Inside the Mind of Time-Travel Romance Author Chris Karlsen

Chris Karlsen is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. The daughter of a history professor and a mother who was a voracious reader, she grew up with a love of history and books.
Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. Her travels have taken her Europe, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States. She most frequently visited England and France, where several of her books are set.

After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.

She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.


What is so great about being an author?
Giving a character the story they deserve. For example, the hero in my latest book, In Time For You, was the antagonist in the previous book. He wasn’t a villain though and he had heroic qualities. I knew I wanted to give him a story of his own. So, this was his book, his opportunity to be a hero.

When do you hate it?
I struggle with love scenes. I worry about making them flow naturally and I want them to be sensual. It takes me forever to get through one. I have friends who can just write them with such ease. Not me. I fuss over the choreography and the language and the sights and sounds. I just dread them.

What is a regular writing day like for you?
I try to do all my regular chores in the morning, shopping or doctor appointments, that sort of thing. I sit down to write around midday. I write until 4, when I feed the dogs, then I write for an hour more and quit for the night. I try to write every day. I take breaks as I write. I get up and make tea or walk around to try and stay fresh. It’s a battle not to troll the internet, of courseJ.  

Do you think authors have big egos?
I’ve met some authors who are rather full of themselves but you find that in any industry. I don’t know that authors are any worse than others. If I were to paint authors with a particular brush, it would be that as a whole they are well read, articulate, and knowledgeable about their fields of interest. On a more personal level, I’d say most I’ve met were gracious and many had a great sense of humor.  

How do you handle negative reviews?
It’s hard not to let them ruin your day. It truly is hard not to, but I generally call a writer friend or two, whimper and have a good grumble about it. I kind of sulk all afternoon, have a glass of wine or two, and finally let it go. I have to just move on. What’s the point of holding onto the bad feelings? I can’t change the fact. Someone didn’t like the story. That’s bound to happen.

How do you handle positive reviews?
I’m all atwitter with those. I have two FB pages, one is strictly my author page and one is me as an author and with other bits and bobs. I post the good reviews on both. I have a publicist and ask her to post on my website and on my Amazon page as well. I need to start posting on Pinterest. I keep forgetting to do that. My publicist posts on Twitter. I’m not really good with some forms of social media, Twitter is one I’m not good with so she does that for me.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?
People are generally very interested. They ask a lot of questions about what I write and where I get my ideas for stories. They like to know all sorts of things like how covers are designed and even how I choose character names. People have a genuine curiosity about writing, which I am delighted to share.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
On the rare days I don’t write, I hang out. If the weather is good, I putz around the house or the yard. Sometimes, we go to the movies. I will go shopping with a friend or go to lunch with friends. I don’t usually force it unless I am really trying to finish a book by a certain time.

Any writing quirks?
I am not superstitious so I don’t think I have quirks, per se. I don’t have a lucky doll or idol that I rub. I usually do an outline, which I rarely, if ever follow.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?
Ignore them. I’m at an age where I no longer feel like I have to justify who I am to anybody or what I do. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement. I retired and proud of my time as a detective. Now I am doing something different that I always wanted to do. I don’t owe anybody an explanation.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?
No, not really. If I ever felt that it was getting me down, that I was stressed in the way I was the last years I was as a detective, I’d stop writing. I don’t need that aggravation anymore.  

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?
Absolutely not. My husband said it so well to me several years ago when I finished my first book. He said, it doesn’t matter whether you get published or not. The fact that you said you always wanted to write this story and that you sat down and did write it, that’s what matters. Everyone says they want to write a book but you did it. I’m so proud of you. My mom said the same thing. She told me that she only wished my dad were still alive to see that I did finish the book I dedicated to them because they always encouraged me to try.

What had writing taught you?
I have more discipline and dedication and butt endurance than I thought. 

Leave us with some words of wisdom.
Don’t lose heart by rejection. Steve Berry said his first story was rejected 80X. Stephen King said Carrie was rejected so much he threw it in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, saved it and wouldn’t let him throw it out. Harry Potter was rejected over 100X.

That said, when or if your story is accepted keep an open mind when working with an editor. The editor is generally not making suggestions to ruin your story but to make it flow better and to make it more marketable. 

About In Time For You, by Chris Karlsen

While horseback riding in the English countryside, sisters, Electra and Emily Crippen find themselves trapped in a tear in time. Thrown back to 1357 England and caught by a local noble, they are in a place that is home but as frightening and unfamiliar as an alien world would be. With no idea how the tear in time came about, the one thing they do know is: they must stay together and stay near to where the event took place in hopes of discovering the way back to their modern life. That certain need to stay together is the first certainty taken from them when one sister is forced to remain in England and one is sent miles away to Wales by royal order.

There is one other hope for help the sisters don’t know exists. It’s Electra’s lover, Roger Marchand. A time traveler himself, he never told her of his past. When he realizes what has happened to the sisters, he enlists the help of a scientist friend to help him open the suspected passageway through time. Any effort to save Electra and Emily will likely cost him his life. This was the time Roger came from, a time when his country, France, was at war with England. If he is discovered on English soil while searching for the sisters, he will either be killed or taken prisoner of war. Any risk is worth saving the life of the woman he loves.

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