The member diversity in the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) makes our goal of connecting, educating, advocating, and leading possible. As bookwomen, we believe “Books Have Power.” The Bookwoman welcomes Karen Kersting (WNBA-New Orleans) to the “Power Behind the WNBA” interview series!
Tell us about yourself.
Since arriving in the city in 1982, I refer to myself as a “naturalized citizen” of New Orleans. Despite entering college at 15 as an English major, I earned my degree in interior design. But I continued writing as a side pursuit.
I am the owner of Alane Design, an interior design studio with both residential and commercial clients. The studio celebrates its 30th anniversary this year!
My first book — a middle grade story chronicling a boy’s WWII adventures with the PT boats — is scheduled to be released in Spring 2019 by Pelican Publishing.
In addition to my role as the New Orleans chapter’s treasurer, I am on the board of the Pinckley Prizes Memorial Foundation. I am also a gardener, beekeeper, Rotarian, and a volunteer at the National WWII Museum.
Why did you join the WNBA?
I joined the WNBA on the advice of my friend Diana Pinckley. The information, support, and general camaraderie of the New Orleans chapter has been most helpful as I pursue a second, parallel career as a writer.
What value does the promotion of books bring to your community?
New Orleans, known as an enclave for all manner of creativity, has a strong literary history and a good independent bookstore presence. The additional support from the WNBA to promote authors only enhances the opportunities to introduce these works to the public.
Must I only share one? First, I have been a decades-long fan of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy. The world-building, character development — even the cover art! — introduced me to a genre and a writing perspective which continues to impress me.
Second, the locally centric, brilliant A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole presents a unique writing style to capture all the strangeness and true-to-life characters of New Orleans. And, also, the author’s tragic life serves as my constant reminder that the publishing road is not an easy journey
Interview compiled by assistant editor Pam Ebel (WNBA-New Orleans).