Unlike other authors who knew they wanted to write practically from the moment they learned the alphabet, it took Karen a wee bit longer for that particular muse to strike.
Karen's mother plunked her in ballet class at three. Her comment after Karen's first recital was that her arms looked like "broken tree branches." Undeterred, Karen kept up with her dance lessons, determined she was going to be the next Margot Fonteyn.
Upon entering high school and joining the drama club, she discovered that her real ambition was to become an actress. A singing, dancing, triple-threat actress who was going to New York to take Broadway by storm. With this goal in mind, she auditioned for--and, surprisingly enough, was accepted at--North Carolina School of the Arts in its drama department.
Well... There's a big difference between flouncing around on stage in a high-school production of Our Town and the "real" world of acting, and after a year and a half, Karen decided she didn't really care for it all that much, to be honest. Instead, she wriggled her way into the design and production department, majoring in costume design.
At the end of her senior year, NCSA sent her to New York to apprentice at Brooks�Van Horne Costume Company, an unglamorous job if ever there was one. She found herself realizing that she really didn't want to stitch costumes for the rest of her life. But she loved New York and wanted to stay there. Of course that might have had something to do with her having met the man who would eventually become her husband!
Over the next few years, she worked at several different jobs, including the bridal department at Saks Fifth Avenue. She married, and thenthe babies started a-comin'. After two little boys in the first three years of marriage, Karen and her husband decided to move back to her hubby's hometown of Albuquerque, where they had two more little boys.
Karen started a mail-order craft business about the time she had the fourth kid, and she kept the craft business going for about 10 years or so. About this time, two things happened: her major advertising source announced it was quitting publication, and the family got its first computer.
She swears she really didn't intend to do anything more than just fool around with a story idea at first. After all, she knew how hard it was to get published, and she already had her hands full...but once she started, she couldn't stop. When she had two books done, she thought, Oh, what the heck? Send them in to Silhouette, see what happens. That was in March of 1996; Silhouette didn't buy one of those two books until the following February, for its Yours Truly line.
What's truly amazed Karen is how everything she's done up to this point is all just grist for the writing mill--in fact, that first book, Wedding Daze, centers around the doings in a bridal salon. Everything she's experienced comes into play as she writes, providing there really is no wasted experience. And she's been told the kids in her books act like real kids, too.
Karen will gleefully reply to anyone who emails her at email@example.com or writes to her in c/o Silhouette Books (please enclose a SASE for a reply).