Today we welcome Helen Karol to our Dungeon. She provided us with a smexy excerpt of Intimate Knowledge. Enjoy the excerpt and then read on with our special interview.
La Crimson Femme: Welcome, Helen! Thanks for stopping by for a little interview.
Helen Karol: Thanks for inviting me. It is great to be here.
La Crimson Femme: What inspired you to start writing? Did you always write spanking stories?
Helen Karol: I started writing really early because I love reading. My first story was a short romantic ghost story when I was a teenager. Round about the same time I started reading any romance I could get my hands on and I use to flip through them to make sure they had a spanking scene. Loads of mainstream romances did back when I was a teenager. LOL I used to notice that the heroine often fell for a bit of a too dominant jerk and there was usually this really nice guy who was her best friend who she never fell for and I always wished she would. So I decided to write one where she chooses the best friend over the guy who makes her overheat. It was my first complete novel and a well known romance publisher liked it but wanted me to make too many changes. Fast forward to 2013 and I released it as Chances&Choices my first eBook. It is not a spanking story but it does have a number of threats and one actual spank! I use to write stories as titillation for my partners, but it wasn’t until my Detectives&Desires series that I wrote actual spanking books. I was an early subscriber to Bethany’s Woodshed who became the publisher Blushing Books. I use to read the stories and think – I need to write one of these if I ever have the time.
La Crimson Femme: I used to be an early subscriber to Bethany’s Woodshed too! Back in *mumbles 1996*. I do agree with you. Many times, the heroine falls for the asshole domineering jerk. I’m glad you wrote one where it’s the best friend nice guy. Friends to lovers is pretty popular! What are you working on right now?
Helen Karol: Well I am one of those writers that writes more than one story at a time. Currently I am focusing on a few works. I am just finishing Part 5 & 6 of Intimate Knowledge. Part 6 is the installment the Bedtime Stories excerpt is from. I wrote the scene a while ago but had to write all the other events that happen first. It is a romantic suspense as well so I needed to have the story unwind slowly.
I am also working on the installments of Book 2 of Her Keeper – In His Custody (my most popular work) as well as an alternative standalone version of it as a complete book called Keeping Sara.
Most exciting I will be prioritizing a contemporary Western spanking story tentatively entitled Hope Junction. I am doing this with one of the top well known spanking romance publisher’s and I am quite excited to be working with them! I have been teaching full time in Germany for a few months so have not been able to give it my full attention, but will be going full steam ahead on it in July and hope to have the first draft with the publisher by August.
La Crimson Femme: Wow! You are teaching full time in Germany? It must have been crazy this past week with the World Cup. Since you mentioned working in Germany, if you could travel to any place, where would you go?
Helen Karol: The Moon! My other persona is as an international teacher, so I have been lucky to have lived in a number of places on Earth. I just love the idea of looking at the Earth from another surface. All that quiet and solitude and eeriness just excites me.
La Crimson Femme: *chuckles* Paid to travel internationally is the way to go! Where do you get your inspiration for your characters? Do they talk to you in your head, demanding to be written?
Helen Karol: Oh boy do they! Characters tend to take over in my stories and do things I had not always planned! Supporting characters often have a tendency to flesh themselves out as I write. Luke Kincaid, Lisa James and the Raffertys’ will all have their own stories after starting as supporting characters elsewhere. I have had requests for that and reviews that mention a preference for my supporting characters. Her Keeper was only supposed to be a short story, but Rick and Sara just fit together so well my beta’s wanted to see them as a full book. At first my characters were loosely based on people I know or characters from books, movies or television that inspired me, but now they just seem to take up residence in their own right. Sometimes they seem more real to me than the real people around me, especially when I am in the middle of writing!
La Crimson Femme: I wonder sometimes if writers end up diagnosed with dementia in their late life because of the characters yelling in their heads. Hmmm. So, back to more fun topics. Do you enjoy spankings? Do you give, receive or do both?
Helen Karol: I admit I am a spanko from way back. Although I am with fellow author Natasha Knight – I think we need a better label! I have mainly received spankings and mostly in relationships. I have always hung around with a lot of alpha males and when I was younger, it was not unusual for male-female spankings to happen in my circles in front of friends I might add and not just in a relationships and it wasn’t hidden. The spanking in college talked about in Her Keeper is based on an actual real spanking event at my school. Spankings were usually an indication of romantic interest a bit like pulling pigtails at a younger age. Probably because we were Catholics who didn’t have sex until marriage (sort of) LOL.
I was also on the receiving end of plenty of real spankings (as opposed to playful ones) for endangering myself too much because I am a bit of a rebel and daredevil and scared the hell out of my male friends and partners with some of my antics. A particularly memorable spanking was when I skied off the edge of a run in the Rocky Mountains and ended up hanging upside down in a tree after ignoring my ski patrol boyfriend’s warning that I was skiing too recklessly. That got me a good one. I am also a bit of a flirt and that got me in trouble as well. Eventually, I discovered spankings as sexual and BDSM. I have even given a few spankings but prefer to be a bottom. My favorite is still non-consensual spankings for misbehavior.
La Crimson Femme: Oh my word. You ended up hanging upside down in a tree? How on earth? Wait, I don’t want to know. I’ve skied many times in my life in the Rockies and I can’t ever think of how one gets stuck upside down in a tree. I’ve ended up in paths I shouldn’t have taken and fell in waist deep of snow. *shudders* Well, I can see why you were spanked. *snicker* Do you go to any writing conventions? If so, how did you like it?
Helen Karol: I haven’t yet, but I am hoping to get to some in the coming year. I am planning to devote the next year to writing full time rather than teaching and intend to start networking a lot more. I put off writing for a long time because I thought it might be too lonely and secluded and I would miss the travel, but conventions should help avoid that. I love all the online contact eBook writing allows, but I think I would enjoy meeting a lot of authors and readers as well.
La Crimson Femme: I definitely recommend the conventions. They are fun! So we get more books coming from you since you are focusing it for next year. AWESOME! Now for some odd ball questions. What is your favourite fruit and why?
Helen Karol: Peach. Isn’t it obvious why? All that lovely round, juicy flesh. LOL.
La Crimson Femme: *Rolls eyes* I guess I walked into that one. *Sigh.* What is something you’ve always wanted to try but were afraid to try? Why were you afraid?
Helen Karol: Writing as a full time occupation. I just mentioned the main reason. I thought it might be too solitary. I am a people person and need the contact. Now I realised that I have ways of meeting and networking and of course my characters keep me company. I can hardly wait to have this year coming up to blow that fear right out of the water.
I would also really love to skydive and bungee jump but I suffer from vertigo. Still – one of these days…
La Crimson Femme: Writing full time is pretty intimidating. I can understand your hesitation. I wish you the best in it! As for skydiving or bungee jumping…that would be hard with vertigo. But, it may be more fun! As long as you are tethered in, you should be okay, right?