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 IV

November 4, 2005

November 2005 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: Tracking the Wild Novel
*What Iím Reading


*On November 19 at 2:00pm, I will be reading from and signing copies of The Girl She Left Behind at Borders Bookstore, 91st & Metcalf in Overland Park, KS. Also attending this event are a number of other regional authors: Whitney Terrell, Timothy Shaffert, Carrie Kabak, Jerri Corgiat, Carla Cassidy, and Evan McNamara.

*Contest: Congratulations to Nikki, Roy, Martha, and Jeni, who won signed, first-edition copies of The Girl She Left Behind.

*I received a Halloween treat when my editor called to let me know that NAL has decided to shift my books to the Accent line. As readers, the only major change youíll probably notice is a band of color along the bottom of the cover and the Accent imprint seal. (That and a new release date--see below.) Accent is a more serious, general fiction imprint that includes books of interest to book clubs.

*Falling Into the World has a new release date of November 2006.

*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 ďmailing listĒ 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 donít get a reply, I probably didnít get your e-mail.

*Article: Tracking the Wild Novel: Early Stages

Getting started on a new novel is one of the hardest stages of the game for me. After the characters appear and introduce themselves, we sit and stare at each other for a while because we have nothing to say. This is a tricky point in the process. Itís the time when an idea can go stale. I donít have enough information yet to start the actual writing of the draft, but I canít just let the idea continue to sit or it will begin to fall apart, causing me to lose interest in the characters and their stories.

After a few good ideas disappeared into the sea of ennui, I discovered that my journal was a perfect place to keep the idea alive. I spend hours writing and alternately staring out the window. (And woe to the family member who interrupts me!)

I start by locating the characters within their setting(s). Iíll use pictures or memories; then spend a lot of time writing about the town and countryside where the characters live. This immersion tends to spark ideas for interaction between the characters and other people within the town. Conversations will appear side-by-side with descriptions of railroad tracks. I write down everything that comes to me.

As different ideas take shape, each one will spark a plot thread. Iíll follow that thread, trying to figure out why, how, when, who, and what. These threads will most likely never appear in the actual book. At this point, itís important to not write anything that is permanent. Iím only trying to get to know the characters and how they live.

Slowly, the characters and the intricacies of their lives become real to me, and eventually I discover what story the characters find important enough to tell.

It sounds a little...weird...and time consuming. But until these characters are real people to me, they wonít be real people to anyone else.

*What Iím Reading:

THE COMMODORE by Patrick OíBrian


THE MIDWIFEíS TALE by Gretchen Laskas