Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” The first four in the series are: Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, No Grater Evil, and A Stewed Observation. The first book in the series tied for First Place in the Suspense Novel category of the 2017 IDA Contest sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. My books are similar to those I love to read, books written by cozy authors Jessica Beck and Joanne Fluke. I worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado. I have been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. I love to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries. My favorite song is [When was the last time you did something] for the first time by Darius Rucker.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
In my latest book, the dinner club travels to Ireland where they eat plenty of Irish stew made with lamb, potatoes, carrots, and good ole’ Irish stout, served with soda bread to sop it up. So, I knew “stew” had to be in the title. One of my beta readers came up with “A Stewed Observation” as a pun for “astute observation,” but another reader said it could also sound like “a shrewd observation.” Either way, it works for me.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I read my final manuscripts out loud to myself about 25 times before submitting to the publisher. I often do this on my back deck and wonder what the neighbors behind me think of the book, too.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Jessica Beck, Joanne Fluke, and M C Beaton of the cozy mystery genre, but lately I've been enjoying Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and Jana DeLeon's Miss Fortune's series – both laugh out loud funny.
What are you working on now?
The last book (#7) in the dinner club mysteries, Wasted Thyme. Books #1-4 are released, books #5-6 are written, and I've just started #7. It takes about 6 months to write and another year to publish, so it will be a while yet before the series is completed.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My website at http://www.karencwhalen.com
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Take writing classes and join a writer's group.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don't give up.
What are you reading now?
I'm reading my way through the Body Movers series by Stephanie Bond.
What’s next for you as a writer?
A new series is brewing in my mind. I've started creating the characters and have a plot for the first in the series, but don't plan to start it until next year.
What is your favorite book of all time?
That's a hard question because my favorite books change over time as I myself grow and change over time. And, I love books written in a series, so the better question is: which is my favorite series? And, today's answer: the Agatha Raisin series by M C Beaton.