Thursday, December 8, 2016

Karen Harper

New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper is a former high-school and college English teacher. Winner of the 2005 Mary Higgins Clark Award for her outstanding novel, Dark Angel, Harper is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, historical novels, and a series of historical mysteries.

Harper's new novel is Chasing Shadows.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I mostly binge read for pleasure between writing my own books and I avoid similar genre books while I’m writing. That said, my current reading is somewhat a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Since I write contemporary suspense, as in my new South Shores series, and historical novels set in England, I sometimes research ideas and settings for one genre while writing in another.

My reading list right now includes a book on how to write. I may have written over 60 novels, but I’m always willing to learn from others. Elizabeth George, an American who writes great psychological suspense has written a very interesting book called Write Away: One Novelist’s approach to Fiction and the Writing Life. I’ve found it very thought-provoking and love the boldness of an American using British settings, since I do that also.

I must admit I’m always looking for new topics, so I’ve been reading a bit more nonfiction: To Marry An English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace. I liked this well-illustrated book so much that I bought it. It’s a history of the rich and famous of the Victorian and Edwardian ages, a topic I’ll be using soon.

And along that line, I’m reading the autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt, who did marry an English lord. He received a fortune from her family, and she received a title. One thing about reading someone’s autobiography, though, is that you have to realize the author may slant the past or try to excuse themselves, so you need to read with that in mind. But I love the “I was there” point of view and use it in my historicals, which I call faction.

Lastly (besides proofreading galleys of my own work) I’m reading a novel set in a South Florida, The Island by Heather Graham. She’s a friend who lives in South Florida where we wintered for 30 years. Mira Books has combined one of my Florida suspense novels with one of hers, and I had missed The Island when it first came out. My Below the Surface is combined with her novel in a two-novel book titled Still Waters—and you may have heard they run deep.

I also read two newspapers a day and keep up with magazines, always looking for ideas for my own books. “Ripped from the headlines…Truth is stranger than fiction.” Writers do read.
Visit Karen Harper's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Broken Bonds.

The Page 69 Test: Chasing Shadows.

--Marshal Zeringue