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Profile: Romantic Suspense Author Chris Karslen

A native of Chicago, former police detective Chris Karslen grew up with a love of history and books. An only child, she spent a lot of time reading, developing ‘fictional friends’, and getting lost in the world of stories.

Naturally, her love of reading and books led to writing of her own, and when she retired from her police work she finally decided to fulfil her lifelong secret desire. In 2003, she sat down and wrote her first line—and she hasn’t looked back since.

Now a fulltime writer, her mission is to entertain readers with her stories. “I want to share my love of certain things, like places, history, and time travel. It’s my way of saying, this is why I love England or Turkey or history, etc. I like using the characters to present a ‘what if’ question and have the reader join me in asking it to,” states Karslen.  

Karslen enjoys writing romance and adventure and her stories are full of action, mystery and suspense. Her latest novel, Byzantine Gold, is a romantic thriller set in Cyprus and the sequel to her first book in the series, Golden Chariot. For this series, she interweaves history and archaeology into her fiction. She’s had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa, something that no doubt has had an influence on her work. However, besides her modern romantic thrillers set in exotic locations, she also writes time-travel historical romances.

“I am not a fast writer,” says Karslen about her writing habits. “I have so much research with all my books that I start with an outline. That helps me set the parameters of the story. It also helps me to know what research I’m going to need the most and I can narrow what I have down. Once I begin writing, then the story changes as I go along. I’ll see an event on the page and a question will arise and I’ll build in a scene or character or problem that didn’t occur when I worked on the outline.”

Karslen tries to write every day and makes an effort to run errands and do other personal or household business in the morning and then sit down to write by midday. She writes until 5:00 or so. “That doesn’t mean I write all I’d like to put on the page, but I try.”

She advises aspiring authors to join a critique group, take classes, and go to conferences and seminars to learn the craft. She recommends the following books: Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction by Don Maass, and Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Deb Dixon.

She also advises to develop a tough skin and accept the fact that your early drafts may not be ready to submit right away. “Every new writer believes what they’ve written is perfect. Perhaps there’s someone out there this is true for but I can’t think of any. Hemingway said, ‘There’s no such thing as writing, only rewriting.’”

Her favorite authors include Bernard Cornwell, John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Joe Wambaugh, Julia Quinn, Julie Anne Long, and Deanna Raybourn. Among her favorite books you’ll find The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, The Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell, The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn, the Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long, The Prey series and Virgil Flowers series by John Sandford, The Harry Bosch series by Mike Connelly and the Hollywood Station series by Joe Wambaugh. 

Karslen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse. Currently, she’s finishing the third book in her Knights in Timeseries, which she hopes to release this late spring.

Learn more about Chris Karslen and her work on her website and blog.

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