Paul chats with
PA: Hi Karen – thank you for taking the time from your schedule to do this Q&A session with me. I have just finished reading 'I Can See You', this being my first book of yours to experience. I truly loved it and the story line had me really hooked. Many congratulations on the book. How did the idea for 'I Can See You' come to you? In particular, the character make-up behind the killer character and his methods.
KR: Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed I CAN SEE YOU. Most of my villains come to me in pieces – well, psychological pieces anyway! I knew this villain was very smart and smug about it. He has contempt for those with addictions – yet he is addicted to the rush achieved by murder. His method of disposing of the victims was a suggestion of my delightful husband. The shoes, the longevity of his “habit” all just came together as I mulled him.
PA: The killer in 'I Can See You' uses a victims fear as a weapon – what is your fear as a writer and (if you are brave enough to disclose) your fear in life?
KR: Snakes are my greatest fear. That scene with the snakes took me 3 days to write! I think my greatest fear as a writer is that the characters will stop talking to me.
PA: I have since discovered that 'I Can See You' (2009), being your tenth release has the protagonist character Eve Wilson who also features in your debut novel Don’t Tell (2003). Why did you decide to return to this character and why on your tenth writing venture?
KR: That it was the tenth book was really just coincidence, but coming back to a character introduced in my first book rounded the numbers rather nicely! I had the idea for the plot first – the whole use of the virtual world. Eve was a perfect choice for me as I’d left her tied to her computer in NOTHING TO FEAR (book 4) as she was so afraid to show her scarred face in public.
PA:Do you think you will visit Eve Wilson in another book, or do you feel she has had her fill of traumatic events?
KR: I think Eve’s had her fill! Poor thing. But she got her own adventure and her own happy ending, so all is good. If she comes back, it will be in a less traumatic way, I think. Although I never say never...
PA: I understand that characters in your books do appear in other stories – do you think you will ever focus on one character in particular and create a series of books for them?
KR: Again, I never say never. I might do this in the future. For now, my list of characters I want to write about is longer than the time I have to write.
PA: You have a trilogy with Die for Me, Scream for Me and Kill for Me – will you be embarking on another trilogy?
KR: That trilogy was harder than I thought it would be! Especially as I hadn’t planned to write a trilogy when I wrote DIE FOR ME. I ended up with an unplanned cliffhanger – Daniel Vartanian and his envelope full of Simon’s photos. I knew I had to write Daniel and Susannah’s stories. I might do another trilogy in the future. Who knows?
PA: Your books are written in time-lines (the book will start on a particular day, year and time and progress). Why did you decide to write in this style?
KR: I don’t know. I just did and it worked out, so I kept doing it. I think it was my representation of the flowchart in my head.
PA: In 2005 you won the RITA award for best Romantic Suspense with I’m Watching You. Would you class yourself as a Romantic Suspense writer? When entering bookstores I have seen your books under general fiction, crime fiction and even horror.
KR: My books can be many places in the bookstore, depending on where you shop. I consider my books to be romantic thrillers. I enjoy the puzzle of the crime, the thrill of the chase, and creating a villain that leaves readers frightened and guessing, but I also enjoy the opportunity to watch the relationship between two people grow as they fight the menace. And I love a happy ending! Except for the villain, of course.
PA: When and why did you decide to start writing?
KR: I started writing to keep myself company while travelling for my job, years ago. I wrote in secret for five years before ever contemplating allowing anyone else to read my work.
PA: What was your last nine-to-five job and could you ever imagine going back to it?
KR: My last nine-to-five was teaching high school math and science, and yes, I could see me going back to it. I loved teaching, just hated the grading papers.
PA:Is being a writer the best job in the world?
KR: I think it’s the job I love and the job that sometimes hates me, LOL. I fight with my stories before they begin to take off at a gallop. It’s a phenomenon I find a lot of authors share.
PA: Who are your greatest influences as a writer?
KR: Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew), Edgar Allan Poe, and Nora Roberts.
PA: Do works in the horror genre (books, film, art) influence your work?
KR: Whenever I read a horror book or especially when I watch a horror movie, I can’t sleep for a week. But it’s that feeling of fear – and even the fear of being that scared – that I use to fuel my writing. So in that way, yes, horror works do influence me.
PA: Do you get easily scared? Can you remember what the last thing to scare you was?
KR: I get terrified. Which always seems to surprise people. I get a thrill making other people as scared as me. The last thing to scare me? Well, the guy who recently tried to break into my house while I was home scared me! My dog scared him away. Good dog.
PA: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement and greatest failure as a writer?
KR: My greatest achievement is creating characters that speak to readers and allow them to lose themselves in my world for a little time. Greatest failure? That I don’t know. I don’t think I want to dwell on that!
PA: Which was your hardest story to write and why?
KR: The hardest story to write is always the one I’m writing. Then when it’s done, it was the easiest and why can’t the one I’m working on now be as easy as the last one? Having said that, NOTHING TO FEAR was the hardest to write – that the villain was a soulless woman left me chilled.
PA: What are your writing habits? Do you have any bad habits?
KR: All my habits are bad, sigh. I binge write, downing copious quantities of caffeine as I do so.
PA: What was the last book you read that really impressed you?
KR: I don’t get to curl up with a book as often as I’d like to. When I do, I’m usually looking to be swept away. Getting sucked into the story so that I’m not anticipating the ending or “backseat writing” impresses me. One of my favourites is C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series. Beautifully done.
PA: How do you usually celebrate the final edit of your book before submitting to your agent/publisher?
KR: Do you count sleep as a celebration?
PA: Is a new book currently underway?
KR: Just finishing one – called YOU BELONG TO ME - after which I will sleep!