Archived Story

Collum is a working writer

Published 9:29am Friday, July 13, 2012

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“If you want to be published, you’ve got to be committed to editing and putting in the hard work,” Karen Collum said. An Australian author, Collum is visiting her family in Pelham this summer. During her visit, Collum is sharing her books, her talents and her work ethic.

Pam Snowden, left, and Karen Collum display Collum’s books. (contributed)

With her down-to-earth personality and her Down-Under accent, this mother of four children including a 7-year-old, 4-year-old twins and a baby under a year old has delighted her audiences. At the Pelham Public Library, Collum not only read her picture books to her youngest audience, she also made pages from her book “Samuel’s Kisses” come to life.

“When I read the page where a character juggles, I show off my own juggling skills,” Collum said.

Combining her full-time job of motherhood and her many writing endeavors, this former elementary school teacher is constantly juggling to keep her life in balance.

During the school year, Collum worked with Valley Intermediate Media Specialist Mary Foy to perform for Pelham’s intermediate-aged students through Skype.

During the performance, Collum was safe at home in Australia with her own children nearby—asleep in their bedrooms because Collum’s school day performance in Pelham actually took place in the middle of the night at her Australian home.

When Pelham writer Pam Snowden and her two daughters enjoyed Collum’s performance at Pelham Public Library, Snowden invited Collum to speak with our adult Writer’s Group, RUMC Christian Writers.

Listening to Collum share her journey to international publication was encouraging. Collum told of attending her first writing seminar led by a popular Australian author.

“Shes was not magical,” Collum said. “She worked really hard, and she kept at it.”

While Collum loves picture books, she is also working on young adult books, another children’s book and she writes magazine articles. Collum is studying illustration in order to illustrate her children’s books, and she’s recently completed both of novelist Kim Wilkins’s web-based classes Year of the Novel and Year of the Edit.

“Anyone can write a novel, it’s the editing that makes the difference,” Collum said.


Connie Nolen can be reached by email at

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