The love we give away is the only love we keep. Elbert Hubbard

Karen Vaughan Interview Published on: 07, Jan 2019

Could you offer us some insight into your early life? Where did you grow up and what were some of your aims and goals as a child? Have you achieved any or all of them?

I was born in northern Ontario but grew up in Mississauga. I had learning challenges so I guess my only goal was to get over those. I think I have excelled at that.

What was the first book you ever published? What year was this? Looking back, do you have any regrets or do you wish there was anything you could've done differently?

Dead On arrival was my first published book. I should not have used a vanity press and I should have edited it better.

What was your major in college? How do you think it has contributed to your career as a writer?

I have a diploma in Secretarial/Word Processing from a small business college. I think it has helped with my management of MS Word even though I learned on Word Perfect.

What was your main source of inspiration for Dead to Writes?

I was going with the what if aspect of professional jealousy. Being jealous enough to steal a manuscript as the villain does and then kill to protect your dirty little secret.

Tell us about your experience of hosting WRITERS ROUND TABLE. You are also a stand-up comedian. According to you, how difficult it is to make the audience laugh?

I have been hosting the show for 5 years this month. I love talking to other authors and I have a lot of fun with it. As a comedian I like finding new material but the older jokes are still good to get a laugh from.

If you happen to meet Laura and Gerry in real life, where would you take them for dinner and why? Would you love hanging out with the couple?

I would take them to Montanas as I think they would love a good roadhouse. I would enjoy hanging out with them as Laura and I are a lot alike in our sense of humor and Gerry is a cool guy.

Normally, how long does the research process for a book take? What kind of research did you have to do for "Holmes In America" concerning humor and mystery?

I don’t do a lot of research however I did research British slang and got a handle on how crime is investigated in the UK as opposed to North America.

When do you have the most fun writing? When does it feel the most draining?

I love writing villains! You can do a lot with a bad ass like Killer T. Ford in Daytona Dead. Francesca Bartosky-Lewis in Dead to writes. They were so evil. It is very draining to have a story not flow and you have to scrap it and start over.

If you could read only one of your books for the rest of your life, which book would you choose and why?

I would choose Jamaica Dead! It had elements of humor, suspense and a good old fashioned who dunit!

How do you usually select character names? Have you ever named a character after your family or friends?

I have named characters after friends and family just for fun. My most favorite one was when my friend Fran asked to be made a villain. She became Francesca. I also named a victim after a boss I didn’t like. Sometimes the characters just introduce themselves like Nigel or Laura.

What, to you, is key when trying to balance mystery, suspense, and humor as in your book "DEAD COMIC STANDING"?

I think you have to decide what’s most important to the story. Since it revolved around a comedy club there had to be a lot of humor. Also because of the fact that a serial killer is at play there needed to be suspense in not knowing who he would kill next and when. I also through some romance in there to balance things out.

Writing and finishing a book can take an immense amount of discipline. How do you keep yourself motivated and keep the dreaded writer's block from attacking?

Yes I have a problem in finishing books before I let the next adventure consume me. I find I need to write a little every day and stay focused.

Does a writer ever get holidays?

There are days we need a rest from a project and time with family but we always go back to our writing.

What are some common traps that new authors tend to fall into? Any advice on how to avoid these traps?

Writers can get caught up in rules. I say learn the rules and break them. Make your own rules. Everyone writes differently. It is subjective. Don’t try and pigeonhole yourself into a particular genre. Try different styles and genres and see what works for you and even if you pick several you will have a wider audience.

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