Karen is in fact already a SCBWI volunteer as she is one of W&P's much valued contributors. She helped us celebrate Charlie's 50th birthday (that Charlie) plus she met Sally Gardner last week and delivered that wonderful interview with Sally on Monday.
After decades of writing news and facts about government, academia and charities, Karen plucked up the nerve to enter a short story contest. She won third prize, which is to blame for giving her the confidence to jump into the deep dark waters of fiction.
She's a volunteer with East London's Writeidea Festival and is delighted to be putting Young Adult writers on the programme for the first time this November, including some SCBWI-BI names.
Karen lives in Whitechapel with her husband, teenage daughter and two cats who tolerate their services, with only slightly affronted expressions. She spends a lot of time by the sea in Folkestone where she grew up, and makes frequent visits to Sweden to see some of her seven half-siblings: children of her birth father.
She's working on the second draft of her middle grade novel under the incisive and kindly eye of Bella Pearson from the Golden Egg Academy.
I met an agent recently. 'Join SCBWI,' she said. 'It's the single best thing you can do if you're serious about writing.
Although I'm still a new member, I've been bowled over by the sheer amount of opportunities that open up. It's been a delight to meet people I've been in touch with on social media.
I was nervous about going to my first Conference last weekend, so it was wonderful to meet many, many warm and supportive people. MY new SCBWI-BI family was worth the trip alone but I also came home inspired by insights into the world of children's books and laden with industry tips.
I was stunned to win my first raffle ever in decades of unsuccessful raffledom and now have the ace opportunity of an agent's critique. Back to the laptop and I hope to hear from you soon.
Please contact Karen on firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts about how you'd like to keep in touch with each other and hear what's going on in children's books.
Volunteering for SCBWI brings some fabulous opportunities - if you'd like to volunteer for SCBWI take a look at our current vacancies.