I am very pleased to welcome Karen King on the blog today.
A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, Karen King writes sassy, contemporary romance just right for reading on the beach. ‘I do – or do I?’ her first chick lit for Accent Press, was published in May. She has been contracted for two more. And she is delighted that Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, The Millionaire Plan and Never Say Forever. The Millionaire Plan was nominated for the RONE Award in 2014 and ‘I do?-or do I? has just been nominated for the RONA.
When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.
I’ve been a published author for over thirty years. I started my writing career with the teenage magazine, Jackie and spent many years writing for various children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh before concentrating solely on writing books. I’ve had over one hundred and twenty children’s books published by a range of publishers, including Walker, Scholastic and Harper Collins.
I started writing romance about ten years ago. I’ve had several short stories published in women’s magazines and Never Say Forever was my first published romance. It was first published by People’s Friend Pocket Novels, then by Linford Press, then by Astraea Press (a US publisher) and now it’s been republished by Accent Press.
Your inspiration for Never Say Forever?
A lot of Never Say Forever is set in Spain, a country I love. I got the inspiration for the story when I saw the pages of dating columns in the local paper then a couple of Internet dating sites popped up when I was on the computer. It seemed as if everyone was looking for someone special so I started to think about a heroine, Amber, who was the opposite. She didn’t want to get serious with anyone. She was too busy enjoying her life travelling the world teaching English, and designing her own jewellery in her spare time. Her dream was to have her own jewellery business and she had no intention of getting married. Then she meets someone, Jake, who starts her heart fluttering. And he doesn’t want to get tied down either, he has his own dream to follow. But their feelings for each other were pretty strong. Would they be able to resist them? Would they follow their heart or follow their dreams? Would one of them end up with a broken heart?
What inspired you to start writing romance?
I’ve always been interested in writing romance but was too busy earning a living writing children’s books for the first twenty years. A romance novel is at least 50,000 words – my chick lit ‘I do?…or do I?’ is 75,000 – that’s a big commitment and as a full time writer I couldn’t spare that time until my family was grown-up.
Where and when do you write?
When I started my writing career my four daughters were very young so I wrote on a typewriter in the corner of the lounge while they played around me. Now I’m lucky enough to have my own study to write it but I can write anywhere as long as I have pen and paper. I’ve even been known to jot ideas down while in a queue at the supermarket, on a serviette in a restaurant, on the back of my hand in the car.
I write most days – unless I’m out visiting a school or running a writing course. I don’t have set hours. I work better in the morning so if I’m at home I turn on the computer as soon as I get up and start writing. I’ll often write for a couple of hours in the evening too, depending on my commitments (I’m a writing tutor and often have assignments to mark). If the story is flowing really well or I’m on a tight deadline I’ll write well into the night.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
A bit of both. I like to know my characters really well before I start so I’ll write character outlines for them, and then do a basic outline of the story. After that I start writing and let it flow.
Do you do any research?
The settings for my romance novels are usually places I’ve visited or know well. I’ve been to Spain – the setting for Never Say Forever – several times. My next book is set in Cornwall (I lived there for years) and the one I’m writing now is set in Majorca where I holidayed last year. I had to do some research for ‘I do?…or do I?’ though as Cassie, my heroine, went to Venice and France. Although I’ve been to Venice I’ve never been to France so did some Internet research on it.
Do you read inside your genre or out when writing?
Both. I love reading and have a fairly wide taste. I love books that make me laugh (Sophie Kinsella is good at this) and psychological thrillers such as Before I go to Sleep by S.J Watson and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I can’t read horror though, I get freaked easily.