"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Monday, February 1, 2016

Giveaway & Interview With Author, Chris Karlsen

Chris Karlsen is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. The daughter of a history professor and a mother who was a voracious reader, she grew up with a love of history and books.  

Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. Her travels have taken her Europe, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States. She most frequently visited England and France, where several of her books are set.   

After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and the latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.  

She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

Welcome to Immortality and Beyond. May I offer you a drink?
Zar, our Zombie Butler will fetch that for you. Zar…
I’ll take a Vampire Wine, red preferably on the dry side.

Thank you Zar
*Drools* while handing drink over…
*Rolling eyes* You may return to your quarters now. Please don’t mind him, sometimes he just gets so excited when we have guest authors. He’s only ever bitten somebody once, *grins*.
Now that we’re settled in, let’s chat. Shall we?
I’m ready.
BK: How did your writing journey begin?
After I retired from law enforcement, my husband suggested I write the book
I always told him I wanted to write. So, I sat down and began the book. At the same time, I also started looking for conferences and workshops and places to take classes to learn the craft.
BK: Please share with us how your current release came to life...
When I was writing the previous book in the series, the antagonist in that book was a knight I grew to really like. He wasn’t a villain. He was the enemy knight of the hero but a man who was fighting for his king and country. I thought he deserved a book of his own. As I introduced him in the end of that book to the sister of the heroine in the previous story, I now had a good lady love established for him.
As for the second hero, there was also a younger sister in the previous book. I put her in this story and for a hero I brought back a knight from Journey inTime. I had a very gruff, serious knight in that book and thought he’d be a perfect one to show a different side, give a romantic side. BK: Do you let your characters tell the story, or do you often fight with them on the direction it will take?
I don’t fight with them. If a surprise moment or action or reaction occurs to one of them, I let it happen. I have the philosophy that it popped into my head and happened to that character, it was for a reason. I let it stay unless there’s some compelling reason to change it down the road. I can’t think of when I’ve gone back and altered an event like that though.
BK: How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?
I think for most authors it’s the characters and how we have them handle the obstacles we put in their way. Some authors write plot driven stories. I prefer to write character driven stories and try very hard to really nuance their personalities. I have them do things that should surprise the reader, both good and bad things. They aren’t perfect. I want them to do things that have the readers shaking their heads or thinking-“oh no!.”
I also work very hard on setting. I write either medieval or Victorian settings, depending on the series. I try to paint a strong visual of the period for the reader, the sights, the smells, the politics, the people, the food, the clothes. I try to immerse the reader in the time period the character is walking through.
I also give my heroes and heroines a big cast of support characters that I believe make my stories different.
BK: Which character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?
Hard to say. If I must choose one, I’d say Electra. I liked letting her explore her skills as a chef using what she had available to her at the time. I enjoyed having her deal with the male attitude toward women, including the Prince’s and how he wanted to play matchmaker with her. I enjoyed showing how an ordinary woman thrown into an extraordinary circumstance could use her wits and skills to overcome a difficult situation. I liked making her shine without making her a superwoman, or a Lara Croft kick-ass over the top heroine.
BK: Tell us about one scene you had the most fun writing…
I liked the scene where Simon teaches Emily how to fish. Simon was so gruff and somber in Journey in Time. This was a scene where he was sweet and not quite but almost romantic. He’s not really a romantic man and not adept at it but in his own way he was close to it. This was one of the first glimpses of another side of him.
BK: If you were stranded on an island, which character in your books would you most want to be stranded with and why, and what is one thing that would be a must-have?
I hate having to pick one character because I love them all for a variety of reasons. I think I’d pick either Alex Lancaster from Knights in Time series or Rudyard Bloodstone. Both are smart and resourceful and have a great sense of humor and you need humor stuck on an island. I’d want my iPod for music.
BK: Now for a little fun, tell us a bit about what your office looks like. Do you need silence to write?
Not at all. I’d never get it if I did!! We have four crazy, hooligan rescue dogs. They go in and out all day long. My husband is a baseball agent and on the phone all day talking in the background. In the afternoon, he listens to CNN or in the season, baseball games. I often listen to my playlists. I can tune out anything or listen when I want. No problem.
BK: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I read. At night, I watch television as I don’t write at night. I like to go to lunch with friends.
BK: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
Considering I write a romance series, I struggle horribly with love scenes. I hate to write them. They take me forever to do. I have a dear writer friend who can just crank them out. I can do sword fights and battle scenes, easy. Love scenes—OMG. What work for me. I want them to be sensual and kind of hot but I’m not terribly emotional in real life so showing that sort of emotion doesn’t come easy for me.
BK: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever wanted to write, or have written, even if it never reached public eyes?
A modern day cop story. I used to have a NY agent and she insisted since I was a police detective for 25 years that I write a cop story. I told her I didn’t want to write cop stories but she insisted. I hated it. Ultimately, she left the agency. The agency dumped all their unpublished authors (like me) and I was stuck with a story I never wanted to write. I tried to market it but it never went anywhere. I finally shredded it two months ago.
BK: What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers/authors?
Develop a thick skin. When you receive constructive criticism, whether from an instructor or critique group (notice I said constructive), listen with an open mind. Keep in mind your first draft and likely your second and third aren’t perfect. Also, once you’re published you are probably going to have some bad reviews. That comes with the territory. Not everyone is going to love your “baby.” Accept that and move on from the bad reviews. When you’re pitching agents and editors, you’ll get many, many rejects. Again, accept that and keep heart.
BK: What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Silk, my Victorian suspense the Bloodstone series. After that, I may do a fifth book in the Knights in Time series. We’ll see.
BK: Where can readers connect with you?
I can be emailed at: chriskarlsenwriter@gmail.com
BK: Using your name as an acronym, please describe your book...
CK=Charming Knights 

Back cover blurb for In Time For You 

While horseback riding in the English countryside, sisters, Electra and Emily Crippen find themselves trapped in a tear in time. Thrown back to 1357 England and caught by a local noble, they are in a place that is home but as frightening and unfamiliar as an alien world would be. With no idea how the tear in time came about, the one thing they do know is: they must stay together and stay near to where the event took place in hopes of discovering the way back to their modern life. That certain need to stay together is the first certainty taken from them when one sister is forced to remain in England and one is sent miles away to Wales by royal order.   

There is one other hope for help the sisters don’t know exists. It’s Electra’s lover, Roger Marchand. A time traveler himself, he never told her of his past. When he realizes what has happened to the sisters, he enlists the help of a scientist friend to help him open the suspected passageway through time. Any effort to save Electra and Emily will likely cost him his life. This was the time Roger came from, a time when his country, France, was at war with England. If he is discovered on English soil while searching for the sisters, he will either be killed or taken prisoner of war. Any risk is worth saving the life of the woman he loves.  

While she ate, the button on Electra's sleeve fell out of the frog loop. She didn't hook the button again, reaching for her wine instead. The sleeve pulled back from her wrist to expose her watch, which she hadn't thought to remove.  

"What is that?" Simon asked and pointed to her Seiko. 

"A watch." What a bizarre question. There wasn't a corner of the planet that people didn't recognize a wristwatch.  

A frown slowly formed and he stretched across Emily and took hold of Electra's hand to tug it toward him for a better look. He turned her hand over and in a matter of seconds had the clasp undone.  
 He brought the candle in front of his trencher closer and held the watch under it. "What do the numbers mean?" 

"It's a clock, a miniature timepiece you wear on your wrist." 

From his expression, the explanation puzzled him. "Do they not have candle clocks in this Greenland you claim you're from?" 

How to explain the abundance of various clocks to a man who apparently has no context for the anything beyond a candle clock or similar ancient means of telling time? 

"Are you saying you've never seen a clock?" Emily asked. 

"One like this? No, I have not." 

Emily bent her head nearer Electra and whispered, "Are you thinking what I am?" 

"Sadly, yes." 

Simon ran his finger over the watch face. "These small digits, what is their meaning?"  

"It's the date and year: 5.14.15."  

He shook his head. "What year is 15?" 

"2015, of course." 

"You are mad. It's the year of our Lord, 1357." 

"What year were you born?" 

"1327, why?" 

Electra didn't care for the speed which Simon answered. She held onto the small hope this was some odd reality show and that he'd stumble or hesitate before coming up with a year. "No reason, I was just curious." She turned to Richard who'd been chatting with the serving girl. She tapped his arm. Getting his attention she asked, "Richard, what year is this?"  

He tipped his head like a dog hearing a strange noise. She assumed he too thought her mad for asking. "1357. Do you measure your years differently in your native country?" 
 "Yes, it's a different time there." A different world. She looked over at Emily, who'd been listening. The color had drained from her face.  
 For both their sakes, Electra fought to keep from falling apart in front of the whole room. She failed and began to tremble uncontrollably. She balled her hands into fists and turned from Simon to Richard. "I need to go outside. I feel sick." 

"I'd like to go too," Emily told Simon. 

"I'll go as well." He smiled. "Just to make certain nothing untoward befalls you." 

There’s atwo randomly chosen commenters, and 2 e-copies of In Time For You to

two randomly chosen commenters.
Watch for my upcoming review on Valentine's Day! Thank you so much for stopping in

Chris. It was a pleasure talking to you.