An Interview with K. L. Docter

Thanks for inviting me to your blog today, Cynthia. I’m looking forward to chatting with you and your readers! I’m so glad to be here in fact, that two of the commenters today will each receive an ecopy of Killing Secrets.

killing_secrets(1)_2What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write two different kinds of romance novels…romantic suspense writing as K.L. Docter and contemporary romance as Karen Docter.
I started out writing sweet, traditional romances, and then spicier short contemporaries. I now write cute and spicy contemporaries with a kick of humor. I love writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don’t allow for a relationship just so I can throw them in each other’s path…with a tickle and a smile. I released Satin Pleasures and Catch That Santa (novella) in 2012. I have another dozen of these lighthearted, feel good stories vying for attention in my head but I’m now splitting my time with my second love, suspense.
Over the years, I couldn’t help but notice there was often a suspense element in my stories that I couldn’t explore properly in the shorter (50,000+ words) contemporary length. There’s definitely no room for suspense in the more lighthearted stories I write now. Since I didn’t want to leave those elements behind completely, I decided to write my first romantic suspense. Killing Secrets, released last month, is the first of six novels in the Thorne’s Thorns series and tops out at 110,000 words. The longer length gave me the room I needed to tell a more complicated story. As with the contemporaries, I have more stories germinating in my head, but that number is closer to thirty.
I think I need a clone or two, so I can write faster. (Hmmm, maybe I should write science fiction, too! )

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

At the risk of making everyone I meet run away the moment they see me, I’d have to say very likely. Like most authors, I’m an observer of life. I never know what sight or smell or taste or feeling will prompt a description or trait that I can use in one of my stories. I’d never completely base a character on a real person. However, a quirky personality trait that intrigues me or fits the character I’m building is fair game. It’s these little characteristics that make a person real and intriguing and believable. I want my characters to be just as real for my readers.

Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?

I have a lovely view of my garden and lower patio outside my office window. I’ve already begun my spring cleanup and planting, a mix of flowers and vegetables. My tomato plants are in planters next to the house. There’s a red maple at the edge of the patio and a cottonwood so it’s often shaded from the afternoon sun. A patio table and a lounge are available if it’s cool enough for me to sit outside and write.

I’ve converted a bedroom in my walk-out basement into my office. I’ve painted it in a bright yellow gold color (called Emperor’s Gold) that makes me feel like I’m writing in the sunshine, rain or shine, night or day. The room’s big enough to accommodate my desk and large table, an easy chair for my husband or guest, and my treadmill. There are three monitors on my desk and they’re usually displaying a dozen open tabs. My wonderful son-in-law put it all together with a docking station for my laptop so I can come and go as I want. There are times when I need to get outside and down to one monitor so I focus on writing. It’s too easy for me to get distracted by social media and other work.

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

I’m an eclectic reader, although I’m often too busy to read as much as I’d like. Of course, I’m a huge romance fan. My favorites are romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and paranormal. I also love historical and Regencies. Some non-romance favorites are Tom Clancy, Ayn Rand, Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, Robert Heinlein, Issacc Asimov, and numerous other greats of science fiction. I grew up on Perry Mason, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Ian Fleming. My library card growing up was my best friend.

Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not? How did you choose it?

I do have a pen name, although I also write under my own name. I wrote my contemporaries for years planning to use my real name, Karen Docter. When I began writing suspense, though, I decided I needed to write those under a pseudonym, K.L. Docter. The genres are both contemporary and I’m hoping readers will want to read all of my books, but I don’t want to confuse my readers either. If someone is looking for a book written by Karen Docter, they’re expecting a lighthearted romance, not danger and serial killers. The same applies to my suspense. I chose abbreviations for my pen name because I also want to make it easier for readers to find both of my genres under my last name, should they decide to do so.

What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

It’s funny. I’ve always written things from journals to poetry to stories. But I didn’t think about writing as a living until I got to college. When I was a young kid, I wanted to be a hairdresser. I remember going to the hairdresser every week with my mom and watching it all in fascination. I even had a “job” when I was eight or nine years old. The salon owner paid me a few dollars for sweeping up hair and getting sodas and coffee for her clients. When I was then, though, I decided I wanted to be a policeman after an incident in my neighborhood that made me very aware of the injustices in the world. When I hit high school, I decided to be a kindergarten teacher. I “fell” into writing in college. I had to have a writing class and everything was full except a journalism class. That one class changed my life forever.

satin_pleasures_final (1)_2All self-pubbed books are rumored to be shoddily edited. What do you say to that?

The operative word is “all.” I’ll admit there are a number of poorly edited self-published books sitting on the cyber shelves today. But, there are well-edited books as well. I know a number of self-published authors who do a wonderful job of presenting a professional product. If they don’t know how to do something, they hire a professional to do it for them. This is smart business.
I’m a self-published author and I work very hard to “finish” my books professionally. I have a journalism degree, edited a news magazine, and taught college level English composition, but I still have my material critiqued by at least half a dozen other people before I print my book. I hire someone to do my book covers, to format my books.
Self-publishing is still in its infancy, but it’s a growing market. It’s here to stay. Over time, authors who aren’t making every effort to present a professional product will have a hard time hanging on because readers are smart. They’ll gravitate to those writers who can give them what they want.

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

The most rewarding thing for me is knowing my stories are resonating with readers on some level, whether it’s because I made them sigh or laugh out loud reading my contemporaries or look over their shoulder or gasp if they hear something go bump in the night as they read my suspense. It’s gratifying when I receive a note from a reader who forgets where she is, the troubles of her day, while reading one of my stories.

Headshot_Dallas_2What’s next for you?

I’m currently writing book two in the Thorne’s Thorns series, Killing Proof. Patrick Thorne (Killing Secrets, Book 1) grew up with five foster brothers, and the second book is Ben Zancanelli’s story. It’s scheduled to release in October 2014.
Thanks again for having me, Cynthia!


Four weeks….
Two days….
Sixteen hours….
…‘Til death.

The first time he laid eyes on her, he stood on the threshold of a doorway he dare not cross. He fell into her fathomless dark gaze, unable, unwilling to shake his soul free and, in that one moment, he knew.
She was meant for him to love.
Untouched by the sordid life that flourished around her, she was sunlight in a gray existence. A smile in a dingy room. A joy such as he’d never known. She was a gift from a cold, unforgiving God. Forever innocent.
Why God would give him such a precious angel, he didn’t know. But he suddenly knew what he was willing to die for. What he’d kill for.
In that instant of clarity the monster that lurked in the dark recesses of his mind was freed. A creature designed to kill. To live and die. Over and over again. Until his angel ascended once more to her place in Heaven at God’s feet where he couldn’t reach her.
‘Til death parted them, she was his and his alone.
Certain she’d been lost to him, the shock of spotting her again in LoDo, a lower downtown section of Denver, nearly brought him to his knees. His brain tried to tell him he was mistaken. She had more curves than he remembered. Her hairstyle and clothes were different.
The others were different, too.
He shook his head against the monster’s treacherous whisper. He refused to listen. Couldn’t listen. His angel smiled at him. His soul recognized her. Somehow, some way, his fractious God had been appeased and given him yet another chance.
The past seven days were hell. Watching her. Wanting to take her. Knowing he couldn’t screw up and lose her again. Tonight, his preparations in place, she’d return to his side where she belonged.
Breathing slow and measured through the full-face ski mask he’d bought at a thrift store, he sucked in a lungful of musty stench. In this uncommon late-May heat wave, he was sweating bullets but the wool soaked it up before it could sting his eyes. The itching would drive him insane, though, if she didn’t come home from work soon.
The LoDo sports bar where she waited tables closed almost an hour ago. She couldn’t have gone on a date at two o’clock on a Thursday morning, could she?
Three times he’d entered her ground floor apartment after she’d left for work, and he’d seen no sign she was involved with anyone. No jockey shorts mixed with her panties in the hamper. No extra razor. The food in the refrigerator wasn’t enough to feed a cat, let alone her and a boyfriend, and the only scent on her pillows was floral. The sole message from a male on her answering machine had identified himself as a special research librarian from the Denver Public Library reminding her to pick up the copy of “The Warwick Genealogy” she’d requested.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t still involved with him, the almighty scion of Thorne Enterprises. She’s probably crawling into his bed like a whore right this minute, letting him do things to her, making her scream….
“No! Stop!” he whispered. “That was a mistake!”
Was it? The insidious question lashed him from the dark place in his pounding skull.
He rejected the smirking voice, the vivid images. Think of something else. Anything else. Forgetforgetfor—

15 thoughts on “An Interview with K. L. Docter

  1. Howdy Karen, It is clear that he “wants her” but the ski-mask is a none-too-subtle cue that he isn’t one of the “good guys.” I fear she’d better be “packing heat” or have a neighbor with good hearing to come to her rescue! As you may recall, my daughter teaches the Concealed Handgun Course down in Houston, where all the ladies need to know how to defend themselves.

    • Morning, Guy. Nope, he’s not one of the good guys. In fact, he’s the serial killer with some serious psychological issues. 🙂

      It would be great if all women were able to defend themselves. Good for your daughter teaching other women to do just that!

      Thanks for stopping by today.

    • Thanks for stopping in, Rose. It’s great to meet you. I hope you enjoy Patrick’s and Rachel’s story.

      Best of luck in the drawing. You might win one of the copies!

  2. First of all cute book cover. I love how you have a view of your garden…wish I did, because my garden is part of me and I’d love writing with a its view. Your yellow/gold office sounds wonderful…making me rethink my office. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi, Judy. I gather you’re talking about my Satin Pleasures cover. 🙂 It’s a cute and sassy story inside and matches the cover beautifully. I do love my cover artist. She created both covers for me.

      I’m a gardener myself. Had to give a lot of it up but I do keep a few things growing within view. I love looking at a view.

      I do love the rich color of my office. It reminds me of the gold you often see in Mexican restaurants. It’s not glaring like a lot of yellows but it does provide more “sun” in a basement room. It makes me happy and that makes me more inclined to write since my favorite place to write is outside. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Judy. Good luck in the drawing!

    • Hi, Mary. I don’t think of myself as interesting but thank you! 🙂

      So far Killing Secrets is getting great reviews. I’m happy the story’s resonating with readers. It was a lot of fun to write.

      I’m glad you like the cover!

    • It really is, bn100. I was worried about moving into the basement because I got really spoiled looking out my living room window where I used to have my office. I have a house with a whole bank of floor to ceiling windows on the main floor, and I could see 90 miles away to Pike’s Peak on clear days. I miss that view once in a while but my garden view is great, too.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. Good luck in the giveaway!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Melissa. Believe it or not, I’m the same way, so I understand. I hope you like Patrick’s and Rachel’s story.

      Best of luck in the giveaway! Happy Friday!

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