Featured Interview With Karen Ullo
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is still my home. I am married with two young tornadoes (er, boys), ages 8 and 5. For my whole life, I have had two great passions: music and writing. I’m a classically trained soprano, and I work full time as music director at the same church I have belonged to all my life.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I do not ever remember a time when I did not want to write. As a very young child, it frustrated me not to know how to make letters on a page because I wanted to tell stories. From the moment I learned to read, I not only read everything in sight, but I also wrote. When my friends came over to play, I always tried to get them to write stories with me. Most of the time, it didn’t work, but that didn’t stop me from trying.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
The best book I’ve read in recent years was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It strikes an absolutely perfect balance between grim and hopeful, dark and light. I enjoy every genre, when they are done well. What matters to me is well-developed characters and good storytelling. My influences are as varied as my reading list. My book Jennifer the Damned draws heavily on both Crime and Punishment and Dracula.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Jennifer the Damned is the story of a sixteen-year-old orphan vampire who has been raised by nuns. I took the central idea for the story from Crime and Punishment. The protagonist of Crime and Punishment believes he is set apart from the rest of humanity by superior intellect and will that give him the right to do as he pleases, even commit murder, in the name of furthering his great ends. I simplified this thinking: Jennifer Carshaw is set apart from humanity and has no choice but to commit murder because she is a vampire. But Jennifer’s Catholic upbringing makes her long for something very different: to be capable of experiencing love. It is a horror novel in the tradition of Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a book that uses monsters to explore very human questions. It took me three years to write and another three years to bring it to publication.
Connect with the Author on their Websites and Social media profiles