separate from me, but I did draw on some of my own memories of what it felt like to be an 11-year-old girl, how sensitive I was and how shy. But Julia’s childhood is much more tumultuous than mine was.
Kobo: What was the feeling you had when you finished writing the book? Was it hard to let go of your characters?
KWT: By the time I finished writing and then editing the book, I was ready to be done with it. I had spent four years working on it almost every day, so I felt excited to work on something new.
Kobo: What books do you feel influenced you the most when writing The Age of Miracles?
KWT: It’s hard to choose just a few, since I think I learn something from almost every book I read, but here are the ones I picked up most often as I was writing The Age of Miracles: The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Blindness by Jose Saramago.