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
Karen McMillan - Author Profile
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Romy Hooper, Audiobook Narrator, Actor, Writer and Podcast Host