Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Killing Secrets (Thorne's Thorns, #1) by K.L. Docter

Release Date: April 17th, 2014 


...Some secrets are better left dead...

Rachel James’ ex-husband is released from prison determined to reclaim her and her little girl — the child is his key to controlling the James fortune. Frightened, Rachel flees to Denver with the child who hasn’t uttered a word since her daddy went to prison.

Contractor Patrick Thorne wants nothing to do with another of his parents’ charity cases. He failed his own wife so abysmally she took her own life as well as his unborn son’s. After two years, it’s time to concentrate on the bid he’s won and the saboteur trying to destroy his construction firm. 

There is no room for trust in either of their hearts. But trust is all that will untangle the secrets that dominate their lives, free a little girl of her silent prison, and save them all from a serial killer who stands too close.

Thank you for having me visit today. These are some great questions. I had fun answering them because I don’t always think about how I write the way I do. Once I reach a point in my writing when the characters take over, I just let the story unfold. J K.L.
Thank you, Mrs. K.L. Docter 

From Romance, Comedy Romance to the Romantic Suspense. How different is it to write these genres? 
There are similarities between both…and dissimilarities. The one major similarity is that both of my genres have strong romances woven through the story. I love romance so it is my major focus when I’m developing all of my characters. I want to introduce two people who aren’t looking for romance in any way, shape or form, and then throw them into each other’s path. 

As for differences? My contemporary romances are cute and spicy, and run about 50,000 words. They’re lighthearted, make-me-sigh kind of romances. I have tremendous fun throwing the hero and heroine together with a tickle and a smile. I read a lot of Harlequin/Silhouette romances and wrote for many years with those kinds of stories in my head. And, despite the fact that my characters deal with serious issues – for instance, in Satin Pleasures, the heroine is dealing with an intense drive to right a wrong and it makes her a workaholic, while the hero has left his stressful career behind – I allow them to have fun while they’re learning something about themselves and each other. I didn’t set out to deliberately write humorous books. It’s just the way these characters develop in my head. I tend to write the kind of stories that I can see an actress like Meg Ryan playing the lead role. 

My romantic suspense, on the other hand, is twice as long. Killing Secrets is around 110,000 words, closer in word count to the more traditional single title books. For years, I had been writing only shorter contemporaries, but many of my stories had suspense elements in them. I love suspense and mysteries, too, so I decided a couple of years ago to explore the darker suspense angle. These books are a lot more complicated to write. I not only have to develop a romance, but find a way to carry the characters through the dangers that unexpectedly drop into their everyday worlds. I actually have two antagonists in Killing Secrets, so the hero and heroine don’t always know where the danger is coming from. These stories also demand that I dig deeper into the psyche of a serial killer and murder their victims. The first time I wrote a scene from a victim’s point-of-view, I had to step outside into the sunshine for half an hour after I finished. It wasn’t a particularly graphic scene, but I connected with that victim on a visceral level as a mom. 

A Goodreads reviewer said that Killing Secrets is “one part mystery, one part romantic suspense and a whole lot of fun:” – why did you add humor and what is the role of humor in such story? 
I don’t think I consciously added humor to Killing Secrets. It just sort of happened with the kinds of scenes I chose to move the characters through their story. But I think it’s important that the light touches are there in suspense. In real life, it’s difficult to maintain drama and stress and danger levels indefinitely. We either collapse into a mindless heap or we find ways to relieve that stress. Humor gives both the characters and readers a chance to breathe. It’s “down time” where the characters can focus on other things besides staying alive. These moments are when the characters take time to get to know one another, fall in love, change their clothes, take a nap, etc. It keeps the characters “real”. 

Killing Secrets is first volume of the Thorne’s Thorns series. How this series was born and how you will make those six brothers’ stories credible? 
When I started writing Killing Secrets, I only had Patrick’s story in my head. But, brainstorming his backstory, I discovered his father was a retired police officer and his mother was a woman who came from money who did volunteer work. It wasn’t a far leap for Ross Thorne to be like his wife and want to help some of the young boys he might come into contact with in his police work. Patrick was their only biological son, but Ross and Evelyn gave him foster brothers. All of the boys were in minor trouble at one time or another growing up, so they became known as Thorne’s thorns. Once I knew who his brothers were, I had to write their stories. 

Making the brothers’ stories credible is a matter of developing distinctive individuals with specific goals and problems. These men are real to me now and their stories are different, but they’re connected by their upbringing and their love for each other. All of Patrick’s foster brothers might have different last names but they’re still family. 

I saw that the main characters have their one gloom history. Why did you create them like that and what is the message of the story? 
When you write about serial killers and the darker villainous characters, they simply bring conflict and violence with them. I didn’t intend to have two antagonists when I started Killing Secrets. The ex-husband was supposed to be a diversion, but he took on a life of his own the moment I wrote his first scene. Before I finished the book, I wanted to kill the ex-husband more than the serial killer. <grin> 

Both Patrick and Rachel’s conflicts come from secrets in their past – not necessarily their secrets, although Rachel has a major one that controls her actions – but, from the men who want to hurt them. My book titles are thematic. Killing Secrets is about secrets, and what the characters are prepared to do to keep them from being revealed. My next book is called Killing Proof. Needless to say, that one is about proving something. In that case, one of Patrick’s brothers is a police officer and has to prove that a suspect is a serial killer, not the one he helped put in prison. Beyond that, there’s Killing Ice, Killing Minds, Killing Promise, and Killing Games. 

How do you like (and why) your mystery suspense stories to be? Do you leave a path of bread crumbs of clues through the story for the readers to try to figure out from themselves or you keep everything for the ending? 
I love misdirection. I may reveal some things, but I do like to keep my readers guessing as long as possible. I suppose that makes me a breadcrumb dropper, although my breadcrumbs are not usually clues like a police officer might look for. Most of my characters are not in law enforcement. They still have to figure out where the danger is coming from, and deal with it. I hope my readers enjoy uncovering the stories along with the characters.


“I’ve only filed three police reports, but I’m sure I can lay half a dozen more attacks at this bugger’s door.” He ran his hand through his hair to corral his frustration. “What about fingerprints on the hammer? Have you identified anything in the clothes left behind?” Somehow, the single untouched wall with women’s clothing stapled all over it like some kind of macabre trophy wall was more disturbing than the vicious holes his saboteur left everywhere else.

“It’s one of your own hammers kept in a tool box with a broken lock. Anybody could have handled it. I’ll be surprised if they find a viable print, although the clothes might reveal something.” Jack heaved a long suffering sigh. “We’ve barely had time to catalogue the evidence since you called us this morning. We’re not exactly sitting on our thumbs, no matter what you think.”“What I think is it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep my problems under wraps.”

“Well, you wouldn’t know it after reading that sweet, full-page feature the Denver Post ran on you yesterday.” Jack picked up the newspaper section sitting on the corner of Patrick’s desk and read the headline aloud, “‘No Thorns in Thorne Enterprise’s Rosy Future’. According to this you’re ‘a new contractor barely in his thirties with a Midas touch who’s made it to the major leagues with the multi-million dollar, upscale Villas at Three Oaks Ranch’. You must have really schmoozed that reporter, bro.”

“The headline would have read something radically different,” Patrick replied sourly, “if she’d dug a little deeper and uncovered the truth.”

Angry again at the thought of what he stood to lose, he reached across the desk, snatched the newspaper out of Jack’s hand, and threw it into a wire basket for his office manager, Jane Brown, to file. “You know what I’ve been dealing with these last few months,” he said. “Vandals tag building sites. Supplies go missing. Equipment breaks down.

“But this is different, Jack. You saw those walls at Southgate. This isn’t kids on a lark, pissing out territorial boundaries.”

“I agree. But as my captain pointed out, I’m a little close to the situation and I’m not on the case.”

Patrick barked a harsh laugh. “What does this guy have to do before the department takes this seriously? Leave a dead body?”

“It might take just that,” Jack retorted. “Right now we’re up to our armpits in what’s rolled downhill from the mayor’s office after the kidnapping of that councilman’s daughter last week.”

If it weren’t for the radios blasting all day on his sites Patrick wouldn’t keep up with local events but even he’d heard about the coed who’d disappeared while he was in Cheyenne. “She’s been gone, what, four days? Do you have any leads?”

“We don’t even have a ransom note. After a co-worker dropped her off at her apartment complex, it’s like the girl disappeared into thin air.”

Patrick saw Jack’s jaw tighten, a sign of the increasing stress he’d been under in recent months. “You think she’s a victim of the Angel Killer, don’t you?”

The local news media had dubbed the serial killer with the name because of the angel tattoo he’d burned into each of the girls he brutally killed. He remembered Jack’s fury, as one of the detectives on the task force, over the leak of that critical piece of information.

About the author:
Mrs. Docter writes two different kinds of romance novels....Contemporary Romantic Comedy w/a Karen Docter: Romance...With a Kick of Humor!
Romantic Suspense w/a K.L. Docter: Women hunted by killers...men who'd die to protect them.

K.L.'s contemporaries are cute romantic comedies. She loves writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don't allow for a relationship just so she can throw them in each other's path...with a tickle and a smile. Her romantic suspense novels (as K.L. Docter) are also filled with romance, although the dangers the hero and heroine face are intense, usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one or both of their lives before they can fall in love. These are psychological, woman-in-jeopardy stories.

K.L.'s an award winning author, a four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Category (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division. When she's not saving her characters from death and destruction or helping them fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening & cooking.
If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better!

Find more about her at:

Author's Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Unknown said...

There needs to be a pretty good balance between both the romance and the suspence, otherwise it would feel either like the suspence plot is lacking or the love story is flat. When done well, yep, I rather like romantic suspense :)

Sam said...

Yeah I do, although sometimes I feel like it is hard to find a good one. A lot of the time I feel as though the romance is too overplayed and is a bit distracting to the rest of the story.

Karen said...

I agree with you, Elisa. I like a good balance, too, and worked toward that end. One of my recent reviewers specifically mentioned it so I believe I accomplished what I set out to do. Another said it was a fast read despite the 110,000 word length.

I'd be interested in your thoughts as well. :)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and good luck in the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Karen said...

Hi, Sam. It can be difficult. I do have a strong romance in Killing Secrets, but I believe the suspense is equally as strong. One reader's balance is another reader's distraction though, so I guess the proof is in the pudding, as they say! I hope, if you read my book, you'll enjoy the story without distractions.

Good luck in the giveaway, and thanks for stopping in to comment!

Unknown said...

Killing Secrets is a fantastic romantic suspense and I look forward to more romantic suspense by Karen Docter.

Unknown said...

Of course, I love it

Karen said...

Thanks, Jamie! I'm glad you enjoyed the book. You can start looking for the next book in the Thorne's Thorns series, KILLING PROOF, in October. It's Patrick's foster brother, Ben Zancanelli's story.

Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Good luck in the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Karen said...

Thanks for stopping in, Teodora. I hope you enjoy Killing Secrets. Best of luck in the Rafflecopter giveaway. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I love romantic suspense. :D

Karen said...

I hope you'll check out mine, then, sandybook!

Good luck in the Rafflecopter giveaway, and thanks so much for stopping in to comment!

Anonymous said...

I love it! I hope I'll have the chance to read this book :D

Karen said...

I hope so, too, jacqlineveve! Thanks for stopping in to comment, and good luck in the giveaway. Keep coming back to the Blog Tour daily through the end of April to increase your chances. :)

Have a great afternoon!

stacey dempsey said...

Yes I do like romantic suspence. I love those books that you just dont want to put down till you get to the end

Unknown said...

I quite like romantic suspense, but personally, I think sometimes it needs a few extra elements, like supernatural creatures or worlds, historical events, etc. Thanks for the post and giveaway! :)

ionutzk said...

I love romantic suspense

Aline Tobing said...

I love romantic suspense, especially if the suspense outweigh the romance part :)

nurmawati djuhawan said...

romsus in one of my fave genre ^^
thx u for hosting

Anonymous said...

Love romance suspense.
It's entertaining!

Karen said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Stacey!

I hope you don't want to put down Killing Secrets before you get to the end. :)

Good luck in the giveaway.

Karen said...

Hi, Carla. I, too, love books with paranormal elements. Alas, I don't write it. If you do pick up Killing Secrets, I hope you don't miss those elements.

Good luck in the raffle!

Karen said...

Hi, Aline. Killing Secrets is more balanced between the romance and the suspense/thriller elements, but I did attempt to blend them so neither jars the reader. You'll have to let me know how you like it!

Good luck in the drawing, and thanks for stopping by to comment.

Karen said...

Thanks for stopping by, nurmawati djuhawan! I hope you like Killing Secrets.

Good luck in the raffle!

Karen said...

I agree with you, florryalyna. I've loved reading suspense my entire life, and love writing it now.

I hope you find Killing Secrets entertaining.

Thanks for commenting, and good luck in the giveaway!

Kai said...

Yes, I do love reading romantic suspense. I need that thrill and suspense to take me to the edge.

Karen said...

Hi, Kai. I hope you find yourself taken to the edge when you read Killing Secrets!

Thanks for commenting, and good luck in the giveaway!

magic5905 said...

Yes, but not as much of paranormal.

karin said...

of course I love romantic suspense

collenga said...

cool interview! Sounds like it will be a great series

collenga said...

Yes, I LOVE romantic suspense. I love suspense in general and the romantic edge makes it hard to put down!