Friday, May 15, 2020

Stirring up Trouble

Tales of mystery and intrigue have captured me for almost as long as I have been reading--starting with Nancy Drew way back in my childhood.  Even when I read romance or fantasy, I love a good mystery as well to keep the plot boiling.

 Today in My Writing Corner I'm pleased to feature a writer whose work I have been thoroughly enjoying for the past few years, Karen Whalen.  If you want a writer who's constantly cooking up trouble, Karen's mystery series fills the bill. Pull right up to the table for her dinner club stories.   

Welcome Karen! Have you always wanted to write fiction? 
Like most writers, I always wanted to write fiction. However, I started with a journalism major and wrote nonfiction for many years before starting my first novel.

What are the challenges of being a writer?
 For me, finding just the right word or phrase for conveying what I’m trying to say (see, I didn’t describe that very well). The story ideas come easy for me, but not always the execution.

Tell us about your road to publication. 

 I wrote a column for a trade magazine for many years. During this time I found myself drawn to cozy mysteries for their comforting tone and entertaining protagonists. An idea came to me for a cozy mystery revolving around a dinner club (of which I was a member), so I wrote every Saturday and early mornings before work. The result was my first in the Dinner Club Mystery series, Everything Bundt the Truth. When that was published, I quit my day job to write full time.

How do you come up with your characters?
 My characters are based loosely on people I know or have known in the past (and even people I would like to know). The characters are often composites and always fictional.

How do you come up with your plots? 
First I imagine the victim, then the killer, means, motive, and opportunity. I write from there.

You're starting a new series. Tell us about it. What made you write it? 
I’m starting a new series with a younger protagonist, an all-girl type, into shoes and clothes, who is also at a crossroads in her life, needing to move on from her job and find a new career. She inherits a tow truck from the father she never knew. She decides to take on this business, even though she’s never driven a truck before, not even a pickup. Of course, a dead body is discovered in the vehicle of her very first tow! When the news hits, her business stalls. Now, she must toughen up her image as the cute tow truck driver in high-heels and find the real murderer or she’ll end up parked in jail.

What advice do you have for beginning writers? 
Take as many writing classes as you can, join writing groups and make some writer friends, read books on the craft, and carve out time in your schedule to write. Each of those things is crucial.

Anything else you would like to add?
 Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to medical personnel catching their breath, businesses reopening, and friends getting together once again. People were made to live in community. Social distancing, while essential and necessary during COVID, will someday come to an end. We need to grieve together for those lost and show our appreciation for those who worked so hard fighting the pandemic. So this is what I’d like to add: Thank you for doing your part.

Thank you, Karen for introducing us to your Dinner Club mystery series
If you would like to reach Karen or find out more about her books, here are the links:

Any quetions or comments for Karen?

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