Interview with Karen C. Whalen

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Eyes on the Road by Karen C. Whalen. I am so glad to host Karen on the blog today. Many thanks to Lori from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for making this possible. 🙂

Hello Karen and welcome to my blog, The Book Decoder. Please tell me and my readers about yourself.

I am the author of two mystery series for The Wild Rose Press: the Dinner Club Mysteries featuring Jane Marsh, an empty nester who hosts a gourmet dinner club, and the Tow Truck Mysteries starring Delaney Morran, a super feminine shoe-a-holic who drives a tow truck. Both are cozy mysteries about strong friendships and family ties set in Colorado. The first book in the Dinner Club series tied for First Place in the Suspense Novel category of the 2017 IDA Contest sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. I worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver. I have been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. I love to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, walk on the beach, and read cozy murder mysteries.

Please tell us about Tow Truck Mysteries.

Three books have been released in the Tow Truck Murder Mystery series, Toes on the Dash, Hands on the Wheel, and the latest, Eyes on the Road. In the first book Delaney Morran receives an unexpected inheritance—the keys to a tow truck—from a dad she’s never known. Despite the fact she hadn’t changed a tire in all of her twenty-eight years, she decides to give the rough and dangerous business a chance, and when she forgets to pack boots in the truck and shows up in stilettos, she becomes known as the high-heeled tow truck driver.

Hauling cars for suspicious characters provides plenty of opportunities to discover dead bodies in her otherwise safe mountain town…

For example, in Toes on the Dash she hauls a vehicle with the body of her jerk-of-an ex-boyfriend hidden in the trunk. In Hands on the Wheel she comes across a gunshot victim in a stalled Subaru Impreza, and in the latest book, Eyes on the Road, a temporary worker from Estonia is found dead in her car at the bottom of a cliff.

In every situation she helps the handsome cowboy sheriff find the killers.

What books/authors have inspired you the most?

That answer changes depending on what I’m reading at the moment, but M. C. Beaton is one of my favorites. Beaton wrote under various pen names. Her most popular books are the humorous Agatha Raisin cozy mysteries. If you haven’t read an Agatha Raisin you are missing out.

What’s the inspiration behind Tow Truck Mysteries.

In my years working at a law firm that represented tow truck companies, I met several drivers. These car haulers are an under-appreciated, crazy breed, with interesting stories to tell. One crusty character operated his office from his truck parked in the middle of a junk yard. His lobby was a smelly carpet remnant that led up to the truck door. The visitor’s chair was the dirty and worn passenger seat. His filing cabinet was his sun visor. His professional demeanor was lacking. I’m sure all tow truck drivers are not alike, but this man was a character bigger than life, someone I will never forget.

That all of the tow truck drivers I met were men made me think…women in the industry would need to be tough to compete in this man’s world. But what if a woman, say she’s petite, hauled cars for a living? What if the woman was young and inexperienced? What if she wore high heels to set herself apart? Oooh, sounds fun, am I right? And that’s where the idea came from.

What kind of research do you do before writing your books?

Because I write about murder, I’ve attended countless forensic classes and a citizen’s police academy to learn about police procedure and evidence. I’ve made friends with police investigators and pose questions to them regularly. Every murder mystery writer needs to have these resources at their fingertips, but as for the towing business… what I knew about the nuts and bolts of the industry was very little. Like everybody else looking for information, I watched hours of YouTube videos. I also contacted tow truck manufacturers and spoke with local tow truck companies. I read every book on the tow truck business I could find. I joined towing groups on social media and that’s where the wealth of information exploded. There I met a couple of female tow truck drivers who were excited about Delaney’s story and provided essential information.

What’s next for Karen Whalen? Are you currently working on a writing project?

The fourth in the series, Friends Come to Call, will be released in the fall of this year. It is set during Spruce Ridge, Colorado’s Annual Christkindl Market when visitors from around the world come to celebrate the holiday.

What does an ideal day in your life look like?

Spending the day in my office writing, of course, or writing at a coffee shop or in my screened room that overlooks the woods. My husband and I relocated from the Colorado mountains to the beach in the southeast corner of North Carolina. After writing for 5-6 hours, I like to take a walk on the beach and then relax with a glass of wine in said screened room. But those “ideal” days can be hard to come by. Family, travel, marketing, writers’ meetings, classes, and housecleaning and cooking…you know…life itself is busy. One interruption I don’t mind is meeting readers at book events. Readers are the most important part of the creative process. I get my ideas from the people and places around me. Hearing from readers brings the ultimate satisfaction. Which reminds me—I’d love to hear from all you readers out there!


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