Drive-By Interview: Karen Rose!
Posted by mandacollinsauthor
It’s a real thrill for me to be interviewing one of my favorite people–who is also one of my favorite authors: Karen Rose. I first met Karen when she was the keynote speaker at my local chapter’s Silken Sands conference (we won’t mention the times earlier when I stalked her like a…stalker!). She was gracious and funny and not nearly as dark as her books would suggest! So, without further ado, I give you…Karen Rose!
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at the very beginning because I was seeing a scene roll through my mind, like a movie. But I knew it was no movie I’d ever seen before. This little clip seemed to be on an endless loop in my brain, distracting me from my engineering job, waking me up at night – essentially driving me crazy! One day, while on vacation, I decided if I wrote it down, then it would go away. It was July, 1993 and I was in Minneapolis in my friends’ basement, sitting on an ugly orange futon. Hours later I was still sitting on that futon, writing like mad. Four years and two-hundred-fifty thousand words later (yes, 250,000), that book became my very first novel.
I kept writing because I could wait to see what my characters would do next and because I was travelling a lot internationally for my job, couldn’t physically pack enough books in my luggage for the flight over, and couldn’t understand the TV when I got there. I wrote to keep myself company, never expecting or even dreaming I’d be published.
Incidentally, my first book was released 10 years to the month that I started writing :).
What is it about romantic suspense that draws you to it as opposed to other sub-genres of romance?
I love the romance. I’m a sucker for a happy ending! Partially because when I started reading, I was in my twenties and my husband had just come out of chemotherapy (He’s fine now). My life was terrifying and those happy endings really made things bearable.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also say I like the hotter aspects of romance :).
I didn’t start out writing suspense. The first novel I shopped was more women’s fiction. But someone who’d read my work said, “You have a suspenseful voice. Have you ever considered writing suspense?” I said, “No, but I’ll give it a try.” It turned out to be my niche.
Suspense to me is one big puzzle. The twists and turns keep it interesting for me and the humanity of the victims makes it very real. Putting romance and suspense together is like a Reece’s peanut butter cup, LOL.
Is there any particular subject or scenario that you won’t touch? Why or why not?
Gosh, I don’t know. I’ve written a number of dark subjects. I try not to deal too much with animal torture in my books, at least not in the story itself (maybe in backstory). It’s awfully painful for people to read.
What do you think sets your writing apart from other romantic suspense authors? Or, if you had to name one thing that you’re shooting for when you write a book what would it be?
I’m trying to create a character that stays with my reader long after they finish the book, one you’d want to know yourself (or if the villain, one you DON’T want to know). I want them to be real and the communities of characters in which they live to be genuine and warm. I want you to want to come back and visit from time to time, and maybe wonder how they are. If you want to know how a given character’s doing, just ask! I know how many kids Dana and Ethan have now (two with one on the way), how old Tess and Aidan’s twins are, how Michael Ciccotelli’s heart condition is doing (he’s well, btw), what Susannah Vartanian’s up to (victim advocacy). And I know how all my communities interact and will interact in the future. For me, the characters are real people and that’s what I want you to feel, too.
Hardest is the beginning, totally. Where to start?!? The easiest is the homestretch going into the end.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hm. Don’t think I’ve been asked that before. I think it was after my first RWA National in 1999. I decided, “Yeah, I can do this.” It was a shift in my thinking. Writing wasn’t a stolen pleasure anymore. It was not quite a “job” yet, but there was some respectability and credibility that I gave my writing hours.
What do you like to read? Are you reading anything right now? Tell us about it.
I love paranormal romance with dark angsty heroes! Next on my TBR list is TANGLE OF NEED by the fantastic Nalini Singh. I’ve had the ARC on my desk for a few weeks, waiting until I’m done with my current book. Looks like you guys will probably read it before me, though. Also sitting on my e-reader is LOVER REBORN by JR Ward – Tohr’s story! I can’t believe I’ve made myself wait this long. Love those Black Dagger Brotherhood guys…
It’s no secret that Aidan Reagan from You Can’t Hide is one of my favorite heroes of all time. But, tell me, Karen, when will his partner, Todd Murphy get his HEA? *weeps*
*Fist Pump* Yesss!!!!! Uh, moving on…your new series is set in Baltimore—Why there?
YOU BELONG TO ME and NO ONE LEFT TO TELL are set in Baltimore. Why there? I was looking to start a new group and I grew up in the Baltimore-Washington area and thought it would be a lot of fun! Maryland has a lot of great geography for settings, too. Beaches are only a few hours’ drive from mountains. There is history, cultural diversity, and the potential for lots of crime, so it fit my needs to a T.
Tell us a bit about what’s up next for you.
I’m writing book 3 of the Baltimore series! I initially planned the series to have 4 books – and yes, Stevie and Clay will be one of them :). Of course once I start writing, all the new characters walk on screen and say PICK ME, PICK ME. They can be quite insistent, LOL. Thorne is the character that most comes to mind here, although there are a few in the book that I’m writing that are already demanding their own story. So many characters, so little time :).
Thank you so much for being here with us today, Karen! You’re a rockstar!
So, you readers out there, talk to us! Got any burning questions for KR? Or maybe you’d like to talk about your favorite Karen Rose book. Or the romantic suspense you’re reading now! Comment, and one of you will win a copy of Karen’s latest No One Left to Tell.