On Better Words this week: Karen Comer
Exploring the beauty of writing in verse and accidentally writing a 'pandemic novel'
For years, we’ve been amazed at the emotional punch verse novels can hold but we’ve not featured many verse authors on the podcast. We’re diving deep into this subject in this week’s episode.
Karen Comer is a Melbourne-based freelance editor and presents writing workshops to children and adults.
Earlier in her career, she worked in educational publishing and was the editor for the children's art magazine BIG.
Grace Notes, a YA verse novel, was published in February 2023 with Hachette. Her MG verse novel, Sunshine on Vinegar Street, will be published in June 2023 with Allen & Unwin.
🎧 Listen to the episode at the link below or search ‘Better Words’ in your podcast player 🎧
Things we talked about
Why Grace Notes was never meant to be about the pandemic
How Karen researched the art forms in the novel (graffiti and violin) and why it evolved from just Crux's perspective to a dual narrative
The fascinating story behind the Grace Notes cover
The delicate process of drafting verse and how Karen combines emotions and story in such a small space
Karen's MG verse novel, Sunshine on Vinegar Street
The journey from manuscript to two book deals – and the 13 years of hard work behind it
The beauty of editing and shaping our words
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Before we chat with our featured author, we always share some other recommendations.
Caitlin recommends: One Night with You by Laura Jane Williams
One Night With You has an excellent rom-com premise: Nick is new to London and needs to buy a couch. Ruby is moving to Manchester and needs to sell her couch. They meet on Facebook Marketplace and end up having a one-night stand. That should be it, but no! They keep crossing paths and stay in each other’s lives as Nick explores his new life and Ruby is working on a documentary for her masters. A brilliantly fun, classic rom-com.
(Listen to our previous chat with Laura here)
Michelle recommends: In Case of Emergency by Poorna Bell
After a traumatic accident, Bel has to face the reality that her independence may have pushed many of her loved ones away. So she sets out to reconnect – first with a former best friend and then with her sister. A beautiful contemporary novel exploring growing up British Indian, sisterhood and friendships.
- Caitlin & Michelle
🎧 Search ‘Better Words’ in your favourite podcast player to get new episodes as soon as they’re live. We’ll be back with another episode next Wednesday! 🎧