Bios (short and longer)
Karen McCreedy writes science-fiction, and British history and film-related non-fiction. She lives on the coast in West Sussex.
Karen McCreedy, who grew up in Staffordshire, now lives in West Sussex, after spending twenty years in London. Her first published piece appeared in 'Yours' magazine in 1996 and she has since written articles on films and British history for a number of magazines including ‘Evergreen’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’. In 2009, her essay on ‘British Propaganda Films of the Second World War’ was published in ‘Under Fire: A Century of War Movies’ (Ian Allen Publishing). Her short stories have appeared online and in anthologies by Fiction Brigade, Zharmae, Audio Arcadia, Luna Station Publishing, Horrified Press, Reflex Fiction and NewCon Press. Karen also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’; and took the runner-up spot again in the Bognor Regis Writers' Club 2019 Short Story competition with a story entitled 'The Godfather'.
Her first novel, ‘Unreachable Skies’, was published by Mirror World in 2018; the sequel, 'Exile' will be published in September 2019.
Karen’s day-jobs have included various Civil Service posts, a summer patrolling the foreshore in Bognor Regis, and admin work at the University of Chichester. She has now retired, and when not writing, she enjoys reading, watching films, local WI and U3A activities, volunteering with the South Downs National Park Volunteer Rangers, and spending time with friends and family. She has also flown in a Spitfire!
About the ‘Unreachable Skies’ trilogy
Published by Mirror World, the Unreachable Skies trilogy tells the story of Zarda, an apprentice Fate-seer on a planet where it is normal to fly. Only half-trained, she is ill-equipped to deal with the consequences of a plague that has resulted in wingless hatchlings. Efforts to fight prejudice and superstition lead to death for some and exile for others; while Zarda’s own journey to understanding her role in events may lead her to abandon all tradition in order to protect her peoples’ future.
The first book ('Unreachable Skies') was published in 2018; the second book, 'Exile', is published in September 2019, with the third due out in 2020.
"In the tradition of Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffrey, with ‘Unreachable Skies’ Karen McCreedy has created a nuanced alien culture populated by compelling characters." – James Swallow (New York Times Bestselling author)
How long have you been a writer?
I’ve enjoyed scribbling down stories since I was a child – one of my first written pieces, a primary-school essay inspired by the then-emerging island of Surtsey, was read out to the class by our teacher. But it’s only in recent years that I’ve had the confidence to submit pieces to competitions, publishers and magazines.
It’s a genre I’ve always loved, right back to when I watched Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Star Trek on the television as a child. You can read – or watch – the stories as straightforward adventures in imagination, or take away clever commentaries on contemporary problems. The possibilities are endless.
How did you get the idea for Unreachable Skies?
It’s not how I usually come up with ideas, but in this case I dreamed it up! Or, at least, I woke one morning with the line “he has no wings” in my head. I scribbled it down (writers should always keep a notebook handy!) and began to work out the story from there.
Why make it a trilogy?
I didn't set out to write a trilogy! I set out to write a novel, and my first few drafts encompassed the entire story. But the more I edited and redrafted, the more I realised that, to do the story and my characters justice, I would have to spread the plot over several books. It meant a lot more work, but having a series of books to offer strengthened my pitch when I submitted the first volume to publishers.
'Exile' is the middle book of three. Did that bring particular challenges?
It did take me a while to work out the best place to draw the book to a conclusion. I needed to round off one aspect of my characters' journey, but leave plenty of problems and challenges for them to overcome in the final book. I've also introduced new locations, and some new characters. Many of those will continue on through to the third volume, so there's been a lot to consider, and a lot of notes made to keep track of who's doing what and where.
What was your route to publication?
It took me about 18 months to find a publisher, before Mirror World responded to my initial submission with "we'd like to see more!".
I wouldn't have ruled out self-publishing, but I wanted to try the more traditional route first. I was anxious to get the validation that came with finding a publisher - small or large didn't matter - who felt it was worthwhile investing their time and money in my work.
After sending 'Unreachable Skies' to a number of Agents and Publishers, I found Mirror World through the 'Markets' section in 'Writing Magazine'. Their requirements seemed to be a good match for my novel, so I sent off my first three chapters, and four months later I was sent a contract for a three-book deal. Such a great feeling!
What advice would you give to budding writers?
Persist! You don’t have to write every day, but you should try to write often and regularly. Mark out a time-slot that’s always reserved for writing, and stick to your schedule. Show up at your desk and write. It doesn’t matter if your first draft isn’t good – they rarely are – but you need to have words on paper (or a screen) before you can edit and polish them. Once you’re ready to send out your work to competitions and publishers, again you have to be persistent. You won’t be successful with every piece, but keep writing, keep learning, keep submitting, and eventually you WILL get there.
300 dpi images available on request.
- 'Karen Creates a Sci-Fi World for Debut Novel' (Bognor Regis Post)
- 'Debut Sci-Fi Book for Bognor Regis Author' (Shoreham Herald)
An Author Event has been arranged at Cheadle Community Library, Staffordshire, on Saturday 26th October 2019. Karen will be reading from both her novels, and answering questions from the audience. There will be opportunities to buy signed copies of 'Exile' and to catch up with 'Unreachable Skies' (though stocks of the first volume are limited). Please email Cheadle.firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your ticket.
‘Unreachable Skies’ was shortlisted in the 2016 Writing Magazine “Win a Book Deal” competition.
Press contact details
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