I am a New York Timesand USA Today bestselling author, a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. Lifelong Ohioans, my husband Don and I divide our time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations I have used in my books. Besides my American settings, I love the British Isles, where my Scottish and English roots run deep, and where I have set many of my historical Tudor-era mysteries and my historical novels about real and dynamic British women. My books have been published in many foreign languages and I won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. I have given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.
Thanks! Yea! Go Buckeyes! I was born in Ohio and have been living in Michigan for the last 20 years...It's dangerous to be a Buckeye fan in Wolverine territory! It sounds like you have an interesting life. Now on to some personal questions.
1. If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
When I was seven, my family moved and I went to a new school in a new town. I can’t say I was unhappy, but it was hard at first, so I would tell seven-year-old Karen to just hang in there, make new friends, give the new place time. I was blessed to have both sets of grandparents where we moved, though. I was close to both my grandmothers and that helped to tide me over during the transition of friends, homes and schools.
2. For what are you grateful?
I am grateful for so many things, I could write an entire book on that. Although I love foreign travel, I’m blessed to live in America. Of course, I treasure my family and friends, church and faith. And I’m ever grateful I’ve had two great careers, teaching English and then writing fiction. If I ever wrote an autobiography, I’d call it BLESSED or SIGNED WITH LOVE.
3. If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
I’d hide out and write! And pray! I am not a zombie fan, and the word virus has such frightening meaning today. Who ever imagined something like ebola?
4. What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
I grow African violets, although I haven’t yet entered them in any shows. During growing seasons in Ohio, I help my husband with our veggie garden—tomatoes, peppers and herbs, mostly. My 93-year-old mother lives nearby, and I spend as much time as I can with her. She loves to read and can still handle regular-sized print!
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author.
5. Did you always want to be an author?
I wanted to be a music teacher until junior high, when my love of reading and writing took over. Of course at that stage of my life, I never thought I could write books—however much I loved to read—so I decided to be an English teacher. I did that for 15 years at the high school level and 2 years at the university level (Ohio State University) but began to write, then switched to writing full time.
6. What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Charlotte Bronte, since I love her characters in JANE EYRE. Shakespeare since I taught his plays for years and since I wrote a book about the love of his life (not his wife!) in MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE. And King David from the BIBLE because I love the beautiful, inspiring poetry inThe Book of Psalms. No matter what I write about, it seems there’s always a quote from Psalmsthat perfectly ties in to the good or evil I write about in my rom/sus novels.
7. Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
I do like to have it quiet. I have writer friends who have to have a certain kind of music, but especially if I can hear music I know the words to, I can’t write. My desk does face a blank wall, though the other walls of my office have book covers and family photos. I do try to move around every half hour of so to avoid stiff neck or back problems, but time seems to fly when I’m “in a book.”
8. What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
I like the wording of this question, because I have learned writing (at least to be published) is a business! Authors can’t just be in their ivory towers, but they need to promote and reach out to readers—which I love. I like doing meet-and-greet events and enjoy blogging like this. I have a new facebook page I’m getting familiar with, so please drop in atwww.facebook.com/KarenHarperAuthor or visit my website at www.KarenHarperAuthor.com
9. Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
I’ve had such fun (and some sleepless nights) writing THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY: SHATTERED SECRETS, FORBIDDEN GROUND and BROKEN BONDS. Three very different sisters are the heroines who each “star” in one of the books. I think the novels are a good blend of romance and suspense—those two genres go well together, because it can be dangerous to fall in love and trust someone else. I do promise a happy ending, but getting there is scary and sexy.
10. How did you decide on your story plot?
I can’t really explain how plot ideas evolve for me. They grow out of character and setting. The backstory and career of the heroine dictates a lot, the same for the hero. Although I have a general idea of the story I share with my editor before I write, a lot of the story actually occurs to me as I write. I have taken plots from real events at times, but the plots seem more to just grow as I go.
11. How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
I love the area the book is set in—the edge of Appalachia. I spent four years near this area in my first four years of college. The area is beautiful but dangerous, perfect for a romantic suspense story. Also, I love small towns, and Cold Creek is one with tensions and secrets—and a fascinating hero who finally meets his match in Charlene Lockwood. I must admit I created Cold Creek, but based it on a town in the area I know well. I find it easier to put fictional people in a fictional town.
12. Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
I am a sucker for reunion or happily-ever-after scenes, especially after much danger and desire. I must admit my favorite scene, especially in BROKEN BONDS, is the last scene.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you… See my answer to question #8. I love to hear from readers!
Is there anything else that you want to share…feel free!!
Just that I love my work and feel blessed to be able to say that. I’ve been making up stories in my head and closely observing people’s lives for as long as I can remember.
Once a reader asked me and another author (The other writer was very elderly—she had even known Margaret Mitchell when she worked for The Atlanta Constitution!) “Where do you writers get your ideas?” I was going to give my school teacher type answer that I get ideas off the page (reading for fun or research) or off the wall (meaning anywhere I stumble on them.)
But the other writer said very loudly, “Honey, you’re either born with ideas or you’re not!” And she was right. People have different talents and gifts. For fiction writers, it’s always having a story or character or dialogue or place or plot idea knocking around in your mind to get out. I hope I used that well in the trials and triumphs of the three Lockwood sisters and the men they love in THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY.
Three desirable, dangerous men…
Three endangered lives…
THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY is set in Appalachia in a small town where the enemy is us.
Haunted by the past…
Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.
Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.
Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.
For More Information
- Broken Bonds is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Broken Bonds is also available at Indiebound.
- Add Broken Bonds to your to be read list at Goodreads.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
“Harper, a master of suspense, keeps readers guessing about crime and love until the very end.” --Booklist, starred review on Fall from Pride.
Publication date: 8/26/2014
Series: Cold Creek Series , #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shattered-secrets-karen-harper/1117716201?ean=9780778316473
“Masterfully drawing the reader in, Harper has delivered the best, once again.” --Suspense Magazine on Upon a Winter’s Night.
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Series: Cold Creek Series , #2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forbidden-ground-karen-harper/1118656156?ean=9780778316701
As she made the next sharp turn, Char gasped. A white truck with Lake Azure, Inc. painted on its side was tipped nearly off the cliff, right where the school bus stopped for the kids who lived above. She’d heard a horn honk long and loud a few minutes earlier. Maybe the truck missed the last turn and spun out, since its rear, not its front, was dangling over the edge, propped up by two trees. No other vehicle was nearby to help.
She put her emergency blinkers on and pulled as close to the cliff face as she could. She jumped down from her truck and ran across the road toward the truck. A man was inside!
“What should I do?” she shouted, her voice shrill. It sounded like a stupid question. She had to get the man out of his truck before it crashed over the edge.
The bitter, strong wind ripped at her hair and jacket. What if a blast of air tipped him off? Or maybe even if he moved. She’d swear the two tree trunks that held his truck were shaking as hard as she was.
She could hear the engine was still running. The driver opened an automatic window.
“A guy in a truck shoved me off,” he shouted. “Meant to. I don’t have any traction. I’m afraid if I shift my weight or open a door to jump out, I’ll send it over.”
The fact someone had done this on purpose stunned her. What was going on? If her cell phone worked up here, she’d call her brother-in-law, the county sheriff, for help, but she was on her own. It wouldn’t help to go back up for help from Elinor and Penny.
“Don’t move until I get something you can hang on to if the truck goes. I have some jump ropes I can tie together. Those trees are shaky.”
“I’m shaky. Hurry!”
She ran to her truck and knotted together the three jump ropes she had, tying square knots because she knew they would hold. But she’d never be able to balance the man’s weight if the truck went over the edge.
“I’ve got ropes here, but I’ll have to tie the end to a tree. I don’t dare drive close enough to you to tie it to my truck. It would never stretch that far.”
She knotted it around the trunk of a pine tree that looked sturdy enough, though that almost took the length of one rope. This wasn’t going to work.
A grinding sound, then a crunch reverberated as the truck seemed to jerk once then settled closer to the cliff edge.
“Now or never!” he shouted and opened his door fast.