Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Good morning, Fiona! I’m thrilled to share with you and your readers.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Karen Docter. Some readers also know me as K.L. Docter. As for my age, let’s just say I have grandchildren but they keep me young.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Pennsylvania, but I’ve lived in Colorado most of my life and all of my children were born here. I currently live in metro-Denver.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have a Technical Journalism degree from Colorado State University. I’ve been married 37 years to my best friend. Not a bad result of the blind date I was tricked into taking by a co-worker all those years ago. I have three grown children, eight grandchildren, three dogs, a betta fish called The Red King (Long live The King!), four breeding canaries that are just pretending to breed. When I get away, I love camping and fishing with the family. My husband and I occasionally escape on the back of Bumblebee, our bright yellow touring motorcycle.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve been working on two, no, three books. Two are part of the True Love In Uniform contemporary romance series. These books are about the men and women in uniform, their lives and loves outside their precinct.
One is a holiday book so it’s been challenging to work on it with 100 degree weather outside my office window. I may have to find a meat locker to go work in to finish it up for a September release. LOL
The third book is the next book in the Thorne’s Thorns romantic suspense series. There are six foster brothers in this series and I’m planning all of their stories.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It may sound silly, but I’ve always loved writing. English was my favorite subject in school. I wrote poetry, loved writing essays and short stories, diaries, etc. I “fell” into my Technical Journalism degree by accident (see “From the Ashes of My Elementary Education Career aka All the Classes Are Full” – http://www.karendocter.com/about).
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, but writing as a career didn’t come until I went off to college.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I didn’t start writing novels until my middle daughter was two years old, and I decided to give up my challenging job to stay home with my children. I also supplemented our income by providing daycare to up to a dozen children. Three months after being surrounded by so many kids (we lived in the mountains and I was in high demand) under the age of five, I started writing my first novel. It was my adult time.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I can’t tell you the title of that first book. I don’t remember much about the story either. I was simply playing back then (yeah, caves and paintings come to mind). But the books I’ve published and those I’m working on all have titles. I actually have 24 titles for the True Love in Uniform series and up to 50 more titles I want to write that don’t fit into the two series. I’ve become a Title Queen. I can’t write the book unless I have the theme fixed in the title. It focuses my story.
Satin Pleasures, my first release was the name of the lingerie store the hero was opening. However, when I decided to release it myself, I researched the name and found an online lingerie store had opened up in the time I fiddled with the story. The title remained because it became about the lingerie the heroine bought, but I had to change the store name in the book because of copyright law. Cop On Her Doorstep is a story about a woman who ends up with a cop neighbor. The next title I’m working on in that series is Cop Crashes the Wedding. In Killing Secrets, there are a series of secrets working against the characters, some secrets threatening their very lives.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
For years, I struggled with toning down the suspense elements in my contemporary romance. It was challenging to write a suspense type story with comedy overtones but every story I wrote had suspense elements. When I decided to publish my first book myself, I was tearing my hair out trying to lighten the story and complaining to one of my critique partners about it. She told me to just write a romantic suspense. I told her, “But I don’t write suspense.” Her response was, “Of course, you are.” Looking at my career with fresh eyes, I pulled all of my stories with suspense elements out of the contemporary romance/romantic comedy fray and created K.L., my second persona. Separating my genres worked beautifully. I’m no longer trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Writing the cop books without adding their careers into it is challenging because cops often ARE their jobs, but I’ve given myself permission to focus on their personal lives more.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of the characters I create are based on a number of factors but they’re all “real” in my mind when I write their stories. These could be my family and neighbors and friends. I do get my inspiration from my life and what I observe but the character stories are their own.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I’m a homebody but I think it might be fun to travel a bit for a book. But, for now, it’s not necessary. All of my books, to date, have taken place where I live(d). Both of my series are books set in Denver and foothills of the nearby Rocky Mountains. All of the cops in my True Love In Uniform series work in a precinct of Riverton, a fictional town I’ve created in the metro-Denver area. Satin Pleasures was written when I lived on the San Francisco peninsula for a time. The book was actually created and “written” on the middle of the San Mateo bridge over the San Francisco Bay when I was stuck for two hours.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A friend designed my early covers under the auspices of RomCon. She’s still designing my contemporary covers, although privately now because we’re friends. I have another cover artist doing my romantic suspense covers because she has a strong feeling for the RS looks I needed. She designed my new Killing Secrets cover and the next one in the series. Her name is Rachel A. Olson and she’s a graphic designer with her own company, No Sweat Graphics. I highly recommend her!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Since all of my books have thematic titles, I guess you could say what’s inside is the theme I want readers to grasp. However, I don’t write “issues” books if that’s what you mean.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I read across the romance genres and mainstream fan fiction. I’m constantly looking for new authors to read and my Keeper Shelf is constantly growing. I have favorite authors in every genre so guess it depends on what I’m in the mood for at the time. What I like about certain authors may be how they write, their humor, their attention to detail, etc. We all write differently (a good thing!) so what I admire about one author may not be what I like about another author.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have four the BEST critique partners, although we don’t critique each other’s work any more. We still have Just Write sessions, where we get together weekly to just write. Our lives are SO busy! We’ve been friends and working together for almost 20 years. Love my friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I can’t see myself doing anything else and I love it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. By the time I release a book, I’m happy with the story.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learn something with every book I write. I research all sorts of things to make my story as realistic as I can. For instance, the heroine in Cop Crashes the Wedding book I’m working on makes stained glass. I’ve learned a lot about how it’s done. She also lives in a historic house and I researched that extensively to decide what kind it is, layout, etc.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I really don’t know. It would depend on the book. I envisioned Matt Leblanc when I wrote the hero, Patrick, in Killing Secrets but, by the time, I finished Patrick looked like himself to me. I loved Goldie Hawn in DECEIVED because she did that “woman in jeopardy” heroine so well but can’t see her in the role today.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Do you have a month?! LOL There is so much a writer has to learn to write books effectively as a career. The industry is changing almost daily. It may sound like a pat answer but just write the book of your heart. Don’t try to follow trends. By the time you write a book to a trend, it’s run off in another direction. Write the best book you can and find/hire professionals to help you with the stuff you’re weakest if you’re an Indie like me.
With my journalism degree and background, I don’t hire an editor. Between myself, my Type A personality, a couple of editing programs and a couple of close friends who catch what I don’t, I’m confident in my story presentation. Formatting? Ack! I’d rather have a root canal! I hire that done. I also hire out my covers because it’s just not my forte. I have friends who hire both a story editor and a copy editor. Most of my friends hire professional book cover artists. So much of your success hinges on the first impressions readers get when they spot your book. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and then get help where you need it. No author is an island!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If my stories can take you out of your lives and carry you somewhere else for a time, I’m happy. If you forget to make dinner for your family, I forgive you. LOL
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m not reading anything. I’m frantically trying to finish one of my books and get it out by September. I’ll take a breath then and pick up something from my monumental TBR pile.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Nope. Growing up, my mother took me and my sisters to the library every Saturday. I worked my way through the entire children’s section 12 books at a time until I graduated to the adult sections at 10 years old. I’m a grandmother, remember? Thinking back over the thousands of books I’ve read makes my head hurt.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love humor so I prefer to laugh, not cry. Lots of things make me laugh. Life’s too short not to find humor in every day.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love gardening, crocheting, knitting, cooking. Except for the cooking (I once wanted to be a caterer), I’ve had to give up many of my hobbies. Arthritis is not for the weak! I do love to camp and fish when I get the chance.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Sadly, Grimm is over. Firefly is over. Tru Blood is over. Lie to Me is over. Hmmm, what else has captured my attention and been cancelled or finished? If I love something, it’s bound to end. Just sayin’!
Not quite completely true. I’m really enjoying Game of Thrones. I’ve been doing the marathon thing while waiting for the new season…although not looking forward to THAT show ending either. Love Lucifer. Criminal Minds is my favorite crime show. Had a reviewer at Romantic Times who said Killing Secrets would make a great Criminal Minds show that made my day!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I haven’t met a seafood I didn’t like. I could eat shrimp every day. Purple is my favorite color, followed closely by royal blue. My music is eclectic. I listen to country when I’m working business stuff. I write best to music, so I have 12 Pandora stations of various music from instrumental to guitar to Flamenco to opera to heavy metal, etc. as long as there are no lyrics. Words impinge on my creativity, unless it’s in a foreign language. If I can’t discern the words, I’m okay.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I can’t imagine that future. I’m old enough now that going back into the workforce after 30 years of being my own boss would be a nightmare.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
This can’t be right! She hasn’t finished the last story in her WRITE file!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My blog/website is http://www.karendocter.com. You can keep up with both of my personas on my website, as well as enjoy the spotlights I do on my daily blog, Karen’s Killer Book Bench where I share other author books across the genres. They often have giveaways just by commenting on their blogs. Once a month, I choose one of my blog subscribers to win a $5 gift certificate to Amazon or Starbucks, two of the things I love.
I’m currently participating in the 96 Summer Scorchers giveaway sponsored by #ThatBookRocks where the winner not only wins $100 gift card to any retailer but the 96 paperback novels from participating authors.
I also have a Goodreads Book giveaway I’m running. I’m giving away autographed paperback copies of Killing Secrets, Thorne’s Thorns Book 1.
Both of these contests can be found on my website/blog.
Thanks for letting me share, Fiona! It’s been fun. Happy Reading!
Bestselling Author Karen Docter writes contemporary romance. When she feels the need to feed the dark side, she writes intense suspense thrillers as K.L. Docter. She’s an award-winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division.
Connect with Karen:
Karen Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/KarenDocterAuthor/
K.L. Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/kldocter/
Book Bench for Romance Lovers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/281099382014548/
Satin Pleasures, Romantic Comedy:
Cop On Her Doorstep ( True Love In Uniform Book 1), Contemporary Romance:
Amazon US: http://goo.gl/bUHNMu
Killing Secrets (Thorne’s Thorns Book 1), Romantic Suspense: