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Monday, 22 December 2014

Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway - Broken Bonds by Karen Harper



Broken Bonds
by Karen Harper

Book Description:
Three very different sisters…
Three desirable, dangerous men…
Three endangered lives…
THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY is set in Appalachia in
a small town where the enemy is us.

Haunted by the past…

Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.

Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.


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Author Interview

1. Who are your favourite authors of all time?
Charlotte Bronte, I love her characters in JANE EYRE. Shakespeare, I taught his plays for years and I wrote a book about the love of his life (not his wife!) in MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE. And King David from the BIBLE because I love the beautiful, inspiring poetry in The Book of Psalms. No matter what I write about, it seems there’s always a quote from Psalms that perfectly ties in to the good or evil I write about in my rom/sus novels.

2. If you could travel in a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Great question! I would go back into the past to the Elizabethan era. (If I could choose the place too—Merrie Olde England). I admire Queen Elizabeth I and have written several novels about her life and times, THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS and a 9-part mystery series, THE QUEEN ELIZABETH I MYSTERIES. I admire her because in an age where men ruled, she went it alone after coming out of a very dysfunctional family, to say the least. (What could be worse than her father having her mother beheaded?) It’s admirable when modern women can be bold and go it alone in the face of terrible circumstances, but Queen Bess did it four centuries ago.

3. If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
I’ve always admired GONE WITH THE WIND, although parts of it are so dated now. I wonder how much a Margaret Mitchell signature would cost? I knew someone who once worked with MM at The Atlanta Constitution. This lady told me the men at the newspaper used to tease MM because she kept her notes for her novel on “recipe cards,” as if she was going to cook up a book. But MM put them in their place when she used those cards to write GWTW! I’ll bet they were envious when all the movie stars came to Atlanta for the movie premier too, and they had to cover the event.

4. If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Charlotte Bronte, since I love her characters in JANE EYRE (See question #1 above.) Shakespeare. Ben Franklin. Thomas Jefferson. President Eisenhower. (I actually met him in 1965 when he visited Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and I was one of the student hostesses for his speaking event. But I’d like to know from him how he managed to get many different European leaders to work together against the Nazis in World War II. My father, who was a pilot in WW II, admired Eisenhower. I think “Ike” covered my question in his large book WAGING PEACE, but I’ve never had time to read it. Love the title, though. Titles are important.)

5. Have any hidden talents you would like to share?
I talk to my plants. Call me crazy, but honestly I think my African violets grow much better with that kind of tender loving care as well as with plant food.

6. Do the words come easily most of the time? How do you unblock your writer’s block?
Unless I’m upset by something in “real life,” the words usually flow well. When my father died years ago, I couldn’t write for a while, but I figured that was OK. Sadly, he died just before my first book came out. He was a great reader, so I always felt bad he didn’t see me in print. I still have his collection of Charles Dickens novels that meant a lot to him.

7. Which character is your favorite and why?
I always am partial to my heroines, in BROKEN BONDS, Char Lockwood, a very independent-minded social worker with a soft spot for Appalachian children. I find it intriguing to live inside the characters’ heads to learn what makes them tick. Of course, finding the perfect man for my heroines is a challenge.

Also, writing about small towns means secondary characters who are quite eccentric—and some who are dangerous, even possibly a killer or kidnapper. The sad thing about crimes in small towns is the enemy is often ‘us,’ that is, someone related or familiar, and that brings in treachery and betrayal. When everyone pretty much knows everyone, crimes are often not impersonal.

8. When it comes to writing, what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
I think (I hope!) my strong points are conveying each character’s emotion and motives. I always have a tough time deciding whether to put the book into 1st person (the main character or characters use the “I” point of view) or 3rd person where a sort of outside, invisible narrator tells the story but still allows the readers to get inside the main hero and heroine’s heart and head. I work very hard to make “my people” come alive through action, dialogue—and their inner thoughts.

Also I love to use setting that come alive for the reader. My new COLD CREEK TRILOGY is set on the edge of Appalachia, and that’s given me so many romantic and scary settings: mountain cliffs, abandoned coal mines, old barns, and a small town where it is really dark at night.

My main weakness/problem is making sure the middle (the muddle!) of the book doesn’t sag. I’m juggling so many characters by then, I need to have something very exciting happen to spur the reader on. I work hard at that.

9. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I must admit I usually binge read fiction between writing my own books. While I’m writing, my reading is often for background research. For example, for BROKEN BONDS, I had to study up on poverty in Appalachia (sadly, it still exists); fracking (because one of the possible villains is into that). For book #1 in the trilogy I read up on childhood trauma and small town sheriffs. For book #2, FORBIDDEN GROUND, I studied ancient, Indian mounds, their burial customs and artifacts. I also try to keep up with newspapers to get ideas for scary situations I could use.

If I even tried to keep read up-to-date books by my author friends, I’d probably never have time to write! I love biographies and memoirs too, often historical ones. I recently finished a book called FOUR SISTERS by Helen Rappaport, the story of the last Russian czar’s family. Fascinating young women with luxurious lives caught up in a terrible time.

10. How long does it take you to write a book?
If I have all the research completed for a romantic/suspense, it takes me about 4 - 5 months. Then I try to let it “rest” and go back through it. My editor reads it and may ask for revisions. I read it again after the copy editor has gone over it for small errors. But the truth is, most of my books are inspired, puzzled out and maybe even researched way ahead of when I write—at least the basics. I know it’s time to actually start writing when I hear the hero and heroine start talking to each other—sometimes arguing, though I know they will eventually fall in love. (No I am not crazy to hear voices; most fiction writers do!) Then the fun is to see the characters try to take over the story.

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.


Other books in the trilogy include:

Shattered Secrets:
“Harper, a master of suspense, keeps readers guessing about crime and love until the very end.”  --Booklist, starred review on Fall from Pride.

ISBN-13: 9780778316473
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: MIRA
Publication date: 8/26/2014
Series: Cold Creek Series , #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 400


Forbidden Ground:
“Masterfully drawing the reader in, Harper has delivered the best, once again.”  --Suspense Magazine on Upon a Winter’s Night.

ISBN-13: 9780778316701
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: MIRA
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Series: Cold Creek Series , #2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 352



About the Author
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen's books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. Karen has given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.

Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Broken Bonds, the third book in the Cold Creek Trilogy.

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