USA Today best selling author Karen Rose is a
former Chemical Engineer.
Her third novel
I’m Watching You received the
Writer's of America's coveted RITA award for
Best Romantic Suspense for 2005.
Die for Me her eighth book also received the
Romance Writer's of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for
2007 and the Gayle
Wilson Award for Excellence. Her
have been translated into five languages.
Her latest novel is Scream
for Me and is the
sequel to Die for Me.
You are pretty well
known in North America and only
just beginning to get known here in the UK. Would you
like to give us a bit of
detail about yourself?
I live in Florida currently,
but I grew up in the Washington, DC area. I
earned a university degree in chemical engineering and worked for many
product development before becoming a schoolteacher.
Now I write full-time, which is wonderful!
I’m married, have two children, a large hairy
dog, and a small cat. When
writing, I love all things Disney and have recently begun studying
also seriously addicted to
TV’s Law & Order,
a police show.
Since your launch
over here by Headline in 2007 your books have done very well indeed.
Were you surprised
about how well they were received?
To be truthful, I’ve
been stunned – but pleasantly so!
about as much reader mail from UK and
Australian readers as I do American
readers now. I’m
so very grateful so
many have embraced my characters and my evil villains.
made you want to start writing?
I actually started
writing as a hobby. It
was not my intent
then for anyone to ever read my stories!
I’m so glad that changed.
travelling a great deal for my job and could only pack so many books in
suitcase, so I began to write my own stories to keep myself company. My characters were friends
and had all kinds
of adventures as I sat in hotels and airports all over the world. After about five years of
this, my husband
urged me to “do something” with all those stories. I joined a
writers’ organization, did some
research on the market and decided writing “for
real” was something I wanted to
do. And I never
Whom would you
consider your influences and did they influence your style of writing?
As a teen, I gobbled
Agatha Christie and later I read John Grisham, Tami Hoag, and Nora
always loved mysteries and
my interest in thrillers grew from there.
I’d say that each influenced me in terms of how
I develop my characters
and in how the suspense is built.
example, I would study Ms. Hoag’s books to figure out just
how she dropped her
clues so that I was always surprised at the end.
Do you plot before
hand or do you just let the writing flow?
Oh, I used to plot very
analytically with spreadsheets and post-it notes.
Now I plot the first three chapters deeply,
and I always know how it ends. Between
those points I know the high points, but now I let the story flow from
point – it’s more fun that way!
What is more
important to you plot of characterisation or do you try and ensure that
maintain a balance of the two?
I try to maintain a
balance of the two. The
plot is a
structure within which the characters interact.
They interact with each other, with the villain, and with
decisions at each point
drive the plot, and are driven by their character.
So it’s like a big circle.
us a bit more about your latest book Scream
Scream For Me is my
eighth novel and a sequel to Die For Me,
which was first released
last fall. At the
end of Die For Me, Daniel
brother of the evil villain Simon, possesses an envelope filled with
photographs depicting women being assaulted.
The pictures belonged to Simon and have haunted Daniel for
years. Daniel vows
to track down the victims in each
photo and to see justice done. Little
does he know the first victim will soon be dropped into his lap.
Franklin once said, “Three may
keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
There is a group in Daniel’s hometown that
harbours a terrible secret
and for years has kept an uneasy truce amongst themselves. No one speaks of it and
they think it is
forgotten – until a thirteen year old crime is resurrected,
taunting them. Someone
knows their secret and wants them to
As Daniel investigates these copycat crimes, his only help is nurse
Fallon, who has returned to their hometown after thirteen years away. Her past is intertwined
with his own, and the
body count rises as they race to stop a murderer who is methodically
Was there a specific
event that made you want to write Scream
There was a specific
event that influenced the book, yes.
was invited to tour a medical examiner’s facility when I had
just begun the
book. As the tour
ended, I found myself
unexpectedly viewing an autopsy! As
autopsies went, this one was quite gruesome, and it was the first time
seen a body outside a funeral home.
a split second, my mind refused to acknowledge the fact I was staring
at a dead
body, instead insisting I was looking at a doll.
Even as I knew this wasn’t true, I believed
it – and experienced a dissociative episode for the first
time. It only
lasted a few seconds total, but made
me wonder about someone who’d seen something so horrible that
subconscious was unwilling to remember.
The character of Alex Fallon was born.
One of the things
your books are known for apart from the suspense is your attention to
detail. How do you
manage to find the
you! I try to get
the perfectionist in me, I
fear. Plus, when
I’m in the book, it’s
like a movie for me. I
see the setting,
see the characters, and hear them speak.
I write what I see and hear and the details are all there. I also research any topic
with which I’m
made a few mistakes
over the years, usually caught by an astute reader who becomes one of
your characters don’t remain in one book.
They seem to overflow into
various books. This
is good because
there is always an on going relationship which does not just terminate
end of the novel. Is
and how do you manage to keep track of all of them?
intentional now – I
started doing this at the beginning because it felt natural to me, and
seemed to like it, so I continued.
said, I see and hear the characters and they become rather like virtual
friends. (This is
where my husband
frowns in concern and says, “You know they’re not
real, don’t you,
been unwilling to leave my
friends behind and they continue to live and thrive in my imagination,
after their story is over.
How do I
keep track of them? Like
you’d keep track of your family, I
all just there, in my mind. It’s getting
rather crowded up there,
ha! I also keep a
spreadsheet of when
each story begins and ends and any major births and deaths that occur. This helps me keep the
you consider that
crime or mystery novels along with romantic suspense
novels should be seen as imparting social
documents or as moralists?
that’s a hard
one. I think first
and foremost, my
responsibility as an author is to entertain, to provide a place to
escape for a
little while, and to give readers a great roller coaster ride along the
way. But I do feel
a responsibility to address
social issues that plague society.
can teach a reader something, or give them a new way to look at an
I entertain them, I think that’s a good thing.
For example, my husband is a cancer survivor, largely
because we caught
his cancer early. In
my second book, Have You Seen Her?,
the heroine’s late
fiancée died of the disease, because he did not practice
early detection. In
other books, I’ve had characters tackle
issues such as rape and abuse. In
cases, I’ve sought to inform as I entertain.
Your books tether or
the edge of either being found in the crime section or the romance
would you prefer them to be seen as and where would you like them to be
I’d like them to be seen
as thrillers with human relationships.
think there are elements of both crime and romance in my books
– and I hope
they are balanced enough to attract a wide variety of readers. If I had my wish,
they’d be shelved in both
crime and romance sections!
are you working on at the moment?
just started my tenth novel and it will bring back characters from my Chicago community. It’s too early
to give a lot of details right
now; the story’s still forming in my mind.
I just finished Kill for Me,
which is Daniel’s sister Susannah’s story and
finishes the mystery begun with
the evil Simon in Die for Me.
would you like your characters to be remembered?
As real people, with
flaws and strengths. I
want them to be
three-dimensional and fully fleshed.
want their actions to be consistent with who they are.
Above all else, I just want them remembered!
OK, now for some
off-the-wall questions: What one luxury item would you take away with
you were marooned on a desert island?
wow. Maybe a VCR
with some old tapes of Gilligan’s
way I could build a radio out of
coconuts so that I could get off the island.
Of course I’d need a generator for the VCR
Is there a book out
there that you would have liked to have written yourself?
Yes – Death Note. It’s a Manga
in which the main character finds a book with magical powers. He can write a name in the
book and a method
of death and a time – and that person dies in that way at
that time. At first
he uses his new found book for good,
but then … the power goes to his head.
He is truly a sociopath, driven by the power of his craft
and with the
challenge of evading the police. It’s
chilling stuff. When
I first saw the
series, I said, “Whoa, I wish I’d created
So that would be the book I wish I’d written
If you could choose
five characters, dead or alive, that you could take to dinner, who
be and why?
-Sherlock Holmes – I’d
want to relive all his cases from his point of view
from J.D. Robb’s In Death series
– he’s sexy and rich and owns half the galaxy
– what’s not to love?
- Jo March, from Little Women
was my hero as a child, funny, smart and independent
Doolittle – I think it would be fun
to find out what my animals are thinking about me
Mason – I’d want to find out how
he managed to get all the innocent defendants!
What do you do in
your spare time when you do have the spare time?
I indulge in
mini-marathons of Law & Order,
Charmed, and Stargate.
Thank you so much for a chance to talk to your readers!
Me is published by Headline May 2008
More information about Karen and her books can be
found on http://www.karenrosebooks.com