Please welcome my special guest, former police detective and now romantic fantasy author Chris Karlsen. Chris is currently promoting the release of Knight Blindness, the third instalment in her time-travel Knight in Time series. She also writes romantic thrillers under the series name of Dangerous Waters. Born and raised in Chicago, she currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.
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Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, KNIGHT BLINDNESS. What was your inspiration for it?
A: In Journey in Time, book 2 in this series, the hero had a knight friend, Stephen Palmer. I liked Stephen but killed him off in battle. My critique partners would have none of it. They insisted I bring him back. When the time came for book 3, I decided to make Stephen the hero. But I didn’t want to make things easy for him. I brought Stephen forward in time and also made him blind. That way he not only had no context for much of his surroundings but he couldn’t see his environment.
Q: Tell us something about your protagonist that my readers won’t be able to resist.
A: Stephen has a moral code and sense of honor that is pretty much carved in stone. He’s brave and determined. He doesn’t see his blindness as a disability but a disadvantage. He also has that strong medieval belief in chivalry, which comes out several times when dealing with the heroine and he can be brutally honest.
Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?
A: Knight Blindness took a long time to write, the longest of any of my books. With Journey in Time, a time travel that took the characters back to medieval England, the hero and heroine had a working knowledge of the time and much of what they saw. The world has completely changed in the seven hundred years that have passed since Stephen’s true time. He has no context for what he’s seeing and experiencing. I had to keep stopping and thinking what would this sound like to a man who’s never heard the sound or what would it feel like. After factoring in those answers, I then had to look at them from the mind of blind man.
I was lucky and had the help of Tara Annis, who is with the American Foundation for the Blind and is blind herself. She was wonderful and gave me lots of insight into how a blind person must learn to function and how different things and places affect them.
All in all, the book took approximately ten months. I’m a slow writer to begin with and the nuances of this book were often daunting.
Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?
A: I try to go deep inside my characters. I am not afraid to show them in various lights, including unflattering light for the hero and heroine. Sometimes they do or say something that can’t be taken back or alters how another character reacts. I also try to find a reason for a scene to be in the story. If it’s just a scene I like or think is clever but can’t make it have meaning, I edit it out. Painful as it is.
Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?
A: I am not a morning person. I try to take care of all my household or personal business during the morning: visits to the vets with my dogs, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, cleaning house, all the usual jobs. Then, most every afternoon I make a strong effort to sit and write for a few hours. I stop around 5 and the rest of the night I relax with my husband and watch television.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Did you just say you want to write a book someday or did you sit down and write the story of your dreams. Loads of people say they’re going to write a book. Only a few will. It doesn’t have to be a best seller or have rave reviews. Writing takes determination and a lot of dedication. The commitment it takes to finish makes a person a success.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?
A: I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this. I am very lucky. My parents, family, friends and my husband are the best. I couldn’t ask for more or better support.
This problem is out of my wheelhouse. That said; I probably bring up the fact that most of us have or have had a dream. Why not try to fulfill it? If we fail, then so what, at least we took the chance. And the great thing about writing is you don’t have to be young to do it. Your age doesn’t impede your ability.
Q: Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
A: Read, especially read in the genre you would like to write. It will give you a feel for what readers of that genre like and expect. When you run across a scene that strikes you, dissect it. Ask yourself what drew you to the scene and try to find a way to put your own spin on those feelings for your story.