Books, news, & views from Karen Traviss

About me


I'm English, I live in England, and I write English English, except for the spelling of my first 24 novels, although I've gone back to UK English for my new series. BPeole often think I’m American because that's where the bulk of my business and my readers are. (Which has thoroughly messed up my spelling when it comes to -ised and -ized.) Writing novels, screenplays, comics, and occasionally games is my full-time job. But subconsciously I still think of myself as a news journalist and I haven’t lost the hard-wired urge to chase fire engines and harass politicians, or even harass fire engines.

Like most writers, I've been around a bit. Much of my working life has been spent as a TV and newspaper reporter. I've been a defence correspondent, an advertising copywriter, a police media spokesweasel, a public relations manager, and taught broadcast journalism. I spent time in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (now disbanded, alas) and the Territorial Army. But bear in mind that the most hazardous thing I've ever faced was a Royal Navy meat pie. (No discernible lumps: slurry en croûte. As with most animals, my hunger overcame my fear of the uknown...) So I'm not GI Jane. Don't include me with the fine men and women who do a truly dangerous job in our armed forces, both as regulars and reservists, because I have the privilege of knowing many of them, and they're the real deal. I am not.

I freely admit to having a terrible fountain pen habit. And then there's the pencils. And the gadgets. I also believe that a sensible food triangle consists of pork scratchings, coffee, avocados, Assam tea, kabocha pumpkin, and kimchi. Given the ever-changing contradictory bollocks that most nutrition experts spout, I'm as likely to be right as they are, as well as a lot happier.

That's all the personal detail you're going to get. Youngsters doing school projects mail me to ask where they can find out more, and my answer is that there isn't any, so any info they find on other sites may well be complete fantasy. I advise people never to post personal details on the internet, and I practice what I preach. It’s a bad idea to publish all the information that your bank uses to identify you. There are lots of people out there who can use the most innocuous information quite legally to access even more stuff that you probably wouldn't want to be made public. (Trust me. As a journo, I used to do that even before the internet was a thing. Imagine how much easier it is to ferret stuff out today.) And that's without all the scammers harvesting info to use illegally and God only knows what else is happening on the government side of things. If in doubt – leave it out. Better safe than sorry.