As a mystery reader I am always searching for a new series to read, whether it's a hardboiled detective series or a cozy mystery. Then there are those series that fall into a totally different category -- like the new offering from author Karen Whalen. How about someone who loves high heels and drives a tow truck? Doesn't that grab your attention? I knew I would enjoy the book even from the title: Toes on the Dash.
Karen is my guest today in My Writing Corner. She is the author of two different mysteries series, the Dinner Club Mysteries featuring Jane Marsh, an empty nester who hosts a gourmet dinner club, and the Tow Truck Mysteries starring Delaney Moran, a super feminine shoe-a-holic who drives a tow truck. Both are cozy mysteries about strong friendships and family ties set in Colorado. The first book in the Dinner Club series tied for First Place in the Suspense Novel category of the 2017 IDA Contest sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America.
Tell us about your road to publication.
As many writers will tell you about themselves, I always wanted to be a writer. Mostly because I was a reader, often reading three books at the same time because no one told me not to do it that way. In high school, during the great career search many of us are pressured in to, I decided journalism was the best way to earn a living as a writer. I majored in journalism in college, but went on to get a paralegal degree. While pursuing my legal career I wrote a column and articles for several paralegal trade magazines. And kept reading, not three books at the same time, but often three or more a week. Then I landed on the cozy mystery, the genre I love, and I thought, I could write one of these. So I did. Seven cozies in the Dinner Club Series have been published and the first in the Tow Truck Series is coming out on April 25, 2022.
What do you enjoy about being an author?
There is so much to enjoy about being an author. I love crafting out a scene, reading it back to myself, and thinking dang, I wrote that. And spending time with other authors is inspiring, motivating, and just plain fun. Seeing your cover for the first time, opening that box of advance copies, and best of all, hearing from readers—that’s all a thrill, too.
What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?
So, where did I get the idea for a high-heeled tow truck driver? The law firm where I worked represented tow truck companies. These car haulers are an under-appreciated, crazy breed, with interesting stories to tell. That all of the tow truck drivers we represented were male made me think…females in the industry would need to be tough to compete in this man’s world. But what if a woman did own the business? What if the woman was young and inexperienced? What if she wore high heels to set herself apart? Oooh, sounds fun, amiright? And that's where the idea came from.
What are you working on now?
Although only the first and second in the series are scheduled to be released this year, I actually have five written and I’ve started book six. I’m enjoying the characters so much that I plan to keep writing about them, at least until the ideas stop flowing, which hasn’t happened yet.
What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?
Finding the time to write. Luckily, I was able to quit my day job when my first book came out. Other writers have to squeeze writing time in between their 9 to 5 jobs, which I had to do at the beginning, too. However, even though I call myself a “full-time” writer, there are so many distractions, such as marketing, book events, social media posting, etc., although I do love the interaction with readers. Then there’s family…I love to travel…and…just life happening. It can be a struggle at times to get away from it all and write.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Don’t give up. Keep at it. Even if you feel that your writing is not as polished as you want it to be. We all feel that way, especially at the beginning, but even seasoned writers think the same of their first drafts. Join writers groups, take writing classes, and write. A successful author I know wrote seven books before landing on the book that brought her success. She calls those first books her practice books. So, yeah, don’t give up. Keep at it.
Good advice! To learn more about Karen and her books, here are her buy links and her social contacts:
Barnes & Nobel:
Thank you, Karen, for being my guest. Any comments or questions for Karen?