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Summer of Indie Greets Author Karen A. Wyle

Karen A. Wyle is Summer of Indie's guest author for today. Karen is the author of science-fiction novel Twin-Bred, and has given us an excerpt from Twin-Bred to share with readers, which we have included at the end of this article.


Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? After seventy years on Tofarn, the human colonists and the native Tofa still know very little about each other. Misunderstanding breed conflict, and the conflicts are escalating. Scientist Mara Cadell’s radical proposal: that host mothers of either species carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Mara lost her own twin, Levi, in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator
Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely? . . .
Paperback (B&N):

We asked author Karen. A Wyle some follow up questions about them, as well as what it is like to be a writer.

Summer of Indie learned that:
"Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle's childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist. While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9.
Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction. It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice. Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business." 

After finding out some biographical information, we asked author Karen A. Wyle more about Twin-Bred, their writing, and their inspirations:  

Q: If you were ever to write an autobiography, what would its title be?

A: Detour Without Signs, or else The Scenic Route. 

Q: Can you tell us why you started writing?

A: I believe I was born with the love of creating with words. I don’t remember exactly when I started doing it – but when I was in third grade, my teacher submitted a poem of mine to the local paper, and it was published in their “Youth Speaks” column. I have a vague sense that it was not my first effort, nor close to it. My ambition to become a "published" novelist developed soon after. At age ten, I hoped to be the youngest novelist ever published. I was well into my first novel when I learned to my chagrin that some British upstart, age nine, had beaten me to it. I completed that novel, and my mother -- with an unselfish patience that my children can only wish I had inherited -- typed every word of 200 handwritten, penciled pages. She put the manuscript in a report binder -- as close as she could come to being my publisher.

I started another novel at age fourteen and abandoned it after about forty pages. That was it for me and novels for the next forty years. I wrote poetry in high school, but tired of my own style. I dabbled in short fiction in college, but had no real idea what I wanted to say through fiction. Sometime around my junior year, I gave up. I went to law school and eventually become an appellate attorney. In the process, I learned how to turn out prose in quantity and almost painlessly.

Decades later, I heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and toyed with the idea of trying it -- someday. Someday came the following year. I gave myself permission to start without knowing whether I could possibly succeed. Give it a few days. See what happens. One month later, I had the rough draft of my science fiction novel Twin-Bred.

Q: Can you tell us more about your inspiration for writing Twin-Bred?

A: I read an article about amazing interactions between twins in utero, captured on video. The researchers had found synchronized movement, touching, even kissing. Either the article or a comment on the article mentioned the traumatic, often devastating, impact on those whose twin -- identical or fraternal -- had died in utero or shortly after birth.

Straining this information through the science fiction filter in my mind, I imagined a scientist seeking to overcome the comprehension gap between two intelligent species by way of the bond between twins. It would be natural for the scientist who conceived this idea to be a twin. It would add emotional depth to the story if she were a twin survivor. And for added strangeness and interest, what if she had somehow kept her lost twin alive as a companion, who could be a character in the story?...

I have always been fascinated by communication issues and the struggle to understand what is different. I also find myself returning constantly to the themes of family relationships, unintended consequences, and unfinished business. All these threads wove together to form the story of Twin-Bred. 

Q: Where can people get your book?

Paperback (B&N):

Q: Can you tell me about your book's main protagonist?

A: Dr. Mara Cadell’s life and personality have been greatly affected by the death of her fraternal twin, Levi, in utero (near the end of the pregnancy). As is true for many “womb twin survivors,” she carries with her a profound sense of loss. Starting in early childhood, and continuing throughout the events of Twin-Bred, she has coped with this trauma by imagining Levi as a constant companion. Her mother found this disturbing: it aggravated her own grief at losing one of her twins. Mara learned to keep Levi a secret.

Mara lives on the planet Tofarn, where a human colony established itself seventy years before the book begins. Humans and the native Tofa coexist uneasily, with many conflicts arising from mutual incomprehension. A bright and curious child, Mara longed to know more about her Tofa neighbors. When Mara grew up and became a scientist, she drew on her understanding of the bond between twins to propose a radical approach to bridging the gap between the species. Host mothers would carry fraternal twins, one human and one Tofa. The twins would be raised together, and trained for a future as mediators between their communities of origin.

Mara is passionately dedicated to the Twin-Bred project. Her task as its director is made more difficult by the qualities she lacks: she is neither a natural administrator nor a skilled diplomat. In fact, she has quite a hot temper, and tends to be blunt. Levi, her silent collaborator, is much better at manipulation and at navigating political currents.

Mara has some artistic talent, expressed chiefly through the cartoons she draws as an emotional safety valve. Only her cartoons provide any evidence that Mara has something of a sense of humor.

Mara is socially isolated. She might have been introverted in any event, but the need she feels to keep Levi in her life while keeping him a secret has kept her from forming close attachments.

Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?

A: Ellen Ghyll’s Chicken Feed is a hilarious tale of rivalry, romance, and attempted skullduggery in the lives of a number of people involved in what we in the U.S. would call a flea market. It would make a wonderful short miniseries.

Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?

A: It may be presumptuous of me to offer advice when I am relatively new to authorship. However, I have spent a good deal of time in the last year and a half educating myself about the process of writing fiction and about the world of publishing. That process, plus my own experience, leads me to offer up the following diffident suggestions.

• Become compulsive about multiple backups of your idea notes, works in progress, rough drafts, subsequent drafts, etc. Use "the cloud" (Web-based storage), e.g., Dropbox or Evernote. (I use Dropbox. Once it's running on your computer, it will back up a document stored in your Dropbox folder every time you save. But check periodically to make sure it's still running!) Email attachments to yourself (and then check whether your email host is periodically deleting them). Put files on a separate hard drive and on flash drives.

• This one is YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). That said, I and many other authors find it essential to keep the inner editor gagged and stuffed in a closet when we're working on a rough draft. Don't be afraid to leave blanks or bracketed notes as you go. (My second-to-latest rough draft had one that read "[insert appropriate South American country here].") National Novel Writing Month, in which participants aim to write a novel of at least 50,000 words within the month of November, is a great way to accomplish this. There'll be time enough later for lots and lots of rewriting.

• A related point: find the process that works for you. Some authors outline in detail. Others find too specific an outline stifling, and work from less organized notes of possible scenes, or with no notes at all. Some have a fixed time of day for writing, and allow nothing to disrupt it; others flit back and forth all day between writing and other tasks. Some use computers; some still write longhand, and a few swear by typewriters.

• Think seriously about self-publishing. There's a wealth of info and support out there for indie authors. Conversely, this is a risky time to sign a contract with an agent or publisher. Because of the uncertain and fast-changing conditions in the publishing industry, many agents and publishers are inserting "rights grabs" and other clauses in their contracts that could cripple an author's career. Some of the worst language may be hidden in unexpected places like "warranty" clauses. If you do sign with an agent or publisher, try to find a way to pay a good IP attorney to go through the contract with a microscope. Don't let the allure of "having an agent" or "being published" lead you to grab at an offer of representation or publication without vetting it thoroughly.

Q: What's next for you?

A: I'm currently revising a novel tentatively titled Reflections. It’s a family drama with mystery elements, set in an afterlife of my own devising -- one well suited to confronting unfinished business. I hope to publish it by June of 2012.

I also have the sequel to Twin-Bred in rough draft, and have done some editing on it. If the audience for Twin-Bred grows substantially, I may switch things around and publish the sequel first. Otherwise, I aim to publish it by October 2012 (after I come up with a title!).

I hope to find time, here and there, to continue my series of science fiction stories about human cloning. I’ve published one, “The Baby,” available free on Amazon and Smashwords, and have notes for several others.

Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us?

A: I’m running a Twin-Bred playlist promotion. The first reader to suggest a song for the Twin-Bred playlist – a song I think belongs there – will have their name and song selection listed in an appendix to a future edition of Twin-Bred. (Caveat: I’ll need enough suggestions to make a playlist of reasonable length.)

You can find author Karen A. Wyle online at:

--Blog (Looking Around):

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this interview! I wanted to add one update: I've scrapped the working title Reflections, so my upcoming novel is short of a name. When I come up with one, I'll slap it on my cover and do a cover reveal at and on my blog, Looking Around, at