Interview With The FABOOO Author Karen McCombie!!

If you guys remember, a while back I hosted a competition to 'name the fish.' The winners could ask a 'Mystery Author' five questions of their choice. And so here as the winners answers, and the Mystery Author's answers!!

Hello Karen McCombie, thank you for letting me interview you.

        1. Why did you want to become an author?

It was an accident, sort of! I was working as a teenage magazine journalist (mostly writing quizzes and feel-good features) when I was asked to come up with some short stories for a magazine called 'Sugar' (the magazine is no longer around, through their website – Sugarscape – is). I realised I LOVED fiction, and tried to come up with an older teen book idea. It took a while, but finally one publisher commissioned me to write something for them. That first book turned into 71! (Currently working on my 72nd...)

2. How long have you wanted to be an author?
When I was eight, my teacher Miss Thomson suggested that perhaps I could be an author when I grew up. Maybe it was always at the back of my mind...

3. What's your favourite book not written by you?
It's a series called 'Little House on the Prairie' by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's Laura's autobiography of growing up in America in pioneering times. I still re-read the whole series every few years.

4. What's your favourite book written by you?
'Ally's World' is very special to me because I came to feel the whole family in that book were relatives of mine! (Mad but true...) And my new novel 'Life According To Alice B. Lovely' makes me very happy too. I loved writing that.

5. Did you ever feel like giving up?
Not really. My first few books didn't sell loads, but I was still working part-time on magazines, so it wasn't an all-or-nothing thing. And once 'Ally's World' began to take off, I felt secure enough to give up the teen mags and be a full-time author.

6. Can you give a title or first line that we can turn into a story?
FIRST LINE: "One minute Sadie was there, the next she was gone..."

7. What was  your inspiration for your stories?
The diaries I kept from the age of 10-17 gave me HEAPS of ideas for the 'Ally's World' books.

8. Who/what inspired you to become an author?
Miss Thomson for praising my writing when I was an ultra-shy eight-year-old, and my friend Marina, who asked me to write the short stories in 'Sugar' magazine.

9. What are your tips for budding writers?
Get yourself a small, funky notebook and take it out with you in your bag or pocket. Anytime an idea hits, or you hear or see something/someone interesting, scribble it down. That scribbled bit of inspiration could help you next time you have to write a short story at school, or fancy doing a bit of writing at home for fun. 

10. How much do you write in one week? 
It depends on the week! If I have some school visits to do, I won't get as much written. On a good week, I can get a few thousand words done.

11. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A bit of both. Whenever friends tell me something, they know there's a good chance that their rambles will end up in my books somewhere down the line.

12. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Well, he's not exactly a mentor, since I never met him and he's dead, but JD Salinger, who wrote the iconic teen novel 'Cather In The Rye', is a big hero. That book is just such a brilliant peek into an older teen boy's mind, even if it WAS written back in the 1950s.

13. What book are you reading now?
Sadly, I never have time to read much at the moment! I'm madly busy writing every minute I get, and that often includes evenings, once I get my daughter to bed. But I need recommendations, just in case I get myself some free time...

14. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
See above. Let me know who I'm missing!

15. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not in my latest. But there were a couple of things in two of my novels that I got talked out of doing, and I wish I'd fought harder for those elements.

And the questions I want to ask are...

 16. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
See above!

17. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It's hard when you have days when your brain seems frozen. When that happens, I tend to go out for a walk with my laptop, find a cafe and try writing there. Often the change of scene makes a real difference.

18. Who designed your book's covers?
The design department of each publisher I work with. I give them ideas about the story and themes and characters and they put something together, either themselves, or using illustrators. Though the silhouette of Alice B. Lovely is something I did! I just doodled it to give the design department an idea of what I thought would work - and they used it, much to my surprise.

19. What was the hardest part of writing your books?
See question 17.

20. Did you learn anything in particular from writing your books?
Just that I love doing my job, even with the occasional brain freeze and mad deadline!

21. When and why did you begin writing?
See question 1.

22. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I'll just send a group hug. *squeeze*

23. What made you give your books the title they have?
Sometimes the titles just pop into my head. 'Marshmallow Magic and the Wild Rose Rouge' was like that. Into my head it pinged, and I scribbled it into a notebook and let my mind wander to find a story to match. 

24. Is there a message in your books that you want readers to grasp?
I don't know if I have a message... but the messages I've had from some readers over the years make me very happy. In particular, girls who've felt like they're going through a difficult time for some reason and have said that reading my books cheered them up when they really needed it. That's good enough for me!

Thank you so much for this interview!

So, finally, the post that you were all waiting for!!



  1. How on earth did you manage to get an interview with her? I REALLY want to know!!

    1. Haha, you will never know!!! *Runs away, laughing manically*

      I met her at a Book Festival and then I asked her... (: