Karen Brichoux

Current and Upcoming Books

Available Now
"Draws the reader into the story and never lets go." --RT Bookclub
"Brichoux reminds the reader how powerfully the landscape of 'home' can define a person." -- High Country News
Previously Released
"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews


Tracking the Wild Novel III

October 5, 2005

October 2005 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: Tracking the Wild Novel
*What I’m Reading


*Contest. Yes, at long last, I’m holding a drawing for a signed, first-edition copy of THE GIRL SHE LEFT BEHIND. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you don’t have to do a thing. I will hold a random drawing from among the names of my newsletter subscribers sometime in late in October. Good luck!

*If you would like to be added to my snail-mail mailing list to receive a postcard informing you of upcoming releases (this amounts to one postcard a year and is the only thing I will send you), send me your mailing address at email@karenbrichoux.com Please put “mailing list” in the subject line. The amount of spam lately is making it difficult to figure out what is legitimate e-mail (this goes for all e-mail). I try to always respond when I receive an e-mail (even if it takes a few days), so if you don’t get a reply, I probably didn’t get your e-mail.

*Article: Tracking the Wild Novel: Cleaning House

Okay, if you’ve been following the progress of this new novel, then you know that last month I had a big, fat, scary idea and I was so courageously heading out to follow it. Well, I ran into a snag.

Here’s the problem. Authors can be seduced by the dark side. In the galaxy of “Writerville,” that darkness takes the form of style over substance. Even a good idea can fall victim to the seduction. Instead of complex, new, and challenging characters, it’s entirely possible that what is seducing the author is the complexity, newness, and challenge of structure.

Clear as mud? My challenging, exciting idea of last month turned out to be a sham. As I worked with it, I discovered that I wasn’t interested in the characters so much as the challenge it presented to the art and craft of writing.


So the idea went to some back-burner world to wait until the characters grow enough to take over the story.

This wasn’t easy for me. I liked the idea, but was struggling with those first pages. Struggling with the opening of a book is akin to a glaring neon sign that blinks “Not the right idea” fifty million times or so until I figure it out. But I liked the idea, so I hung on to it for a little too long. Finally, I told myself I had to give it up. I didn’t have a single idea in the wings. Nothing. Discouraged, I dropped everything and went on a long walk.

Then the miracle happened. As it always does, if I just give it a chance.

While I was walking, a cast of characters dropped in for coffee. They had just been waiting for me to clean house and throw away the trash of the old idea. Their stories came fast and thick, and I broke speed records getting home from the walk so I could jot down three single-spaced notebook pages of images and snips of conversation. These people are real. I’m enjoying getting to know them and, once the book is finished and, hopefully, published, I hope you will, too!

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few holes in the idea that still need filling. But sometimes you have to clean house before strangers feel welcome to stop by and introduce themselves.

*What I’m Reading:

HOW TO BE LOST by Amanda Eyre Ward

CLAY’S QUILT by Silas House

THE TRUELOVE by Patrick O’Brian

THE WINE-DARK SEA by Patrick O’Brian


HOME AT LAST by Jerri Corgiat