As with most authors, I loved to write from an early age. In my teens and early twenties I wrote poetry. Then I needed to go to work to support my two very young children, so went into bookkeeping. While working as a bookkeeper, I decided to go to college and get a Bachelor’s in accounting.
After that I became an assistant controller for a manufacturing company, then due to MS had to leave. While regaining some strength and health, I did college paper editing for a number of years and dabbled with stories and wrote two songs. In 2008 I became serious about becoming an author.
2. Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary, tell us about your publisher, and also how you got the idea for this book.
My recently released book, Walking Through Walls, is a children’s middle-grade fantasy adventure: Wang longs to be rich…and powerful. At twelve-years-old, he already knows more about the Eternals and their way of life than many of the adults in his village. Learning about these mystics takes his thoughts away from the possibility of working in the wheat fields all his life, like his father. Wang has far grander goals.
My publisher is 4RV Publishing. I pitched the story during the 2009 Muse Online Writers Conference and 4RV picked it up. It was released this summer.
The story on how I wrote Walking Through Walls is interesting because it’s based on an ancient Chinese folktale. I never thought about rewriting a folktale until I received a rough outline of the ancient Chinese tale Taoist Master of the Lao Mountain from a Chinese nonfiction author I met in an online critique group. It took two years of writing and rewriting to create a children’s story out of it.
My first book, Day’s End Lullaby, is a children’s bedtime picture book. The lyrical and rhyming text has a rhythmic flow that helps sooth a baby or young child. And, the parent can read or sing to a child – the sheet music to the lullaby is included in the back of the book.
3. What is a typical writing day like for you?
My days vary quite a bit in that I do different things on different days, but all in all, I do writing or writing related work at least five days a week. With MS, I have to be careful not to overdo it.
4. What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love to create something from nothing, kind of like an artist and a blank canvas. Whether it’s a story or an article, to see it blossom and become something of value that can provide an engaging story or information is thrilling.
5. What is the most difficult part of writing?
Keeping focused and keeping in alignment with my writing goals. It’s so easy to get sidetracked by taking on too many projects that don’t take me further along on my writer’s main goals, or spending too much time on writing groups, social networks, and researching the never-ending supply of writing and marketing information.
6. Do you make school visits or do speaking/book signing engagements? If so, please describe a typical presentation.
I haven’t done any school visits, speaking, or book signing engagements yet, but I do plan on approaching schools in my area soon to set up visits. And, I’ll be approaching libraries to see if they’d be interested in a speaking engagement.
7. Is there any book that, when you read it, you thought, "I wish I had written that!"?
There a number of books I wish I had written, both children’s and non-children’s related. Three in particular are:
The Singe Shard by Linda Sue Park
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Story of an Hour (a short story) by Kate Chopin
8. Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?
I have a few websites, my three main ones are:
For information and reviews on Walking Through Walls:
Walking Through Walls can be ordered at:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/walking-through-walls-karen-cioffi/1032021277?ean=9780982659472&itm=4&usri=walking%2bthrough%2bwalls
You can also order Walking Through Walls today at:
4RV is having an amazing sale on all their books through December 5th.
For more information on Days End Lullaby go to:
To order Day’s End Lullaby go to:
http://karencioffi.com/ (My children’s author site)
http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com (pretty self-explanatory)
http://writersonthemove.com/ (a group of authors using informational content to generate visibility and readership)
9. What are you working on right now?
In regard to children’s writing I’m writing a sequel to Walking Through Walls, which will be able to stand on its own.
I’ve also been working on writing and marketing e-books that I have available at:
I plan on writing more e-books in 2012.
In addition, I edit children’s manuscripts and ghostwrite business and health articles for businesses and marketers.
10. What is your best tip for aspiring authors?
There are two tips I believe are core steps in becoming a successful writer: learn the craft of writing and persevere.
Unfortunately, a number of writers don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing and publish unpolished work. This is disservice to the authors and the self-publishing arena.
Learning the craft of writing, especially in the genre you’re writing, is also important if you’re striving for traditional publishing. There are so many authors and so few publishers in comparison - you need every bit of help in making your writing outstanding.
And, without perseverance writers won’t get very far. I always use the example of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It took Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen 144 rejections before a publisher took them on.
11. What advice would you give children and teens as they prepare for life?
Hmm. This is such a wide area, but if I had to choose one thing to advise children and teens in particular on, it’d be to keep God in their hearts and minds. Another tidbit would be to follow the Golden Rule – treat others as you’d like to be treated.
12. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?
YES! 4RV Publishing is having a Bookstore Holiday Sale: All prices have been changed to allow for an over 10% discount (includes shipping, handling, and tax). The sale is on through December 5th, 2011.