Interview with Teresa Karlinski

January2015Teresa is one of my writer friends that I met through Blog Battle. I’ve enjoyed her contemporary shorts, and I highly recommend you check them out on her blog, How the Cookie Crumbles. Teresa lives with her cats Dickens and Lady Gaga in Ontario, Canada. She is a grandmother and a student of life with a passion for cooking. Although retired, she’s annoyed with her overwhelming collection of books and lack of time to read them. Her daily life consists of writing, reading, and blogging.

I can totally relate to that last statement. Sometimes I feel like writing is my life. Everything else takes a back seat at times.

I am tickled to be here. Thanks so much, Cathleen, for this wonderful opportunity. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

 *shakes hands* Tell me about your most recently published work?

I had a Christmas story published last month in Halcyon, an online and print magazine, a piece completely different from anything I’ve written. What a surprise that was. This is the link if you’d like to take a peek:

Halcyon Winter 2015 (Was it Magic? on page 7)

In October, 2015, I was published in Retirement and Good Living Magazine, Why Not China:

Currently, I struggle editing my NaNoWriMo collection of stories. I hoped to complete the process by early spring. No surprise, my plan is not working. I’m long retired, you’d think I have loads of time to do everything. That would be too easy. Life likes to mess with me. No matter. Later is better than never.

Collections are surprisingly difficult. It’s not enough to have good individual stories. They need to form some sort of cohesive whole. Character contrasts can help with that, at least for me. How do you develop your characters?

In my short stories, the characters come about from an idea. A word or a situation sparks a problem and the story unfolds, sometimes a word at a time like knitting. I connect the words and my stories take shape and develop—often at a snail’s pace.

That’s maddening, when the story comes slower than you’d like, isn’t it? Where do you come up with ideas for new characters or stories?

I never know what will spark an idea: a thought, a question, a prompt, anything. The characters always take over the story and I love the surprises along the way. The best part about writing is the unexpected turn here and there. I’m a kid on an adventure; nothing else matters. I never know where we’ll all find ourselves.

How do you come up with character names?

Names must fit the time-period and the situation in the story. I don’t like names I can’t pronounce—why not use something easy but fitting? I don’t write fantasy (if you don’t count my last story) nor science fiction. Tongue twisters take so much energy—at least for me.

How do you decide where to set a story?

The name and the situation / problem will shape my character. I work to capture the setting by involving the character in something right away. I hope this gives a hint about the story and hooks the reader as well.

Do you use a particular story structure, or do you pick and choose?

No, I do not use any story structure. Without apology, I fly by the seat of my pants.

I’d figured out you’re a discovery writer already. 🙂 Do you find it more difficult to write your first draft or to revise?

The first draft is more difficult than the revision. I love editing, although, I can’t seem to stop tinkering and let go, confident I’ve taken the story as far as I can.

Do you have any revision tips to share?

I have no tips other than murdering extraneous words on the page. In addition, it helps to put the story aside for a least a few hours while it cooks for a while. I’m still a greenhorn and tinker till I can’t stand looking at the story anymore.

How did you decide on your genre?

I have a difficult time deciding my genre—I’m not sure I have only one. It’s still confusing where my general writing fits. Any suggestions? Without planning ahead, I’ll write a story, for example, containing humor, or a touch of mystery, but I always stick to everyday situations with which readers can associate—I hope.

I’d say you write contemporary. It’s a useful classification, and it can encompass humor and elements of mystery as well. Speaking of the latter, tell us something that will surprise us.

I may have led my blogging friends to believe I’m a tough cookie. I am an introvert who learned to stand up for what I believed in when I divorced many years ago. As a single mother, I soon learned to stand firm when needed. Of course, all single mothers have experienced a similar awakening—ready or not—you’re it!

Constructive criticism is hard, but I manage to handle it—most of the time. My uncomfortable place is laying myself bare when I press the publish button or send out submissions, which I plan to do more often this year.

At this time in my life, I have less—not more—free time. This year I have outside obligations / interference until noon every day for various reasons. This shortens my writing and blogging time by considerable hours and drives me crazy. Hope my schedule improve soon.

I know the feeling. Where does the time go, anyway?

Thanks again, Cathleen, for inviting me. Now you know everything about me (grin). This has been fun—actually a blast—and a wonderful chance to meet you and make your acquaintance.


Thanks for coming, Teresa. 🙂

Avid writer and reader of Faerie tales and noblebright fantasy.

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Posted in Author Interviews
66 comments on “Interview with Teresa Karlinski
  1. Great interview, ladies! Such fun getting to know more you sweet, creative, talented Tess!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks so much, Cathleen. Meeting with you has been an honor and a pleasure. So far, this year already has been filled with many unexpected and wonderful surprises with the busiest schedule I’ve ever had. Woo hoo! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on How the Cookie Crumbles and commented:
    I’ve had the unexpected pleasure of meeting with Cathleen Townsend here at The Beauty of Words. Thank you, Cathleen.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely interview and really nice to know more about you, Tess. *whispers* I like editing too, sometimes more than my first draft, because it means I’m taking something I love and making it better!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How delightful to see Tess getting such lovely and well deserved attention. Mega hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. magwoodaggie says:

    Lovely to hear more about you Tess and I look forward to reading your stories x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great interview with the talented Tess. I really enjoy her blog site and writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Darlene says:

    So great to learn more about you Tess and your writing style. Keep writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful interview. Now I know just a bit more about you, Tess. I feel like I could drop by and have coffee when I visit Canada (for the first time–it may be coming).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. russtowne says:

    Fun! I enjoyed learning ore about Tess.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rosie Amber says:

    Lovely interview Tess, always interesting to read new pieces about people we meet virtually.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Carrie Rubin says:

    Wonderful interview, Tess and Cathleen. Like you, I enjoy revision. I feel less frenzied with that than I do the initial drafting phase. And like you, I know the feeling of not having enough time to do everything, even though it seems I should. I think we can all relate to that!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Our lovely blogging friend Tess Karlinski is being interviewed by Cathleen Townsend and it is great to get to know her a little better..If you have not read some of Tess’s short stories you should head over to her blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. C.E.Robinson says:

    Tess, great to know more about you, my friend! Another 10 minutes of fame, well deserved! Now I’m heading over to read some more short stories. Love your twists and turns in them. Okay…I admit, I love editing too! Have a wonder-filled weekend. 💛Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mary Smith says:

    Lovely interview. I enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Tess.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lovely interview of one of my favorite bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. jjspina says:

    Nice to know more about you, dear Tess. I have enjoyed this interview and your short stories. I prefer writing a story to editing it but it must be done. Blessings & hugs! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  18. davidprosser says:

    A delightful interview with a delightful lady.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ali Isaac says:

    Lovely interview, ladies! Nice to know a bit more about you, Teresa! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wendy Janes says:

    Lovely interview. I’m another writer who finds it very hard to stop tinkering. As an example, this is my third revision of this comment. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. macjam47 says:

    Wonderful interview, ladies! It is so nice to learn a little more about Tess and her writing process.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This was so interesting to learn more about you and your writing. I can so relate to what you said about editing your work and how you can’t seem to stop tinkering. I think there’s a certain point we just have to let go of the story and hope it’s good enough to survive out there.:)


  23. lbeth1950 says:

    Thanks. Enjoyed this very much. I love Tess and now you.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ah, thanks. It’s been so pleasant to make the virtual acquaintance of so many in one fell swoop–Tess is very popular. 🙂 It’ll take me a few days, but I’ll work my way through my inbox and visit all your blogs, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Reblogged this on writerchristophfischer and commented:
    Another star in the blog-o-sphere: How the Cookie crumbles!
    Interview with Teresa Karlinski

    Liked by 1 person

  26. blondeusk says:

    Tess is ace!! When she comes on my blog I am all smiles! Lovely interview 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. So glad to read about Teresa! I’ve been loving reading her comments on various blog sites, so to find this here is thrilling!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Karen Hooper says:

    Good for you, Tess. Still waiting on that book y’know…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Wow! I’d just like to say again how great it was to have you here, Tess. Your writing friends are all intelligent, articulate people, and several of us are following each other’s blogs now. Claire Fullerton has an interview coming here soon, too. I hope everyone got as much out of your interview as I did. 🙂


  30. So great to read your interview, Tess. We’ll be able to say, ‘We knew her before she became rich and famous’. Congrats on all the good things that are happening to you – well-deserved!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Laura Best says:

    I enjoyed this interview, Tess and Catherine. I enjoy reading about the writing process of other writers. I can certainly relate to what you said, Tess, about a story starting with a spark of an idea and grows from there. That’s exactly how my short stories begin!

    Liked by 1 person

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