Interview & Contest: Karen Rose Smith

Karen Rose SmithJen:  Today we kick a new week at Romancing the Book with a visit from Karen Rose Smith.  Karen, will you share a short bio with us?
Karen:  An only child, Karen Rose Smith delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there.  Maybe that’s why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances.

Readers often ask her about her past times. She has herb, flower and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn’t all about work, awards and Bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers.  Her website is the portal to her latest news, releases and social media feeds at http://www.karenrosesmith.com. It’s like a treasure map with new surprises to reveal at each click. For day to day chatting, search on Facebook for KarenRoseSmithBooks.  Tweet withKaren on Twitter @karenrosesmith.  Her blog, Cats, Roses…and Books! discusses whatever is uppermost in her mind at http://karenrosesmith.blogspot.com/. She hopes each and every one of her books brings you reading pleasure and warm feelings to surround your heart.

 

Jen: Please tell us about your newest releases and where the ideas came from.
Karen:  My newest Kensington mystery release, DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, is the fourth book in my Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery series. Mirabelle, a white Persian cat, is on the cover. My sleuth, Caprice, takes in strays and finds them homes. This time, however, she adopts the murder victim’s cat. My husband and I have given a home to four rescued cats and this is a subject dear to my heart. In addition, I wanted to give a character from the previous books, Ace Richland, a bigger role in the series. He is a rock star legend making a comeback and became friends with Caprice when he bought the house she staged. Music has always been important to me, so I particularly enjoy working with this character. His girlfriend, Alana Goodwin, is the murder victim, and he is a suspect.

The idea for THE COWBOY’S SECRET BABY (Book 3 in the Mommy Club series for Harlequin Special Edition) came to me in a roundabout way. The heroine, Marissa is a continuing character from the first two Mommy Club books. I always enjoy writing about cowboys and ranches, but I wanted to make this cowboy a little different. I have physical challenges in my life–fibromyalgia and back fractures–and know how frustrating physical limitations can be. So I made my cowboy, Ty Conroy, a rodeo rider who’d been bested by a bull. He’s still recovering from a knee replacement and dealing with the repercussions of finding a new life. Marissa’s love helps him heal and gives him direction.

Jen:  At what age did you discover writing? Tell your “call” story.
Karen:  My first real writing assignment happened in 8th grade when I had to write an autobiography. In high school, writing assignments seemed to come easily. I also began writing poetry. I was fortunate to have one published in the high school literary magazine. In college I was an English major and a creative writing course taught me the art of writing short stories. However, in college I also co-authored a script for the Monkees TV show. We sent it to every concert venue Special Delivery that summer. I also began my first novel. Then life happened–marriage, a baby, teaching. Until I had back surgery and was flat on my back on a hospital bed in our family room for 4 years.  That’s when I seriously began writing romance.  After finishing 13 manuscripts six years later, I got the call from my agent–Meteor/Kismet wanted my book. A week later, while I was trying to sell our microwave to an interested couple (we were in the process of packing to move) I got another call from my agent. Silhouette Special Edition wanted another of those 13 books.

Jen: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Karen:  I’m definitely a plotter. If I know where I’m going, I can get there faster!  From the beginning of my writing career, I wrote to escape physical pain. Concentration was easier if I had each scene plotted.  When I began to write each day, I could slip back into my storyline with my outline in front of me.  That’s how I work today.  That’s not to say I don’t deviate from my synopsis when my characters become rambunctious.  But for the most part, my synopsis is a road map.

Jen: What kind of research did I do for this book?
Karen:  For DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, I researched all things antebellum from architecture, to decor, to dinners during that time period. I also researched Southern food. I always try to find an unusual aspect of the story to interest my readers. In DRAPE, I explored valuable guitars and their worth.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Karen:  The most challenging aspect of writing after writing over 85 books is to keep each book interesting and different.  The easiest aspect for me is usually the relationships in the novel–whether they are forming between a couple or swirling around family members.  The most rewarding aspect is always writing “The End” knowing I’ve brought readers hope with another romance or a puzzle to solve with a murder-mystery.

Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Karen:  I definitely have a favorite character. It’s Caprice from my Caprice De Luca mystery series. She takes in stray animals, loves retro fashion and design, has a Beatles ringtone on her phone, loves her big Italian family and has a passion for decorating and cooking.  She’s my alter ego. Caprice can say and do things I always wished I could.  I gave her the house I grew up in and her parents’ house was my first home. She makes writing her stories easy.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Karen:  There are two more books in my Caprice De Luca mystery series.  I’ve just completed book 5, SILENCE OF THE LAMPS, which will be released in May 2016. I have also recently finished a romance for Harlequin Special Edition’s Fortunes of Texas continuity series. That book will be released in March 2016. At present, I am working on the first book in a new mystery series–Daisy Swanson’s Tea Garden Mystery series.That book is scheduled for publication late summer or early fall 2016.

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35 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Karen Rose Smith

  1. Penny Marks says:

    Forgot to do the question:). Love series books because I like to get to know the characters a lot more than a stand alone.

  2. Mary Cloud says:

    I prefer a Stand Alone because I don’t always have the time or money to invest in a series

  3. Linda May says:

    I love books in a series, I like to follow the characters & how there life progresses. On the other hand stand alone books are great too. Thanks for this terrific Giveaway, Gift Cards always come in so handy.

  4. Sandy Bartles says:

    I love a series thT the stories in each book have an ending, but the characters come back in another book…like Caprice’s books.

  5. Peggy Hyndman says:

    I love learning about authors and their writing process. Thank you for a peak inside Karen’s process and for this generous giveaway.

  6. Michele Hayes says:

    I enjoy both stand alone and series books, but the series are good because you know the characters when they appear in the sequels. As long as there are no cliffhangers I’m good.

  7. I enjoy reading a series, because it gives the author room to grow. You see her journey, improving her writing skills, etc. It also allows for the characters to grow. You watch them grow up/come of age, see how they change along the way, etc. I find it very interesting 🙂

  8. JoAnne says:

    I like both. Series and connected books are great as long as you know about it and can read them in the correct order. Otherwise when you don’t things sometimes don’t make sense since you don’t have the background information needed.
    I get more invested in characters/towns if I know it’s a series.

    Nice interview.

  9. Casie B. says:

    I like both! Stand Alones are good for when I am waiting for the next book in a series to come out!

  10. anne says:

    I enjoy stand alone novels the most since they are unforgettable and when they end I start another one.

  11. Kathleen Costa says:

    I am new to the cozy mystery community, and with so many books currently coming out, I am very torn whether to get the new book, or start at the beginning. I love read series! However, if a new book is coming out and I can’t wait, I will read reviews or contact the author to see if the book can be read out of order. So many authors are honest about whether I truly misfit by reading the most current book first.

  12. Thank you all for letting me know what you think about a series. As a reader I enjoy them because I know I can find another book from an author I like. I’m happy when they go on and on. I try to make each book stand alone so you can read them in or out of order but relationships do grow from book to book. Thanks again for stopping by.

  13. I like reading both. Sometimes I have so many series going I am reluctant to start a new one. But, for the most part I love reading series, especially in the cozy mystery genre because the characters become like old friends after a time.

  14. Rosemary K says:

    I enjoy reading a series. I like seeing the characters grow and mature. I like feeling part of the family.

  15. Karen H says:

    I like books in a series because I always discover those secondary characters demanding their own story. I’m always happy when the author obliges and writes those stories. Right now, I’m reading The Inferno Club series by Gaelen Foley. She has written this series with a very interesting concept of a central theme that carries through all of the books, seven in all.

  16. Robyn K says:

    I like standalone books and series. With a series I feel like I know the characters personally and look forward to what’s going to happen with/to them next.

  17. Marcy Shuler says:

    I really enjoy series. By the end of a book the characters feel more like friends and I like finding out how they’re doing in following books.

  18. Jeanie Jackson says:

    I love Caprice but I also love so many of Karen’s other books. I haven’t gotten to the Cowboy’s Secret Baby but I will as soon as life slows down a little. I was fascinated to learn a few new tidbits about Karen that I didn’t know even though follow her avidly. Thanks for the delightful interview

  19. Kathy Gonzales says:

    I do prefer a series over a stand alone . A series gives you the history and backstory to the characters , something that engages me and makes me want to read more ! kathambre@yahoo.com

  20. I like stand alone novels but recurring characters. I don’t mind if a future book elaborates on a previous topic, or even if it leaves me slightly curious and wanting to know more. But if there is a cliffhanger, I want the next book to be available FAST!
    I like series because I enjoy watching a character and relationships grow.

  21. Patricia says:

    I love this series! You don’t have to read the previous books, to enjoy this newest release, but you would be missing out not to!

  22. Linda Trinklein says:

    I love a series if all the books are out, I dislike waiting for the next installment. Stand alone books are GREAT, no waiting 😉

  23. I’m more a fan of stand-alones because I hate the pressure of books that come in series because I either feel obliged to read them all (even if I didn’t enjoy the previous books) or I get angsty waiting for the next installments to come out, and sometimes even end up forgetting!

  24. Laney4 says:

    I like them both equally: I like the series books because I can learn more “in-depth” things about many characters; I like stand-alone books because I don’t have to remember things from previous books. (I have read over 250 books every year since 1973, so sometimes it is difficult to remember the various characters unless I read the books one after the other.)

  25. Tanya Guthrie says:

    I really like both. Although I can’t stand waiting for the next, the anticipation is torture.

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