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Thursday 2 April 2020

ℚ A Venomous Love: Bloodstone [3] - Chris Karlsen

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about A Venomous Love (, Book to Go Now, 261 pages), a Historical Suspense, book three in the Bloodstone series.

"A thriller to chill your bones." - Chanticleer

"Sensational, a stellar book." - Girl With Pen

"Interesting characters, a story that keeps you guessing." - Book Marketing Global Network

"Well thought out plot, will keep you turning the page."

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || The Series || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Chris Karlsen; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

"My father was a history professor and my mom a voracious reader.  I’m an only child and my parents treated me like a small adult from an early age.  History was often the topic of dinner conversation.  I developed a keen interest in certain periods of history from my dad and a love of reading from my mother.

I went to UCLA and have a business degree.  At the time I was thinking of majors, it occurred to me to go with a liberal arts degree and pursue my interest in writing.  But I was afraid I couldn’t make a living so went with the safer degree.

In the mid 1970s we were in the middle of a recession and jobs were scarce.  Law enforcement had just begun to allow women to work patrol.  It looked interesting and exciting.  I joined the force of a large Midwest city and stayed there for three years before relocating to Southern California.  In California I joined a smaller agency in the Los Angeles area.  I retired from the agency after twenty-two years, nineteen as a detective.

After retiring my husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest.  We are animal lovers and had three rescue horses (all passed away now) and currently live with four crazy rescue dogs."
How did your interest in writing originate?
"I always found it easy to lose myself in stories.  As I said, I’m an only child so imagination was a large part of my life growing up.  I’d had a story floating around in my head for decades but never seem to have the time to write while I was working. 

After I retired, my husband suggested I write that story.  I sat down and began Heroes Live Forever but knew I had to learn the craft.  I went to the local Barnes & Noble and bought all the magazines on writing.  I started attending workshops and conferences.  As I learned, I’d apply the new information to my manuscript. 

After a couple of years and many changes Heroes Live Forever was published.  It is book one in my Knights in Time series, which are historical romances."
Are experiences based on events in your life?
"The short answer is yes.  I love the movie Zulu.  The battle of Rorke’s Drift between the English (the 24th Regiment of South Wales Borderers) and Zulus fascinated me.  I went to Wales and visited the regimental museum to learn more of the battle.  I knew afterward that if I ever wrote a Victorian setting, I’d have my protagonist one of the men who fought at Rorke’s Drift. 

Eleven Victoria crosses were awarded to men in that battle. (The Victoria Cross is England’s equivalent of the Medal of Honor.)  Rudyard Bloodstone, my series detective, is one of the men who received the medal for valor shown in the face of the enemy.  He keeps the medal and letter from Queen Victoria in his sock drawer.  He doesn’t consider himself a hero and tells those who ask, “I did what was necessary.”

I love writing Rudyard and his world as a London Metropolitan Police detective in the late 1800’s.  I never wanted to write modern detective or police stories.  I enjoy the Victorian setting as Rudyard and his partner don’t have the benefit of science to help solve cases like we do today.  When he is at a crime scene, he must rely on his experience and senses but without DNA or latent fingerprints or any other lab results.  I use my own experience as a detective to walk the crime scene with him and see it through his eyes."
How much research do you do?
"I do an enormous amount of research as all my series have history in them, either by setting or events.  For my Knights in Time series, I had to learn about the life of knights, the armor, the weapons used, castles and their parts, lifestyle of medieval people, court life, food, and language.  For my current series, the Bloodstone series, which A Venomous Love is book 3 of, I have researched lifestyle of Victorians of all classes, means of transportation, clothing, food, popular restaurants, music hall theatre, and a lot of the language.  Much of our phrases or words are Americanisms or modern (post 1900).  I try hard to check my verbiage and make sure it fits the time.

For the Bloodstone series, I gave Rudyard a special lady in his life who is a music hall star in London.  I wrote a holiday novella, Choosing Heart or Home, where the two are going to Wales for Christmas to meet his family.  That required research on the mores of the period and how female entertainers were “viewed” by the general public.  It became an issue with his family. "
Tell us a little about the cover, image choices and designer.
"I am very fortunate as I am with a small publishing house that allows me a great deal of input regarding my covers.  I do believe covers are really important.  They’re the one quick shot that tells a reader what the story is about. 

I use the similar background pictures of London but without the trappings of the modern city (red buses, cars, etc.).  That is what I’d call the trademark shot of the Bloodstone series.  For each book I try to include the victim or killer, which is always a woman from the story.  Then, I ask the designer to weave in the weapon in a subtle way.  For A Venomous Love, the weapon is a cobra.  The cover shows the snake intermingled with a picture of the beautiful heiress being stalked.

All but three of my covers have been done by J.A. Miller at Romance Novel Covers Now.  She has a great design eye and is quick to grasp my concept for the covers."
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters?
"I’ve always envisioned Karl Urban as Rudyard.  I have posted book boards with “dream” casting on my Pinterest Page with pictures of him that I liked a lot.

For his lady love, Honeysuckle Flowers, I think Michelle Dockery is perfect.  To fill in some of the other main people in Rudyard’s world, I like Hugh Bonneville as his boss, Henry Jameson, I see Thomas Craig as right for his partner, Archie Holbrook, and in A Venomous Love, I give Rudyard’s brother Will a great deal of page time.  I see Clive Standen as Will.  And maybe, just maybe, Will might get a whole book where he is the protagonist and Rudyard takes a backseat."
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
"I am a strong supporter of series writing.  The common belief I’ve heard at conferences is series are good because readers enjoy seeing more of their favorite characters.  I believe that is true.  Even in my critique group of writer friends, there are characters of mine they want to see again and again.  I also think a series is more fun for the author.  I know it is for me.

All the books in my Knights in Time series had male protagonists who fought in the Battle of Poitiers.  Four of the English “knights” were friends and the hero of In Time for You, the knight was French but fought against the knights in the same battle.  He eventually became friends with the other men three books into the series.  With each book I could explore the nuances of their various personalities and the same with the women.  The world of the characters becomes richer with the new details as they react to new situations.

In the Bloodstone series, I have been able to create a very strong and varied world for Rudyard Bloodstone.  He is the main focus in the series.  In every book I’ve built up one or more of his relationships with the support characters.  Because I have opportunity to show them in greater detail, explore their lives and personalities, it gives Rudyard a fuller world and life.

It also often leads to another book where a support character has grown to the point where he or she should have a story where they star.  I introduced Rudyard’s brother in book 2 of the Bloodstone series, Snifter of Death.  He was well-liked and I knew I’d bring him back.  He has a lot more page time in my new book, A Venomous Love.  I felt as I wrote him that I’d like to give him a book where he’s the main protagonist."
Do you proofread/edit or hire someone for that?
"I feel it is absolutely necessary to proofread and not just rely on yourself to do that.  After I make my corrections I send the manuscript to a copy editor, Ruth Ross (you can email me if you’re interested in her service) and she goes through it with a fine-tooth comb.  Then, I do another edit before sending it off to my publisher."
What books have you written and where can they be seen?
"I’ve written and published twelve books, including A Venomous Love, which was released on February 28, this year.  I have five titles in my Knights in Time series.  That series is a historical romance series with either a reincarnation or time travel element.  Those books are: Heroes Live Forever, Journey in Time, Knight Blindness, In Time for You, and Losing Time.

My Bloodstone series has three full length books and a holiday novella.  The full length books are historical suspense set in Victorian London.  Those are: Silk, Snifter of Death and A Venomous Love.  The Christmas novella is Choosing Heart or Home.  It doesn’t involve my detective Rudyard working a case but going home to Wales for the holidays to introduce his beloved to his family.

I also have a World War Two series of novellas I’m working on with one done and in release and the second which I writing at the moment.  The first is called Moonlight Serenade and is about a Marine who is on a three-day leave in Melbourne, Australia and falls in love with a big band singer.  The one I’m working on is called the Ack-Ack Girl and is set in England during the blitz.

I have another series from a few years back called the Dangerous Waters series.  It is two books set in Turkey.  They are nautical archaeology thrillers.  The first is called The Golden Chariot and the second is Byzantine Gold.

All the books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Apple, Indigo, 24 Symbols, Angus & Robertson, and most are on"
Do you write five days a week or when?
"Our lives are so busy these days and it is easy to say I’ll write something tomorrow.  I think it is important to set aside a time to write even if it is only 15 minutes a day, for five days.  I try to write six days a week.  I write for three to four hours in the afternoon.  I am also a super slow writer.  Some days are better than others and I can crank out several pages and some days it is maybe just a page.  But I am committed to putting in the time.

It is such a great feeling when I can write “end.”  Then, there’s the excitement when I see the cover and finally the book is released.  It makes the time I sat in front of that blank screen, typing and deleting and typing more worth every worrisome moment."
Thank you for sharing so much with us, Chris.  And best wishes for a great tour!

A Murder Spree, A Viper The Weapon, A City In Terror.

A Venomous Love
Available NOW!

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CMash said...

I have this book on my TBR list so really enjoyed this interview because I'm always interested in getting to know the author behind the book.

Chris Karlsen said...

I want to thank BooksChatter for the opportunity to share my thoughts on writing and for featuring A Venomous Love.
Chris Karlsen