Studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester, whilst writing her second novel for young adults, Karen’s work features in national magazines, the regional press and literary journals. A BSc in Pharmacology & Chemistry led to an early career in pharmaceuticals followed by a detour into charity management, (Action for Children and The Motor Neurone Disease Association) before taking time out to have a family and write. Karen skis badly, takes great photos, adores her two dogs and enjoys singing and playing keyboards in a band.

As a Story Terrace writer, Karen interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

Muddy Paws and Furry Cuddles

One of my earliest memories is of our beautiful-ugly boxer dog, Lisa and her ever wagging stump of a tail. It was the seventies, and no-one had heard of pet psychologists, scientific diets or insurance; dogs ate table scraps mixed in with their food and played with human toys and old tyres. Animals seemed to find my parents; Lisa was no exception, not wanted by her breeder, they took her in.

There are baby photos that show Lisa curled around me on the boldly patterned carpet keeping me upright. She was my constant pal growing up, which was handy as being an only
child could be lonely.

When I was three, Lisa had a litter of seven puppies, making me the happiest little girl in town. It was summer and Dad built a pen around Lisa’s kennel at the top of the garden. I spent every minute up there and probably smelt like one of the pups with their unmistakable wet newspaper, milk and wee combination. I remember their soft fur,
particularly the velvety ears and their sharp-as-needles baby teeth, which caused a few tears. As they grew, I carted them around the garden in my pram and substituted them for
my dolls in make-believe games.

Mum and Dad registered the pups with the Kennel Club and were proud of the names they came up with: Karlisa as their kennel name, melding my name with Lisa’s, then each pup after a peak in the Lake District, their favourite holiday destination. We had little fur balls of energy running around with names like Helvellyn, Catbells, Skiddaw and Great Gables.

I was heartbroken when the pups went, but they and Lisa gave me my lifelong love of dogs and some of my earliest memories. Mum and Dad had another boxer after Lisa and then a bulldog, both abandoned dogs that found a good home with them. I couldn’t wait to have a dog of my own, so it wasn’t long after I’d finished University and had a house with a garden that ‘Rebecca Florence,’ the bullmastiff, came along. For me, home is where the muddy paws and furry cuddles are.

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