Jen: Welcome to day two of Romantic Suspense week. Today we are pleased to host Karen Lopp. Karen, will you share a short bio with us?
Karen: Karen Lopp grew up in the Great Plains and now makes her home in the heart of New Mexico. A deep love for reading has colored her entire life and she and her three kids have read through entire libraries as they moved around the Southwest. When her youngest started college, Karen sat down to start telling her own stories. Her inspiration for adventure often comes from the view of the mountains and desert out her window. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her grandchildren and flying off to discover new places with her husband. She has published Westerns and Romantic Suspense, although no matter the genre you can be sure to find a healthy dose of danger. She prefers adrenaline rushes to sweet nothings whispered in her heroine’s ear.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Karen: Splintered Lies first started with me seeing the name “Jerah” and falling in love with it. I knew I was going to have to write a book just for him. Ultimately Splintered Lies is about overcoming past issues and striving to find a positive future (of course there is a lot of danger and action that has to be lived through as well!) My heroine, Rissa is a woman who has never had a chance to live life, and Jerah is a man who thought he lost his love eight years ago and has struggled with that regret.
Jerah Qassem had never been more grateful for his years of undercover training than at this moment. Fingers tight around the tumbler to stop the tremors, he watched the apparition glide up to the bar, and wondered if someone had laced his drink with a hallucinogen. Mary was dead. He had nightmares or wet dreams about her most nights for the last eight years.
It wasn’t only the woman’s face that had his insides swirling like a hurricane. It was the way she moved. Long, smooth strides, shoulders straight and eyes darting around like a caged cat. Mary had always been casting looks over her shoulder as if she expected someone to jump out and chase her. But those legs were just as toned and shapely as Mary’s had been. She had been athletic and grabbed every chance she could to romp around the beach. Even the hair was the exact same color of ripened wheat and bounced just below her shoulders. Just like Mary had worn it.
Chills erupted all over his body and cold fingers caressed the nape of his neck. Unable to blink, Jerah stared at the ghost of Mary. The girl he had sent to her death in a fit of anger. The girl he had fallen in love with, yet had been too proud and ambitious to acknowledge until she was gone. Forever.
Jerah closed his eyes against the jarring memory of two firemen holding him back from the charred remains of the building he had sent Mary into as three body bags were carried out. A shudder rattled down his spine. He had relived that day too often. When he glanced back at the bar, the woman had taken a seat and smiled at the bartender. Jerah knew that smile. The same smile that once had almost melted his resolve to not get involved. He had had a career to build. Mary had stirred up thoughts of forever and love, things he hadn’t been ready for. The temptation had been great. But somehow, he persevered and tossed away the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Air exploded from his chest and Jerah shook his head. He did not believe in ghosts. Prickles sprang up his legs as if his blood had decided to flow again. He tugged his leaden body from the chair and stalked to the bar. “Give me a shot of Wild Turkey.” Needing the fortification, he gulped down the amber liquid. Fire burned down his throat. Nope, he wasn’t dreaming. Hands braced on the edge of the bar, he turned to the woman at his side.
Jen: Favorite historical period?
Karen: The late 1800’s, specifically the American West.
Jen: Most challenging aspect of writing Splintered Lies?
Karen: The research I had to do to make some of Rissa’s trials realistic. (I’ll let the readers guess what those were!)
Jen: Qualities a book must have in order to stay on your keeper shelf?
Karen: A loveable character.
Jen: Craziest thing you’ve done in the name of research?
Karen: My latest release had me wondering if the FBI would show up at my door based on all my Google searches!
Jen: In addition to romantic suspense, you write westerns. How do you balance the two genres?
Karen: My Westerns are romances and always have an element of suspense, I love the history, but writing a contemporary novel allows me to expand the careers and paths of my heroines, so for me, the two genres complement my writing desires
Jen: Name three places you would like as a setting for an upcoming book.
Karen: Larger cities provide a greater opportunity for criminals to hide so I’d go with, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Chicago.
Jen: Favorite family meal?
Karen: Lasagna and salad
Jen: E-book vs. print?
Karen: I’ve been converted to E-book
Jen: In your book, Rissa is a computer whiz. How did you develop her character?
Karen: My first career was a computer programmer and my son-in-law is in the field. We collaborated.
Jen: Cliffhanger vs. happily ever after?
Karen: Happily ever after.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Karen: I’m working on the next book, Fractured Lies. It is about an FBI agent and the third book will be about the CIA, as the conspiracy gets larger and larger. My next Western is one of my favorites and I am in the editing stage right now. It is about a woman who has been badly hurt and a playboy who never thought of love.