Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Karen Rose - She's In The House

I’m so excited to have Karen Rose in the house today. Not only is she an amazing writer, who weaves a world you’ll still have you with long after reading the end, but she’s one of the coolest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for the past several years.

Karen it’s great to have you here. We’ve all been chomping at the bit waiting for Kill For Me and it’s out, Yay!!

Needless to say, I’m already a huge fan, although you know your books scare the willies out of me. Okay if you’re ready, here goes.

Me: How did you get started writing and have you always written romantic suspense?

Karen: I started writing when a movie-like scene began to roll through my mind, fifteen years ago now. It was new and unique – and really bugging me! It would wake me up and distract me at work. Finally, while on vacation, I thought if I just wrote the scene down, maybe it would go away. Three hours later I was still writing, that one scene having led to another, and another and I was hooked. I travelled a great deal for my job then, and I’d write in hotels and airports all over the US and the world. It was a hobby, one I enjoyed in secret. Only my husband knew I wrote for fun. Eventually, that one scene became my first, very long book!

It wasn’t suspense then – my first two stories were contemporary romances. It wasn’t until I began my third book – I still was writing in secret – that elements of suspense crept into my plot. Eventually, after five complete revisions, that book became DON’T TELL, my first release.

Me: Your now not only in the US , but in London as well, major congrats! Can you tell us about receiving ‘The Call’ and also the call for going international?

Karen: I got “The Call” for my first sale in December, 2001. I was leaving work, on my way to take two customers out to dinner. I’d never met these customers and didn’t really want to do the dinner, but duty called. So did my agent J. I was very calm at hearing the news that Warner Books had offered me a two-book contract. “Yes,” I said, “I think we should take that offer.” Then I hung up, called my husband, screaming. Then I called my best friend, screaming. Then I had to go to dinner with two customers I’d never met, all the while squirming in my chair, wishing I were home so I could call everyone I’d ever known with the news, LOL. I ended up calling everyone I’d ever known the next day.

Me: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Karen: A pantser? No, I’m a plotter, although I don’t do spreadsheets of each scene, color-coded by POV anymore. But I have to know who did it before I begin.

Me: You’re not only a fabulous writer, but you’re also a wife and mom. How do manage to do it all?

Karen: I have a great husband who is my best support and loudest cheerleader. He also cooks, cleans (kind of) and does the laundry. I’d be lost without him. My kids are older now, and more self-sufficient. They can operate the microwave, which means they can cook as well as I can.

Me: Okay, we all know there’s plenty of people who die in your books, but how do you do your research and where do you keep the bodies?

Karen: I keep the bodies in a spreadsheet (I really do). Research depends on the book. Sometimes, like with COUNT TO TEN or DIE FOR ME, it’s in-depth and varied. Other times, it may be a single question to a trusted source.

Me: What’s your favorite part of the job?

Karen: When the story starts to come together and rushes out like a river. Also when something happens, or two threads connect, that I don’t expect. And then I think, “Well, that certainly explains a lot!”

Me: Can you tell us a little about your newest release and what’s coming up next?

Karen: My newest release is KILL FOR ME – the finale to the Vartanian family trilogy and the story of ADA Susannah Vartanian and Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Luke Papadopoulos. KILL FOR ME picks up where SCREAM FOR ME left off – with five dead bodies in a concrete bunker on the river. Susannah and Luke find that five teenagers have been murdered. Another five have been taken, for sale in the sex trade. One lone teenager has survived and escaped. Only she has seen her captors – and they are determined she will not live to tell the tale.

My next book, I CAN SEE YOU, will be released in August, 09. It’s the story of Eve Wilson, who was introduced in DON’T TELL and also appeared in NOTHING TO FEAR. More on this as the summer draws closer!

Me: Any advice for aspiring writers and parting words for our readers?

Karen: Write because you must, because the characters in your head will not be silenced. Don’t lose the love of writing because you’re working so hard to get published. I wrote the book I finally sold five times. Don’t ever give up.

Karen, thanks so much for stopping by, I’ve loved having you here.

Karen: Thanks for having me!

Okay, everyone it’s your turn now. Leave your comments to be included in the drawing on Friday for Karen’s newest release, Kill For Me.

WW's and PD's,


LKap said...

Re-wrote Five times - okay now I don't feel like such a loser for doing that ;-)
Karen great interview - I learned a few things I hadn't known.

Judy said...

I really enjoyed your interview. I enjoy hearing how most authors are basically normal people like the rest of us:) I think it is great how you can write those great books and still have a regular life. I know it is not easy!!

Sir John said...

It is great to hear about your writing career. You are a fantastic writer that likes to build tension all of the way until the very end. The subplots are fantastic as well. It is always interesting how you manage to tie all of them up so well at the end. You must have a very good spread sheet you use to do this. I write book reviews for Grand Central and love the way they work to support their authors.

Thanks for sharing.

Johnny ( Sir John) Ray

Vicki said...

See L, we can rewrite and rewrite, okay, and maybe rewrite again. heehee

Vicki said...

Judy, I was just talking about this very thing to LKap today. For some reason we often think of our fav authors as never having to do the laundry or take care of the house or anything...yeah, not so much. We write (even those of us yet to be published) and we take care of everything around us. Gotta love that.

Vicki said...

Hey Johnny, thanks for stopping by, hope you'll come back. We're always doing something around here. :)

donnas said...

Great interview. YOu book sounds wonderful. I love this type. Cant wait to read it.

Jill James said...

Karen, I thought your Die for Me was as scary as a story could be, then you upped the ante in Scream for Me. Does the danger and thrill ratchet up in Kill for Me as well?

Karen Rose said...

Laurie - I know a few people who've sold the first version of their first book, but not too many. Us re-writers are definitely the majority, I'd say.

Judy - I couldn't have any kind of "normal" life without my husband. I'd be subsisting on Fritos and TAB with a serious case of scurvy from no Vitamin C (or any other vitamins for that matter)...

Liza said...

I love the new look of the blog!

Great interview. I love romantic suspense books, but tend to get scared when reading most. But I keep going back for more.

Karen Rose said...

John, sometimes the ends tie themselves and sometimes require some serious plotting. Example - in DIE FOR ME there is an old man who has experienced bitter torture for fighting for his freedom in the former Soviet Union. He was not in my original plan and just appeared on the stage of my mind one day. I knew he'd be important, but I didn't know why.

I got to the part of the story where the old man is questioned by Vito, the hero, because he knows something about one of the murdered victims.

Then I thought - why would he know this? Why this man who does not speak English? Why would the characters with whom he interacts (Daniel Vartanian's parents) have talked to him at all? And why was Mrs. Vartanian there, when her husband normally left her in the hotel room, due to her advanced sickness?

I had to go back and seriously plot the answers to those questions - and it was then that I realized what Simon and his father had to hide. That became the start of the two sequels - and I was less than a week away from ending DIE FOR ME. There never was going to be two sequels. The emergence of the old man from Georgia (Soviet) and his conversation with the Vartanian parents from Georgia (US), set up two more stories.

Karen Rose said...

Vicki, the day after I learned DIE FOR ME had hit the New York Times, my oldest friend called me. I'd called her the night before and my ears had rang (had rung?) for hours because she screamed so loudly at the news, LOL. Anyway, she called me the next day and asked, "So what is the NYT bestselling author doing now?"

I looked at the toilet brush in my hand and said, "Cleaning toilets. What are you doing?"

You get the wondrous news of a contest win, a first sale, a bestseller list, a new contract, and you still have the responsibilities of your life, even though your feet don't hit the floor, ha!

Karen Rose said...

Donna - hope you enjoy it!

Jill - thank you :-) I like to think the danger and thrill ratchets up! I know there were a lot of surprises for me as I wrote the book. I knew fewer details going into KFM as other books. I'd set up so many plot threads, I wasn't sure how I'd weave them all in. But the characters managed nicely and every now and again I'd sit back after typing a paragraph and say, "Wow. That explains a lot!"

Missy said...

I wish I could read your books, Karen, but I know enough to know they would haunt me for...well, for a long time! I read an excerpt of one and it was awesome. Fortunately, it cut off at a great point for me (and a terribly enticing time for most readers I'm sure :) ).

Missy said...

Okay, so I should clarify. The stopping point was enticing to me as well. What I meant was that it cut off as it was getting into the scarier know...the stuff that would stick with me for a long time and make me tripple check my doors I'm sure! I didn't mean to say that I was not enticed. Sorry!

Anne-Marie said...

Karen, I love hearing how you got started writing and the story about "the call." I so want to grow up and write like you. Hmmm, I never thought of a spreadsheet to hide the bodies. lol.

Brandy W said...

You guys have me convinced to check Karen out. I think even T would be interested. So now I need to do some more book shopping. Really.