My sleuth, Caprice De Luca, is a professional decorator and home stager. The unique aspect of her business is the unique themes she devises for each home she stages. Her sister, Nikki, a caterer, helps her pull off open houses that draw clients from D.C., Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia to Kismet, Pennsylvania. In DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, Caprice’s client is Alanna Goodwin who is Ace Richland’s soon to be fiancee. She is a widow, a Southern beauty who wants to sell her mansion that resembles an old South plantation estate.
Doing research for staging Alanna’s house was so much fun. The antebellum period is from after the birth of the American Revolution to the start of the Civil War. The architecture usually described as antebellum is grandly symmetrical and somewhat boxy with substantial pillars or columns and balconies. Heavy draperies with fancy tiebacks were prevalent. Those tiebacks are integral to the murder!
I hope you enjoy reading DRAPE EXPECTATIONS as much as I enjoyed solving the murder-mystery puzzle with Caprice.
I always liked to write. In high school I worked for the school newspaper and wrote poetry. As an English major in college, I took creative writing and other literature courses. I started a novel and wrote poetry then too. But I seriously began writing when back pain interrupted my life style. Especially after surgery, flat on my back for 4 years, i needed a creative and emotional outlet.
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I have sold 87 books and indie published 5 original novels as well as backlist titles. I have three favorites–The Bracelet which was the book of my heart about a couple who fell in love in the 60s. The hero is a Vietnam vet. My other favorite is Her Sister, a women’s fiction book about 3 generations of women I was heavily emotionally invested in. My Caprice De Luca series contains descriptions of childhood homes and haunts. My sleuth is my alter ego. She takes in strays and finds them homes. We have four rescued cats.
Tell us about your current series.
My current series–Caprice De Luca home staging series–is a cozy mystery series. Caprice has a large Italian family and my novels have their relationships with Caprice woven in. She loves to cook (as I do) so I include recipes. She stages homes to sell for high end clients, employing unique themes. In book 1 I introduced two love interests and in book 4. Caprice makes a choice. I love writing these mysteries, solving the murder mystery puzzle with my sleuth as well as helping her find homes for strays she takes in. In book 4 DRAPE EXPECTATIONS, she has a cat, a cocker spaniel and adopts a Persian.
How has your experience with self-publishing been?
My experience with self-publishing has been exciting, frustrating and more work than I ever imagined, especially in the social media area. Promotion now takes up at least 60 percent of my work time–Facebook, Twitter, blogs, street team, etc. but whether working with indie or traditional publishing, a writer can’t simply write anymore. The market is glutted and it’s difficult to make a place.
What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your books? Did you decide on e-book or print-only, or both?
When I got my rights back on a dozen books, I decided to self-publish them. I formed a connected series with 3 of them with continuing characters (SEARCH FOR LOVE series) and then added 4 never before published novels to it. I also put the others together with a FINDING MR. RIGHT flash. The next step was developing them into audiobooks. That project took over a year (I used ACX) and have finished audiobooks on the market with all but 1. I also put the SEARCH FOR LOVE series into print.
Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
The view in my writing space usually includes cats! I can look out on our gardens and I often write on our patio. I use a tape recorder to write so I can move to where ever I have quiet. Sometimes my typist hears birdsong in the background!
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter. When I first began writing, I did it to escape back pain. I learned back then that if I plotted all my chapters, no matter how I was feeling, I could pick up and start writing again. Since I use a tape recorder now that’s even more true. I send off each chapter to a typist and I don’t have the luxury of going back until I have the hard copy. I keep the synopsis on my Ipad and if I make plot changes I jot them down so I always know exactly what I’ve done.
Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?
My muse expected I’d write romance and possibly woman’s fiction forever! I read romances since my teenage years and I had no doubts about what I wanted to write when I began. But after twenty years and blips in the road, I wrote a romance/mystery to indie publish (ALWAYS DEVOTED.) around that time my agent said an editor at Kensington had expressed an interest in me writing a cozy. I gave it a try and loved it.
How far do you plan ahead?
I try to plan ahead for two years. That’s necessary financially. As of now I have a 6th Caprice mystery to write and a contract for 3 Daisy Swanson Tea Garden mysteries. If I can, I’ll fit in an indie book to add to my SEARCH FOR LOVE series.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to combat it?
If I have “writer’s block,” it’s more like a pause because I don’t know how to handle the next scene. It doesn’t last more than a day because I make myself write. On the other hand, I know when I need a break. I had a soulmate cat I rescued as a baby who was with my constant companion day and night for 14 years. When she passed on unexpectedly, I felt frozen creatively for about a month. I knew I had to grieve. I worked on promotion, blogs, that sort of thing. But not raw writing. That had never happened to me before. I’ve been through surgeries and deaths of loved ones in the past 25 years and still wrote. Then I used writing to deal with the grief, loss or pain. You have to know your heart and soul and whether you should push for the sake of a book or your career.
Do you have any upcoming free promotions you would like to tell us about?
One of my SEARCH FOR LOVE books is free–HEARTFIRE.
Where can readers find you?
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, newsletter and Instagram!
USA Today best-selling author Karen Rose Smith will see her 87th novel published in 2015. An only child, Karen delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that’s why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances.
Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flower and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn’t all about work, awards and Bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.
Karen Romance Website: www.karenrosesmith.com
Karen’s Mystery Website: www.karenrosesmithmysteries.com
Facebook for KarenRoseSmithBooks
Karen’s blog, Cats, Roses…and Books! karenrosesmith.blogspot.com
DRAPE EXPECTATIONS on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drape-expectations-karen-rose-smith/1120137992?ean=9781617737701
EXCERPT FROM DRAPE EXPECTATIONS:
Caprice and Roz were digging more deeply into their Thai food when Caprice’s cell phone played.
“I’d better check this,” she said to Roz. “Juan is at the house we’re going to be staging and he might have run into a problem.”
But when she glanced at the screen, she saw Ace’s face. Uh oh, just what was she going to say to him? She swiped the screen and put the phone to her ear. “Hi, Ace. What’s up?”
“Caprice…” Ace’s voice sounded strained and very strange. “I’m at Alanna’s house,” he continued as if there was something wrong with that.
She was sure he’d been at Alanna’s house a lot lately. “Does Alanna need something?”
“No, she—” There was silence…absolute silence.
“Ace? What’s going on?”
“Alanna’s here, Caprice, but the thing is—she’s not breathing. Her eyes are wide open. She has no pulse. I think she was strangled!”