Authors Helping Authors

Interview with Karen Martin

We are chatting with one of the most interesting women I’ve met to date, Ms. Karen Martin. For starters, she lives “down under.” And for this Texan that doesn’t mean Mexico. I’m talking WAY down under…all the way in Australia. I hope you enjoy these snippets from our conversation.

Your novels tell such a story. Can you tell us how you came about researching and writing your debut, DANCING THE LABYRINTH?

I wrote DANCING THE LABYRINTH (DTL) when I lived in Crete for one year in 2016. This novel was born from the question: As a mother, how can I raise my son to be the best human being he can be? This question arose from concern at the alarming rise in rates of domestic violence in Australia. In the context of patriarchy, with women scorned, belittled, and undermined; in the context of rising incidents of femicide, how, as a single mother could I ensure my contribution to the next generation would be a decent human being?

I had an idea emerging, but when I was in Crete I discovered the Minoans, which influenced the direction of the narrative. They were the most advanced civilization in the Bronze Age. They were a matriarchal society and my discovery reminded me of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novel Herstory. The novel became dual time, and there was certainly something satisfying about learning about women’s history and how this knowledge can feed into contemporary times.


Were you born and raised in Australia, or did you move there as an adult? What is the book industry like over there?

 I’m Aussie born and bred. The book industry hangs onto the perception that traditional publishing qualifies the standard of the book, but this is fortunately changing. Most literary festivals are a giant book selling opportunity for trad. publishers, so distribution for indie authors can be tricky. I believe the standard of independent authors is excellent – in fact one of our most prestigious awards – The Stella – was awarded to an indie author in the past year.


Can you tell us a little about your latest novel?

 My latest novel is called DELPHI. It is due for release later this year and is the sequel to DTL. It too is dual time. One of my Minoan characters from DTL sets off to Delphi to establish a Sanctuary for Gaia (at least 500 years before Apollo). It follows the thread of raising our children within a patriarchal society and extends to the healing process of childhood trauma and how we can prevent ongoing damage of victim becoming perpetrator.

Researching is one of my favorite aspects of writing. For DTL two books were significant: When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone, and The History and Origins of Consciousness by Erich Neumann. I am intrigued by transitions when boundaries are fluid. When writing about the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy, I explored books in Psychology and Archaeology


How much time do you typically spend in research prior to penning a novel, or do you do both simultaneously?

As an idea emerges I start to feed it with research and take copious notes. Some will be used, some just help me to immerse in the context. For example, with DELPHI I read as much as I could about the mythology of Delphi – Apollo fighting the Python, Leto’s birth etc., although I was not interested in following the development of the Oracle once Apollo claimed his inheritance. Then as I start to draft, the story itself will lead me into areas unknown where I need to research further. For example, childhood wounds and trauma were not part of my original idea. I had not foreseen this novel would deep dive into the backstory of the main protagonist. Nor did I know at the time of writing that the Sanctuary for Gaia was established by a Cretan priestess. My research also involves writing in-situ. I have this heightened sense – embodied cognition – where sensory experiences of the land influence my writing process.

Each book may take up to two years in development.


I understand you are also a playwright. A woman of many talents. Can you tell us a little about that part?

My creativity is a response to try and understand the world. What seems like another lifetime ago, when I was an independent theatre director, I wrote plays. I was not a prolific artist – each project consumed four years of development and implementation. But each was inspired by a search for knowledge and comprehension. Creating theatre offered a perfect process to deep dive; to research and script the question then create a physical reconstruction to see the answer. Writing novels is a similar process, except I don’t get to work it out on the floor.


What is the most unique experience or opportunity you’ve ever had as an artist?

I think my best work to date was a performance called THE WOMEN’S JAIL PROJECT. I took it to Ireland as part of the Dublin Festival and worked with women inside the Dorchas Centre / Mountjoy Prison. The working process was empowering and transformational for some of the women. To be part of that process was humbling and gratifying.


What’s next on the horizon for Karen Martin?

I am working on a non-fiction book called The Little Book of Red Flags. It is a curated anthology of social media snippets that served as breadcrumbs on my journey to self-discovery after the collapse of my marriage. I also have two other works in development. One is a memoir of living in Crete while writing my debut novel and the second exists atm as a collation of snippets that served as cathartic journaling – I am not sure if this will find its way into a narrative. It is too soon to tell.



Thank you, Karen, for spending time with us and sharing your work with us. You can make sure to stay up-to-date on all of Karen’s projects through her website at htpps://

See you soon!