1) Tell us about your latest book. – My latest book, Corpse in the Crystal Ball, is book 2 in the Fortune Teller Mystery series. My main character, Sunshine Meadows, is a psychic who uses fortune-telling tools to help her tap into her visions. Each book focuses on a different fortune-telling tool. In book one, Tempest in the Tea Leaves, Sunny uses tea leaves to see the town librarian get murdered. When her vision comes true, she becomes the prime suspect. Detective Mitch Stone helps her clear her name even though he doesn’t believe in her abilities. In this book, Mitch’s ex-girlfriend winds up dead, and Sunny uses a crystal ball to locate her whereabouts. This time it’s the hard-nosed cynical detective who becomes the number one suspect, and he has to step aside and let Sunny return the favor, no matter how grumpy he might be. But grumpy or not, neither can deny the sparks that are flying between them.
2) How did your main character come to you? – Sunshine Meadows aka Sunny is a fun quirky character. She loves her tea and hot coco, gets her hair cut for free by cosmetology students, and shops for her clothes in thrift stores. She wears very little makeup and keeps her hair short and spiky for ease and convenience. I thought a character like that would be cool, especially if she was the only child of a world renowned doctor and a prestigious lawyer who come from money and live in the big city. She is the total opposite of everything they stand for and strikes out on her own to make a fresh start in a field they don’t consider a “real” job. I’m always looking for something different when it comes to characters. Sunny is the type of character I’d want to read about. Hopefully readers feel the same J
3) What did this character do that was totally unexpected? – Sunny has never cared about fussing over her appearance. She is who she is, and she makes no excuses for it. While she’s attracted to Mitch, she would never try to be someone who she’s not just to win him over. However, when it comes to catching a bad guy, she’s not above trying just about anything to succeed. She actually dresses up like a floozy (hair, makeup, clothes and all) and goes to the local karaoke bar where most of the out-of-towners go to try to pick up the Casanova suspect, all in the name of justice.
4) Where in this story did you run into trouble? – I always know how a story begins and how a story ends, but how I get from A to B can be tricky. Trying to come up with fun and exciting scenes that have to do with solving the mystery is not always easy. Even when I know who the suspects are and what kinds of red herrings and clues I want to plant, it can be hard to come up with new ways to showcase that. I’m always looking for fresh new ways to investigate.
5) Why do you write? – I write because it’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. I write because I love it. I truly can’t imagine ever doing anything else. I find that a lot of people who write have always written something in some form or another. When I was little, I wrote poetry and short stories. Then I chose English as a major in college because I loved to read and write. I just didn’t know what I could do with it, so I got certified to teach. That didn’t last long. As soon as I had children, I chose to stay home with them, but I needed something for me. That’s when I started writing novels during their naptime, and I’ve never looked back. It might have taken me 14 years to sell my first book, but I learned a lot along the way and know for sure that I’ll never do anything else.
6) What excites you about your Romances? – Romance is what I first started out writing. I love the whole concept of falling in love and watching the relationship between a hero and heroine grow and evolve into a happily ever after. It’s just so romantic. In fact everything I write has some form of romance and humor in it. I currently have two contemporary romance novels available: Destiny Wears Spurs and Project Produce written under the name Kari Lee Harmon. Stay tuned for more to follow.
7) What excited you about your Young Adult novels? – After writing romances, I ventured into books for teens because my children are so obsessed with technology they gave me a great idea. I have a teen superhero series about a girl who is obsessed with her cell phone only to get zapped by a meteorite and wind up fused to it. She now has all the features of her cell phone from a GPS in her head to a phone in her hand. When she starts blocking 911 calls, she gets rerouted and sent to the rescue. In book two, she finds out she’s not alone. Digital Diva: Talk to the Hand and Digital Diva: Rise of the Phenoteens are currently available, with more on the way as well.
8) To what extent are you a plotter or pantser? – I used to be a complete pantser. I loved the idea of not knowing what was going to happen next and letting the story tell itself. Then I started writing action adventure teen stories and found I needed to plot at least somewhat. Finally, I ventured into mysteries with red herrings and clues and suspects. I found plotting to be a necessity. And yet, I still can’t seem to transition into a true plotter. Now I figure out a few key elements like the killer, the victim, the suspects and then plot as I go. I plot a few chapters and then write a few chapter sand then repeat until the book is done.
9) How did you meet your husband? We love a romance. – I have been married for almost twenty-three years. I met my husband in college when I was eighteen. We got engaged after 9 months and got married 1 ½ years later. It turns out his parents were high-school sweethearts who went to school with my mother until she met and married my dad who was in the air force. Both couples have been married over 50 years now. They both know “love” and how to make it last…I guess they taught us well J
10) Tell us about your hometown—we love to travel. – Well, I was born in Portugal on a US air force base. Then we moved around a lot until I was in middle school. Finally, we settled down in upstate New York and I found roots. There is just something so cozy about small towns. I grew up in Watertown, but my husband grew up ten minutes away in Sackets Harbor which is right on Lake Ontario. Quaint shops and restaurants sit on Main Street while families stroll down to the fabulous marina when they are finished. It’s towns like these that inspired me to write cozies.
11) Tell us your favorite regional saying? – Well, I can’t really think of one. I do know, however, that everyone around where I live says sneakers instead of tennis shoes. And we call soft drink a soda, while other areas say pop. Other than that, I’m drawing a blank…maybe I’ve moved around too much J
12) What’s next in your writing life? – Hmmm, well, let’s see. I’ve finished book three, Trouble in the Tarot, which comes out in March of 2013. And I am just beginning to plot book four, Peril in the Palm. I am almost finished writing Digital Diva: Let Freedom Ring, and Sleeping in the Middle by Kari Lee Harmon will be coming out next month. Not to mention I have a paranormal romance brewing in my brain. I have to say I love what I do, thank goodness.
Visit her website http://www.karileetownsend.com/