Welcome Karen King Russo
Costs of Creativity as told by the Daughter
of an Alcoholic!
Karen King Russo
Author bio: Karen King Russo
I live in Manhattan Beach, CA with my husband John where we have been for 25 years. Of those I spent 15 years as a journalist covering local news and anecdotal stories for a variety of newspapers. Prior to that we lived in Palos Verdes where we raised two children and I owned and managed a travel agency, and played tennis. As a kid, I grew up in Brentwood, attended Uni Hi and UCLA.
Brief synopsis of your book:
A memoir of my most interesting and wise but damaged father and how he influenced me growing up. My premise is that many creative people, mavericks who think outside the box, are often misunderstood and suffer the same characteristics as those who suffer addictions, causing them to fall through the cracks. Such a man was my father.
Costs of Creativity as told by the Daughter of an Alcoholic.
Current book or project you’re working on?
My next project will be a compilation of the funny and poignant anecdotal stories that have been published in the local papers over the last 15 years, many from a column titled “The Golden Years.”
What moment or event sparked the inspiration for your novel?
Of my memoir, when my father’s death ended tragically in suicide, over time, I wanted him to be remembered for all the laughter and wisdom he had brought me, not just the damage.
What would you say are three things that you found to be the most difficult part of writing a memoir.
1)Admitting how he died. I had never told anyone.
2)Not just the suicide but where.
3)Putting it in the preface, not the end.
What if any lessons did you learn writing this book?
How many readers identified with it, and admired my courage in writing it – being so open.
How many people identified with it?
Most of them. “I loved your father,” so many said. “I sure identified with your mother,” others said. “You were so strong,” they said to me.” “How are your sister and brother?” some asked. “My father, mother, husband, son.........this….that….”
If you could pick any famous author to review your book, who would you pick and why?
Carolyn See. She inspired me by her openness and humor in California Dreaming about her unconventional family.
What is probably the most difficult thing you overcame as you grew up? Loneliness, being a bossy only child, troubled parents and not socially adept.
What is an important characteristic of addiction and how it affects family? Helplessness.
Genre/Author/Reader and the process:
What genre and age group does your book fall into?
Older women (or men) who grew up during the time I did. Adult children of alcoholics.
Which two authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Carolyn See, Pat Conroy, Frank McCourt, because they combined tragic situations with humor.
2)Jo Jo Moyes, author of Me Before You, because it was brilliant, incredible story.
How many books have you written?
There is More to Football than a Tight End, a woman’s guide to football.
What would you tell others about acceptance instead of blame?
As we grow older, we get more accepting and appreciative, of family, friends, and spouses.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of writing dialogue?
It gives you latitude to be natural, people don’t always speak in perfect sentences.
What 3 things did you learn that you did not put in the book?
I think I touched on it all in the book.
1) His life may have been better if he had followed his bliss more, not work in areas with inevitable details and confrontation which he feared.
2) I think if he had not drunk, Mother would have given him more latitude for his choices.
3) I wish I had not been such a flighty teenager and read and discussed more of what interested him.
If you were to recommend anything to someone planning on writing a memoir, what would it be?
Tell the truth in as much of it as you can. Also, you have far more stories than space, so just tell the ones that move the story forward.
What is the difference in your writing style when you write articles compared to writing a book?
I think at its best, it is the same.
The book was way harder for me, as I was not sure I could keep the reader’s interest for that long…..what to shorten or leave out.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
I am not connected, nor wanted to hire an agent nor do I suppose my book could attract a “big” publisher. Otherwise you have to sell it yourself, and technology and social media do not come easily to me.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
Working with words and concepts.
When you write which do you prefer: handwritten, computer, laptop, or typewriter? Are notes, notebooks, or bulletin boards part of your process? Computer, and some handwritten outlines to get in readable order.
What are your thoughts about the decline of the printed novel?
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood?
Actors, directors, music. I can’t imagine that it is suitable, but interestingly, people have mentioned it.
What marketing strategies would you recommend to a new author? Wish I knew. I am at a loss, besides a big time publisher naming it a best seller.
What do you hope readers will come away with, after reading your story?
1) The value of sharing our stories.
2) Accepting, encouraging, and appreciating individual differences.
3) How hard alcoholism is, though there are more solutions now.
What lesson do you think we can all learn about love? Be there.
If you had one do over in life, what would it be?
Life you mean? I Married and had children shortly after graduation from college. I would marry same man and have same children. But I wish I had been single for just a little longer. I wish I had studied harder in college. Studied creative writing or journalism (though I have taken lots of classes since) or law.
What and who first inspired you to write?
Writing travel articles. I owned and managed a travel agency specializing in adventure travel. I wrote about those trips.
Drink – White wine and milkshakes.
Food – Mac and cheese, potato chips, ice cream (I don’t eat it all that much)
Vacation – Natural beauty: Patagonia, New Zealand, Canadian Rockies. Exotic culture: Micronesia and New Guinea, Nepal. Europe: Paris, Vienna, Prague.
TV show – Dalton Abbey
Movie –River Runs Through It
Sport – Tennis
Song – Fly me to the Moon
Where can readers find your book?