Friday, July 26, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Karen Robbins!

Is there a story behind Death Among The Deckchairs?
Casey Stengel is a character I came up with years ago when I was a paralegal student. Originally I had made her a paralegal and her first encounter with a client was as he sat in his recliner with an unlit cigar taped between his fingers at his own funeral. She did a lot of evolving and eventually became the Household Manager with a love of baseball. How could she not love baseball with a name like that?

Death Among The Deckchairs is book two in the Casey Stengel Mystery series and all takes place on a cruise ship—my favorite way to travel evidenced by our 52 cruises over the years.

What’s the last thing you wrote?

My last book was In A Pickle which featured a character similar in personality to Casey. Annie Pickels is a 65 year old widowed pickle entrepreneur and gets in real trouble. One of her city farmers grows marijuana on his rented plot of land and Annie, thinking it is marjoram, uses it as a secret ingredient in her pickles. Of course that leads to all sorts of trouble for her but luckily she meets her “white knight” on a cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2. And yes, I drew on my own cruise experience for that one.

Great book and great title. Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad?

Are you kidding? Computer!! I must admit though, I did start out on a typewriter until my kids challenged me to learn to use a computer. Unfortunately, they forgot to emphasize that I should back up my work and when the old Tandy TRS80 computer left the building, so did my first book.

Do you archive everything you write?

I archive and backup with a flash drive. Lessons learned along the way. I also keep one copy of each of my books on a special shelf so that there is something tangible to remember as I continue this journey.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?

Often, but I don’t really consider them abandoned, just ideas-in-waiting. I have several books I started a while back and would like to follow up with them. They were good ideas that I put on the backburner while I pursued the ones that were closer to publication. Actually, the Casey Stengel series started with a book I wrote for a publisher who canceled the line of cozy mysteries just before I was told I was to get a contract. It waited on the sidelines for a bit until I decided it needed to be pursued further.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written?

While I love Casey, probably my all time favorite is the Annie Pickels story, In A Pickle. I call her my pickle lady and have truly loved her from conception.

OOOOH, Me too. Love Annie! What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?

Besides erotica? Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I find it intersting that when I was younger, Sci-Fi and Fantasy was what I was drawn to most. Maybe it has something to do with the required reading in high school of 1984 and Brave New World. So much of those book have come true. I don’t read fantasy so much anymore but my husband and I did enjoy the Harry Potter books which stimulated a lot of discussion between us and our grandchildren. I guess I just don’t think my mind can work in that realm of writing.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

I am continuing the Annie Pickel series and finishing up the historical I’ve been working on for several years. The historical takes place during WWII but involves the child who was born during that time. She discovers quite a secret while her mother tells of her first true love who died in the war.

Sounds interesting. What are your five favorite words?

Piece of Godiva chocolate? That’s only four words but enough to make me smile—a lot.

Smile. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

These two things probably slow me down more than anything. I am constantly checking to see that things sound right and are spelled correctly. Punctuation is another area I’m a bit overly concerned about as I write. After all there’s a big difference between “Let’s eat, Grandma!” and “Let’s eat Grandma.” A comma could save my life!

How do people react when they find out you write?

We meet so many people as we travel and when they find out I’m a writer, the question is the same as I’m sure all other writers get: What do you write? How I answer that usually depends upon what I’m working on but the reaction is different depending upon who the person is. I have connected with some closet writers, some avid readers, and some who are just being polite and nod their heads. Most people don’t understand the agony and the anxiety of birthing a book but they see the end result and think that’s pretty neat.

That's so true. Why are you called the Wandering Writer?

The answer is simple, my husband and I travel—a lot. I think we calculated that we were gone a little over four months last year. We love to discover new places whether they are halfway around the world or in our backyard. My blog has become a travel blog that documents our travels and hopefully is helpful to others who are planning trips or deciding where they want to explore. It’s called Writer’s Wanderings: Stop by.

I guessed your answer and it's a good one. What is your favorite place that you’ve visited?

That is a hard question to answer. My husband, Bob, usually says, “the next one.” We have been on all seven continents (Antarctica would be high on the list) and we have almost circumnavigated the world (that will be accomplished by 2015). Norway’s fjords, Iceland, Russia, China, and more recently the Galapagos Islands would be high on the list too. But I’d have to say the most favorite places to visit are wherever my grandchildren are.

Love your answer, Karen! Sigh. My grandson . . . No, I won't get started! What or who is the biggest influence on your writing? Do you have a mentor?

That’s an easy one to answer. God has been the director of my writing career, the initiator of my ideas, the supplier of words, and the mentor to my career. I say that with all sincerety. There have been many people along the way to encourage but I have found that I am most content with my work and my direction when I have talked it over with Him.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I will be working on Ruby, the historical I started so many years ago. I can’t say when it will be out since I don’t have a contract yet. One of the things that publishers like to see is a finished manuscript so first things first, I need to finish it.

Thank you for visiting, Karen!

To buy her book, go here:

Amazon Kindle



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).

Connect with Karen here:


Blog: Writer’s Wanderings,

Facebook page:



Karen is giving away a copy of Death Amony the Deckchairs. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.
(It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Patty said...

Karen sounds like a fun lady! I would love to be able to travel like that someday. I'll be sure to check out her blog.

I would love to check out her new book.


Karen said...

Patty, The travel is an adventure but as you can tell from my blog some of the greatest adventures are right in my backyard! Thanks for your comments. Good luck.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this mystery ;)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

sm said...

I would love to win DEATH AMONG THE DECK CHAIRS. I read your interview and discovered you love to travel, as do we. I'm on a quest to visit all the US National Parks, monuments, lighthouses, etc. I make picture coffee table books on our travels. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Karen said...

Karen and Sharon, thanks for stopping by again. Sharon, I make photobooks too! We have not traveled the US as much because we wanted to get all the things off the bucket list that were a long plane flight before we get too old to make those ;-)

Patricia Bradley said...

I love to travel. And the pickle lady sounds fascinating! pat at ptbradley dot com

squiresj said...

I have tried and tried to win one of her books and get to know her beyond her website. jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Karen said...

Patricia and squiresj, thanks for stopping by. Stop by my facebook author page and like it. Look around a bit and you'll find a coupon code for a free e-book copy of Murder Among The Orchids.

KayM said...

"...but I have found that I am most content with my work and my direction when I have talked it over with Him." I love your answer. I find that to be true, also.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Merry said...

Over 50 cruises, wow! Karen has been blessed with many adventures and a well of experiences to draw from. Thanks for the giveaway.
Worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Adele said...

I really loved reading all Karen's work. I feel like I could be the Pickle Lady. But, Murder Among the Orchids was great, cuz you had no idea "Who done it!" till the very end. LOL, ask my hubby, he was wrong for an entire week.

But then, THE CHILD... was great too.. Nope, I am having a difficult time picking!

Just get to know her work and you will be hooked easily!!

Karen said...

KayM, We share a common goal. To serve Him.
Merry, Thank you for not asking how many times I was seasick though. I have a don't-ask-don't-tell policy on that ;-)
Adele, You are one of my sweetest cheerleaders! Thank you. BTW, the updated version of Divide The Child is now available on Amazon--Kindle and paperback. Yay!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win/read this book. It sounds terrific.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I had no luck finding the code for the book Murder Among The Orchids. I guess my eyes are too tired.

Veronica Sternberg said...

This sounds great! I love mysteries! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Karen, I would love to win your book. Like a good mystery. I have probably read some articles from you. Used to get the Standard a lot, but not here. And, I have a Chicken Soup for the Soul. Will have to check it out. Tho there might be several of them. I can't imagine anyone being able to go to that many places. And, 52 cruises? And, I'm scared to be out in that deep water way far from anywhere. Oh my! I love the sentence using the comma. Made me laugh. I agree. Thanks Carole for interviewing Karen. Please put my name in the hat. But, be sure to draw it out again. LOL Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Library Lady said...

I enjoyed reading Karen's interview and would love to win a copy of her book to give to my church library.
Janet E.

Jo said...

The title of this book has me fascinated and I would love to read a copy of it. Thanks for the opportunity!


Karen said...

You all have been so kind in your comments. Thank you. If you go to Mary Ellis' blog interview with me you'll find the code for Murder Among The Orchids:

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