Her Rim Country Mysteries series currently has three novels published by Short On Time Books: DEADLY DECEIT (2016), about a woman whose husband was one of fourteen people killed in a movie theater shooting; DEADLY INHERITANCE (2017), about the same women who has remarried and gets locked in a Viking burial cave with a lit stick of dynamite while honeymooning in Scotland; and DEADLY CHOICES (2017), about the same woman finding the mother she hasn’t seen in twenty-five years only to discover she holds a devastating secret.
When she’s not working or writing, Karen enjoys spending time with her grown children, playing with her dog, and hiking with her husband.
Judy: Tell us a bit about your protagonist, Rita Avery.
Karen: Rita Avery is a middle-aged woman who has seen her share of heartache. In Karen Randau’s debut novel in the Rim Country Mysteries series, DEADLY DECEIT, Rita is a shallow person who is most concerned with how she looks and what her neighbors think of her. That changes when she’s celebrating her 30th anniversary with her Marine husband. As the lights go down in a movie theater, a gunman shoots Rita’s husband in the face. He’s one of fourteen people murdered that day. In DEADLY INHERITANCE, Rita has found love again and honeymoons in Scotland. By DEADLY CHOICES, Rita has decided to reconcile with the vegetarian hippie mother she hasn’t seen in twenty-five years. That visit forces Rita to face the tumultuous childhood she fled when she married at age eighteen. She has learned to defend herself, stand up for herself, and trust her instincts. She has transformed from shallow to a deep thinker who cares more about the positive impact she can have in the lives of others than she cares about designer clothes.
Judy: What or who inspired you to become a writer?
Karen: Writing has always been an important part of my life, debuting in elementary school when my teacher taught me to print Run Spot Run. I processed most of my major life events by writing about them. English was my favorite subject in school, and I have a degree in journalism. A coworker inspired me to write novels when I described disturbing thoughts I’d been having. I asked if she thought I’d lost my mind, and she said she thought I had a novel begging to get out of me. She was right. Novel writing has given me an outlet for creativity I’ve locked up inside myself my entire life.
Judy: Describe your writing process and/or a typical day in your life.
Karen: I’ve never been good at outlining, but I’ve learned to force myself to do it because it provides a roadmap that keeps me from wandering aimlessly all over the place when telling my story. I now write an outline for the whole book, and then use most of it up in Act 1.Then, I outline from turning point to turning point. I need silence when I write. I lock myself up in my home office and get lost in my work. Sometimes, an entire day will have passed before I realize it. On the rare occasions when I write to music, I want it to be something inspiring that sweeps me up into the melody and the lyrics – providing inspiration for a scene I’m writing.
Judy: What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?
Karen: Writing what you know about can include a lot more than you might think. Everything that has happened to you in your life provides fodder for character development and sensory details that bring a book alive. If you’re in a critique group, consider their input as nothing but opinion. If more than one person finds the same issue with your writing, then it’s time to take it seriously. Most important, most authors find that writing is a way to feed and nurture themselves. Don’t let that go. Write what you enjoy, and don’t take on so many projects as once that you’re too stressed to have fun.
Judy: What’s next?
Karen: I’m currently working on the fourth novel in the Rim Country Mysteries series, DEADLY PAYLOAD, with a tentative publication date of early 2018. In it, Rita teams up with a homeless veteran who the town’s people call Crazy Mary. Together, Rita and Mary unravel the mystery of why so many birds are dropping out of the skys, and then why many of the town’s residents have become critically ill, including Rita’s husband, Cliff.