Name Karen Vaughan
Age old enough to know better but to do it anyway—actually I’m 52
Where are you from
I am Canadian. I live in Peterborough Ontario with my husband of 13 yrs and a feisty cat named J.J.I have taken many college courses from business administration, Word processing/Secretarial and ended up working for a mental health agency for 5 yrs. I retired from that and started writing 11 yrs. ago. I have a grown daughter and a super-smart 6 yr. old grand-son who is already smarter than a 5th grader.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently self-published HOLMES IN AMERICA on Amazon. I am also part of a boxed set called MYSTERY GONE MAD to be released Oct 1st.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing 11 yrs. ago after I left my job due to a bad case of burnout. I was bored at home so I sat down and started writing what became DEAD ON ARRIVAL.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I felt like a real writer after DEAD ON ARRIVAL was published. I also wrote DEAD COMIC STANDING right after that. I really felt accomplished afterwards
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
First of all, it was boredom. I was sick of starting at four walls and twiddling my thumbs. I also wrote a bit of it and asked a friends opinion and she said “ strap yourself to that chair and write the damn book” I was supposed to be the Canadian equivalent of JANET EVANOVICH according to Louise.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I love humor and dialogue so there is a lot of both in my books. I don’t plot. I have a general idea of the story and then I let the characters take over
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For DEAD ON ARRIVAL it was the fact that the body had arrived on her living room floor while she was out. My latest, HOLMES IN AMERICA was inspired by the fact that I wanted to bring a modernized Holmes to North America and turn into a police procedural.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Holmes in America’s theme is basically that you can learn from past mistakes and adjust to new situations with the help of friends.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My series and Holmes in America is set in Toronto. I have used people I know as basis for my characters and the dead bodies. Laura is a lot like me personality wise but she is younger.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I love JANET EVANOVICH’S STEFANIE PLUM SERIES—It probably had a lot to do with my writing style.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have a few favorites—Celeste Burke for one, has a great comedic style and her books are page-turners
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Friendships I have developed on social media and a few local friends are very supportive to me for writing and Stand-up comedy.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Well more like a paying hobby. I have a job as a personal assistant with my friend Viv Drewa in OWL AND PUSSYCAT PROMOTIONS
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No I love the way it turned out. I might have used more British slang and made Nigel more politically incorrect for a longer time. He morphed into a decent chap you could take home to mother.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was always writing stories as a kid and I did well in creative writing in high school.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
EXCERPT FROM HOLMES IN AMERICA:
PROLOGUE PART 1
MANCHESTER UK POLICE HEADQUARTERS
Nigel Holmes knew he was in deep. He had broken every rule on the case. He was supposed to maintain a professional detachment and not get involved with the witness in any way. That was his first mistake. He had taken one look at Nikki Harrison and he was a goner. His grey matter turned to mush and from then on his boys were doing the thinking. They shagged at every opportunity and he decided he was in love. He and Nik were planning to run off after the case was solved, to elope at Gretna Green just over the Scottish border.
That never happened. Two days ago, Nikki was found dead in her flat. Bludgeoned by a hammer and lying in her own blood. It was his fault. When he should have been protecting her from a vicious killer, he was banging her senseless. He did his best to keep his cool at the scene, but directly after, he lost his lunch, cried like a baby and nearly poisoned himself with a bottle of Glenfiddich.
Here he was, the day after getting his stomach pumped, up on the carpet in front of his superior officers, about to receive a new butt hole. Nigel was already blaming himself for not keeping that distance.
That wasn’t the end of the story. A killer was free to kill again and his only witness and the love of his life was dead.
“Nigel Holmes, you have been accused of interfering with a witness in the case you are working on. What say you in your defense?”
“There really is no defence, sir. I clearly overstepped the bounds with the witness and got involved with her romantically. This led to some distractions and I wasn’t watching my back, or hers, as closely as I should have been. As a result, I wasn’t on guard the night she was murdered providing the killer with the opportunity to break in and murder her. As a result, we have no witness and the killer is still running free. This is all on me, sir, and I deeply regret my lack of professionalism.”
“Very well Holmes. I’ve discussed this with the disciplinary team and since you have come forth and admitted your guilt. We will not be firing you. However, we’ve decided to send you over to North America for a period of six months. It is during this time that I hope you will learn from the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force how they solve crimes. It’ll give you time to reflect on your misdeeds and come back home with a fresh perspective. I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to learn from your past indiscretions. Also while you’re there, you can brush up on your people skills.”
“What’s wrong with my people skills, Inspector?”
“They are sorely lacking Holmes. Keep in mind that your superiors are not your best friends, and going around and asking everybody on the force how it’s hanging just will not do. Your ability to solve the crime is indeed first rate. However, people simply don’t want to work with you because of your crass attitude and lack of respect for those higher up in the food chain. When you come home, I better not hear you ever say the old broad in the castle or we will fire you. Are we clear?”
“Quite sir. When am I to leave?”
“You have four days to get your affairs in order over here. Clean out your locker and your desk, as somebody will be using them in your absence. You’ll be reassigned a new one when you come home.”
“I’ll have to find someone to sublet me flat! That could take weeks!”
“You don’t have weeks, Holmes. I suggest you get moving as soon as possible. Time starts now. The clock is ticking.”
Nigel left Inspector Clemons’ office. He was clearly flummoxed over the whole affair. He was being sent into the world like a brand-new baby. never having stepped out of Manchester in his entire life. He had to figure it could have been worse. They could’ve just fired him. He lived in shame over the whole mess he had gotten himself into. Not only that, he sorely missed the woman he loved.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I hate editing. I have someone to beta read and do the grammar edits. I am not thrilled about typing so I use dictation software.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No in the internet age I do virtual book/blog tours. I have local signings and I sell books at cafe night events where I used to work.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
DEAD ON ARRIVAL: A FAMILY FRIEND
OVER HER DEAD BODY—AN ONLINE FRIEND WHO IS AN ARTIST DID THIS COVER
DAYTONA DEAD—MY FORMER SON IN-LAW
DEAD MEN DON’T SWING-MY STEP SON SEAMUS
LEFT FOR DEAD -GERALD DARNELL
HOLMES IN AMERICA-GERALD DARNELL
DEAD COMIC STANDING-HALEY RAISON-FORMER CO-W0RKER
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Distractions, a little thing called life. Finding time to write.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
It takes a lot to keep up the momentum of a new project when all you want to do is stick to your series and the characters. I wrote HOLMES during NaNoWriMo last year. I learned not to push myself too hard –it’s great to finish and win but it’s not a must.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Ricky Gervais as that’s who I thought of when I created Nigel and Jennifer Lawrence for Kristen Sherlock.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing; don’t give up! Don’t take critiques to seriously. It’s your project.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to keep writing good humorous books but if you are going to read one please leave a review even if you didn’t like it, but please tell me why so I can learn from it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Our angel by L. Ann Marie. It’s an action adventure book with a touch of erotica. Not suited for anyone under 18. She is one of my authors and I am reading to review.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Bobbsey twins mysteries then worked my way to Hardy boys and Nancy Drew.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A good joke and a sad movie
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Janet Evanovich to say thanks for inspiring me to write comedic mysteries.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Going to heaven to meet George Carlin. Big fan of his comedy
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Drawing, adult colouring and doing stand up comedy
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Crime and medical shows some witcoms like Big Bang and Fuller house
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chicken wings, blue and green and classic rock
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Been a teacher
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? www.karenwritesmurder.com