Karen Rose Smith

Karen Rose Smith's plots are all about emotion. She began writing in her early teens when she listened to music and created stories to accompany the songs. After expressing feelings in poetry, earning a degree in English and French, completing short stories that became too long to find a market, she turned to her love of relationships in romance. This award-winning best-selling author (USA Today List, Borders Bestseller List, Amazon Romance Bestseller list) has sold 75 books since 1991 and has published with Silhouette, Harlequin, Kensington and Meteor/Kismet. Her awards include two Golden Leaf awards in short contemporary romance, the Golden Quill in traditional romance, two cataromance.com's awards for Best Special Editions and Romance Review's Today's Best series romance award. Jane Bowers of Romance Reviews Today states: "Karen Rose Smith's storyworlds are complete and realistic and lovely places to visit and revisit."

Karen is well-known for writing emotion. An only child, she spent a lot of time in her imagination and with books Nancy Drew, Zane Gray, The Black Stallion and Anne of Green Gables. She dreamed of brothers and sisters and a big family like her mother and father came from. On weekends she was often surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. This is the root of her plotlines that include small communities and family relationships as part of everyday living. She believes universal emotions unite us all and that is the reason she employs them to propel her plots.

It is no secret that Karen married her college sweetheart and they have been married for over 35 years. She believes in the power of commitment and the hope that goes along with the promise of everlasting love. Along with enjoying time with her husband, Karen enjoys cooking, gardening, shopping, listening to music and keeping her two cats company or vice versa.

She has been busy releasing her backlist as ebooks and epubbing an original romance/mystery ALWAYS DEVOTED, Book 3 in her Search For Love ebook series. In addition, she writes Harlequin Special Editions. Her new series REUNION BRIDES began in February 2011 with HIS DAUGHTER...THEIR CHILD and will continue in October 2011 with ONCE UPON A GROOM. She also has a September release that is a Montana Mavericks—HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA.

Readers can follow her on Facebook (Search--Karen Rose Smith) or on Twitter @karenrosesmith. She welcomes interaction on either social network and would love to chat about plotlines, heroes, heroines, music, books, gardening, cooking, or anything else readers deem noteworthy!

CAT: How often do you get lost in a story?

KAREN: I can get lost in any story that draws me in. Usually books with strong relationships do that the best whether they're romance, mystery, thriller or suspense. I was an only child and I delved into books to occupy myself. I loved getting to know new people who lived lives different than mine. Settings from different places intrigued me. That's still the case. I mostly listen to books on CD or audiobooks and I try to "read" at least one a week. But I choose more carefully now since my time is limited. I still enjoy that feeling of starting a new book by a favorite author, and being swept away into intrigue, relationships, and romance.

CAT: What's your favorite "love" word.

KAREN: My favorite "love" word is "cherish." I think it sums up all "love" feelings as well as the action to keep it going.

CAT: What's your favorite Fairytale?

KAREN: Definitely Cinderella. I think that's why I keep returning to that theme when I write. My four books for readers this fall are HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA, ONCE UPON A GROOM, EVERYDAY CINDERELLAS, and FOREVER AFTER. I think these titles express a woman's desire to have a man sweep her off her feet and be devoted to her for the rest of his life. On the other hand, my favorite Disney movie which I also consider fairytale-like is THE LADY AND THE TRAMP. What woman doesn't want a rake to change his life for her and become devoted to the family they form?

CAT: What was the first story you remember writing?

KAREN: The first story I remember writing was my autobiography in eighth grade. Writing about my life even at that age gave me some perspective for it and appreciation of my parents. We had to write in first person and include pictures. My title was–Daddy's Little Girl. There was a song entitled that that my mom played on the piano. So even my first attempt at prose had emotion in it!

CAT: What is your favorite movie of all time?

KAREN: My favorite movie of all time is Ghost. It's romantic, well plotted with a little bit of intrigue. But the spiritual element is the reason I really appreciate it. What happens to love? Is it strong enough to last into another realm? My dad had passed on shortly before I watched Ghost the first time and I remember crying and crying through the end. I loved it. Yep, there's that emotion again.

CAT: Do you write while listening to music, if so what kind?

KAREN: Music has always moved me. I listen to a lot of acoustic guitar music when I write. On the other hand, when I get stuck, I listen to whatever a book might dictate to get me moving with it again. If I need nostalgia, I listen to sixties music–The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, bobby Rydell. If I'm writing a ranch or cowboy book, I listen to country--Brad Paisley, Justin Moore, Jason Aldean. If I need to rev up emotion I might put on Charice, Josh Groban, Il Divo. Whatever can make me smile or cry! Whatever works.

CAT: What do you do to relax and unwind?

KAREN: My favorite past times are gardening and cooking. Each year I look forward to winter ending. Usually in March I begin planting seeds for tomatoes and flowers. I appreciate watching them grow. I love the colors and scents and textures they produce. Playing in the dirt is soothing and relaxing and takes me back to another time when I helped my grandmother plant in her backyard, when my mom would spill zinnia seeds into our garden for color, when my son was a small child and my husband and I showed him a rose in our apartment’s small garden. also takes me back to my roots. My grandmother and mom were wonderful cooks. Both made their own cannoli and ravioli and desserts galore. I take pleasure from recreating their recipes and coming up with my own. When our garden begins producing tomatoes, zucchini, onions and herbs, I toss them together to make healthy dinners. But every once in a while I bring out those old recipes that are too good not to make. And maybe my most important past time is just enjoying my two cats, Ebbie and London. They bring me countless hours of comfort and joy and are constant companions.

CAT: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner?

KAREN: I would definitely like to invite my country singer hero Zane Gunther to dinner. He's got down-home charm to spare! I created him to be multi-faceted and conversation would never lag! On top of that, he's just too sexy to describe. I'm sure he'd compose a song for me and bring his guitar along to sing it. It would be a great evening.

CAT: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

KAREN: The dream of exploring the West for research has become a reality. When I wrote a series that included Wyoming's wild horses, my husband and I visited the Big Horns. I've set books around Albuquerque and Santa Fe and visited there a few times. My most recent series is set in northern Arizona near Flagstaff. After my first trip there, I decided to create the fictional town of Miners Bluff. Another trip took me back there for the finer details and more history. At the same time we visited the Grand Canyon and Sedona. These areas of our country fill me up creatively and spiritually. Dreams do come true.

CAT: Tea or coffee?

KAREN: I drink coffee but not just any coffee. We live near Baltimore, Maryland, where the Balitmore Coffee Company was developed. They have such scrumptious flavors as Peaches and Cream–which really does have the hint of peaches, Snicker-Snicker which has that nutty caramel taste and another of my favorites, Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Depending on the flavor I might add a little sugar and definitely some cream. We found a real dairy nearby and their cream is heavenly with great coffee.

CAT: Which era would I have least liked to have lived in and the most?

KAREN: I would not have wanted to live during the Inquisition. I might have liked living during the Revolutionary War. I have strong opinions and a healthy disregard sometimes for authority figures. So I imagine I would have loved hearing Thomas Paine and fighting for the cause of independence.

CAT: What does it mean to love someone?

KAREN: Although I write about love, passion and romance almost every day, I only touch the surface of what it means to love. Experience has taught me what I really think love is all about. At the beginning it's about passion and sparks and feel-good romance. But then to love someone, I had to have more strength than to expect daily romance. I had to have more commitment than to expect skies would always be sunny. I had to have more devotion than to think I could be the center of someone's world all the time. Loving means putting my child first and sometimes putting everything else on hold. Loving for me means ignoring habits that irritate to remember the ones that endear. Loving for me means depending on someone else until I'm scared, being independent and strong enough for two or more, doing what is right rather than what's convenient. Loving someone is easy and hard, filled with regrets and rewards and the best way I have to reach for my higher self.


  1. Karen, Welcome to GLIAS. I'm right now drinking my very ordinary coffee and pretending it's one of those wonderful flavors you mentioned.

    I'm also one who listens to books. It's a wonderful way to multi-task and anytime I can do that, I'm happy.

    Thanks for joining us today!

  2. Hi Karen!

    Besides the Grand Canyon, the Flagstaff/Sedona area is an amazing place to visit! And what a great place to set your novels!

  3. Welcome to GLIAS, Karen. So many books and so little time! Wow...

    Now that the kids are out of the house, I travel with my husband. Loving it. Makes me appreciate my bed all the more when I get home. And my office, and my lap desk, and my electric blanket...and...and...but it sure is nice to travel.


  4. Karen, what a lovely and distinguished career you've established! I have just a thousand questions, but will settle on one. How did you get that hummingbird to sit still! Thanks for being with us on Get Lost in a Story!

  5. Hi Karen! Great Interview. I love to travel. My hubby and I try to take atleast one trip a year. I would love to take a huge road trip and just drive down I10. The sites to see on that interstate alone would cross off tons on my bucket list.

  6. Cat--Thanks for having me! I love to talk anything about books.

    Gjillian--Hi! Yes, I love Sedona, too. Just get me around those Red Rocks and I have smile and extra energy. Really. We visit the vortexes when we travel there, usually staying in Flagstaff for our base.

  7. Angi--Since we don't travel often other than to visit family--I try to take a research trip every other year--I have my office decorated with a Western theme. I also love cats and have cat memorabilia here and there. And I'm the first to admit when I travel I like to be comfortable. First stop is always WalMart for an egg crate!

  8. Donnell--I could be working 24 hours a day. So I make relaxation time.This spring, I started tomato plants and had 90 survive. I also plant flowers. But my best form of relaxation is sitting on the patio in the morning and evening with the hummingbird garden. I have my camera with me and this year got some amazing hummingbird pics. Believe me, it's the camera, not my skill. They got to know my husband and I and they would chirp at us and stay a while sometimes. Others, I just had to be patient.

  9. Sherie--I'm not usually a person who likes to jump in the car and drive. But when we're out west, the sites are just so awesome we drive hundreds of miles and I love it. I take enough pics to fill a couple of albums so I'll remember everything!

  10. Hi Karen, I am not much of a traveler myself. I guess I am just a home body, love to travel in books though.

  11. When I first wrote about the West, I got most of my info from the internet and books. But I felt I needed to experience it. I've had back problems for a long time so traveling is never easy. But when we took our first trip West, it filled me up creatively and spiritually in a way nothing ever had. But most of the time, I travel there and other places through books. Isn't that the most wonderful aspect of reading?