Friday, April 24, 2015

Having Fun With An Old Fashioned Detective by Chris Karlsen and GIVEAWAY!

UPDATE: Chris is giving away a copy of SILK (print or eBook) and a $10.00 Amazon coupon for one lucky person who comments below!


Hi, folks.

Please join me today in welcoming Chris Karlsen, who shares her writer's story with us. I loved hearing about how a former cop got into writing, and I hope you will, too.

Welcome, Chris!

Aaron Lazar

Having Fun With An Old Fashioned Detective 

copyright 2015, Chris Karlsen

I spent nineteen of my twenty-five years in law enforcement as a detective. Long before I became a police officer, I wanted to be a writer. But I feared it wasn't a practical profession and lacked the confidence to an attempt at it. Shortly after I retired from law enforcement, I found the courage to try my hand writing a story that I had floated around in my imagination for years. I started taking classes to learn the craft and began my first book at the same time.

When I went to conferences and seminars the same question was asked: why don't I write a cop story? I never had the desire to write one—to relive my career through my characters. I enjoy a good police story as much as anyone. My favorite authors in the genre are Mike Connelly, Joe Wambaugh, and John Sandford. I just didn't want to take that road.
I have a great love of history. The story I had in my head all those years involved a medieval knight and a young English woman. The two subsequent books were based on characters from that original story. All were historical romances and had a medieval element. I also wrote two romantic thrillers in addition to the others where the protagonists are nautical archaeologists.

I was in the process of writing the third historical romance when I had the idea for an old fashioned detective. I knew he'd work in London and I couldn't think of a better setting for a murder/suspense than Victorian England. Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone (Ruddy) was created. At the same time, the killer came to me. Both personalities were crystal clear in my mind before I wrote the first word of Silk.

Since Ruddy was a 19th Century detective, when I started the book it hadn't occurred to me how much of my personal background would influence the story. I wanted to put my spin on a classical British mystery. I found when writing the romantic thrillers including the POV of the antagonists added a lot of interesting aspects to their characters. They remained villains, but they weren't flat, black and white ones. I knew I do the same with William Everhard, the killer in Silk. I liked the idea of showing his descent into madness. It added a cat and mouse feel to the story that I had fun with.

My detective experience became important during Ruddy's investigation. The story is set in 1888, a year before the first rudimentary work with fingertips began. He literally has no forensic science to help him. With each murder, I had to walk the scene with him, observe with him, and consider what could possibly serve as a clue. I had to think about every detail I included in the scene and then figure out how to use the potential clues. To stay true to the period, I had to strip away everything I knew from modern investigations and fall back on old-fashioned police work.

I did give him an issue that crosses timelines and can be problematic to any investigation: a high profile (receiving a lot of media coverage), the manner in which it presented to the public, and influences of a political nature. I used how the press that surrounded the Jack the Ripper cases affected Ruddy's. I also added in departmental rivalries between the two main police agencies, and political/economic forces coming to bear by making Everhard a wealthy nobleman in the House of Lords.

I found by putting the Victorian spin on it, I surprisingly loved the challenge of writing a cop story. Detective Bloodstone just may be my favorite character. He'll definitely get more cases to solve in the near future.

Title: Silk                  

Genre: Thriller
Author: Chris Karlsen
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Purchase on Amazon

London-Fall, 1888
The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.
Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.
As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.
Chris is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. Her father was a history professor and her mother a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.
Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. She's had the good fortune to travel Europe extensively, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States.
After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She currently writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.
She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.



Mayra Calvani said...

Fascinating post, Chris!

You don't meet too many authors who were former cops, though I'm sure there must be many who now write crime and mysteries.

I was wondering if you offer consulting services about police procedural to writers? :-)


Mayra Calvani said...

I'm working on a psychological thriller at the moment, about a young woman who sets out to revenge the death of her son. I was wondering, if she decides to use a gun:

where/how would she get it
what type of gun would she most likely use

This is a woman who isn't "street smart." She's a violinist, in fact.

Any tips? :-)

Mayra Calvani said...

Gosh, I forgot to thank Aaron for hosting Chris! Thank you for welcoming her to your wonderful blog!

By the way, my comments won't count for the prize, since I'm her publicist. LOL.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thank you Chris for being here today and for offering such cool prizes to our readers! And Mayra, you are most welcome. We love hosting great guest bloggers like Chris!

Unknown said...

I love reading books from new authors!
Awesome post Chris! :-)

Chris Karlsen said...

HI Mayra
To answer your first question, I don't offer "services" per se to writers. I'll answer any who contact me and ask about different elements. My husband is a retired cop as well. Between us we can usually answer most questions. Neither of us kept up with the science though, DNA has advanced so much, I'm not able to shed much light on the topic.

Chris Karlsen said...

HI Lynne,
I have excerpts and a trailer for Silk on my website, if you're interested in knowing more about the story.

Chris Karlsen said...

HI Mayra,
About the gun question, I think it depends on where your heroine lives. Getting guns in the US isn't terribly difficult. Gun purchase rules and wait periods are different with different states. Outside the US, I believe availability varies country to country.
How close do you want her to be when she shoots? If she's not far away, a Sig Sauer .380 auto is fairly easy to handle.

Barbara Hawk said...

Sounds intriguing! I love finding new authors! Thanks for the opportunity to learn about a great book!

Chris Karlsen said...

Hi Angel,

This genre was a departure for me. As I mentioned in the article, I usually write historical romances. I enjoyed the characters and period a lot in Silk. Once the story I'm currently working on is finished, I will start another in the Bloodstone series. I'm already thinking about possible killers.

Mayra Calvani said...

Thank you so much for your feedback, Chris! My novel is set in the US (FL and MD), and yes, she would be shooting him at a close range.

Your answer really helps, though, so I'm going to use it. :-)

And thanks for offering to answer questions like this. It sure helps knowing someone who's a cop. :-)

ee.melisa said...

Hello !
Interesting post ! As an aspiring forensic psychologist, I've always wondered, to what extent does law enforcement use the analysis of body language of criminals to determine their guilt? It would be interesting to get some insight on a first hand experience!
Thanks !

J Jaytanie said...

Outstanding post, Chris. I look forward to reading Silk. Best of success!

Chris Karlsen said...

Hi ee,
I think every detective is different as to how much they use body language. Many years ago we had a psychologist from the FBI give us a training session on reading body language. I'd say most detectives (I know) use a little of that and a lot of gut feeling. I found habitual liars don't give much away in body language and also suspects who feel no remorse. I've interviewed some who my partner and I walked away after shaking our heads at absolute coldness in them. Looking into their eyes is kind of like looking into a tunnel with no light. Weird.

Chris Karlsen said...

Thank you, Joanne.

DVBerkom said...

Great post, Chris! I have to say that I read Silk and loved it! I think it's my favorite of your books, so far. Good luck with the rest of the tour :-)

Chris Karlsen said...

Hi DV,
Thank you for the kind words.

Elana Kahn said...

That's awesome!!! I love a good crime story and would definitely enjoy reading this!

Chris Karlsen said...

Hi Elana,

Thank you for the kind words. This was a fun book to write. I loved using this setting.

ee.melisa said...

So interesting ! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer :)

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

The winner of Chris Karlsen's giveaway - a ten dollar Amazon gift certificate and a copy of Chris's book, SILK, is:

Lynne Rivet


Lynne, please email Chris's publicist, Mayra Calvani so she can get your prizes to you!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Lynne, Mayra's email is