- Tell us a little about yourself, Karen. Where you were born, do you have any kids, a hubby, a dog, cat, snake, or a bird?
Thank you for inviting me here Patti. I’m grateful for the opportunity you’re giving me and yes, we have two children, three grandchildren and my husband is an amazing partner and soul-mate. We also have a black pug with a huge heart and attitude.
- What inspired Erotic Deception?
Imagination, tough guys, and heroes. I love writing about hardened cops and telling stories about them. The only other thing I enjoy more than their tough guy approach is the women who can melt their hearts of stone.
- What made you pick that title?
LOL. I initially titled it A Psycho’s Drama as my heroine’s profession initially was a Psychodrama Therapist dealing with a Psycho. Erotic Deception seemed like a catchier title.
- Erotic Deception is coming out in October of this year. Tell us a bit about your journey, Karen – from writing to revisions to query letter then obtaining a contract.
I’d been writing full-time for about three years. I entered contests, workshops and consumed everything I could to perfect my craft. I really stink at query letters but seemed to do okay with them for publishers to ask for submissions. It was when I pitched to MuseItUp Publishing that I received the most encouragement and guidance. I received “the call” shortly after that.
- Would you tell us a little about your publisher, MuseItUp Publishing.
I could spend hours talking about MuseItUp Publishing. The team, the incredible editors, cover artists and amazing publisher who renders so much support to the authors, it would be impossible to actually tell about it. One has to live the experience to believe what a unique and fablous place it is.
- I’d like to share the blurb for Erotic Deception here. Would you like to elaborate?
It’s a love story with suspenseful elements. It’s the dream I wanted to write and reminiscent of stories I shared with my mother, now passed. Told she’d never have children…abracadabra, she’s pregnant. Would the man she loves disappear when he found out? Here is the blurb:
Her brother was dead. He’d practically raised her and stood by her during a miscarriage that left her barren and the sole person she had left in this world. How had Dr. Lily Delaney with a PhD in Psychology missed the psychotic signs of Anthony Capriccio, the Kansas City District Attorney and her ex-fiancé? Now at twenty-nine she was on the run to hide from the impending threats to her own life. But on the road to a safe secluded lake community, Lily crashes into the path of a new dangerous element, literally. One with deep blue eyes who totes a badge and carries a gun.
After his experience as a detective in Kansas City, Missouri, Jet Walker enjoyed his life as sheriff of the quiet lake community, Windom Hills. However, when Lily Delaney literally crashes into his car and life, his world disrupts into chaos. Couldn’t the woman do anything normal? Between fighting to protect her and fighting against his growing attraction for her, the previous peace Jet had found was now falling apart. And how could he possibly trust another woman after the trick his ex-wife played in trying to pass off another man’s child as his.
- Where did you get these characters, Karen? Are they people you know or did you make them up?
They are made up from imagination but they do talk to me so sometimes I’m not sure if they’re the ones who are real and I’m just living a dream.
- Did you always want to be a writer?
Tough questions. Wanting to be a writer and believing you can be a writer might be a better question. I never thought I could pen a story to completion until I tried.
- Have you ever won any contests?
LOL…does a beauty contest count? In prior careers (outside of writing), I won awards.
- What did you learn about the publishing industry from your journey so far?
Takes a lot of hard work and prayer. Faith into the mix completes the recipe.
- What piece of writing advice did you get that meant the most to you and how you wrote?
It actually came from a Harlequin Editor in London. She gave me hope to continue in admiring my writing style. Several submissions were sent back with sassy, fresh and unique. I was very inexperienced however and didn’t understand the particular genre specifications. I still have her letters and I did refer to them during times when I needed encouragement.
- Did you take any classes that helped you with your writing? Do you have a mentor, writing group, critique group?
I took many classes and have had several mentors. I would say the most influential resides in our publishing house at MuseItUp.
- What would you term your writing style? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Any favorite POV?
Definite pantser. If I know the end of my story, I lose interest…kind of like a deflated balloon. I prefer third person POV.
- Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
Watching and interacting with people although I can never tell when someone is going to influence me to write about them. Certain elements or qualities, if you will, inspire me to weave stories.
- Do you purposely invent challenges for your characters? If so, what were some of them for Erotic Deception?
I think conflict might be a better target for me to invent. Challenges, of course but the oh so important conflict needs to be there for me. People fascinate me and how they interact with one another is what I like to discover. They tell me where they want to go. I’m not big on wishy-washy relationships. I suppose in the word choice of challenges, I need the characters to overcome some major challenges before the happy ever after.
- Any particular craft books you’ve read that helped your writing?
No although I have quite a few in my e-readers LOL.
- Tell us a bit about Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road.
That’s another set of 20 questions isn’t it? It’s a dark anthology of horror I had no idea I could write.
- Any plans for another book?
Yes. I’m working on another Romantic Suspense novel but darker and more sinister than Erotic Deception.
- On a personal note, who’s your favorite author and why? Do you have a favorite book? What about a favorite singer? Favorite movie?
I love Linda Howard, Rachel Gibson and Karen Rose. I also love Judith McNaught, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Maggie Shayne. My favorite book would most likely be found among one of them… depending on my mood. Elvis Presley was a master at the craft of singing. Didn’t need a musical instrument to make a melody, it was all contained in his voice but like my favorite authors, I also enjoy Elton John, Barbara Streisand. Movies…so many. Schindler’s List.
20. Lastly, give us a particularly important scene from Erotic Deception.
The scene is where my heroine has just crashed into my heroes car after discovering a worm in her candy bar:
Then realization dawned as Anthony’s thought process slammed into her. If the police stopped her for even a minor infraction, he or she might feel compelled to notify the court, if not the District Attorney himself. Anthony must be desperate if he’s stooping that low.
“It’s a mistake,” she said, her voice flat. “I’m the one who needs protection from him.”
Mild skepticism appeared briefly between his narrowed dark lashes.
“It’s true,” she frowned. “He’s my ex-fiancé with serious psychosis issues.”
His enigmatic stare gave a moment’s study before he replied.
“Dr. Delaney, the restraining order implicates you as the threat.”
She adamantly shook her head. “I’m the one being threatened!” . Experience warned not to mention he also killed her brother.
“You’ll need to take that up with the courts,” was his infuriating response.
“And play right into his hands,” she said bitterly and then muttered under her breath. “You’re all as crooked as he is.”
The rearing back of his head indicated he’d heard her, but at this point Lily didn’t care. She was tired, scared, and tired of being scared. Screw them all.
“Then allow me to at least pretend to care about justice and get back to the three lives almost taken today?” he suggested in a soft dangerous tone.
Heat rose up the back of Lily’s neck and her momentary apathy awoke to shame. In this, she was entirely to blame.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that,” she said, pressing her index fingers into her temples and rubbing in simultaneous circular motion.
“Forget it,” was his clipped response. “Why don’t you tell me what happened today?”
Despite his command to forget it, his abrupt demeanor assured Lily that he, at least, hadn’t. But the damage was done and there was little she could do.
She started to answer, but the explanation of the worm now seemed more ludicrous than before. Her gaze fell on the mounds of hay on the big truck.
“Isn’t there a minimum speed limit here?”
“Well,” she licked her lips. “To be perfectly honest, the fault isn’t entirely mine, if you think about it.” She noted the warning light appearing in his eyes and knew she was only making things worse for herself. Apparently, however, she was on a suicide mission as she trudged on.
“That truck was barely moving. Isn’t there a minimum speed limit here?”
“You’re inferring this was Pete’s fault?” he asked with an underlying threat.
Shame pushed her lips together, but for some reason, it didn’t stop the flow of diarrhea.
“Well, he was driving as if his only intent was to race a turtle,” she said and cast a guilty glance toward the shocked older man. She stammered on, “A-And by you allowing that kind of obstruction makes us all responsible, don’t you think?”
Have I lost my mind? It was obvious the man before her thought so.
“Now you’re encompassing me as a responsible party?”
“It’s possible,” she said weakly.
“Are you under the influence of any drugs or alcohol?” he asked.
She checked the hysterical laugh bubbling up. She could use something right now.
‘No,” she replied.
“Are you in the habit of always blaming others for your problems?”
Hot tears burned.
“No,” she answered again.
“Would you mind giving an honest answer as to why you tried to pass in a zone clearly marked do not pass?”
“I wasn’t trying to pass,” she responded in a flat voice.
“No?” He asked. “What were you doing? Playing Peak-A-Boo with your car?”
“No,” she gritted. “I don’t consider driving a car as playing a game.”
“Yet I remind you once again, several lives were put in jeopardy today,” he stated.
Lily rubbed shaking hands over her face in defeat. “I know and I’m sorry, but I was distracted by a worm in my candy bar and-”
“A what?” he cut her off.
Exactly. She repeated it anyway. “A worm.”
“You put worms in your candy bar?”
“What,” she frowned and then shook her head. “No, I don’t put worms in my candy bar. I bought it from a store a few miles back.”
“They sell worms in candy bars?” he asked and Lily couldn’t tell if his sardonic disbelief was real or not.
“No,” she responded again, feeling her patience start to thin. “I suppose the candy was old.”
He cocked his head to the side. “Alright, let’s presume you’re not making this up—”
This time Lily cut him off. ‘Who in their right mind would make up a story like that?’
“Good question,” the sheriff concurred in derision, “I’m guessing next you’re going to tell me the worm was driving?”
Lily’s mouth tightened. “Listen, Sheriff. I’m sorry I wrecked your car, but it was an accident. And as I mentioned, if the truck in front of me hadn’t been going so slow this wouldn’t have happened.”
His lip curled. “I thought we were blaming the worm now.”
Nearing the end of her tether and not sure why she continued to argue the very-moot point, the last thing Lily needed was his belligerent sarcasm.
“Can we wrap this up?”
Ice-blue chips reflected his less than appreciative response to her attitude.
“Where are you headed today?”
Her lips twisted. “Here.”
“Where exactly is here?”
She suppressed a caustic response. “Windom Hills Lake Resort.”
“Are you renting a cabin?”
“I believe it’s a house.”
His eyes traveled over her curves, down to her long legs and back up again.
“Why Windom Hills? It’s not exactly Club Med.”
Dismay over her predicament, coupled with his insulting remark and perusal made her own response less than respectful.
“That’s none of your business, Sheriff.”
With a menacing step, he leaned in and whispered, “Lady, you’ve made everything about you my business today.”
It was the final straw. First, she’d had to endure the loss of her brother. Then she’d found out the man she was going to marry had killed him and threatened to do the same to her. With the horror of a worm, whose very existence was in question, followed by an accident she’d certainly caused, and the impending legal ramifications which would bring about the imminent discovery of her whereabouts, she now had to endure this man’s relentless aggression? All rationale and common sense disintegrated.
“Which goes back to my earlier question,” she challenged. “Why aren’t you monitoring the roads better instead of being in everyone’s business?” In her need to lash out at someone, she took enormous satisfaction at catching him off guard. “If you’d been doing your job instead of driving around with your thumb up your ass, I wouldn’t have been stuck behind that monstrous contraption for what seemed an eternity and you wouldn’t have wrecked your vehicle.”
Pete’s mouth dropped, but Lily was too far gone and incensed to care.
“Now it’s my fault again?” Disbelief made the sheriff’s voice rise to match hers.
“Well, I’m glad to see you’re finally taking some responsibility,” she announced irrationally.
“Things are beginning to make sense,” he gritted through his teeth, reaching behind him. “You’re not only dangerous, you’re nuts. Turn around and put your hands behind your back.”
Not taking into account he’d arrest her, Lily backed up in wide-eyed horror.
“You’re going to handcuff me?” she asked aghast.
An anxious Pete stepped in, “Now hold on a minute, Jet. There ain’t no cause for that.”
Ignoring Pete, the sheriff advanced toward Lily, his lip curling.
“Maybe you want to coerce me against it by hiking up your skirt again.”
“By hiking up my skirt…” she asked, thrown off by confusion. “What are you talking about?”
“Are you going to deny trying to make things easier on yourself by wiggling your assets in your car earlier? Exhibitionism is against the law in this county, Ma’am.”
She sucked in a breath. “You’re the one that’s crazy,” she choked out in rage. “I wasn’t wiggling anything.”
“What would you call it? Soliciting an ad for yellow underwear?”
Her green eyes blazed before she allowed her lips to curve sweetly in pent-up hysteria.
“For your information, Sheriff, my underwear is not yellow. Where’d you get your investigative skills, Detectives for Dummies?”
Dead silence fell like a thick fog. Somewhere in the back of Lily’s hysterical frame of mind, she realized she’d just insulted an officer of the law over her underwear.