Origin of the Writer: Karen Alexander

Origin of the Writer is a series of essays giving emerging writers the opportunity to share their writing journey so far. 





The year 2017 has been the beginning of a new chapter for me, filled with all of the rich textures that life has to offer. I devour books – my preferred reading genre being historical novels, followed closely by mystery, murder, mayhem and intrigue – and have dreamt for years of being able to write, recently enrolling into two writing courses: one on writing short stories and one on writing crime fiction. I am almost finished my very first manuscript, after which I will then feel as though I can class myself as an emerging writer. Toooot toooot …coming through!


This is how my story goes. In 2006, I was diagnosed with terminal incurable cancer. Needless to say, I haven’t been to a doctor in over nine years. I am currently fully focused on writing about my emotional journey through surviving cancer and I now feel well placed to offer my knowledge to others if they have the will to overcome. By telling my story, I want to inspire others when they are told there is absolutely no hope. I am about to discover and learn about the time consuming process of endless editing and re-writes before my current manuscript is completed. I then plan to focus on writing novels, and trust that my personal journey in life has given me the insight to guide me on how to write compelling and emotional stories, although not half as traumatic as living the real deal, I hope!


My background, and what I now call my extraordinary life, has been a patchwork of adventures and misfortunes. I was born in Queensland and lived eight years in Papua New Guinea as a child. When my family returned to Australia, I completed my schooling and then as a young adult, I spent nearly three years as a governess in the Queensland outback near Julia Creek, Charters Towers and Longreach. After working in mining towns for thirteen years, I accepted a voluntary retrenchment and returned to study, knuckling down to achieve an MBA, specialising in Project Management, which led to running my own consulting business for three years up until being diagnosed with cancer.


My journey through surviving cancer has taught me:

– How to heal

– How to find peace

– How to become the person I was always meant to be

I have started a blogging site and you can follow my story at Courage and Conviction.


Writing Room

Karen’s Writing Space


***This essay was edited and reformatted from the original submission which was written up as a letter. Some parts were ommitted in order to suit the theme and intent of Origin of the Writer***

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