Saturday, August 24, 2013

Travel Enthusiast and Author Karen Robbins: Interview

Carole here. Karen's blog is one of my favorites, I suppose because I love traveling so much! J They have traveled most of the continents already, and on their agenda is a trip to New Zealand. Here’s a fun tidbit she’s sharing with us:
Our next big trip is coming up soon. We are spending five weeks touring as much of New Zealand, top to bottom, as we can. My only concern? Five weeks of hubby driving on the wrong side of the road and then having to change again when he comes back. He does have trouble remembering which lever is the turn signal and which starts the wipers. Everything is reversed on the cars over there.

Fun! And good luck with the driving adventures once you return. Now, on to your writing journey. Tell us about your first efforts as a writer.
Back in the mid 1980s my kids challenged me to learn to learn the computer we had. Those of you using computers for a long time remember the Tandy. Come on, admit it! Well, the only thing that was within my grasp of knowledge was the word processing program and I began working on a journal of the adoption of our two youngest children. I got a bit wordy and ended up with a book that was lost when the Tandy left. No one told me or showed me how to back it up! But it was enough to whet my appetite and I took several courses through Writers Digest and began attending writers conferences to learn more. My first published article was for a Sunday School take home paper and netted me ten dollars. Of course I think I spent more than that sending it out (snail mail then) to editors for their review.

What’s your favorite writing genre?
I’m a bit eclectic when it comes to genre. I think it reflects my reading preferences. I like variety. While I know that’s not exactly the protocol for authors, I have not really stuck to one genre. My cozy Casey Stengel Mystery series is probably the most I’ve written in one genre. A cozy mystery is a lighter mystery/detective/sleuth story—think Agatha Christie. In A Pickle and Divide The Child are more general fiction books.

How much time do you spend in writing a novel? Do you have a set period each day to write?
I would love to say that I have a set time during the day to write but the truth is that since we travel so much, I have to catch time wherever I can. Sometimes it’s in an airport or the library of a ship or at the desk in the hotel room. If I know we will be home for an extended period of time, I will try to set aside more time to write. My only goal for word count is to make sure I write something. Whether it’s 250 words or 2500 words, it still takes me further to the end. A novel takes me any where from five months to well. . .I’m still working on one I started ten years ago.

Can you give us a word picture of your writing desk at home?
Yikes! Right now I am looking at a slew of papers scattered about with various notes on them. They are usually something I’ve thought of that I need to go back and check in my manuscript or do more research on or another bright idea that I may or may not follow up on. A box of tissues, several pens, some pamphlets from places we’ve been I still need to blog about, and one yellow book titled Paint Shop Pro For Dummies. Guess that says it all.

Lol. Sounds like mine. Where do you get ideas? Do you ever set yourself as a model for any of your books/characters?

There is never a lack of ideas. Only a lack of time to write them all. I usually see something or hear something and that takes me off on an imaginary what-if trip. I think my most recent characters, Annie Pickels and Casey Stengel, are probably similar to me in that I like to look at problems with a bit of humor. And in Casey’s case, I’m a big lover of baseball.

What is the theme of your recent release? Do you include a spiritual message?

In Death Among The Deckchairs, while Casey is busy solving a crime during her cruise vacation, she is also confronted by some very personal issues. The underlying spiritual message is that you need to include God in all your decisions and look to him for answers to your questions whether they be of a personal nature or just trying to solve a mystery.

Tell us about your new book.
Death Among The Deckchairs is the second in the Casey Stengel Mystery series. The first book was Murder Among The Orchids. Here’s the teaser:

A cruise. A bikini clad body. What next? All Casey wanted was a relaxing cruise where she could visit with her daughter, the cruise director, but suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a murder at sea. Who would have guessed the beautiful young woman dead in the deckchair next to her had an enemy who would use her love of the sun to end her life? When Max joins Casey, what she thought would be a romantic ending to her cruise becomes an intense search for evidence. Somewhere among all the dermatologists holding a conference on board ship is a killer. Is it the victim’s doctor husband? Or one of his co-workers? And how does the shark expert fit into the puzzle? 
Positively love mysteries, and this one sounds like a winner. Where can readers can buy it?
Available at:


Amazon Kindle:

Barnes & Noble Nook:

Smashwords for all e-formats:
(Use coupon code MX52W for 50% off)

Would you care to share any other promotional information?
My blog is mainly a travel journal and you can find lots of interesting information on travel and places to go.
Writer’s Wanderings:

Facebook page:



Also, I just revised my very first novel, Divide The Child, updating it and reissuing it (a lot of things have changed since 1990). It’s available on Amazon. You can get most of my books as well in any e-format at

Author Bio:
As a full time mom, a teacher, a businesswoman, a paralegal student, a travel addict, and diver, Karen Robbins has had a wealth of experiences that contribute to her story ideas and speaking topics. In 1987, she sold her first written piece for publication in Standard, a Sunday School take-home paper. Since then she has published numerous articles and essays in a variety of publications including several regional and national magazines and written columns for a local newspaper and an online women’s magazine. Karen has been a contributing author to many compilation books including the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. She coauthored A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts and A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts. Earlier novels include Divide The Child, In A Pickle, and Murder Among The Orchids, (book one of the Casey Stengel mystery series).


  1. Karen sounds like a fun person to know and Death Among the Deckchairs sounds like it would be a good read. I will have to look this one up!

  2. Thanks, Melanie! And thanks to Carole for the interview. Always fun to connect!

  3. Great interview! Thanks for sharing the teaser; I can't wait to read more!!

    1. Here's a coupon code for a free copy of the first in the series, Murder Among The Orchids. You need to use it only at however:


  4. Carole, thanks for helping us to get to know such an interesting lady. Karen, you make traveling sound like great fun. I'm all for road trips. If the Lord's willing, maybe one day I'll include overseas travel too. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

    1. Crystal, that's one of the reasons for my blog; to encourage people to stretch and see that overseas travel isn't so intimidating and if you look for the good deals, not so expensive as one might think.

  5. Karen's a wonderful, friendly, and knowledgeable person! You'll love her books and her blog is a lot of fun.

    1. Caroline, what can I say. You are a #1 encourager!

  6. Driving on the left side of the road. Acck! Not for me. Need a more similar environment, or a local.

  7. At least, Martha, in New Zealand we won't have to watch out for kangaroo crossing the street ;-)