Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full–time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
About myself… I started writing seriously for publication about thirty years ago and finally reached the goal of selling a novel with my sixth complete one. In a career marked by many ups and downs, I’ve had somewhere around a dozen novels, a few novellas, and maybe a dozen or so short stories published by companies large and small. I’ve never supported myself entirely with my writing, however, so over this thirty-year span, I’ve also been a computer programmer, bookstore clerk, magazine editor, and currently a website designer/developer. I’m in the process of retiring from the website business to have more time to concentrate on writing, traveling, and spoiling my six and a half grandchildren.
1. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write across a number of genres, including mystery, romance, suspense, paranormal, and fantasy.
2. What’s your favorite beverage?
Coffee, though wine is a close second. Other than water, I don’t drink much else.
3. If you had to listen to one song over and over again for a whole day, what would it be?
Actually I’d probably throw the player against the wall before the day was out no matter what the song, but this is a tough one. My musical tastes are eclectic. It’s kind of a toss up – Metallica’s Enter Sandman, Bob Seger doing Turn the Page (though I like Metallica’s version, too), or Judy Collins singing Both Sides Now.
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
The promoting. Lord, do I hate having to do any kind of marketing and promoting. It doesn’t come naturally. I just want to write stories.
5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A good question and I don’t have a good answer. I currently live in North Carolina, but I can’t say I’m enamored of the place. The main thing holding me here is my husband’s job and my oldest daughter and her two kids who live nearby. But my younger daughter, her husband, and three small children live in Indiana, though that will change soon, and my son, his wife, daughter, and bun in the oven live in Oxford, England. Probably, if nothing else drew me to any particular place, I think I might like to live somewhere in Italy. I love Italy.
6. Are you an avid reader? When you do read someone else’s writing, what is your favorite genre?
Absolutely yes, though I don’t have as much time as I’d like. I read in pretty much all the genres I write, though I probably favor mystery and fantasy.
7. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
An idea store in Schenectady? A super-secret idea tree in the back yard? Oops, sorry about the wiseass answers, but, really, this is the wrong question. Ideas are everywhere. I usually get two or three from the morning newspaper, some of them so strange I wouldn’t dare turn them into a story since they strain credulity. Everything I read, everything I see on the television, hear on the radio, or talk about with friends contains ideas for stories. The real question should be: how do you turn a few good ideas into a plot for a novel? And the answer is a lot of hard work pulling things together, writing it all down, rewriting and editing it, then re-writing again until it gels. Somewhere in there the magic happens and it all comes together.
8. Tell me about your ideal reader.
I suppose my ideal reader is a lot like myself – female, educated, smart, talented, and with a great sense of humor. Um, right. All that without the neurosis, the self-doubts, the procrastination, and the general craziness. But I write what I would like to read, as the conventional wisdom recommends, so really my ideal reader would be a lot like myself. But with more money to spend on books and time to read them.
9. If you were to choose one superpower, what would it be?
Unlimited energy would be a fabulous thing to have. I could do all the things I need to do in a day: work, write, promote, clean, garden, connect with family members, see friends, etc., cook fabulous meal… Okay, probably not that last one. I’m a crappy cook.
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
Wired for Murder, the second book in my Market Center Mysteries series is due to be released July 1st. Remember what I said earlier about my career having its ups and downs? This book was a big part of those. I sold the first book in the series, A Gift for Murder, to Five Star/Cengage in late 2009 and it was published in hardcover and trade paperback in 2011. A mass market paperback followed in 2012. Meanwhile I’d started writing the second book in the series, but it was interrupted for a long time by my mother’s final illness and death. I finally got back to it and finished in early 2015 and sent it off to Five Star. The editor accepted it and then I waited for the contract to come. And waited. And waited. I began to get a bad feeling about it late that year when no contract had come and other Five Star mystery authors were reporting delays in their book releases. Finally, earlier this year, the axe fell. Five Star killed its mystery line. I made a few inquiries and had confirmed what I’d been hearing: publishers don’t like to pick up series that started elsewhere.
Leap of faith time. I decided to publish the book myself, and I plan to do the same with future installments of the series, which are already in progress.
Blurb: Most of the time, Heather McNeil loves her job as assistant to the director of the Washington DC Market Show Center. Because she’s a good listener and even better at solving problems, her boss assigns her to handle a lot of the day to day issues that arise during the shows, exhibits, and conferences being held there. When Heather becomes an unwilling audience to murder during the Business Technology Expo and later finds the body, she’s willing to let the police take care of it. But she soon learns more than she wanted to know about the victim and all the people who really didn’t like him very much.
Be sure to come back to read more about Karen and her book, WIRED FOR MURDER, Market Center Mysteries, Book 2 on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Happy Reading!
Links to Karen’s website, blog, books, etc.
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**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Karen is giving away a signed copy of A GIFT FOR MURDER (U.S. ONLY) or an ebook copy (OUTSIDE U.S.) to one lucky reader who comments on this Author Peek or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs. Thank you, Karen, for sharing your story with us.
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