Interview with Karen Erickson + Giveaway

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Interview , Karen Erickson , The Latin Lover Posted on April 27, 2012 @ 7:00 am 41 comments

Today I am happy to welcome to Book Lovers Inc. romance author Karen Erickson, who besides being a prolific writer is also an adventurous one: she has experimented and written contemporary romances, historical romances, paranormal romances, fantasy romances, erotic romances, and any combination of these :-D Karen is celebrating the release of Under His Protection, the 1st book in her new romantic suspense series featuring Secret Service agents (and let me tell you they are definitely delicious alpha males), so please give her a welcome and there is a wonderful giveaway for you if share with us your reading preferences.

Stella: Hi Karen, welcome to Book Lovers Inc! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Karen: Well, I’m a mom of three, a wife to one and the owner of too many cats. I’m a native Californian who lives about an hour below the gates of Yosemite and I’m a full time romance writer.

Stella: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Karen: I’m really lucky that I’m able to write full time. It’s really a dream job in that I’m able to do what I love from home and be there for my family if they need me.

So I start my morning reading email, etc. and drinking my coffee (need it to function LOL). Then I write. Fiddle around. Write some more. Get on Twitter. Get on Facebook. Fool around on Pinterest. Write again after a burst of inspiration…

I really should have a more strict schedule but I think what I’m doing works for me—most of the time. *winks*

Oh, and I’m a pantster who needs to plot somewhat. If I plot too much, it takes all the fun out of it. There’s a fine line.

Stella: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?

Karen: Great question. I’ve been both. I’ve always enjoyed reading. But sometimes life got in the way and I let my love of books go. I literally went through a period where I didn’t read AT ALL. From my mid to late twenties through my very early thirties, I only read magazines. Can you believe it?

So I was a reader but I wasn’t a real Book Lover. Finally, I started reading romances again and was hooked. Wondered why I didn’t read any for so long—I missed them! Reading is such an escape, so much fun. I love to get caught up in the story and not wanting it to end. It’s harder being a writer AND a reader—you can’t help but cast that analytical eye.

I must tell everyone the last book I read that was a pure, absolute joy – Tessa Dare’s A Week to be Wicked. I LOVED THAT BOOK. The hero is dreamy, the heroine is relatable and there were so many cute, funny moments. Love, love, love how it sucked me in.

 Stella: You have penned a couple dozens of romance stories: some are erotic, some are contemporary, others historical or paranormal, but all romances. What attracted you to this genre, what is its appeal? What makes it special in your opinion?

Karen: I’m not sure why I gravitated to romance. I’ve read all sorts of books throughout my life. I went through a real mystery phase. The VC Andrews phase we all seem to go through in high school (passing those books around in class in 9th grade and being absolutely scandalized—ah, the memories). I went through the chick lit phase (and I’m really sorry it got such a bad rap after awhile. There are some GREAT books out there in that subgenre).

But romance was first in my heart. And I so hate it when the romance genre gets knocked for being trashy or labeled as bodice rippers and nothing else. They’re so much more than that. Romances are full of hope. They’re a true escape from the everyday, a chance to dive into a different world and learn new things.

I guess I’m a true romantic at heart though honestly, I’m not real sappy. I do love a sigh-worthy moment though (in a book, in a movie, anywhere!). There’s just something so sweet about it. I enjoy those sexy moments too, don’t get me wrong. I tend to write sexier anyway.

Stella: Your latest release Under His Protection was released this month, congratulations! Can you tell our readers what they can expect of it?

Karen: Under His Protection is the first in my Protect and Defend series. Three of the books will focus on heroes that are Secret Service Agents (good ones! Not naughty ones who don’t pay hookers and get fired). I’ll be releasing a special edition to the Protect and Defend series next month entitled Strip Tease. The hero is an undercover detective.

This is my first foray into the romantic suspense arena and I’ll confess my books are more romantic than suspense. I’m having fun with them, though. There is nothing sexier than a tough alpha male in a suit who will do whatever it takes to protect you. Am I right? *Sigh*

 Stella: Could you introduce the hero and heroine to our readers?

Karen: Secret Service agent Mason Russell always plays by the rules. He’s strong, quiet, bossy as hell. Determined to work his way up the ranks quickly, he doesn’t have time for distractions.

Blake Hewitt is the vice president’s daughter, an only child who’s always been pushed aside by her overly ambitious parents. Lonely and discouraged, she yearns for love. And finds herself hopelessly attracted to the sexy Mason…

Stella: Can you tell us any behind the scenes secret related to Under His Protection? (either to the writing process, or some tidbit about the characters that didn’t end up in the final version)

Karen: At one point, Blake was the daughter of the governor of California (she was originally the VP’s daughter and I switched it up for another version). This book has been rewritten a few times. Oh, and Blake was much more of a bad girl in the original version as well.

Mason has stayed the same throughout. Always steady, just like he is! I love Mason.

 Stella: Can you summarize Under His Protection for us twitterstyle (140 characters or less)?

Karen: Sexy Secret Service agent Mason Russell must keep the VP’s daughter out of danger—but does he want to keep Blake Hewitt out of his bed?

Stella: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read Under His Protection?

Karen:

1. Hot alpha male hero
2. Sexy romancin’ on an isolated island
3. Hot alpha male hero (whoops I think I already said that—I do adore Mason)

Stella: Is Under His Protection your first self-published novel? Why did you decide to go this way? And how was the experience so far? Are you considering going this way in the future?

Karen: UHP is my fourth self-published work. I’ve released two short stories (A Very Sexy Christmas and Melt With You) and one full-length erotic romance novel (Indulgent Pleasures). I’ve really enjoyed the experience though I admit it’s a lot of work and might not be for everyone.

I decided to go the self-publishing route for a handful of reasons. First, it’s tough to get those release slots at my publishers. I’m thankful I average three releases per year at Samhain and one or two at Carina Press. But I want MORE because I’m greedy. LOL

Self-publishing allows you to experiment. For instance, the first thing I self-published (A Very Sexy Christmas) was a short story I’d published with a now-defunct e-publisher. Indulgent Pleasures I released because I really thought it deserved a chance (I’d shopped to a variety of agents and NY publishers – they all passed). Melt With You I specifically wrote as a bonus story to accompany my Fated series which is published with Samhain.

I enjoy self-publishing and will continue to do so but I also enjoy publishing with Samhain, Carina, etc. As a writer, I think it’s smart to have a variety of options.

Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule? (Please tell us when we can get more of the delicious protective alpha males of the Protect and Defend series?)

Karen: As I mentioned above, Strip Tease will come out sometime in May (hopefully!). On Borrowed Service will come out either June or August. In July, I have two releases—Worth the Risk (book two from the Worth It series) will come out July 10th and A Scandalous Affair (book three in the Merry Widows series) will release July 30th. This year is busy for me. I’m exhausted just looking at my coming soon page!

Stella: You are a very prolific author, how do you do it? Does inspiration come to you all the time or do you have a rigourous writing schedule? What is your secret?

Karen: I’m not sure how I do it—I just do. Terrible answer but it’s the truth. I’m lucky in that I’m a fast writer. Once I get into the groove, the words flow. I feel blessed, especially since sometimes, they don’t always flow and that can be a painful process.

Again, that I’m able to do this full time makes a huge difference. A supportive family also helps tremendously. They understand (most of the time) when mama is working!

Stella: You pen historical erotic romances (The Merry Widows series) as well as contemporaries. How is it different to write a historical romance? Do you do any research (for either)? Is either one more difficult/challenging to write? Or do you prefer one to the other?

Karen: Historical is my first love—the first romance books I read. Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught and Lavyrle Spencer will always have a special place in my heart for being the inspiration for me wanting to be a romance writer. I’d always wanted to write historicals and tried way back in the day. Horrible, awful stuff that should never see the light of day.

A few years ago, I decided to be brave and attempt to write one. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. There is a definite different mindset when it comes to writing historicals versus writing contemporaries. I feel like my voice more naturally fits contemporaries so I have to work harder at the historicals.

I definitely research for both (more for the historicals, naturally) but I don’t prefer writing one over the other. I really enjoy the shift in gears when writing different subgenres of romance. It keeps things interesting, keeps my mind fresh.

Stella: Can you tell readers about your Merry Widows series? How did the idea for this series come to you? Did you intend to write it as a series or did the original idea for a standalone story evolve into a series later?

Karen: Hmm, I’d just finished working on something big (I can’t remember what!) and this idea came to me, I can’t remember what triggered it. A widow attracted to a younger man, how unseemly it would be for her to become involved with him, considering he was titled and one of the most eligible bachelors in all of London.

I’ll confess, I wrote Lessons In Indiscretion in three days. It literally poured out of me (this doesn’t happen very often but when it does, oh, how exciting it is!). I submitted it to Carina Press expecting a very long wait to hear back and within a month, Angela James called me and let me know they wanted to contract it. She even said she’d known they wanted to offer for a few weeks but hadn’t had a chance to call.

It was serendipitous, that little novella. It was also intended to be a stand-alone title but then I realized there are a lot of lovely, lonely widows who deserve their second chance at love.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Karen: Well, I’m pretty boring. Let’s see…I accidentally named my two sons after cheese (and sound sorta foolish when I’m calling their names in public). The most important men in my life (my husband and sons) are all born on the 26th day of the month—weird right? My youngest was even born on 9/26 at 9:26 a.m. Spooky…

Thanks for having me here on Book Lovers Inc. Stella!!!

He’ll protect her at any cost…

Protect and Defend, Book 1

Protecting the vice president’s daughter is Secret Service agent Mason Russell’s top priority. With the election looming and the party’s hold shaky, Mason’s been given an important assignment – rein the controversial party girl Blake Hewitt in.

He’d like to rein Blake in all right. Keep her under his control and naked beneath him at all times. Blake is the sexiest thing he’s ever seen but she’s strictly off limits. Though she tempts him like no other.

Banished from the capital and sent far away to the family’s vacation home, Blake seizes her chance. She’ll make Mason hers no matter what it takes. But the noble Mason doesn’t make it easy, and danger lurks where they least expect it…

Read an excerpt here

Buy at: AmazonBarnes & Noble All RomanceSmashwords

Bestselling romance author Karen Erickson writes what she loves to read — sexy contemporary romance and sensual historical romance. Digitally published since 2006, she currently writes for Samhain Publishing and Carina Press. A native Californian, she lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~*~*Giveaway*~*~

Karen has generously offered a $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice) to a lucky commenter!

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about the interview  and answer Karen’s question: Do you have a favorite romance subgenre? One you read exclusively or do you read them all?

(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, May 12th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Stella


Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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41 Comments

Join the Discussion
  • Jennifer Bielman April 27, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Named you sons after cheese, eh? LOL. That’s great. I pretty much love all romances but I have a special place in my heart for historicals.
    autumnflower6ATaolDOTcom

  • Dea S. April 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I’m glad she got through the period when she doesn’t read at all. Anyway, I love reading Contemporary Romance books, but I’d also like to try the other sub-genres like Historical Romance. :)

  • Joanne B April 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I don’t have a favorite romance subgenre. II read pretty much everything and usually enjoy them all.
    Cheese, huh? Those poor kids.
    This new series sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read it.

  • erinf1 April 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Now I’m curious… what cheese names can also be boy names? LOL… I keep thinking cheddar but I know that’s not right ;)

    I love romance. I just started reading historical romance seriously again about a year ago. But I still mostly read PNR. I don’t consciously do it on purpose. It’s just that most of those books tend to catch my attention first.

    Thanks for a fun interview! Gotta go check Karen’s books out now :)

  • Tory Michaels April 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Do you have a favorite romance subgenre? One you read exclusively or do you read them all?

    I definitely have a favorite subgenre (paranormal romance), but I read most of them (though the only contemporaries I generally like are the Harlequin Presents). For some reason most contemporary are not my cuppa. Love historical, and if you mix the two (Lydia Dare among others), I’m in love!

  • Tory Michaels April 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Colby! :)

  • Stacie Switek April 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I love a great story, it doesn’t matter what genre. I am a huge Karen Erickson fan and a book lover in general. There is nothing better than a strong, sexy alpha mail hero! My favorite form of escapism. I loved this interview, and that Ms. Erickson felt strongly enough to self-publish stories she thought should be released. I love that dedication to her stories. Great books! Please keep busy!

  • Karen Erickson April 27, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Tory guessed one right! The other cheeseboy name is VERY common. ;)

  • Stephanie K. April 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

    My favorite romance subgenre paranormal romance.

  • aurian April 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks for the lovely interview ladies, it was fun to read. And now I really want to know your sons names!
    I like different genres of romance. Paranormal romance, historical and contemporary, with some romantic suspense and cozy mysteries thrown in the mix as well.

  • Na S. April 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I like all sub-genres of romance. I like historical because it takes me to a different era, romantic-suspense because of the action and paranormal because of the world-building. They all offer something that makes me want to read it.

  • StacieD April 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    My 3 favorite romance sub-genres are erotic romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. I will read a contemporary, historical or futuristic romanc now and then but I like to stick to my favorites.

  • miki April 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks to stella i’m discovering several subgenre of romance and i can tell i like romantic suspense and found great sc-fi romance author but so far my favorite stay paranormal romance

    thanks you a lot for this giveaway

    all the best

  • Estella April 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I pretty much read everything.
    How do you keep all your genres separate?

    • Karen Erickson April 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      Are you talking about writing them, Estella? Well, it sounds complicated, LOL, but it’s really not. With historicals I have to get into a historical mood, so to speak. Same with my contemporaries – and even my different contemporary series require different writing approaches.

      I like the variety – keeps me from getting bored. :)

  • June M. April 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I read a lot of different sub genres of romances (historical, paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi, suspense, and everything from mainstream to erotic. I guess my favorites would be Paranormal and erotic (menages, BDSM, etc).
    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  • catslady April 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I do read them all. I can’t imagine never reading. My biggest nightmare would be losing my sight although I do know their are audiobooks but I much rather read them myself. Chalk me up to a book lover – I own tons of them lol. And I enjoy reading about those alpha males (in real life not so much lol). Your books sound exciting.

  • bn100 April 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I enjoyed the interview and finding out more about the inspiration for your books. I read all genres, but really like paranormals.

  • Viki S. April 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I love paranormal romance above all other genre.

  • Carrie at In the Hammock Blog April 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    oooh those historicals look great! which brings me to the answer to your question: historicals for sure!!! I rarely read other romance genres, every once in a while a contemporary. Thank you for the contest!

  • JackieW April 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I like Romantic Suspense and Western Romances but will read any book given me except Paranormal and SciFi ones. I love Historicals and Mysteries too.

  • J.D. April 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Good luck with the books, Karen. They sound interesting! Let’s see, I read all kinds of things romance, fantasy, mystery, history etc. But I think my favorite romance genre would have to be paranormals.

  • Diane April 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I read pretty well any romance with an HEA but my favorite is paranormal. I’ve read romantic suspense, fantasy, historical, mystery. I haven’t had the chance to read steam punk yet.

  • Shannon April 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I read most kinds of romance but my favorites are western (love cowboys), historical (Regency), and contemporary. But I am open to trying any sub-genre. As long as the writing is well done and the story is strong, I want to go along for the ride.

    Thank you for the post and offering a giveaway.

  • Robin D April 28, 2012 at 2:13 am

    I read a variety, but especially historical, paranormal with humor, and chick lit. Your Merry Widows series looks excellent!

  • JenM April 28, 2012 at 2:59 am

    It’s easier for my to say what I don’t like in romance, then to list the sub-genres that I do like. I’ll read just about anything except romantic suspense (too much tension and I hate serial killers) and historicals set in ancient or medieval times (I just don’t enjoy thoses time periods). Best wishes on the new release.

  • Mary Preston April 28, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I do love Historical Romance, I enoy the different rules of courting for the times.

  • Maureen April 28, 2012 at 6:06 am

    That was an interesting intervview. I can relate to the no reading during my late twenties and early thirties since I was having my kids and they were little during that time. But then I started reading romance again and haven’t stopped. I like all different subgenres in romance although I think I read the most historical romance.

  • ladymilano April 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I love Romance of all kind of genres.
    But if I have to choose the sub genre, I’d prefer Historical romance. :D
    But when it contained romance in it, I’d read it.

  • Tamsyn April 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Love the interview. Congratulations on your latest release, Karen. Basically, I love all romance stories but I don’t like to read a romance story without a HEA. I like my happy ending!

  • JOYE April 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I find myself reading more thriller type stories so when authors started writing romantic suspense, I was really drawn to those books. yours sounds really good. I like the cover too.

  • Diane Sallans April 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I read all genres, as long as there is romance and an HEA. I like historicals & contemporaries. Last year I started reading paranormals. Sometimes I’m in the mood for suspense & other times I want something lighter with humor. I just want an engaging story & characters that are brought to life.

  • Morticia Knight April 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I read everything! I go through phases, but a good historical (mainstream or erotic) is one of my faves.

  • Victoria Zumbrum April 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I love reading romance in any genre.

  • kimh April 29, 2012 at 3:54 am

    i do read most contemp , romantic suspense ertoic but i can try others
    congrats on the book s and great rreviews. whoo

  • Jen B. April 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I am constantly trying new subgenre but I can’t say I read them all. The fear romance scary stuff doesn’t appeal to me but I at least tried it. I tend to read a lot of Victorian and cowboy themed romance.

  • Viki S. April 30, 2012 at 3:34 am

    I love paranormal romance.

  • Filia Oktarina April 30, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Congratulations on your latest release, Karen. I read almost all genre, like historical, paranornal, thiller, suspense etc. I love to know about new author to.^^

  • Gale Nelson May 2, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for the interview. cheese? really? lol I like all romance novels but I am fond of the paranormal romances. Thanks! Gale pgan427@yahoo.com

  • Lexi May 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I think I would be like that too, easily distracted with writing bursts intermittent. I hear good things about A Week to be Wicked, I should check it out. I love historical romances, can’t get enough. Though I read just about every genre, I like to mix it up so I don’t get bored with just one kind.

  • Joy Gifford May 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    My Ultimate Romance subgenre is Historical……Give me anything from the regency period and beyond up until the 1900′s .

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