Hello, everyone! You are in for a treat because Karen Wiesner is visiting here today! She’s an accomplished author with 83 titles published in the past 13 years, which have been nominated/won 114 awards, and has 14 more releases contracted for spanning many categories and formats. I was so honored when she invited me to join her Jewels of the Quill group of award-winning authors a year ago. If you haven’t visited this wonderful and informative site, hope you do soon! There are monthly giveaways.
Be sure to leave a comment on this post so you will be entered in KAREN’S drawing. She will draw the winner on Thursday, June 16th! I’m giving away an ebook of Karen’s newest release on June 30th for this month’s blog drawing so you’ll have TWO chances to win one of Karen’s wonderful books!!!!
Pour a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy Karen’s inteview!
Karen, why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I wrote my first book when I was ten years old. That was the summer my family was in Oklahoma (for my father’s job), and we discovered his abandoned old trailer with photographs all over the trashed floor. Both my sister (author Linda Derkez http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/linda.html) and I got a ton of ideas from looking at these pictures, speculating about who had lived there, what happened that they left all these photos behind. That was the summer I knew I was destined to be a writer. All those daydreams were about to pay off. I started brainstorming romances, thrillers, and mysteries in my head. By the time I was sixteen, I’d written almost a dozen books, short stories, and countless poems. Unofficially, I had my own fan club in high school and had a dozen publishing credits to my name (all poems).
Getting my fiction published was the hard part, and, ironically, I got so tired of the whole rejection thing, I’d just made the decision to quit writing for anyone but myself. I don’t remember whether it was a day or week after I made this decision that I received my first contract. Talk about turning a corner and coming face-to-face with a dream! In any case, my first novel (a romance) was finished published in June 1998 (I was 32). I’ve been on a roll since then.
That’s interesting how when you decided to write for yourself, you then received first contract! Tell us about your June release, Book 3 of the Denim Blues Mysteries Trilogy, SOULS ON (B)ORING STREET. Where can readers buy it?
The title is based on the fact that the hero, Ty, and heroine, Erin, live on a street called “Oring Street.” Long ago, someone the subdivision painted a “B” in front of the name on the street sign—hence the title. But suddenly interesting things are happening on this street, and amateur sleuth Erin is determined to find out what…with a little help from police detective Tyler Shaw, someone she dated as a teenager and adamantly doesn’t want to date again. She’s not over the last broken heart she got with this guy.
Both Erin and Ty are complex characters that I think readers can identify with and be drawn to in their own ways. Erin struggles with jealousy and trust issues because of experiences in her past, and Ty is a man who’s been on his own a long time as a bachelor and doesn’t really understand what makes women tick. He tries to be there for his friends—male and female—and he tends to get in trouble for his willingness to be there for everyone. Let’s face it, most women don’t want to share their boyfriend or husband with another woman, especially if that woman is single and beautiful. It’s an age-old story of the heroine asking herself what her hero needs a female “friend” for when he has her to be a best friend and lover—basically, everything he could ever need in a life partner. So a lot of the story deals with that aspect.
Also, this is the amateur sleuthing installment in the trilogy. The heroine is very new at this endeavor and I wanted her to be a bit bumbling in that regard, so the mystery portion of the story is extremely subtle in the first half of the book. I think it’s more realistic to include nothing more than subtle nuances for someone who has no experience solving mysteries—despite growing up and living next door to a cop, Erin really knows nothing about the actual process. For that reason, the mystery takes a fairly long time to really come into the story in a strong way. This is also setting it up for Erin’s second try at amateur sleuthing in the next trilogy.
Find out more about the Denim Blues Mysteries trilogy, read excerpts and places to buy it here: http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/fiction1a.html.
Karen, you always have such interesting story lines. Where do you get your ideas for your books…especially for your new release?
Thanks! Quite a few years ago, my Falcon’s Bend Series writing partner, Chris Spindler, wrote to tell me her German publisher was looking for light-hearted mystery novellas. I’d had this interesting dream just prior to this, and I used small parts of it as the basis of this mystery novella that I wrote fairly quickly. At the time, the story was in first-person point of view (POV)—the hero, Denim McHart. I also had quite a few more ideas for mystery novellas with this character that I thought about pursuing if this first novella did anything. Long story short, the German publisher decided not to go in that direction, so I was sitting there with a finished novella that I loved and the makings of a series revolving around this intriguing hero. Then I heard that an inspirational publisher was looking for romantic mystery novels. I loved the idea of turning this novella into a novel, and I knew I could flesh it out greatly by revising it in third-person POV and including the heroine, Sylvia Price’s viewpoint. What I came up with was better than my expectations, and my ideas for a series with the same hero every time quickly became a trilogy with two of the male characters I’d become intrigued by during the writing of RETIRED AND ON THE ROCKS, the first book in the trilogy—Sylvia’s former partner on the Riverbend Police Department, Orlando Bateman, and Orlando’s new partner at the Briar’s Point Police Department, Tyler Shaw.
To make another long story short, the inspirational publisher asked for many, many changes to fit the theme of the line these mystery novels would be fitting into. I admit, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of changing these aspects, but I liked the idea of getting the books published better than I disliked the idea of changing. I made all the changes very quickly, the publisher was very approving and eager to work with me…
Alas, nothing worked out there despite the sheer amount of time I waited around for something to happen. I finally sent the book to my agent to see if she would have any luck placing it elsewhere. She asked for revisions over the course of an extremely frustrating year. At long last, the book was making the rounds…for another year of frustration in which nothing happened.
I was becoming more than a little eager to see something—anything—happen with these books that I’d fallen in love with when RETIRED AND ON THE ROCKS was just a novella. I decided to pull the book from my agent. The more I thought about it, the more I liked my original novel ideas for RETIRED AND ON THE ROCKS—and luckily I still had a copy of it in that form. I went to work returning it to the state I’d loved it most before I had so many publishers and agents trying to change it. One of the publishers I submitted it to again wanted to make endless changes that would turn it into what she wanted but not what I loved most. Though that editor was very eager to work with me, I’d been down that road before with this book, so I decided not to change it this time. Instead, I submitted the trilogy (which, at the time, consisted of the first full novel and blurbs for the last two) to my publisher Whiskey Creek Press. In short order, they bought all three books—without any changes in the first book beyond normal editing—and suddenly I had to get to work on those last two books.
Look for the spin-off to the Denim Blues Mysteries with Red Velvet Mysteries, which will feature Den and Sylvia, Orlando and Keeya, and Tyler and Erin solving all new mysteries and keeping their romances going strong. See if you can find red velvet in each story!
I absolutely fell in love with Den and Sylvia (RETIRED AND ON THE ROCKS, Book 1 of the Denim Blues Mysteries trilogy), Orlando and Keeya (LOVE IS BLIND…AND IT DON’T PAY THE BILLS EITHER, Book 2), and Erin and Ty (SOULS ON (B)ORING STREET, Book 3). I came up with an idea to extend this trilogy. The way it’s set up now, Den and Sylvia are private investigators in the first book, Orlando is a police detective so the second story is a police procedural (and where he meets his future wife, Keeya), and the last features Tyler, Orlando’s detective partner at the Briar’s Point PD. Ty has forever been in love with his neighbor Erin, who does some amateur sleuthing. All the books in the first trilogy feature something denim blue.
I’m planning to do another trilogy, this time called the Red Velvet Mysteries, in which all three books are set up the same way—though the order will be a little different. BE MY BABY, Book 1 will take place shortly after Orlando and Keeya’s marriage in October at Christmas-time. Orlando and Keeya will be trying to have a baby. For the police procedural mystery, a baby is kidnapped and the only lead is a red velvet Santa hat. MOONLIGHT AND ROSES, Book 2 will feature Den and Sylvia’s continuing romance and their first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife. The private investigation portion will have a woman asking them to find out who’s sending her red velvet cloth heart cut-outs. Finally, FOREVER MINE, Book 3, will complete this second trilogy set with Erin and Ty planning their wedding (with red velvet cake, of course!). I haven’t come up with the amateur sleuthing mystery yet. Basically each story will continue to follow these same characters in their romances and mysteries—only with something red velvet in each of the stories. I can see doing several trilogies for this unique “series” the same way. I admit this idea came to me because I wasn’t ready to let these characters go just yet and I also figured that readers are just starting to get involved in the characters’ lives by the end of this first trilogy–-and now we won’t have to give them up for many years to come.
Find out more about the Red Velvet Mysteries trilogy here: http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/fiction1b.html.
If you’d like to see the covers I’ve designed for the Red Velvet Mysteries trilogy (this time with the women—-Denim Blues Mysteries featured the men on the covers), visit the page above or http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/KarensCoverDesigns10.html. I plan to submit a proposal for this trilogy in September 2011, requesting release dates of January 2014 (Book 1), February 2014 (Book 2) and June 2014 (Book 3), then begin work on the first book in December 2011 and finish all three books by the end of 2012.
What was the most interesting research you did for a book?
In the process of outlining the final book in my Family Heirlooms Series, WORLDS COLLIDE, I had to do a ton of research about Japan along multiple angles—marriage, family living, childrearing, housing, traveling, etc. What a culture shock. It’s absolutely nothing like the United States over there. Writing a book where a main character is Japanese was beyond difficult and so I felt the only way to make it truly believable was to make her have grown up in the United States—this helped to create a character who’s at home in both worlds. And then a writer’s ultimate nightmare: I’d finished the outline, which set the book in March 2011 and then the horrendous natural disaster occurred in Japan. I spent a lot of time wondering whether or should incorporate that into the story I’d told, but in the end I knew that wasn’t right for what I intended. Since I’d never mentioned actual years each book in the series were set, it seemed easiest to just not mention the year the story was taking place.
How did you and your husband meet?
We met in church. He’d just gotten out of the Navy and was living with his father while he returned to college.
That’s wonderful how you met…my husband proposed in church. What movie did you last see in the theatre? Did you like it? What snacks did you have?
X-Men First Class on the first weekend in June. Loved it. I’m a huge fan of this series (though I’ve never enjoyed comic books). I’m not a big fan of eating snacks during a movie (and not just because they’re so expensive at the theater).
Where can fans find you on the internet?
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I’m giving away a download of RETIRED AND ON THE ROCKS, Book 1 in my Denim Blues Mysteries to anyone who leaves a comment today. (Readers, if you’d like to read Diane’s review of RETIRED AND ON THE ROCKS, click here.)
Briar’s Point is a whimsical little town with its fair share of colorful characters, crime, and a Cupid suffering from the denim blues…
See if you can find denim blue in each story!
Erin Shanley, a hospice nurse, turns amateur sleuth when she realizes that some of her patients are being swindled out of their life savings by the new “psychic” fortunetellers in Briar’s Point. She confides in her neighbor, Detective Tyler Shaw, whom she grew up alongside and considers her best friend. Tough guy Ty has been in love with Erin since their disastrous first attempt at a romantic relationship when they were teenagers. Erin has been skittish about love since she discovered her father was cheating on her father—and Ty is so much like her father. How can she risk loving a reckless, restless adventurer when her mother’s loyalty to a man like that brought her so much pain? But when Erin’s bumbling sleuthing attempts arouse someone’s wrath, she realizes her heart isn’t the only thing in danger.
Excerpt Copyright Karen Wiesner
“You got a new dog,” Rox said when the puppy romped over to her. Rox scooped her up in an affectionate way she’d never shown Ned. She didn’t even seem to mind the face-washing she got.
She started talking in a way that made Ty realize she was wondering why he’d called her to do this, but, until he side-stepped the issue one too many times, she didn’t want to be the one to ask straight out. Eventually she did and he shrugged. “Like I said when I called, I don’t know anybody else who works the night shift.”
Her heavily made-up eyes narrowed. But she only asked, without looking at him, “Planning to hunt in November?”
“Always do. You?”
She shrugged. “I don’t have anywhere to hunt.” The times she’d hunted, she’d either gone up to his cabin by herself or with Craig.
“Since when do you need a formal invitation? Craig’ll never be welcome again, but you are.”
He could feel confused tension rolling off her. She was in a mood, and he didn’t doubt he’d done a stupid thing calling her, thinking enough time had passed for them to resume their friendship. How could she not know it’d always been that, only that, between them? How could she not know that he’d been furious when he found out a guy he’d considered a good buddy had been using her for a punching bag for years? Ty had believed her when she said her kickboxing classes left her bruised from head to toe. His incense about that, his reactions to her, were all about friendship. Long-time, deep friendship, I thought. How could she have confused it with anything more?
“Not sure I can get off work to go hunting.”
The conversation only got worse—more choppy and icy, wild uncertainty in her every glance—from that point, and Ty had never been so happy to see his partner from work when he showed up at seven. Orlando came in to see Ned, kneeling by him and looking at him with undisguised affection when Ned whined and licked his hand listlessly. The dog’s eyes were glassy and dull. Ty could see the pain behind them. “Rox is gonna watch over him today,” he said softly, rubbing behind Ned’s ears, the way he’d always loved.
“Nice of you,” Orlando said, casting her a smile that did nothing to thaw the ice forming over her like armor.
A knock came at the front door. Ty was grateful to leave the room again, especially knowing it was Erin. He recognized her knock, never the doorbell like everyone else. He’d actually expected her earlier—expected her to come to his back door—offering to give Ned his medication. He could tell immediately she was upset. Her cheeks were bright pink and she clutched her coat tightly around her, shivering. Ty pulled her inside the warmth of the house, closing the door, as her breath came out in frigid smoke. “That cold this morning?”
“Freezing,” she said, appreciatively watching him take her hands in his and rub them briskly. “Winter will be here before we know it.”
Erin was all spring-time and summer. She hibernated like a bear in the winter. He loved that about her—longed to join her indefinitely and permanently in that. He’d vowed two years ago, when she seemed to have gotten over the weird relationship with Zach Luther, that he’d do everything to prevent her from drifting so far from him again. While the gap in their friendship was short in terms of time—a few hellish months—it’d been total. They’d had almost nothing to do with each other during that time. She wouldn’t talk to him, let alone give him a chance to find out what had gone wrong between them. He’d hated the distance and could only assume she’d loved Luther enough to grieve the loss. The mere thought of it ruined him. Since then, he’d gone out of his way to be there for her. If and when she was ready, she’d realize without a doubt that he’d been here all the time, even during the time she’d drifted from him.
She was dressed in her cute, pink “scrubs” and old lady nurse shoes. Oddly enough, she was also wearing a little bit more makeup than usual. She rarely wore more than eyeliner, mascara and clear lip gloss. Today she had a pearly pink color on her eyelids and full mouth that almost belied the lack of sleep he knew she’d gotten. Erin didn’t wear full makeup unless she was going out on a date, and he nearly groaned at that cursed idea.
“I hate to bother you with this again, Ty, but my darn car won’t start. It hates the cold even more than it does sweltering heat.”
Ty knew her temperamental little car better than she knew it herself. He should have realized she’d have trouble this cold morning.
Orlando had entered the room. With obvious reluctance, Erin drew her hands from his warm hold and offered his partner a wide smile. “Good morning, Detective Bateman.”
“Orlando,” the other man insisted, the way he always did, even when Ty had battled the notion that he might be getting sweet on Erin. Who wouldn’t be? She was a loveable person who tried to hold the whole world in her arms. But Orlando had spent most of his life mope-dog over his previous partner—in Riverbend. Sylvia Price had moved to Briar’s Point, switched careers to become a private investigator instead of a cop, and promptly fallen in love with her partner in crime, Den McHart. Orlando had followed her to Riverbend, taken a timely position as detective at the police department, but before he knew it, Sylvia said she and Den were getting married. Orlando had been devastated until he met Keeya Nilson and found out what love really was. Marriage had done him wonders. While Ty liked seeing his best friend happy, he had to admit a small part of him had been relieved Orlando didn’t have any designs on Erin.
Ty grabbed his jacket. “You and the girls’ll be late. I’ll get the car started.”
“Do you want me to give Ned his medication? Or does he seem all right?”
Ty shook his head, unable to say more than, “He needs something.”
Erin surprised him when she hugged him hard, much too briefly, drawing back with tears in her eyes. “I’ll take care of him.”
If they’d been alone, Ty wasn’t sure how he would have stopped himself from holding her closer or kissing her the way he’d wanted to for so long the urgency was as familiar to him as her sweetness. He wondered if she would have stopped him this time.
READERS, don’t forget to leave a comment or question on this post for a chance to win a download of RETIRED AND ON THE ROCKS. I loved this first book in the Denim Blues Mysteries Trilogy!!!! THANKS, Karen, for visiting here today!