Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine! Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Lake Tahoe in US would be her favourites. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in ‘Karen’s World’. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives – but struggle to control them! And, of course there’s always a gorgeous hunk or two!
Why do you write? How long have you been writing?
Thank you for inviting me Karan. Interesting question! To answer why – Writing is a burning -inside, like an obsession – I think it has always been there, from a child. I loved the physical act of writing and would take myself off to the library after school when I was around eight or nine and browse and read. I only realised when I was in my late teens after I was reading a novel it was what I wanted to do. I have written some articles, stories and started a couple of novels over the years but everything was binned and family life took precedence. But, in January 2012, I made a promise to myself to make a determined effort. Yes, the burning never left me so I joined the RNA NWS (Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Scheme) and The Write Place Creative writing Novel class which is local at the beginning of Jan’12 and got The Vineyard completed and sent to a publisher. Here I am with two books published by CarinaUK and I’m now writing my third.
Tell us a bit about your current project(s).
It’s early days with the third book but my second book, The Chateau has recently been released. The Chateau is set on the beautiful Lake Geneva in Switzerland close to the stunning Chateau de Chillon. The main character Gina is going through a tense time in a relationship with Max when she meets the devilishly handsome but arrogant Ollie. When she begins seeing a spectral image of a woman hovering over the lake and having nightmares, she’s convinced she’s suffering with some form of stress or altitude sickness but there really is a troubled spirit and…well you will have to read what happens! The spirit character came to me as a dream which was weird – she was so real so I just had to tell her story.
What genres do you write? Which do you read?
I enjoy writing Contemporary Romance because it feels so natural for me. I’ve grown to enjoy history and historical novels but enjoy most books which engage me and keep a pace. If it’s done right the detail doesn’t slow it down. I read most women’s fiction, occasionally, I’ll read a Dan Brown or a classic but I like Chick Lit, Sagas, Romance and Romantic Suspense but my favourites are when I get a strong sense of place with drama like Leah Flemming’s The Girl Under the Olive Tree, or Victoria Hislop’s The Island or The Thread which combine Place and history.
Do you self-pub, have a publisher or both?
Both my books are published by award-winning publishers CarinaUK (Harlequin/Harper Collins). They won the prize for Innovation in Romantic Fiction, at The Festival of Romance 2014, having made such an impact in so short a time period. CarinaUK are digital-first so my novels are currently on Ebook with a view to print at a later date.
Is there anything special you’ve got going on right now that we should know about? Promotions, sales, etc?
I do, I have a very special Giveaway for The Chateau Book/Blog Tour which is being hosted by Tay at Chicks That Read and begins on the 1st to 6th December then part II begins 3rd – 10th Jan! The winner (who will have to make their own way to London, will receive a professional beauty makeover by a celebrity make-up artist and feel and look like the star of The Chateau so watch this space!
Advice to aspiring authors?
Complete your novel and then revise. You can’t revise a blank page. Join the RNA NWS if you can. They offer a professional critique plus offer lots of Network opportunities. Then begin sending it out. The best advice I took was from my tutor Elaine Everest at the Creative Writing class I attend and she simply said, you put all that work in – you should send it out! Doh…I wish I’d met her years ago!