I am pleased today to introduce you to debut author Orly Konig whose novel, The Distance Home, came out yesterday.
Here’s Orly Konig
Where are you from?
I was born in Israel but my family moved to England when I was four. We lived in London for three(ish) years before moving back to Jerusalem. Two years later, we packed up and moved to the United States. I had visions of skyscrapers and horses tied to hitching posts outside. Living in the US was going to be brilliant for this horse crazy girl. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I imagined.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I’m a late bloomer to fiction writing. During grad school, I thought it would be fun to take a creative writing class. The professor, however, recommended that I stick with non-fiction. I did and spent the next few years working as an editor at a monthly publication before switching to corporate communications. After my son was born I started toying with the idea of writing but, based on my previous attempts at fiction, the idea seemed far-fetched and out of my scope.
Fast forward a couple of years to a road trip and me whining to my husband that I needed a creative outlet and was considering going back to school for my PhD. He gently suggested (I won’t repeat his exact words) that I give writing a shot instead. What did I have to lose? I signed up for an online workshop on writing chick lit, finished the workshop with a rough draft, and developed a new obsession.
Where did the idea for The Distance Home come from?
Fitting in has always been an issue for me. I never felt at home anywhere. Except when I was around horses. I wanted to explore the lengths someone would go to in order to feel accepted, feel like they belong.
During graduate school, I volunteered with a therapeutic riding program. It was my first real experience with such a program and one young boy made such an impact on me that fifteen-some years later, he was still firmly planted in my heart. Here was a boy with severe emotional and physical disabilities, someone who didn’t have much faith in others, especially adults, yet watching the transformation when he was with his assigned horse, was magical.
The more I toyed with the themes for this book, the clearer it became that there was only setting for it.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
This probably speaks volumes about me, but my favorite character is a cantankerous old goat (literally an old goat). Jukebox started as nothing more than a fun sidekick for Jack Flash, the equine main character. He was there to add a bit of comic relief with his crazy goat antics. But somewhere in the writing and revising, he became the best friend that Emma, the human main character, so desperately wanted out of her former best friend, Jillian. Animals are more straightforward than humans and Juke’s loyalty to Jack came from a place in me that obviously needed nurturing at the time I was writing.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Believe in your dream. In my mind, there was never a choice – I wanted to be represented by an agent and published with one of the New York publishers. Despite the years of rejections and revisions and more rejections, I never lost sight of that dream. And here I am.
Give us a behind the scenes look at your writing routine.
I suffer from process envy. I love reading about how other authors go about this craziness. My routine is rather unroutine-ish. My work time is while my son is at school. I start every morning with an over-caffeinated to-do list and a large mug of coffee for myself.
I tend to roam around my house. I’m a solitary writer, so public places and group settings don’t work for me. I usually end up writing on the kitchen table or the front porch during the summer. When I get stuck on a scene, I get on the treadmill or stationary bike or rowing machine. And if it’s a serious case of plot-thread knots, I crochet. I have a throw blanket, an area rug, and enough scarves for a small community from the writing and revising process for The Distance Home.
What’s next for you?
I’m finishing up revisions on book two, slated for summer 2018. This one also has horses in it although the ones in book two are antique carousel horses instead. I’m also working on two other projects and trying to keep all the characters straight in my head.
Orly Konig is an escapee from the corporate world where she spent roughly sixteen (cough) years working in the space industry. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats.
The Distance Home is her first published work of fiction.
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