CJC Photography

Author Spotlight: Karen Renee

Rough Riot by Karen Renee, Gus Caleb Smyrnios model

CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?

KR: I wrote my first book when I was in my twenties because after college I found I was very jaded with the real world. That book isn’t published and won’t be published since I made all the common mistakes first time authors make. I’ve wanted to be a writer of some sort since I was a kid, so being able to write a book – even if I never published it – was a great feeling. Plus, I always have a story going through my head – probably from being an only child and imagining what it would be like to have an older or younger sibling.

CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?

KR: The most rewarding part of being an author is hearing from readers – especially when they say they’re reading one of my books for the second or even the third time. The most challenging part of being an author is juggling my time between marketing and writing the next book. I think one of the biggest hurdles I’ve overcome is being able to take criticism, before becoming a writer I was very sensitive – but reading reviews on Goodreads will cure one of that very quickly! LOL!

CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?

KR: I should probably say the one I just finished {Rough Riot}, but really it’s Harm’s Way because it’s the first in a series that isn’t set in Florida and I love stories where characters reunite after not seeing each other since childhood. Plus, Stephanie is a professional card dealer and if it weren’t for the crazy hours, it’s a job I’d actually love to do!

CJC: For first time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?

KR: I would recommend either Unforeseen Riot – my first published book or Harm’s Way, both are Motorcycle Club romances and first books in a series.

CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?

KR: I think I’d go with Roman’s War and have Ryan Guzman and a slightly younger Isla Fisher star in it.

CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?

Be persistent and consistent with both your writing habits and your marketing efforts. Those are two crucial elements for success these days and while it sounds simple enough, it can be challenging.

CJC: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be and why?

KR: This is tough! I’d love to co-write with Kristen Ashley, but I’d never be able to keep up since she says her books come to her and play out in her head like a movie. So, my other choice would be Penny Reid because I love how well-developed her characters are and I think we’d collaborate well together.

CJC: Favorite motto?

KR: Your patience will be rewarded.

CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?

KR: It depends on how bad the writer’s block is, but my go-to remedies are to change how I’m writing – moving from my computer to pen and paper. If that doesn’t help, then I try taking a nap – it sounds crazy but before I doze off I’m normally envisioning my characters and thinking about what they’re doing. Sometimes I’ll re-read what I’ve written because I find that when I’m stuck it’s because I’m losing touch with the story itself and/or the characters. Another thing I try is to peruse cover model galleries at websites like yours – though I have to be careful because time flies when looking at great photos! Thinking about the cover shifts my brain into a different gear and finding the perfect image can inspire more of the story.

CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?

KR: [This has to be the hardest question!] Introspective.

CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?

Writing the blurb, always! Selecting the cover is the fun part even if it’s difficult to choose between two photos!

CJC: Do you have authors who inspire you? And if so, who and why?

KR: Tons of authors inspire me. The short list is Kristen Ashley, Penny Reid, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, J.T. Geissinger, Lawrence Block, and Robert Crais. All of those authors have such distinctive voices and their characters jump off the page. Plus,  J.T. Geissinger and Lawrence Block write some of the best dialog and banter, it’s just stunning.

CJC: What is your writing process like?

KR: My writing process is very chaotic and I don’t recommend it. I can crank out the first third of a book in about two to three weeks, but then I end up reading everything I’ve written because I don’t plot. After reading that first third, I usually know how things need to progress from there and I can write another 25,000 to 30,000 words. Once I know I’m nearing the end, things really slow down because I want to make sure the ending is climactic enough and satisfying too. Then I’ll do a read of the full manuscript to fix any plot holes and make sure that the characters have been well developed throughout the book before I send it to my editor.

CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

KR: I’m working on Block’s Road, the 6th book in the Riot MC Biloxi series. My goal is to send it to my editor in early December, then I’m going to start either the 7th book in that series or Fighting a Riot, the book which follows Rough Riot. With just 2 months left in the year, that’ll wrap up 2022!

CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?

KR: Thank you for having me, this was a blast!

CJC: “Rough Riot” featuring Gus is now available!

Stay up to date with all of Karen Renee’s latest releases here.

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