MILTON Keynes’ very own Karen Guyler is a rising star in the literary world.
The mother of four recently had her first book published after years in the making and it’s getting nothing but positive reviews.
‘The Only’ is a book about sixteen-year-old Maya who lives in a different Britain where everything that we take for granted doesn’t exist.
With an average rating of 4.8 out of 5, as well as reaching 16th place in the Kindle suspense store, it’s fair to say the book is proving very popular.
“It took me around three years to write,” she says.
“I first got the idea in 2008 when the recession hit.”
Karen works full-time at the Open University, but when she’s not at her day job, she is normally doing one of two things.
“Reading and writing are my greatest passions,” she explains.
“I’ve spent many hours writing by torchlight in the car while waiting to pick one of the kids up, if I get any spare time it’s the first thing I do.
“People who write do so because they can’t help it and when you become published it’s an amazing feeling, especially since I’d been knocking on the door so long.”
But Karen goes on to describe the difficulties with trying to become a published writer.
“Getting this book to this point was the closest I’ve ever been to giving up but then, after lots of rejection, I had some really valuable feedback and I knew exactly where I had to take it, even though it meant rewriting it.”
With such a creative family, Karen goes on to talk about the influence of having such like-minded people in the house.
“My daughter, Makenna, is an actress who’s just finished shooting a pilot for a new comedy and a film that will be shown at international film festivals while my son, Connor, has written and directed several short films.
“It’s great to have that sort of support at home where we can share ideas and give feedback.”
The up-and-coming author has more books planned, the next one, currently with her agent, is also set in Milton Keynes.
“I think it’s a wonderful place to set a book, I hope the next one shows a side of MK that people might not be aware of.
“MK has an odd reputation elsewhere but I think it’s a brilliant city and it was a joy to write a story that was set here because its uniqueness makes for great conflict.
“I also have a sequel for ‘The Only’ planned but that’s a way off yet.”
Karen has had her fair share of rejections and she had some advice for any wannabe authors.
“You have to be able to accept knockbacks,” she explains.
“It doesn’t matter if you get bad reviews because there’ll always be people that just don’t like your work because reading is so subjective.
“And though it is hard to get an agent, which you’ll need to secure a traditional publishing deal, the door isn’t completely closed.
“Most importantly though, like anything, it’s about practicing as much as you can.
“If you just write and read constantly then you’ll find yourself getting better.
“That’s probably why it’s taken me so long, I had a lot to learn!”
With such a sudden surge in popularity, the writer opens up about her now very achievable plans looking ahead.
“It all stems from when I was growing up,” she says.
“I went to nine different schools on two continents which meant I had few consistent friends - books were the only constant for me.
“I taught all my children to read before they went to school because I feel so strongly about sharing the joy of reading.
“Ultimately I’d like to be writing two books a year and also to be sharing that love of the written word by putting books in the hands of those that don’t have access to them.”
Despite the emotional rollercoaster ride, Karen was quick to encourage anyone that might want to try and take up writing professionally.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
“I have met some amazing people and made a lot of friends through this process.
“I have my friends, family and everyone who has supported me along the way to thank, especially my number one fan,” she adds mysteriously.
“I hope I can continue to write books that people want to read.”
Karen can be found at karenguyler.com and tweets as @originalkaren