Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: Karen King

Opening Lines with Karen King: The Year of Starting Over

This week, I’m delighted to welcome fellow author, Karen King, to my Opening Lines blog, to share the first 500 word from A Year of Starting Over.

Over to you Karen…

Hi Jenny,

Thanks so much for inviting me over to your blog. The opening lines I’m going to share are taken from my feelgood novel, The Year of Starting Over, published by Bookouture. The inspiration for this story came partly from my own ‘year of starting over’ when my husband Dave and I moved to Spain at the end of 2017. We live in Andalusia, the setting of the book, and some of the incidents actually happened to us.

Blurb

What if – to find yourself – you had to run away?

Last year was meant to be when Holly got her happy-ever-after. But stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, and a relationship that feels more like it’s going backwards… this year Holly has decided it’s time to change her life. She just has to:

– End the relationship with the commitment-phobic boyfriend
– Go on a proper adventure
– Learn to be herself again
– Definitely, categorically not fall in love.

Cramming her belongings into her little yellow Mini, Holly drives on to a ferry bound to Spain, to stay at a remote farmhouse near a beautiful village in the Andalusian hills.

But the day she arrives she nearly crashes her car into a gorgeous guy on a motorbike. He’s called Matias and their paths keep crossing, much to Holly’s irritation. Because as she learns to speak Spanish from the locals, finally starts laying out plans for her own design business, and sips sangria in the sunlit village square, Holly is beginning to remember who she is and what she wants.

So she won’t allow herself be distracted by Matias. Because this year – for Holly – there are more important things in life than love. And she won’t let yet another bad relationship ruin everything… will she?

A moving and uplifting romantic comedy about living each moment and learning to trust yourself again, for fans of Jenny Hale, Debbie Macomber, and Sophie Kinsella.

First 500 words.

 Crash!

Holly groaned as she looked at the illuminated red numbers on the bedside clock: two thirty. Scott was finally home. He’d obviously gone on to a club with his mates and was now drunk. Again. She’d asked him not to be late back as she was on the early shift at Sunshine Lodge tomorrow, but he’d protested that it was Friday night and he’d been working hard all week, adding, ‘I need to chill out, babe. It’s not my fault you have to work tomorrow.’ It was a fair point, which made her feel guilty – as it was meant to do. Scott worked long hours as assistant manager of a games shop and often had to work weekends himself so couldn’t always have a Friday night out.

But when he had to work weekends, she didn’t come crashing in and wake him up in the early hours of the morning, did she? She swatted down her irritation, reminding herself that was because she didn’t like going clubbing. She preferred to spend her days and evenings off work either making cushions and throws to brighten up their flat or creating designs for the mugs, clocks and phone covers she sold on Dandibug, an online arts and crafts marketplace, hoping that one day she could turn it into a full-time business. Anyway, if she did come in late, she doubted if Scott would notice: he slept like a log and snored like a mechanical saw.

Holly turned over and tried to go back to sleep. Her friend Susie was always telling her, ‘You’re too much of a pushover, Holly. You should stand up to Scott.’ Susie didn’t understand that Holly hated conflict of any kind. She didn’t want to argue. She wanted to live in a nice, peaceful home like Pops and Nanna had. She missed them so much. Holly’s parents had split up when she was a baby; she’d never known her dad, and her mum was out at work

Pops and Nanna had adored Holly, and each other, and their love had shone out like a beacon of happiness. They’d been together since they were fourteen, got married at twenty-one and lived happily ever after. Nanna died two years ago, and Pops had missed her so much that when he too had gone peacefully in his sleep a few weeks ago, the knowledge that he was now with Nanna helped Holly and her mother cope with the grief of losing him. Nanna and Pops had both lived until their early nineties so had a good few innings, as Pops would have said.

Ever since she was little, Holly had dreamt of being happily married, just like Nanna and Pops, but all the guys she’d dated seemed to want a good time with no long-term commitment. She was hoping Scott was different; she loved him so much and he said he loved her too, but they’d been living together for over a year now and he hadn’t shown any sign… 

Buy Links

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07KFGL5P2Social

Apple: http://ow.ly/Mfgd30nBig8

Kobo: http://ow.ly/edYm30nBijM

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/qTmS30nBi94

Author Bio

Karen King is a multi-published bestselling author of fiction for both adults and children. She has also written several short stories for women’s magazines.

Currently published by Bookouture and Headline. Karen has recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture to write psychological thrillers. The first one will be out in November, and the second one in 2021. She is also contracted to write three romance novels for Headline, which will be out in 2021 and 2022.

Contact links

Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook 

Twitter

Bookbub

Many thanks Karen,

Happy reading everyone

Jenny x

The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma Blog Tour: Opening Lines

I’m delighted to be hosting Karen King as she embarks upon a blog tour for her new rom com, The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma. Why not settle down a enjoy the very beginning of Karen’s latest publication?

Over to you Karen…

Thanks so much for inviting me over, Jenny. The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma is my third romcom for Accent Press and is mainly set in Majorca. Whenever I’m at a resort I always admire how the reps deal with the various holiday makers, the activities they do with them from poolside exercises, kids clubs and putting on shows. I was on the aeroplane once with a stag party, and they were quite raucous but seemed nice guys, so the idea of a travel rep having a holiday romance with a guy from a stag party that books into her hotel probably stemmed from these two things. The setting was definitely inspired by a trip to Majorca with my husband a couple of years ago to celebrate our third anniversary. It’s a beautiful island, and we actually took a trip to the Caves of Drach which feature in the novel. I really had fun writing this book and hope that readers love Jess and Eddie as much as I do.

Here’s a bit about the book:

Fun-loving travel rep Jess doesn’t want to be chief bridesmaid at her snooty cousin’s wedding, but it will cause a family feud if she refuses. She doesn’t want to fall in love either but when a raucous stag party arrives at her Majorcan hotel, Jess hits it off instantly with best man, Eddie. A summer romance is exactly what commitment-phobe Jess needs and, as the stag-do draws to a close, so does the holiday fling. She has no intentions of carrying on the summer fun but when Eddie turns up again, Jess is faced with a big dilemma.
Will this bridesmaid get the happy-ever-after she never knew she wanted?

The Bridesmaid Dilemma is published on 7 June, in paperback and as an ebook. You can n preorder it here:

https://tinyurl.com/y8z6k8ut

Opening Lines

Jess stretched out on the sunbed, factor fifteen and the parasol protecting her already golden skin from the heat of the afternoon sun. It was lovely to finally have the chance to relax by the pool. As usual, the morning had been full-on. She and Libby – lounging on the sunbed next to her – were in charge of the Fitness Classes and had spent two hours jumping, bending, stretching, and jogging on the spot with a group of holidaymakers. Being a holiday rep with Time of Your Life Holidays was fun but exhausting.

‘This is heaven. I could lie here all day.’

‘Me too. This week’s been so hectic. It’s going to be non-stop now the schools have broken up.’ Libby sighed. ‘Lucky you, having next weekend off. I wouldn’t mind flying back home for a few days.’

‘I’d like it a lot more if I didn’t have to be chief bridesmaid at Charlotte’s wedding,’ Jess replied. ‘That’s going to be a barrel of fun – not.’

Her first reaction when her cousin Charlotte had asked her to be chief bridesmaid was astonishment – she and Charlotte had never got on and usually tried to avoid each other.

Her second reaction had been panic. She didn’t do weddings, or frothy dresses, and she knew that Charlotte, with her obsession for perfection, would be the bridezilla from hell. She couldn’t refuse though, not when she knew how much it meant to her mum. And so, Jess had reluctantly agreed, even though she suspected that she’d only been asked because Charlotte had no sisters and precious few friends – even the other two bridesmaids were sisters of her fiancé, Russell.

‘It might not be that bad. And I bet the best man is a hunk. You know what they say about the chief bridesmaid and best man,’ Libby teased. ‘It’s compulsory for them to have a dance together and a few kisses – at the very least.’ She grinned at Jess and cocked her head to one side. ‘What’s her fella like?’

‘No idea, never met him. I haven’t seen Charlotte for years. All I know is that his name’s Russell and his work involves something to do with exports.’

‘I can’t believe your cousin doesn’t have a Facebook page. We could have a nose then, see what this Russell is like.’

‘Charlotte “doesn’t approve of society’s obsession with social media.”’ Jess made finger quotes as she said the words. It would have been a lot easier to keep in touch with Charlotte if she was on Facebook – and if she was less of a nightmare person – but as it was, wedding-related messages were coming solely through email.

‘She sounds a right barrel of laughs. So, you’ve no idea who the best man is?’

‘Mum said he’s an old school friend of Russell’s. I expect he’ll be very staid and boring. Russell will be, too. Charlotte’s boyfriends always are.’

Author Bio

Karen King writes sassy, heart-warming romance and edgy YA with a heart. ‘The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma ‘ is her third romcom for Accent Press. Her second title, ‘The Cornish Hotel by the Sea’ rose to #3 in the Amazon Bestseller Holiday Charts in the UK, #2 in Australia and was in the top hundred overall bestsellers. Her first title, I do?… or do I? has recently been published in France under the title ‘Un Fiancé Inattendu’. In addition, Accent Press have republished her earlier romance novels, ‘The Millionaire Plan’ and ‘Never Say Forever’.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published. She started her writing career writing scripts and articles for Jackie and other teen and children’s magazines.

She is member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists,

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/3187489145

***

Good luck with your new book Karen,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Interview with Karen King: Rise of the Soul Catchers

It’s interview time!

Today my lovely friend Karen King is dropping by for a chat. Why not grab a cuppa and come and join us?

What inspired you to write your book?

Rise of the Soul Catchers is a mixture of my favourite genres, fantasy and romance. It’ s inspired by my belief that love is eternal and that we meet our loved ones again when we die.  The two main characters, teenagers Sapphire and Will, are killed in the first chapter and separated. They discover that the afterworld is split into seven zones, each named after a colour of the rainbow. They each believe the other one to have been taken by the Soul Catchers to Red, a zone where all your nightmares come true. They love each other so much that they go to Red to find each other. The story is written from both their viewpoints, so for some of the story we follow their individual journey separately. It was first published as Sapphire Blue but has now been republished and rebranded, by Littwitz Press.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

I never base any of my characters on an existing person but I do take bits from people I  know or meet, things they say or do, certain mannerisms they have, so it’s very likely that some traits, actions or incidents will appear in one of my books. My daughters often say to me ‘you got that off me!’ or that they can think one of their characters is based on something one of their sisters did. And I confess in my acknowledgements that they are a constant inspiration for me

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

None! As it’s set in the afterlife I could make the world and characters however I wanted them to be!

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I don’t have a preference it depends on the character and the story. Rise of the Soul Catchers is written in the present tense, using first person viewpoint for Sapphire and third person for Will.  It was the way the story came to me, so I went with it. I chose different viewpoints for Sapphire and Will so that it would be immediately clear which character viewpoint we’re in. So far, I’ve used third person past tense for all my romance novels, but first person past for my other YA, Perfect Summer. The YA I’m now working on is written in first person too, so maybe it’s a YA thing!

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

A bit of both. I always work out my main characters and story plot before I start so I have a base to work from then I just write the first draft as it comes. The characters often do things I hadn’t planned, and the plot might go off at an unexpected tangent, but I go with it. Once I’ve finished the first draft I start rereading and revising, deleting anything I don’t think works.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Yes, can I give a shout out for my romcom, The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma, which is now on pre-order  and will be published by Accent Press on 7 June.

***

Blurb- Rise of the Soul Catchers

Can love survive anything – even death?

Sapphire and Will vow to love each other forever. But when a car crash ends that dream all too soon, they find themselves separated in an afterlife with zones named after the colours of the rainbow. Determined to find each other, they start an adventurous journey alongside a cast of characters they don’t know whether to trust. They finally meet again in the terror-fuelled Red Zone where the dreaded Soul Catchers are planning on taking over the entire afterworld and are plunged into a dangerous battle. Is their love strong enough to survive against the odds?

 (Previously published as Sapphire Blue)

***

Here’s a great extract for you…

Rise of the Soul Catchers extract. Sapphire’s Viewpoint

Chapter Two 

I am alive.

I lie still, keeping my eyes closed, trying to feel if I’m hurt, if anything is broken. I flex my fingers, my toes, move my head real slow from side to side. Everything seems fine.

Oh God, Will! Is Will okay?  I snap open my eyes, sit up, look over at the passenger seat praying that Will is alive too. Only there’s no passenger seat. No car. No Will.

What the hell has happened? Did I dream it?

I couldn’t have dreamt it. I remember it all so vividly. Will driving along, singing, the container in the middle of the road, the tree zooming toward us, the crash. Besides I’m not in bed. I’m…

I look around. Everywhere is covered by a thick, white mist and it’s eerily quiet. Where am I?

“Sapphire!”

Grandpa?  Surprised, I swing around and stare at my grandpa walking through the mist toward me, waving with a big smile on his face. Now I know I’m dreaming. Grandpa died two years ago.

“Sapphire!” Grandpa’s right in front of me. He holds out his arms for me to run into them, like I used to when I was little, but I can’t move. My feet are glued to the ground as I gape at him. “Grandpa?” I whisper

. “It’s me,” he says. “It’s really me.” He reaches out and envelopes me in a big hug. I feel his arms wrap around me, smell the familiar musky-scent and relax a little, allow myself to sink into the warmth and comfort of his embrace. “Don’t be frightened, I’ll look after you.” Grandpa’s voice is soft, gentle and I’m so glad to see him again that I nestle in closer and rest my head on his shoulder just like I used to do when I was little.

“I’ve missed you, Grandpa,” I mumble.

“I’ve missed you too, sweetie. It’s so lovely to see you again, but not like this. Not so soon. You’re too young.” His eyes are shining with tears.

Too young for what? Suddenly I’m jolted back to the present. What’s happening? What’s Grandpa doing here? I want to wake up. I don’t like this dream. I focus on waking, imagine myself opening my eyes, finding myself in my comfy bed with its bright, daisy-flowered duvet cover, snuggling up to the big, yellow Miss Sunshine cushion Will bought. That’s what he calls me. His Little Miss Sunshine. He says I brighten up his life.

Will.

Where’s Will? “Wake up,” I whisper to myself. “Wake up.”

“This isn’t a dream, love,” Grandpa tells me as he strokes my hair. “I know it’s a lot to take in and it will seem strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. There’s lots of family waiting to meet you, aunts and uncle and your great-grandparents. We’ll all look after you.”

His words freak me out. I try to pull away from him. “They’re all dead!” I scream. “And, so are you. You’re dead!” I pinch my arm. Hard. Squeeze my eyes shut. This is a dream. It must be a dream.

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! …

***

Buy Links

Rise of the Soul Catchers is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be published on 25th April.

Amazon: http://ow.ly/Fz1L30j0hqh

 

Author bio

Karen King writes edgy YA with a heart and sassy, heart-warming romance. Her first YA, Perfect Summer, was runner up in the Red Telephone Books 2011 YA Novel Competition and her second YA, Sapphire Blue, now republished as Rise of the Soul Catchers by Littwitz Press, was called ‘the best YA book out there right now’ by a reviewer for Ind’Tale magazine.

Karen has four romcoms published by Accent Press, and a fifth one is due out in June this year, Her latest romcom, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, was #3 in the Amazon bestseller holiday reads.  She has recently signed a two book-contract with Bookouture for more romance novels.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/ 

***

Many thanks Karen. Great interview.

I happen to know this is a fabulous book- so happy reading folks,

Jenny xx

Perfect Summer: An Interview with Karen King

Today I’m delighted to welcome Karen King over for a coffee and a chat. Not only has Karen got a brand new YA novel out – but it is published TODAY!!

I thought I’d ask Karen a few questions about her book and her writing in general. Let’s grab a cuppa, and get talking…

What’s your writing process?

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Jenny, to talk about my YA Perfect Summer. As I write romance novels and children’s books too, people often ask me if I find it difficult to write for different genres, and how I go about writing so I thought that might be a good thing to talk about today.

 

Whatever I am writing I always abide by two rules: know your market, know your reader. It’s something I’ve adhered to over thirty plus years of being published, because I’ve often written commissioned work, so have followed someone else spec, and sometimes in a genre I’ve never written for before. For example, in my years of writing for children I’ve worked on many children’s magazines and written picture books, fiction, educational readers, activity books, joke books and plays. Long ago I decided that the best way to tackle these projects was to ‘know my market and know my reader’. My writing students call this my mantra!

I think it’s really important to have a knowledge of the market I’m writing for. If you’ve never read a YA novel then I would think it’s difficult to write one, especially if you’re not a teenager yourself. Similarly, with a contemporary romance, or a picture book. I think this research is vital. It’s no good writing a 2,000 word story for the picture book market, for example, as it’s far too long. So whatever I’m writing, whether it’s a YA, a romance or a picture book I always read several modern books in the same genre, so that I get the feel of the characters, how the plots are executed, the vocabulary used, etc.

I like to have a picture of the reader I’m writing for in my mind. For a YA novel the reader will be a teenager – I know a lot of adults read YA too but the intended audience is a teenager. So I make sure I familiarise myself with the teenage world, their emotions, the vocabulary they use. If I’m writing a chick lit then the target audience will probably be a young woman under 40 (although yes, lots of women over 40 read them), picture book readers will usually be six or under.

What about the characters and plot?

Before I actually start writing, I make sure I know my character really well. I complete a character profile for all my main characters, detailing not only their age and appearance but their personalities, family background, likes and dislikes. I do mood boards on Pinterest too, which helps me really get a feel for the story. You can see some of my WIP boards here https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

I need to know my characters before I write, so that I can write from ‘inside their head’ and know how they will react to any situation. Then I do a brief plot outline – this is flexible and bits will often be changed as I write – and off I go!

Do you revise as you go or afterwards?

The most important thing for me is to get the story out of my head and down onto paper/the screen so I always get my first draft down, then go over it and revise and rewrite. I read it over once it’s finished and make notes on what needs revising. I probably revise at least four times because I look for different things each time, how the story pans out, characterisation, dialogue, continuity etc before a final check for typos and grammar mistakes.

Did you have to do much research for Perfect Summer?

As the plot involves organ transplants I had to do a bit of research on that. The most difficult thing I found about writing this story is that it’s set about thirty years in the future so I had to try and guess what technology would be available then, and then found that technology moved faster than I imagined! The first edition of Perfect Summer was published a few years ago so I’ve now updated it for this new edition.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I use both, it depends what I’m writing, Most of my younger children’s books are written in third person as are my romances, whereas Perfect Summer is written in the first person viewpoint. I started it in third person but it just didn’t flow right, Morgan’s voice didn’t come out strong enough. So I changed to first person and I was away. I think first person viewpoint can be more immediate and give a pacier read, which is ideal for my YA stories.

Thanks for interviewing me, Jenny.

***

Blurb

Set in a society obsessed with perfection, 15 year old Morgan is best friends with the seemingly perfect Summer. But when Morgan’s brother, Josh, who has Down’s syndrome, is kidnapped, they uncover a sinister plot and find themselves in terrible danger.

Can they find Josh before it’s too late? And is Summer’s life as perfect as it seems?

 

What people are saying about Perfect Summer

‘This book was amazing, as it was easy to relate to the characters, and it put a perfect twist on society’s obsession with perfection.’ Shehayamsani – Litpick reviewer.

‘King does an amazing job of writing about the discrimination children with disabilities face’  http://strollinginstoryland.blogspot.co.uk/

I was really taken away by this book – it is full of excitement, danger, shocks, gripping scenes and a thick plot. It is a truly brilliant story, with some fun – but SO realistic – characters. It makes the reader think – could the future turn out to be something like this?? Bookworm1, Amazon UK review

‘The story line was fascinating and kept my attention. Could also be a good book club discussion book.’ Donna – More Than A Review

***

Extract

Later that evening, totally beautified, flawlessly made up and dressed in our finery, we got into a hire car with Leo and Tamara and set off for Roxy’s. As we drove along the riverbank towards the exclusive nightclub, I noticed the trail of glamorous people winding along the pavement like a colourful, exotic snake. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach. When we got nearer, and I saw how stunning the girls in the waiting queue were, the butterflies took flight and my stomach went with them.

“Look at all those people waiting to get in,” I stammered. “What if we’re turned away?”

Leo smiled at me. “How could they turn away two gorgeous girls like you?”

I hoped he was right. I didn’t think I’d get over the humiliation if I was. Not only would it be cringingly embarrassing, it would also ruin the evening for everyone as Summer and her family would probably leave with me.

The hire car dropped us outside the building, then Leo and Tamara led us right to the front of the queue, the stares and whispers from people as we walked past made me feel like a celebrity. Two bouncers barred the doorway, legs wide, arms crossed. One was an exotic flame-haired woman dressed in a slinky black dress with slits right up to the thighs. The other, a drop-dead gorgeous blond hunk, wore tight black trousers and a white shirt open to the waist to reveal a tanned, toned torso. I was so nervous I thought I was going to be sick. But I needn’t have worried. The bouncers both gave us wide smiles.  The man said, “Good to see you again, Mr Maddison, Ms Price.” Then they stepped aside to let us through, without a second glance. I couldn’t believe it. I was actually going into a nightclub, and not just any old nightclub, the nightclub. I felt like I was floating on air.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mMXTzI 

Author Bio

Karen King is the author of over 120 children’s books and has had two YA’s published, Perfect Summer and Sapphire Blue. Perfect Summer was runner up in the Red Telephone Books YA novel competition in 2011 and has just been republished by Accent Press.

Karen is also the author of two romance novels, and has been contracted for three chick lit novels by Accent Press. The first, I do?… or do I? was published in 2016 and the second, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, is due out in the Summer. In addition, Karen has written several short stories for women’s magazine and worked for many years on children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh as well as the iconic Jackie magazine.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

 

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenkingauthor/?hl=en

***

Many thanks for coming along today Karen- especially as it’s release day for Perfect Summer today!

Good luck with your new novel,

Jenny x

My First Time: Karen King

It’s time for another in my interview series, ‘My First Time’. Today I’m delighted to welcome Karen King to talk about her earliest writing and publishing memories. Over to you Karen…

First Time

Can you remember writing the first story you actually wanted to write, rather than those you were forced to write at school? What was it about?

I’ve always loved writing and used to write a lot as a child. I often had little stories and poems published in the letters page of comics or Uncle Len’s Chipper Club page in the Birmingham Evening Mail. The very first thing I can remember having published was a poem when I was ten or eleven, about my baby brother Peter.

The very first book I wrote was about a ghost called Esmerelda. Esmerelda was annoyed when a family moved into her home, which had stood empty for years, so tried scare them away. The trouble was no matter what she did they weren’t scared. My kids loved it but publishers didn’t. I can see why now.

What was your first official publication?

An article for Jackie magazine titled ‘Beating the Dole Queue Blues’ back in the eighties. I was so chuffed to finally sell something after quite a few rejections. I wish now I’d photocopied the cheque (I think it was for £18) and framed it.

Spurred by this success I wrote more articles and photo stories for Jackie, and romance stories for Loving, Patches and Blue Jeans. Then I moved on to writing for various children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie, Sindy and Winnie the Pooh. The children’s magazine market was exploding at that time and I sometimes wrote regularly for as many as four different magazines a month.

My first published books were three story cassette books based around Acorn Green, a children’s magazine I was writing for. I was very excited about this but there was a mix up and the three books were all published under the wrong name so it was a bit of a damp squib! I guess my first proper book was Christmas Fun, an activity book published by Scholastic. Amazingly, it was quite a good seller and I was asked to write other activity books for Scholastic.

What affect did that have on your life?

Writing for children’s magazines meant I had a regular income, which was great but it was a crazy life working to tight deadlines. I wrote all sorts of stuff; comic strips, stories, articles, pop features, quizzes – I even wrote a horoscope page and problem page. As the writer, everything started with me and I had to get my script to the office in plenty of time so the artists could get working. And this was the days before computers and email, at first anyway, so I had to get the scripts in the post. I had four young children at this time and often worked way past midnight when everyone else was sleeping, getting up again at six to meet the deadlines. I look back now and don’t know how I did it.

sapphire blue cover

Does your first published story reflect your current writing style?

I guess in a way I’ve come full circle, because my first published stories were romance stories and now I mainly write YA and romance novels. Of course there’s a lot of difference between a short story for a teen mag and a romance novel. I still write children’s books too.

My YA Sapphire Blue, an afterlife romance adventure, was published last year and I’m planning a sequel. The two main characters, Will and Sapphire, tragically die in the first chapter and are separated in the afterlife. They love each other so much they’ll do anything to find each other, including going to Red, where they encounter a lot of danger and have to deal with some creatures called Soul Catchers. I don’t want to give too much away but I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s read it without crying.

My first book for Accent Press is due out in May this year. It’s titled I Do? …or Do I? and is about a local journalist, Cassie, who is about to marry safe, reliable hot shot lawyer, Timothy but her ‘Monster in Law’ Sylvia is determined to make it the ‘wedding of the year’. When Sylvia books the exclusive ID images to take photographs of the extravagant wedding, Cassie has no idea what she’s walking into. The elusive JM who is the newest photographer employed just so happens to be Jared, Cassie’s first love and ex-fiancé, who broke off their engagement to follow his life-long dreams. So it’s very much a case of ‘will she or won’t she?’ I’ve very excited about it.

I Do

What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been contracted to write two more books for Accent. I’ve just delivered book 2 and am now planning book 3. I’m also working on a YA and a children’s series. I like to have a lot of things on the go.

KK Head and Shoulders

Website: http://karenking.net/

Facebook Author pages:

Children’s books https://www.facebook.com/KarenKingAuthor/

Romance bookshttps://www.facebook.com/KarenKingRomanceAuthor/

Twitter: Karen_king

Sapphire Blue Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/1625261667

I Do?… or Do I?

Amazon – http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01CGKLOKQ

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Many thanks for such a great interview Karen,

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

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