Audiobooks New Zealand
Karen has written since the ripe age of 10, so it’s no surprise that it came so easily to her to begin a series of children’s fiction at the request of her 10 year old stepdaughter, Milla. While she admits she never saw herself becoming a children’s author, the persistent nagging prevailed, and Milla - along with her trusty sound-board dad - has been involved in the creation of the tales ever since.
Before delving into the fantastical ‘Elastic Island’ world, we begin with Karen’s earlier titles and the life experiences that led to her publishing her story, among many others. Her first book, ‘Unbreakable Spirit’ released in 2003 sees the go-to-girl for cancer patients chronicling their perspectives and providing the catharsis that so often comes by simply sharing one’s truth.
Fast forward a few years and this self-confessed, story stockpiling daydreamer was raring to go with a cast of children derived from aspects of her own personality, and her observations of youth in our contemporary world. The books are set in New Zealand, and centre around 4 kids from Browns Bay in Auckland. It is from there that they are able to be transported to the imaginary realm of Elastic Island, mapped off of our very own neighbours in the South Pacific. During their travels, Karen and her husband have picked up fascinating furry friends who have inevitably become supporting characters along the way. Think a soft toy Quokka, the endangered Bilby bird and an adopted tabby cat, Blong, from Vanuatu.
Karen loves the immediacy of the feedback she gets with an audience of children, and has allowed many of them to shape and inform the stories as they progress. She likes to put ordinary kids into ordinary situations in fantastical settings, developing a world where the emphasis is on fun, adventure and literacy. With reader numbers growing exponentially, it appears she’s onto a winning formula.
Producing the first audiobook has been a whole new arena of fun for Karen, and with Suzy Cato’s warmth and charisma bringing the story to life, it’s no wonder the books are set for further production on our screens in future. She recalls her first audiobook experience beside an old vinyl record player, thumbing through the pages of the hardcopy book in front of you. I recall the same thing, albeit with cassette tapes. It really was the best and quickest way to learn.
Speaking of, her advice to emerging authors is to READ. If you’re interested in writing for a certain genre, read it extensively. Not a few books a year, 50 a year. It makes all the difference. She also advocates complete freedom of creativity by writing it all out without thinking of your edits as you go - ‘that’s what editors are for.’ ;)
To connect with Karen and access her work, as well as monthly competitions run through her website, visit www.karenm.co.nz
I learnt a LOT during my chat with Rosy, who was Zooming in from her home in the Wairarapa Wine region of Martinborough. Having traveled extensively, she prefers life in the town where everyone knows your dog, and the pace accommodates for someone seeking to change a hectic medical profession into a writing career.
She credits her medical background with her easy transition into the world of literature, with that knowledge proving valuable for the protagonist in her most recent novel, ‘Cold Wallet.’ Having researched cryptocurrency since its introduction to our soils, Fenwicke has us following a young, naive doctor Jess as she navigates the process of accessing assets left to her by her newly deceased husband.
God help me if I was in that position… I can do words, but numbers/technological jargon evades me. So bear with me upwardly mobile listeners, here’s what I learned. A hot wallet is where people can stash their currency once they’ve bought it, but that information is visible online. The wallet becomes cold when you want to secure those assets offline where it’s inaccessible by anyone other than the owner who has it bound by numerous passwords. So, unless Dr Jess is able to find or figure out each password her genius husband allocated to the wallet, no one will ever have access to the goods - of which there are millions. There is a bunch of other intel about block chains and miners etc, but I’m clinging to the basics.
Consulting with accountants and those who work in all areas of the crypto industry, she wasn’t afraid to ask the ‘dumbest questions in the world’ in order to understand the way it all works. Following the press around the investigation into Christchurch’s Cryptopia hacking and liquidation also proved invaluable. Rosy isn’t afraid of delving into the knowledge that the world is becoming increasingly automated, crypto’d and digitised. She even has ideas around how we can capitalise on the progress we’re making in those areas to further advance information storing for the medical sector, with block chain technology being the blueprint to enable people to hold and file their entire medical histories.
Between medicine and traveling, both of which inform her storytelling, she is interested in narratives that see strong women rise above their adversities, as well as women who have the ability to inject a bit of magic into the mundane, (highlighted brilliantly in the slogan to her Euphemia Sage Chronicles; ‘Superpowers are Wasted on the Young.’)
No stranger to having to juggle multiple roles to ensure her writing came to fruition, Rosy is also an advocate for doing the hard graft, and we had a good chat about the business of following your dreams versus educating for practicality. We both agreed it requires a combination of great ideas and focussed action to be successful in any realm of the arts, and that participation on either end - creator or audience member - is a luxury, not a necessity. Humbling stuff indeed.
The Euphemia Sage Chronicles are still being added to, with the 4th book ‘No Retreat’ set to release in July. Rosy is also beginning another thriller this year.
To contact Rosy or to access any of her work, you can find her on social media @rosyfenwickeauthor