The Memory of Water – Author Interview – Karen White

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Paperback Writer welcomes Karen White, author of the fiction novel, The Memory of Water. Karen shares with us how she came up with the idea for her book and how she develops her characters.




About the Book:

On the night their mother drowns trying to ride out a storm in a sailboat, sisters Marnie and Diana Maitland discover there is more than one kind of death. There is the death of innocence, of love, and of hope. Each sister harbors a secret about what really happened that night—secrets that will erode their lives as they grow into adulthood.

After ten years of silence between the sisters, Marnie is called back to the South Carolina Lowcountry by Diana’s ex-husband, Quinn. His son has returned from a sailing trip with his emotionally unstable mother, and he is deeply disturbed and refusing to speak. In order to help the traumatized boy, Marnie must reopen old wounds and bring the darkest memories of their past to the surface. While resisting her growing attraction to Quinn, she must also confront Diana, before they all go under…


Hi Karen White,


Welcome to Paperback Writer



Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?  

I got the initial idea for The Memory of Water  from an article in a women’s magazine that I read several years ago.  The story was written by two adult sisters who’d been raised by a mother with Bipolar Disorder.  As early as about 6 and 8 years of age, the girls were basically left to fend for themselves.  This story haunted me and stayed with me and was the springboard for the plot of my book.


Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

I have a general idea at first, but never an outline.  And then, once I get writing, I pretty much allow my characters to take over.  I try not to limit them by forcing them into the confines of an outline that I made before I got to know them!


Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

Vaguely.  But I always let the events leading up to the end really determine what happens.  It’s a scary way to write, but it does seem to work for me.


Do you have a process for developing your characters?

I spend a lot of time thinking about them way before I start writing the book.  I like to ‘get to know them’ before I commit them to paper.  My books are pretty much character-driven so it’s important that I have a good grasp on who they are and what makes them tick; where they’ve been and where they want—or don’t want—to go and why.


It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

I like to say that I write my alter ego into my characters.  They respond to life’s obstacles with a lot more strength, passion, intelligence, and understanding than I imagine I would in the same circumstance.  In other words, they’re who I’d like to be.


What is your most favorite part about this book?

The end!  And not just because it meant that I was done with the book.  It’s more because the characters resolved their conflicts and ended up where they were meant to be.


When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

Not before I’d completed the book.  I’d heard time after time that an agent or editor didn’t want to talk with a writer who did not have a completed book.  Remember, they can’t sell a partial book or an idea of a book; they need the entire manuscript in their hands before they can hope to do anything with it.


What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

I got an agent and sold my first book rather quickly in the beginning of my career so I was spared a lot of the unpublished angst.  But that doesn’t mean that everything’s been smooth sailing since then—far from it.  My first four books were published by small New York publishers who gave me tiny advances which matched my tiny print runs and didn’t do a lot for my career.  And then I was dropped by my second publisher and I didn’t think I’d ever sell another book.  But I did, and I realized that moving to another publisher was the best thing I ever could have done for my career.


What has been the best part about being published?

Hearing from fans!  It’s not like being Angelina Jolie or anything, but I still get a little thrill when  fan will write to me or stop by a signing and tell me how much they’ve enjoyed reading my books and how they’re first in line for whenever the next book comes out.


What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

I write about women who are at a crossroads in their lives and who must search inside of themselves to find the strength and wisdom to pick the right path.  I hope my readers will perhaps envision that they, too, can find what they need to overcome life’s obstacles.


Do you have plans to write another book?

My next book, The House on Tradd Street, comes out in November 2008.  I’m contracted for two more books for 2009 (including the sequel to The House on Tradd Street in November 2009) and I just signed a contract for two more books after that.


Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?

This is only my third day so it’s hard to really say at this point other than it’s great seeing my book cover all over the Internet and blogging with people who are just learning about me and my books.


Where can readers find a copy of your book?

Everywhere books are sold—online and at their nearest bookstores.  I’ve also had a lot of sightings at airport and Target stores!


Do you have a website for readers to go to?



Thank you, Karen, for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.

Thanks so much for having me, and happy reading!



THE MEMORY OF WATER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on June 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Karen’s tour in progress, visit in June. Leave a comment on their blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of their tour! One lucky winner will be announced on June 30! 




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This article was written by Rebecca

Rebecca is a book coach and editor. She guides aspiring writers, coaches, entrepreneurs and speakers to become self-published authors so they share their expertise, knowledge and passion. Thinking about writing a book? Contact her today to start writing your book.

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