I’m happy to introduce you to new-to-me author, Karen Landau, this week. Karen writes Christian Romantic Suspense and is offering an audiobook of her novel, Into the Fog, Book 1 in the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series, as a giveaway. (US winner only)
For your chance to win, be sure to comment below by August 22!
Welcome to my blog, Karen! I’m so glad to meet you. Please introduce yourself.
I’m a native of the southwest U.S. and have lived in Colorado, California, Arizona, and Texas – with a one-year stint in Florida and another in Oklahoma. My daughter, now living in Texas, has given me four wonderful grandchildren. My son and his young son live with us in the majestic mountains of Arizona.
As a life-long writer, I decided a degree in journalism would be a good idea. It took one semester on the school newspaper to realize that wasn’t the career I wanted. I found my calling at an international Christian relief and development organization that helps impoverished people in developing nations pull themselves from poverty.
Sounds like a worthy organization. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was very young, I wanted to be a nurse. That ended when I had my tonsils out when I was in the fourth grade. I didn’t enjoy watching those nurses deal with blood! It wasn’t until I attended the University of Texas that a counselor asked me about the things I liked to do. It took a lot of digging for me to finally say I’d processed all of my major life events in prose. She suggested a career in journalism, which, once I knew I didn’t want to be a reporter, turned into a career in marketing communications.
I’m glad you found your sweet spot. What genre do you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre?
I currently write Christian Romantic Suspense, inspired by Lynette Eason. I didn’t realize Christian fiction included thrillers until I read her book, Collateral Damage. Prior to that, I had been writing mysteries and thrillers from a Christian worldview, believing there wasn’t a Christian market for my high-intensity writing.
I had a hard time writing anything during the pandemic, but once I got past that, I wanted to write something more inspirational than my past novels. I started reading more of Lynette Eason’s work, but also incorporated Colleen Coble, Christi Barritt, and Robin Patchen.
My Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series is my first overtly Christian series, with two books currently in it: Into the Fog and From Chaos. Each is a standalone about couples who need redemption and a second chance at love.
You picked some amazing authors to inspire you! How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?
With the Peach Blossom series, I’ve incorporated Christ by showing my characters reacting to a message at church, praying, and by coming to realize that God loves them no matter what.
What is the setting of your current novel? Is it a real location or fictional? Tell us about it.
Each of the Peach Blossom novels are set in the fictional farming community of Peach Blossom, Oklahoma. Having lived in Oklahoma for a year, I visited the Cherokee Nation Museum in Tahlequah. The sidewalk around the museum has the written history of the Cherokee Nation.
My sister and I read every word before going to an area where they had statues. One of the statues was of a former chief who had the same last name as several of our relatives. I knew then that I had to write a series set in the area. So I don’t get anything wrong about the settings of my books, I usually have a fictional town. Peach Blossom is near Tahlequah. The characters take trips away from their town.
I bet it was interesting touring the museum and finding that statue with your family members’ last name on it! Speaking of names, how did you select the names for your characters?
When I’m selecting names, I first decide how old I want the character to be and what part of the world/country I want them to be from. Then I ask Google for the most popular baby names from the year my character would have been born.
I also try to make sure I don’t have more than one character whose name starts with the same letter. If I need a name that starts with K, I find an appropriate name on the list Google gives me. If my character is from another country, I ask for the most popular names in that country for the date they would have been born.
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Aspiring authors need to thoroughly understand their craft. Attend writing workshops and conferences. Find a good critique group of like-minded people. Read many different authors in your genre to get a good understanding of what is expected for that genre. Follow the accepted plotting structure for your genre. Follow editor and agent guidelines for submitting to them (they post them on their websites).
Most importantly, write daily, and don’t give up. It can be disappointing to be rejected, but remember that the authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul received 134 rejections before getting published. It’s just part of the publishing process.
Great encouragement! What is the premise of From Chaos, Book two in your series?
In From Chaos, Kelsey White is in hiding from an abusive husband. She doesn’t tell anyone where she’s from, she carries a gun with her wherever she goes, and she lives behind a security fence of her friend and employer who owns Peach Blossom Orchard.
Gregorio Moreno is a native of Peach Blossom. He shields his heart from the hurt of his wife leaving him with no explanation with an adrenaline-filled lifestyle and shallow relationships. The second he meets Kelsey, he knows she’s different from all the other women in his life. He tries to convince her to date him, but she’ll only see him in groups of friends.
When he finally lands a solo date with Kelsey, wouldn’t you know it, they witness a murder. The killers see them, and Greg and Kelsey are now on the run. To survive, they lean on their faith and each other – and the skills Greg learned in Boy Scouts.
In the process, they deal with their fears, flaws, and the lies they tell themselves to finally accept God’s redemption and each other’s love.
An intriguing premise! What do you hope your readers take away from your novel?
No matter your background or past mistakes, you are worthy of love, and God will heal you so you can love and be loved.
Amen! Thank you so much for sharing about your life and writing, Karen. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. May God continue to bless you as you write stories for His glory.
Don’t miss your chance to win an audiobook of Karen Randau’s #ChristianRomanticSuspense novel! Comment on her interview by 8/22 to enter the #giveaway. (US winner only)Tweet
Join the conversation. Do you enjoy Romantic Suspense? Does the premise of From Chaos sound interesting to you? Are you an audiobook fan? What questions or comments do you have for Karen?
Be sure to comment below by August 22 for your chance to win an audiobook of Into the Fog, Book 1 in the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series.
Into the Fog (Book One in the Peach Blossom series) by Karen Randau
Click the book cover for purchase link
Love and danger spar in this thrilling romantic suspense
Hands push Marie Jessica (“MJ”) Goodrich from a rural roadway into an icy creek. The clock is ticking for her pleading friend on the other side of the ravine.
Running from flashbacks of a life-altering attack in Afghanistan, MJ takes refuge with her mother, managing Peach Blossom Orchard. But peace is ellusive in a rural Oklahoma town full of secrets.
After losing his wife and children in a fatal car crash, Josh Rivers doubts he deserves a second chance at love. He can’t believe his bad luck when MJ, the woman who plagues the nightmares of his military service in Afghanistan, shows up in his hometown. She claims a driver ran down and abducted her friend Kelsey. Frustrated with the county sheriff’s investigation, MJ and Josh partner to follow clues that lead to a kidnapper who demands a bizarre ransom.
With danger increasing for everyone MJ loves, will the clock run out before they solve the mystery? Find out how MJ and Josh—swirling in a whirlwind of mystery and suspense—lean on their mutual faith to find answers, courage, forgiveness, healing … and wholesome romance.
From Chaos (Book Two in the Peach Blossom series) by Karen Randau
Click the book cover for purchase link
An exciting and suspenseful thrill ride wrapped up in a heartwarming love story!
After Kelsey White is forced to flee from her ex-husband’s family with soul-crushing secrets she can’t risk revealing, she hides in the small farming community of Peach Blossom, Oklahoma, but she finds herself in a situation more dangerous than ever before. Gregorio Moreno uses extreme sports and shallow relationships to shield his heart from the pain of his wife disappearing with no explanation. His only contact with her in two years are the divorce papers he received shortly after she left. The second Greg meets Kelsey, he knows she’s the blonde of his dreams.
But for eight months of a platonic friendship, the mysterious Kelsey only agrees to see Greg in groups. He finally convinces to join him for a solo dinner date, and their lives are turned upside down by witnessing a murder. The killers are now stalking them, seeming to anticipating Kelsey and Greg’s every move. With no one else to turn to, Kelsey and Greg must outwit their pursuers or risk becoming victims themselves.
Follow the riveting story of two friends with very different backgrounds whose traumas convince them they aren’t good enough for a second chance at love. But will the murderers let them have their happily ever after they crave?
Karen Randau is an award-winning and best-selling author of mystery and suspense books. A native of the southwestern U.S., she enjoys baking, hiking, and hanging out with her multi-generational family in the mountains of Arizona.
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