Karina Frederiks is from Ontario Canada and she loves creative writing. The character Grumbalina and her friends are loosely based on her own life and experiences. After studying English and graduating from The University of Guelph, Karina moved to Europe and began writing the Grumbalina series in 2013.
Grumbalina‘s life in Pufftown is a world of spells and magic where anything can happen but also a place where young fairies face everyday common challenges such as Laziness, sibling rivalry, jealousy and so on . As Grumbalina would say Mugglefrump indeed! Grumbalina often thinks things are never going to work out for her, but perhaps this outlook that she holds, often makes things seem a lot worse than they really are.
Karina hopes the series is one which provides young readers valuable lessons of perspective, as they root for the underdog. Everybody has their days where they live in the only grey cloud in the sky – it is up to you – the reader – to choose who you are and what you allow yourself to think and be.
Where does your passion from writing come from?
I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing since childhood really. English was always my favourite subject in school, and I love trying to write and tell stories in an interesting way. Some authors are able to describe everyday occurrences in a way that a reader can really relate to it, simply by choosing the perfect words to create a description. I think that it’s a really fun challenge to tells stories in an interesting way, or to use your imagination and make up creative stories and worlds.
What is a typical day like for you at the moment, and how are you finding the motivation to continue writing throughout the pandemic?
I’m currently doing a lot of reading. I’ve been going back to read some classics, I just finished reading ‘The Sun Also Rises’, by Ernest Hemingway. I’ve been trying to set aside time every day to read as a nice escape from my day to day daily routine which is starting to feel a little bit like Groundhog Day!
I live on a farm, so I am actually very lucky that I’m able to go outside and care for some farm animals during the day. As for writing I normally will get randomly inspired by something that happens during the day, maybe a conversation, and event or picture could inspire a new storyline, and then I quickly write this down, and come back to it to create a story.
Has the pandemic held you or your creative writing process back at all ?
At the beginning of the pandemic, I actually found myself watching Netflix quite a bit, and this evolved into realising that I need to be spending my time reading and writing. I’ve managed to be quite disciplined with myself, and hold myself accountable on a daily basis to complete my goals. So creatively I would say no I actually have more time to be working on my brand and the launch of each individual book
Television is just so mind numbing. Which highlights the importance of Grumbalina. I often wonder what the modern child will be like when they are older? These children that are staring at their parents iPhone or iPad, who are not engaging in dinner conversations, and not playing with friends outside. I think it is crucial for children to have access to interesting books that can excite them and capture their attention in the same way that technology can.
Who is the most influential female author that you admire and why?
Hmm, I guess I would choose Harper Lee for my favourite childhood book ‘To Kill a mockingbird’.
What has been the most challenging yet rewarding barrier you faced and how did you overcome it as an author?
As a new author without any celebrity following to get a publisher is very difficult. The greatest challenge that I faced with Grumbalina was actually the publishing houses themselves. I received quite a bit of negative feedback because each book has a few lessons inside to teach children morals and values. Something that I surprisingly learned is to be avoided.
The characters in Grumbalina are actually all real people in my life, and a few of the male characters are gay. When I look at children’s books with gay characters in them the book normally is about explaining what gay means or talking about a gay classmate who is left out. There are not really any book on the market that just have gay characters as a part of the story.
I overcame these barriers by self- publishing. I think in 2021 the world is ready to have a children’s book that represents all sorts of people living and getting along in harmony.
What do you think it takes to be a great writer?
To be a great writer you need to have an interesting story, or use very interesting language to make even a boring story seem interesting. To take something that is boring or bleak and simply transform it into something beautiful, or interesting simply by using words is something that I really enjoy. A great writer also needs to have a multitude of perspective. Describing something to a reader in a way that is creative yet so obvious is a difficult task but one that every great writer sets out to achieve. Writing well is all about choosing the right words and really painting a picture with description. The best writers can take you to far- away and allow you to experience situations and places all while you are simply sitting at home on a comfy couch.
Can you share your 3 personal writing tips that could potentially help aspiring writers out there?
Okay To Get Started!!
1. Close your eyes and float away to an ideal place ( it can be real or imaginary) Look around and describe this ideal setting ( Are the flowers made of candy? Is the sky the colour of cotton candy) Try to describe the setting using words that can really add to the image you are visualizing. Detailed adjectives that sound nice together that really can take a person out of reality and into your imaginary world.
2. If you want to write a book or longer piece identify the; beginning, middle and end of your story beforehand. Write on a piece of paper a description of each. Basically you can map out the story and break down the key elements of your story. You can refer back to this map throughout your writing journey. Sometimes something simple like this can be very helpful throughout your writing journey.
3. Sometimes a twisted ending can make for a very exciting story. Something that the reader would never expect. A one liner at the end of a short story that twists the entire thing you read is always an exciting ending. So if that is a route to take I would write the one line ending first.
You’ve been working on the franchise of books since 2013 what is next for you?
We are still working on rolling out the remaining 5 books of the series. We are launching on Amazon shortly, and have a few exciting projects coming out on our website www.grumbalina.com I’m most excited about the Grumbalina and friends figurines that I am currently designing. There are so many possibilities with this brand so that is really fun.