Multi-published author Karen Kirst recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels?
When Love Inspired closed their historical line, my editor allowed me to try my hand at suspense. I enjoyed including danger elements and villains in my historical books, so I felt comfortable with that aspect of suspense. Switching genres wasn’t easy, but I’m thankful I’ve had the chance to stretch myself as a writer.
What’s the hardest part about writing romantic suspense?
Finding the balance between action/danger and building romance. One of my main goals in a suspense is to create a believable love story. It’s always a challenge due to the fast pace, but I aim for that every time.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
I’m a native of East Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so I naturally set my mounted police series here. My husband served in the US Marine Corps for nearly eight years, and we were stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. That’s where my military series is set.
As far as specific book locations, I like to choose interesting locations. Danger in the Deep takes place mostly in an aquarium. That was fun to research and write! I’ve had scenes in abandoned water parks, carnivals, boats, waterfront historical areas…
In my current release, Dangerous Ranch Threat, you’ll encounter harrowing scenes in an RV production warehouse, cemetery, beachfront park and more.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
For the most part, I start with my characters and what sort of crime they’re involved in. Who’s being targeted? The hero, heroine or both? What’s driving the villain(s)? Sometimes I see a news article that sparks an idea. I read an article in People magazine about a childhood tragedy that led to the plot in Smoky Mountain Ambush. I can’t reveal specifics about that because it would spoil the surprise.
Which of your books is your favorite and why?
I have two top favorites. Intensive Care Crisis because I love the special ops Marine hero, Julian Tan, who’s wounded physically and emotionally. He’s the sole survivor of a helicopter crash, and his nurse is the heroine. The plot and action came together seamlessly. It’s one of those books that wrote itself. Smoky Mountain Ambush is another favorite because it’s a boss/employee romance. I love the Christmas-crazy, lovable heroine Lindsey Snow and the aloof, scarred hero, Silver Williams.
Karen was born and raised in East Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains. A lifelong lover of books, it wasn’t until after college that she had the grand idea to write one herself. The pursuit of her dream would take longer than she first anticipated…years, in fact. In the fall of 2010, she got the happy news that Harlequin Love Inspired Historical wanted to publish her manuscript—a true blessing from God. Now she writes faith-based romantic suspense. When she’s not homeschooling her sons or taking care of her mischievous poodles, she’s spending time with friends and wondering if she should open her own tea room.
Dangerous Ranch Threat
Peril on the ranch.
A serial killer on the loose.
An unknown enemy’s dead set on killing cattle rancher Cassie West—and she doesn’t know why. But when Cassie discovers several murder victims bear a striking resemblance to her, it’s clear that there’s a serial killer at large…and she’s the next target. She’ll have to rely on temporary ranch hand Luke McCoy to keep her safe. But can she and Luke expose the killer before they exact vengeance?