Friday, June 24, 2016

Books, Chocolate and Wine with Karen Docter

Welcome to Books, Chocolate and Wine. Today my guest author is Karen Docter. Just how much of Karen is in her characters. Read on and find out. As a treat, she’s given us an excerpt from Book 1 of her True Love in Uniform series, Cop on her Doorstep. Enjoy the post.
Romance authors are often asked, “Do you ever imagine yourself as the hero/heroine in your books?”
My answer? My characters tend to run around my head like a holodeck feature. I just join them periodically.
I would give up flavored coffee for a year – well, maybe I’d think about it – to have a holodeck in my office. Or my office on a holodeck. The first time I saw one on the starship Enterprise (Star Trek) the idea of having one of my own took hold. Sadly, I don’t have one. Whine. Pout.
Happily, I’ve learned to build whole scenes in my head and move my characters around until I’m happy with the “program” I’ve created. Once I have the story premise, the basic characters figured out, I set them free to move through the book their way.
Oh, I’m a part of the characters – or maybe it’s that the characters are a part of me at this point – but there can be no doubt these are “real” people, separate from me. They’re as real to me as any of the friends I hang out with…which can be unbelievably scary when a serial killer runs amok in my head while I’m washing the dishes.
The truth is, as a writer, I can’t help but leak a little bit of myself into my characters. As hard as I try to keep myself at a distance, despite my need to ensure each character is a person in his or her own right, I do influence them by the some of the choices I make. My experiences color those choices. Just a smidge in my contemporary romances. More than a smidge when I work on my suspense novels.  I do have a strong sense of justice!
I’ve never imagined myself as the heroine in my books. In fact, for the longest time, I had a devil of a time writing female characters. I just couldn’t relate to them. One of my critique partners, back in my “Jurassic” writing period, once asked me why I always made my heroines such witches-with-a-B. My snappy retort was that I wanted the hero. The heroine couldn’t have him. J
Yeah, I had a lot to learn about writing. That same critique partner also informed the newbie me there might be legal problems with the will I’d designed my story around.  I argued it was fiction. She argued fiction didn’t mean made up. Imagine that! That book didn’t survive. Our friendship did. And I learned a lot about characterization. I learned to step out of the way so my characters could live.
Yeah, I still love my heroes. My heroines have become close friends I care about, girlfriends I want to see achieve their goals and find love on the way. I don’t know where my villains come from, which makes them even scarier because I often don’t know what horrible thing they’re going to do until it appears on the computer screen. But this is the way characterization is meant to be…for me, at least.
I may have begun my writing journey all those years ago developing two-dimensional characters – okay, one dimensional with my heroines J – but these people are larger-than-life in my stories now. I have so many people running around my head now that I had to break away from writing only my contemporary romance True Love In Uniform series as Karen Docter and breathe life into my romantic suspense, Thorne’s Thorns series, writing as K.L. Docter. I have more than fifty stories in my TBW (To Be Written) folder.
With two genres to play with, I won’t run out of stories soon. The trick, for me, is finding a way to keep all of the people in my head silent long enough to write one story at a time. Of course, if someone would hurry up and design a holodeck for me, I’m sure my characters would enjoy a world to play in while they wait their turn.
Loving the man behind the uniform…
In the six years since her husband was killed by S.W.A.T., Carrie Padilla has spent long hours at work, rebuilding a life for herself and her son. The little time she has at home is spent keeping her eight-year-old son out of trouble, but he is all too eager to try to be the man in the house. When a handsome cop shows up on her doorstep, her errant son in tow, Carrie's heart stutters. The sexy Italian cop sets off all kinds of bells in her system, and she knows there's only one thing she can do to save what is left of her family, her husband’s memory, and her heart...avoid her new neighbor at all costs.
S.W.A.T. officer Jake Stefani already lost one little boy to gang violence, the dead boy’s older brother is missing, and Jake's not about to let the same thing happen to a neighbor's son. He drags the youngster home only to discover much more than a passing interest in the boy's beautiful, but wary, mother. Forced to take a leave of absence after a bust goes awry, Jake can think of nothing better to occupy his time than to keep Carrie and her son safe, and locate the missing teen who holds the key to taking the gang off the streets, once and for all. 
But Jake doesn’t count on his stubborn, intriguing neighbor distracting him from his job, or the passion that flares between them. He doesn’t expect her amazing son to steal a piece of his heart. Jake is ready to risk everything for Carrie, body and soul. But it’s not all up to him. If their new love is to survive, Carrie will need to be strong enough to see the man's beating heart behind the badge, to look beyond the pain of her past, and decide that loving again is worth the risk. 
Buy Links for Cop on Her Doorstep Amazon, B&NKOBOSmashwords
Excerpt from Cop on Her Doorstep
Carrie Padilla wished she could crawl back into bed. Maybe, under it. Any day that included a cop on her doorstep didn’t promise to be a good one. A policeman appearing at the crack of dawn spelled disaster. There must be some mistake.
The hope prompted her to peek through the peephole a second time to examine the identification she’d demanded. Her heart racing, she sucked in one short, shaky breath of air. Then another, longer one. Her head spun with the effort, so she had to settle her forehead against the door.
She couldn’t chance a one-on-one confrontation with a uniform again. Not this close. She may have beaten the impulse to fall apart every time a siren sounded in the distance or a police car appeared in her rearview mirror, but did she dare test herself with closer contact?
“If you’d like to call the station, Sergeant Grenich will vouch for me.” The voice was deep, authoritative, impossible to ignore.
Opening the door wouldn’t be her first choice. Then, neither would it be second or third. But Officer Jake Stefani wanted to speak with her and she didn’t have an excuse for turning him away. At least, no valid excuse.
Her fingers fumbled with the safety chain as she glanced down at her sweaty exercise gear. Sports bra, covered by the sleeveless Colorado Rockies T-shirt her husband bought her before he died. Her old running shorts, a tad less loose thanks to her recent make-up-for-the-loneliness, chocolate-peanut butter ice cream splurges. Running shoes with low-cut athletic socks.
She wore less to the local swimming pool, so why did she suddenly feel so naked? She was afraid it was due to more emotional reasons than physical ones. The problem was she didn’t have the nerve to ask the man outside to wait until she was better able to cope. He wasn’t likely to wait forever.
Unable to avoid the inevitable any longer, she threw open the door while one trembling hand tucked tendrils of damp, auburn hair back into her ponytail. Disconcerted to find herself nose to chest with the policeman, she stepped backward, her desire to bolt suddenly stronger. At only a few inches over five feet, she’d experienced her share of “tiny attacks” in the past, but never with this kind of intensity.
Amazingly enough, the uniform didn’t cause the problem. The man behind it did. Although he couldn’t quite lay claim to six feet, his crisp, dark blue shirt clung to a broad chest, his trousers molded to muscular legs. He didn't have the brawny physique of a body builder though, more the sleek, leashed power of a man trained in martial arts. Good heavens, but his biceps looked strong. Rock hard.
Something distinctly feminine within her quickened. Were arms like those capable of tenderness? A woman would feel safe there, secure, if she wasn’t crushed to death first.
Chasing the unruly notion away, she gazed elsewhere. The dark shading of the man’s square jaw suggested a beard needing two close shaves a day. His full lower lip was sensuous and bound to cause heartache, if a woman weren’t tripped up first by the mischievous bump of a slightly crooked nose. She blinked when she reached the kindest, warmest brown eyes she’d ever seen. They were the same rich shade as Swiss chocolate. Soft. Mouthwateringly tempting.
Wow. Too bad she was on a no-man diet.
About Karen Docter:
Amazon Bestselling Author Karen Docter writes contemporary romance. When she feels the need to feed the dark side, she writes intense suspense thrillers as K.L. Docter. She's an award-winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division. When she's not saving her characters from death and destruction or helping them to fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening & cooking. If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better!
Karen’s Contact Information
Social Media Links:
Twitter: @KarenDocter


  1. Love the excerpt, Karen! I look forward to reading another of your amazing books!

    1. Thanks, Lana! I hope you enjoy all of the books in the series! You'll be happy to know I'm working on the next books in both the True Love In Uniform and Thorne's Thorns series. With luck, I'll have one or both out in September. :)

  2. I love your excerpt "...he couldn't quite lay claim to six feet..." that's priceless! Best of luck to you. This sounds like a tremendously good book!

    1. Hi, Ashley. Not all of the great heroes are over six foot but they're just as appealing and heroic, right? :) I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. Happy Reading!

  3. Terrific excerpt, Karen. Loved getting to know you better. Best of luck with the book.

    1. Thanks, Barbara. Jake is certainly a hottie and he kisses Carrie's socks off. :) Happy Reading!

  4. Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Ruth. It's been fun sharing this first kiss with your readers. :)