It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Karen Petit


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Self-competition and Other Methods of Finding Time to Write

Dr. Karen Petit is the author of four novels: Banking on Dreams, Mayflower Dreams, Roger Williams in an Elevator, and Unhidden Pilgrims. However, just like everyone else in our world, Petit sometimes has to be creative about finding time to write. She has been using scheduling, word-count analysis, deadlines, multi-tasking, and self-competition to help herself to write in a timely fashion.

To write Banking on Dreams, Petit used two techniques to find enough time: scheduling and word-count analysis. Her scheduling was done by planning on–and sticking to–specific time frames for her writing. She also began to write down the dates, times, and word counts of her manuscript. Whenever she did some writing after not writing for a few days, her writing speed was between 100 and 250 words per hour. If Petit wrote on the next day, her writing was just slightly faster. Her writing was always much faster on the third day. Even if day one and day two had only included an hour or two of writing, her third day would always be at least 250 words per hour and usually between 300 and 400 words per hour.

For Mayflower Dreams, Petit checked with the company that had published her first novel to see if there was an interest in publishing her second novel. On the day before Thanksgiving, an email from the company’s president responded with “Absolutely! Where is it?” Since Petit’s manuscript was only half finished, she decided to multi-task: she scheduled her writing on each day to begin while she was eating supper and to continue for as long as possible. On Thanksgiving, she actually started her scheduled multi-tasking by beginning to write the chapter titled “A Time of Thanksgiving.” She then spent every day for the next two months with her scheduled multi-tasking. Petit also began to use self-competition. While writing, she would write down a word count for every hour on each day. She was very happy whenever she won her self-competition with a higher word count than her previous ones. She also was very thankful for already having a publisher and a deadline for submitting her completed manuscript.

For Roger Williams in an Elevator, Petit again had a contract with the same publisher, so her writing included the use of a deadline, multi-tasking, self-competition,and varied scheduling techniques. Whenever she could spend at least three hours writing and was able to average over 400 words per hour, she felt very happy and successful. Not only did she love competing with herself, but she also liked the freedom to compete with herself. She tried such innovative techniques as checking her writing speed while listening to music, while not listening to music, while eating supper, while eating chocolate, and while not eating any food.

Petit’s writing speed for Unhidden Pilgrims actually went up to over 550 words per hour on several of her writing days. Having a publisher’s deadline also helped her to stick to her schedule of activities, including not just writing but also taking photos and editing. Self-competition and multi-tasking were again important parts of Petit’s process for writing this novel. Unhidden Pilgrims was then unhidden and submitted to her publisher in January 2017, just seven months after she had begun writing it.

Dr. Petit’s four novels all include historic elements, dream/reality connections, Christian content, and methods of dealing with such problems as anxiety, nightmares, separation, and violence. More information about this author, her novels, and her blogs is available at www.drkarenpetit.com.

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GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a print copy of Roger Williams in an Elevator to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment below. The winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after blog post publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors ExpoThe Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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Thirty Questions


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I’m following the lead of some of my fellow bloggers (especially as I’m trying to blog more consistently, even when I don’t really want to), and taking up the “Thirty Questions” Challenge. Yes, TMI probably!

What did you want to be when you were a kid?  A teacher, definitely. The options for young girls at the time seemed to be limited, even if they weren’t. But I loved school and thought I’d be a good teacher.

Which Friends character do you relate to most? Why? I consider myself a bit old for this series, even though I have watched every episode. If I had to choose one, it would be Phoebe, because when I was that age I was most like her. Except for the vegetarian part.

Do you like your name? Why? If I’m being honest here, no. I’ve never liked my name. Still, I’ve never changed it, and I could have. I’ve simply grown accustomed to it, and now, at 58, it seems terribly appropriate.

Are you messy or neat? Both. My husband and I live comfortably and don’t worry about clutter. This year I’m going to try to repurpose a lot of the ‘stuff’ we have, with an eye toward living more minimally.

How tall are you? I’ve been 5’7″ for most of my adult life, but last year I was measured at 5’6″. Damn.

How tall were you when you were ten? Best guess would be 5’something. 5’1″ or 5’2″?

What is your guilty pleasure? There shouldn’t be guilt associated with pleasure, ever. Overindulgence, yes. And I do overindulge.

What are you saving money for now? Nothing. I saved aggressively while I was working, and it’s time to enjoy. I have the material items I need – if anything, we would like to travel more. Someday it’ll be possible.

How many Pringles can you eat at once? No. Just no.

Tea or coffee? Coffee in the morning, tea during the day.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? Very much an introvert. Some of my friends seem surprised at that.

What will be your Hallowe’en costume this year? Again, no. I enjoyed Halloween when I was eight. Those days are long gone!

Sweet or salty? A bit of both, please. If I had to choose one, it would be salty. I keep trying to quit sugar. I just don’t bring it into the house.

Favorite social media? Facebook has helped me to connect with readers and other authors, so I’m grateful for that. I use Twitter to stay educated on news, especially in these troubled times. And Instagram provides me with gorgeous photos of my favorite places (hint: Switzerland!).

Who is the last person you kissed? James H.

What is your favorite breakfast? I could eat breakfast all day. If I’m out, it’s two eggs over easy, pan-fried potatoes, English muffin. At home it’s a banana, half a cup of canned pumpkin, unsweetened nut milk, protein powder, cinnamon, all blended. Tastes like pie!

When is your birthday? Soon! Don’t they come quickly now. Lucky seven, luckier thirteen.

When did you start your blog? It was on my birthday, 2012, I think, the year my first book was published.

What is your opinion on the Kardashians? No opinion.

How would you describe your style? Ha! I just wear what’s right for the day. It’s clean, it fits. Casual.

What color is your hair? L’Oreal says medium golden blonde.

What color socks are you wearing? No socks this morning, it’s finally warm enough to go without.

What is your dream job? I’m doing it. Writing novels. I may never be famous or rich from this job, but I don’t care.

Dogs or cats? Pets are wonderful. We had a cat in the house when I was a teenager. My husband and I have a dog. Either and both.

What makes you weird? I don’t know, but I am.

Celebrity crush? Clive Owen, Damian Lewis, Jon Hamm, William Hurt, Ken Olin, Alan Rickman, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Benecio Del Toro. I could go on….

Opinion on cigarettes? Oh boy. I do hate them, I hate what havoc they wreak on a person’s health. They killed my dad, and they’re killing my father-in-law. I have great sadness for those who are addicted to them, because I know few people who actually want to smoke.

Do you want/have any children? Wanted – yes. Have – no.

Three favorite boy’s names. Michael. Daniel. Alexander.

Three favorite girl’s names. Jacqueline. Evangeline. Christine.

Okay, your turn! You don’t have to answer all of the questions – just pick one or two and give me your responses in the comments section.