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April 2nd Author Stalker with Karina May!

The vivacious & incredibly witty Karina May

Hello my beautiful Author Stalkers! It's so good to be back after my summer sabbatical.

Rest assured, I have spent the break resting, recharging and losing myself within the pages of a plethora of amazing novels, to bring a collection of brilliant writing talent to you throughout 2023 <3

These past few weeks have been absolutely glorious as I have been busy racing around attending many exciting book launches (it's sooooo good to be back at face to face events!!!) firstly celebrating the launch of Ali Lowe's awesome second novel The Running Club

& then Sandie Docker's fifth beautiful release The Redgum River Retreat

And last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the first author event for my first AUTHOR STALKER VICTIM FOR 2023, the gorgeous & incredibly witty Karina May celebrating the release of her FANTABULOUS paperback debut, Duck à l'Orange for Breakfast

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Karina over the last few years and she is not only a total sweetheart, but she is also such a wonderful supporter of fellow writers. We often bump into each other at book launches and I am so thrilled to finally celebrate the birth of Karina's own magnificent book baby.

A former journalist, an interesting two-month newspaper internship saw her move into magazines, before landing her current role as a digital marketer.

'At university, I was awarded an overseas journalism internship and was sent to work at a Bangkok newspaper for two-months, without knowing a single a word of Thai! It was this experience that made me realise I wasn't cut out for the newsroom and prompted me to move into magazines. I do wonder where my career would have ended up if I'd been sent somewhere more "achievable" haha!'

After the debut of her digital Rom-Com Under the Influence, published by Harper Collins in Sept 2022, Karina had two manuscripts snapped up by Pan Macmillan. The first, Duck à l'Orange for Breakfast, is out now and her second novel, Never Ever Forever, will hit shelves just in time for Christmas!

To say that I adored Duck à l'Orange for Breakfast, henceforth to be known as Duck, is a massive understatement. You too will fall in love with Duck, and its characters Max & Johnny…and it will have you hightailing it to your nearest IKEA store. It’s playful & pacey, tugs on your heartstrings and brings a smile to your face whilst reading. And it has a truly unusual origin story.

So race out and grab your copy now as I think it's going to fly off the shelves! (pun intended).

But now, without further ado, I will hand you over to the fabulous Karina.xx

Q1: What was your inspiration for this story and how long did it take you to write the first draft? A: The first germ of an idea came at the end of 2019 while in ICU post brain surgery for a benign tumour. I had spent the months leading up to the operation incredibly fearful about undergoing surgery. I was scared I might not wake up, or if I did, I may wake up a “different person”. As cliché as it sounds, it made me realise that I loved myself just as I was!

High on a cocktail of drugs, I started writing notes in my phone right away. These nonsensical notes marked the beginning of Max’s story. I wanted to write a book that explored self-worth and the life-changing experiences that shape us and help pull what really matters into sharp focus.

So often serious topics are written so seriously, but I wanted to bring some humour into the story – since that’s what helped me! At the time, my own lived experience was a bit too fresh, so I put the manuscript away and revisited during our second lockdown in 2021 (and post another surgery). I think it took me around 18-months to write.

I was so thrilled to attend Karina's very first author event last Thursday evening, held at the gorgeous Gordon Library.

The conversation between Karina and the lovely Sam (from the library) was like eavesdropping on a chat between friends.

Such a fun night with Karina's sister and mum in the front row to cheer her on, Sam from Gordon Library & Candice Georgea from Pan Macmillan, Talking Aussie Books' Claudine Tinellis and a room full of fans!

Q2: You are hosting a spectacular dinner party. Name four dream guests you would love to have seated around your table, and what would they be dining on and drinking? A: Oooh I love this question. It’s very revealing haha!

I’d love to dine with writer Dolly Alderton because I just love her brain so much and dinner would be an absolute crack-up. Nora Ephron so she can cook up a storm and entertain us with her wry wit.

Harry Styles, because Harry Styles. And then maybe Joshua Jackson of Pacey Witter/Dawson’s Creek fame ‘cause I need more of an age-appropriate heartthrob at the table.

We’d eat whatever delicious comfort food Nora Ephron decides to cook and drink Dolly’s strong martinis. There will be soft jazz music and lots of candles.

'Taking the Duck out to dinner...with Claudine Tinellis & Corinne Stevens!'

Q3: What is your favourite book of all time and why?

A: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons Not only is it an epic love story – and maybe even the first one I ever read – but it’s also a book my mum, sister and I read around the same time, so it also holds lovely, magical memories for me. It’s the book I re-visit whenever I want a comfort read.

Q4: If you could travel anywhere in the world to write for a year, where would we find you? A: Normally I would say somewhere warm! But since we have just come out of a stinking hot summer, I’m dreaming about the rolling green hills and cute cobblestone streets of somewhere like Ireland.

I imagine I’d start my day with a leisurely walk in the countryside, spend my lunchbreaks browsing cute bookstores and finish the day with a red wine and roast at the local pub. The Cotswolds in the UK would also do nicely – especially if Jude Law makes a surprise appearance.

(Can I come too Karina...I promise to share Jude. Shelley.xx)

'I write at my dining table which is a mess! So I have attached pics of my happy view with colour-coded bookshelves, these gold-plated baguette earrings I bought myself to celebrate the publication of Duck (that I'll be wearing to my launch) + my sun-speckled mantle.'

Q5: Describe your go-to reading spot at home and what book/s would I currently find there? A: I’m typically a bedtime reader! I have a minimum of two-three books stacked on my bedside table. At the moment it’s Ali Lowe’s The Running Club Sandie Docker’s The Redgum River Retreat and on my kindle is Crushing by Genevieve Novak

I just love reading Australian fiction – there’s such talent in this country!

Q6: Tell us a bit about a typical writing day… A: I can’t say I really have a typical writing day. I’m normally sneaking in an hour or so of words before my workday. On days I get to dedicate entirely to writing, I like to start with a walk to get the creative juices flowing, then I change up my space regularly throughout the day for ongoing inspiration – that could mean café-writing, bed-writing or couch-writing!

'This is the desk I'm coveting right now!'

Q7: As a lover of words, is there a special quote you would like to share with us?

A: I love Nora Ephron’s “everything is copy.” It’s kind of how I live my life to get through the tough stuff. I try to find the humour in most things. That also means that no one in my life is safe!

My other favourite quote which I have on a keyring, which I’m not sure is attributed to anyone specific is “careful or you’ll end up in a novel” – a bit naughty, but also very on-brand for me! Q8: What do you like to do when you’re not writing? A: Like so most authors, I spend a lot of time reading. Audio books have been a game changer as I can now even “read” when I’m doing household chores.

I also love travel. I say that my books are “lively love stories for wanderlusters” and try and include an element of travel in everything I write (also helpful for the tax deduction lol). As a freelance digital marketer, I’m lucky enough to have a fairly flexible work schedule and am able to work remotely. That may be a weekend away, or an overseas trip.

Q9: Any advice for aspiring authors?

A: I always say just to “keep going.” I know firsthand that’s easier said than done when you feel like you’re writing into the abyss. So I think the best way to keep at it is to find a process that works for you.

What helped me was to examine my motivation. Why do I want to do this? For me, it was as simple as: “because it makes me happy.” That helped me down at the desk each day.

Finding your people is also so, so important – not just for accountability for the writing, but for the emotional support, too. No one gets this crazy creative journey we’ve chosen more than other writers – and the Australian writing community is so gorgeous and supportive.

Karina surrounded by some of the best from Australia's writing community, at her official launch party for Duck at Harry Hartog Brookvale.

L-R - Karina busy signing away - authors Vanessa McCausland, Sandie Docker, Susannah Hardy, Ali Lowe, Petronella McGovern & Penelope Janu with Karina (photo credit - Vanessa) - some launch party delacacies!

Q10: In a few lines, which debut/emerging Aussie author should we look out for?

A: Definitely Amy Lovat whose book, Mistakes & Other Lovers

is out later this year.

I’m also really looking forward to Alli Parker’s At the Foot of the Cherry Tree to be published in August 2023.

And in early 2024, you’ll want to look out for Natalie Murray’s rom-com for all the Emily Henry vibes!

'Maxine 'Max' Mayberry, an ad executive with writing ambitions, is holed up in a friend's apartment after discovering her long-term boyfriend in bed with another woman. If that wasn't bad enough, Max has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Enter Johnny: a cheeky yet charming Tinder pen pal and the perfect distraction. Together, Max and Johnny flirt and cook their way through The Laurent Family Cookbook (a recipe book from Max's ex-boyfriend's pretentious French family) without ever meeting in person.

The 'Fork Him' project starts as a joke, but soon transforms into something more meaningful as Max undergoes brain surgery, travels to Paris for a fresh start, and decides whether she believes in herself enough to chase the life - and the man - she really wants.'

Praise for Duck à l'Orange for Breakfast

'Everything I want in a romance novel' RACHAEL JOHNS

'A wholly satisfying, perfectly seasoned love story' JESSICA DETTMANN

'Sweet, sexy and slyly funny ... Karina May's writing is a delicious escape' CLARE FLETCHER

'Charming, perceptive, utterly delicious' ALI BERG & MICHELLE KALUS

Thank you Karina for being my first Author Stalker victim for 2023. xx

Duck à l'Orange for Breakfast is available now through all leading bookstores and online retailers.

If you would like to find out more about Karina, you can find her here:

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