Good morning, Chris, it is good to have you with us this morning. The audience would love to learn more about Chris Karlsen. We have a comfy chair for you to relax in, as well as some delicious desserts, with some hot tea or coffee for you to enjoy. Even some fuzzy pink slippers to relax your feet.
I must say your story, Journey Into Time, has garnered some fantastic reviews. Why not tell a bit about the story that surrounds, Shakira Constantine, and her handsome client, Alex Lancaster?
Shakira is a successful London attorney who accidentally winds up representing Alex against a serious allegation. There’s a powerful attraction between them, which Alex wants to pursue, but Shakira doesn’t date clients. He finally convinces her to go riding with him in the country (he breeds Percheron horses).
They are caught in a freak lightning storm that briefly opens a time portal, a rip in time and space you might say. They are transported to the 14th century, where it turns out Alex has an unusual connection to the period and people. Because of that connection, he is mistaken for a baron who died in battle. He and Shakira realize all too well that history cannot be changed and history doesn’t care which man it takes. If they can’t find a way to return to the modern world, he will sail with the English army to France and die in battle and Shakira will be left alone in a very dangerous medieval world.
Theirs is a story of how, in spite of the turbulence around them and the problems they encounter, love finds a way to override the worst of situations.
Did it take you long to write the story?
The first draft didn’t take terribly long, about six months. The subsequent drafts took another year. “Journey in Time,” is the sequel to “Heroes Live Forever,” which took around a year, including the rewrites. With Journey, I had the basic story and a good concept of Alex since I knew him so well from Heroes. After the first draft, I spent a great deal of time rewriting Shakira.
I go very deep into my characters when I write scenes for them. As I acted Shakira’s role out in my head when I threwher into different situations, some good, many bad, I went back and forth trying to get her emotionally exactly where I wanted her. On the whole, it takes me nine months to a year to get a story to a point I’m happy with.
Would you say you pen some of your books from the situations that you have worked with, along with the knowledge that you have learned within your travels and employment?
With “Journey in Time,” I definitely drew from my experience as a police officer and later detective. There’s a scene where Shakira is in a trial situation before the king, where might rule in her favor or against her. Having spent a fair amount of time testifying in criminal cases, I was able to use that experience. I was able to give Shakira the questions she needed to ask and the evidence she needed to present.
In every book I’ve written, I draw from my travels. I like to use places I’ve visited and loved as my settings. I also am a history buff and like to incorporate some of what I learn about historical events and people in those places into my stories.
Can you describe your workstation for us?
I have a curved, feminine looking, antique style desk. I try to keep it fairly uncluttered. My printer is on the side and I always have a yellow pad or research articles on my other side to consult or jot down ideas or notes. Above my desk is a fairly big bookshelf. On the bottom, I have pigeon holes for my various materials, ink, pens, envelopes, some knick-knacks. Above the pigeon holes, I have shelves jammed with research books and binders. Not an inch to spare on those shelves.
What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I am not a morning person so I sit down to write around noon or soon after. I write all afternoon with very short breaks. I write for approximately four to five hours. I try to write seven days a week but sometimes it’s only six depending on my schedule.
Do you work on a time limit when composing, or just go with the flow?
I don’t limit the time to four or five hours deliberately. That’s just my usual norm. If the words are flowing, I keep going. I’m like a gambler on a hot streak.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
I think a lot of my personality is in my main characters. As I mentioned, I like to go deep inside their heads and emotions. In the different scenarios, I ask myself what would I do that helps, that hurts, that is the worst possible and best possible choice and then apply the action to the character.
As to life experience, between twenty-five years in law enforcement and being able to travel extensively, I have had the opportunity to meet such a wide variety of people and often in dramatic situations that I can’t help but use some of those experiences in my books.
What do you find most fascinating about writing? Most absorbing about reading a book?
The ability to tap into moments of unlimited imagination is the most fascinating to me. The push and pull between the characters. I love when I am able to write a scene that tears at my heart the way it tears at the characters. Along that same line, I love a scene that makes the character laugh or cringe in embarrassment. Bringing the characters to life is my biggest fascination.
The same applies to reading a book for me. When I can picture the character, almost hear them speak and “get” what they’re about, that makes an absorbing read for me.
When you choose a book, what grabs you first, the cover, the synopsis or the author?
The synopsis. I have discovered many authors I hadn’t read before by searching what my favorite authors are about to release or have in their backlist. I’ll see similar books listed and read those storylines and give them a try. I will say that there are several authors whose books I immediately buy as soon as they’re published. I don’t if that counts as a “grab” me first issue.
If you could have a superpower, for 24 hours, what would it be and would you use it for good or evil?
I’d like to have the power of persuasion. I’d like the ability to confront someone and silently convince them to do what I want. Of course, I’d also need the superpower ability to get an audience with some people whose ways I’d like to change. To me, I’d be using my power for good. Eventually, I’d probably wind up abusing my power. I can’t truly say being evil is off the table!
When you were growing up at the age of 7? 15? 20? Even Now? What had you considered to be or do?
At 7, I wanted to be a paleontologist. I loved dinosaurs. I had books on them and plastic figures. For my grammar school science project, I did a model of their world. At 15, I wanted to be a journalist for fashion magazines, like Vogue or Elle. At 20, I couldn’t decide on whether I wanted to teach history at a small college or be an archaeologist. Now, I am happy being a writer. I am happy to be a story teller.
Chris, you have led a very interesting life, and traveled too many exciting places. If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to play you? Would you consider your TV movie to be more of a comedy or a tragedy?
It’s definitely a comedy and I’d like Stana Katic to play me. She already plays a cop on Castle so playing me in my law enforcement years isn’t much of a stretch. I think she’s a good actress and it doesn’t hurt that she is one of the prettiest women on television.
Okay, I’m sending you on a date with the hero character from ANY romantic entertainment – book, movie, TV show. Who would you want to go on the date with and what would you do?
Wow—tough question, there are a few great choices and I am torn but I’m going with Denys, the Robert Redford character in “Out of Africa.” We’d fly to Paris in his plane and dine on the private balcony of a wonderful 19th Century pied-a-terre with a view of the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night.
If we were invited to your house for the day, what preparations would you make for our visit, and what delights can we expect from the wonderful Chris?
I’ll pour us champagne first. Who doesn’t love champagne? I will put out a tray of appetizers, like goat cheese bites with a dollop of fig jam on top, dates rolled in bacon and popped under the broiler to crisp, and a variety of hummus with pita. (I am fond of Greek and Turkish dishes) Then, I bring out a tray of French pastries, flaky ones filled with creams and nuts and fruits. And, we’d have more champagne.
Thank you so much for sharing time with us, Chris. It has been a delight. Anyone interested in reading more about Chris and her exciting books, please visit her website to read more.
Thank you, Cherokee. I’ve enjoyed our visit. Thank you to Coffee Time Romance for this opportunity.