Today I’d like to introduce Karen Richardson. This is the latest in my occasional features in which authors tell us about their books, their writing lives, and anything else they wish to share.
Karen has always observed the world as a running narrative, and encounters with others as fodder for a story. Over the years her desire to put words to paper to tell a story has never wavered. While in school, she wrote for the school newspaper and yearbook. She has had several magazine articles published. She has a strong faith, and believes in life-long learning.
Where did you get your idea?
When I share with friends that my novel, Curtains for Maggie, was published this year, many times they ask where I got the idea. For me, story ideas are the easiest part of being a writer. The difficult part is plotting, writing in deep point of view, and character development.
The idea for Curtains for Maggie came from an everyday occurrence. As a working mom, I would drop my son off at school every morning on my way to the office. My job required me to dress in suits, hose, and heels. The commute was about 30 minutes to my office. Plenty of time to think.
Often as I exited the school parking lot, I saw three women standing by their cars, chatting. Most of the time they were wearing workout clothes. As I drove past, I wondered what they were talking about. Who were these three women? Did they work part time? Were they married, single, divorced, or widowed? I knew that each had at least one child in elementary school. My thirty-minute commute became time to think about their stories.
From there my story took off. I decided they were probably talking about life, kids, and family. What were their challenges? The idea of getting lost in their roles as mothers and wives came to me. So, the theme became rediscovery. A loss of something personal that the protagonist would share with her girlfriends. When I asked a few of my friends about the theme, they were emphatic that they did struggle with losing their own identity to the roles they loved but sometimes wished didn’t dominate their lives.
The characters and storyline for Curtains for Maggie came to life. I drew on my own experiences as a wife, a mother, and then a single parent. I do believe that God doesn’t waste our talent or the storms we go through. Through the storms, we grow closer to Him, our faith is enriched, and our ability to empathize with others is expanded. For me, the storms do all this along with the development of great characters and storylines.
About Curtains for Maggie
Maggie Nelson lost her identity. Nora St. Claire lost her husband. And Jen Stephens lost her job—sort of. The three friends from college, now in their forties, rediscover a special part of themselves that time and relationships have stolen.
Maggie revisits a passion from her past – acting. With this, her family begins a season of their orderly, planned, and scheduled lives becoming not so orderly. How can Maggie regain her identity without losing her husband?
Nora is an interior designer whose husband was killed in the line of duty. After years of mourning, she is ready to rebuild her life. Her career launches when she wins a difficult client for the firm. And in her social life, she finds herself volunteering alongside a man who sparks her interest. Work, friends, dating—what will the design of her new life be?
Jen is a free-spirited personal trainer who never expected to find herself as an assistant manager at the gym. The role is a stretch, but it includes all the components of healthy living that she believes in. The transition has a few twists and turns. Jen navigates well with the full support of her husband, and her two friends. And yet … is it the best fit for Jen?
Their path is a messy one, but isn’t that true about life? Along the way, each woman discovers that she is more precious than rubies. Even in her imperfection.
Curtains for Maggie is available on Amazon.