Catching up with Author @Karen_King

To mark the publication of her next novel, One Summer in Cornwall, I am thrilled to have the wonderful (and prolific) Karen King on Off the Beaten Track today, as the next stop on her book blog tour.

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Book cover and dates and names of contributors
Sandy Barker May 2

Congratulations, Karen, and welcome!

Tell us what inspired you to write One Summer in Cornwall.

I love Cornwall, and have set several books there. The first romance novel I set in Cornwall, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, was set in the fictional town of Port Medden, and became a Kindle bestseller both in the UK and Australia. As it was very popular I thought it would be nice to write a sequel. One Summer in Cornwall features some of the much-loved characters from The Cornish Hotel by the Sea. Marcus the chef at Gwel Teg, was named in the Cornish Hotel but never featured, so I thought it would be lovely to give him his own story. Then Hattie came roaring into my head on her electric blue Harley Davidson and I had my hero and heroine. My friends have a cheeky Amazon parrot, who is the inspiration for Buddy. Then I threw in a fisherman’s cottage left to Hattie and her father and my story was born.

When did you start writing seriously?

Well over thirty five years ago now. I was first published in the 1980’s, writing for Jackie Magazine, but it was writing for children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Postman Pat, Barbie and Winnie the Pooh that gave me my ‘big break’ and enabled me to earn a living by writing. I also wrote children’s books. My first romance novel, Never Say Forever, was published as a People’s Friend Pocket Novel in 2009, and is now republished by Headline. One Summer in Cornwall is my ninth romance novels and I’m contracted to write two more for Headline. I also had my first psychological thriller, The Stranger in my Bed published by Bookouture in November 2020 and a second one, The Perfect Stepmother, will be published in June this year.

What do you love most about being an author?

Making up stories! My mind is always bursting with ideas and I love it when a story finally starts to come right. Getting good feedback from readers is a lovely bonus too. When I was writing children’s books I enjoyed visiting schools to encourage children to read and write. Children have such an incredible imagination and we had a lot of fun making up stories as a class.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a Christmas romance for Headline, the second book in my three book contract. The third one will be out next summer. It seems odd to be writing a Christmas story in the summer, especially as this one is set in a little village in Devon, complete with snow and an outdoor carol service. I’m feeling very nostalgic as I write.

What do you hope readers will take away from One Summer in Cornwall?

I hope they enjoy the read and it leaves them feeling a little happier. We live in strange and worrying times so it’s nice to lose yourself in a feelgood, heart-warming book sometimes.

More about One Summer in Cornwall

Cover of the book, One Summer in Cornwall. Woman painting outside of a thatched cottage by the seaside. A boat is sailing offshore.

Escape to Cornwall this summer…

When Hattie is made redundant and evicted from her flat in one horrible week, she needs time to rethink. Her Uncle Albert left her and her father each half of Fisherman’s Rest, his home in the Cornish town of Port Medden, so this seems the perfect place to escape to until she can figure things out.

As Hattie stays in the cottage, clearing it out, tidying it up and getting it ready to sell, she starts to find her feet in Port Medden and making a new home here begins to feel right. If only her dad didn’t need a quick sale and things weren’t complicated by her unwelcoming neighbour Marcus…

A gorgeous feel-good read, perfect for fans of CATHY BRAMLEY and PHILLIPA ASHLEY.

Where you can buy it

Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Kobo | Nook | Waterstones (UK) | Foyles (UK) | Booktopia (AU) | Dymocks (AU)

More about Karen

Karen King author photo - a smiling with blue eyes and red hair wearing a floral top

Karen King is a multi-published author of both adult and children’s books. She has had eight romantic novels published, one psychological thriller with another one out later this year, 120 children’s books, two young adult novels, and several short stories for women’s magazines. Her romantic novel The Cornish Hotel by the Sea became an international bestseller, reaching the top one hundred in the Kindle charts in both the UK and Australia. Karen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Karen now lives in Spain where she loves to spend her non-writing time exploring the quaint local towns with her husband, Dave, when she isn’t sunbathing or swimming in the pool, that is.

Follow Karen

Website | Amazon | Facebook | BookBub | Twitter

Thank you for sharing with us, Karen, and all the best for publication day!

Thank you so much for inviting me over to your blog, Sandy!

So, what exactly is #chicklit?

I published my first novel nearly a year ago and I’m about to publish my third. Something I’m often asked—and something I need to define as an author—is what genre I write in.

The long answer is ‘Contemporary Women’s Fiction’, but as this broad category also includes authors like Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult, whose books are brilliant but very different from mine, I tend to answer ‘RomCom’ or ‘Chicklit’.

RomCom is a little limiting, however, because in each of my books I delve into heartbreak, goodbyes, loss, and other harsh realities of life, like alcoholism and infidelity. The other day, Ben asked me if I was okay because I started sobbing while sitting at my computer. “I’m just writing a sad scene,” I said and he left me to it. My characters live and breathe in my head; when they’re heartbroken, so am I.

That said, I also write a lot of humour into my books. The main characters are funny women. They’re self-deprecating, smart and witty. Their inner monologues, where they ‘say’ whatever they like, are some of the funniest parts of the books.

In short, I write them to be relatable, well-rounded, flawed, and fabulous women—like your best friends, your sisters, your cousins/aunts/mums, like you.

So, is Chicklit a more apt description of the genre I write? Yes and no.

Yes, because fans of the genre know what type of book they’re getting when they buy one of mine—and it’s likely they’ll enjoy it. And I’m in good company in this genre. Take a look at the Goodreads list of most popular Chick Lit titles. You’ll notice some famous bestsellers, like Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Devil Wears Prada.

And no, because it’s (become) a loaded term. For those who don’t really know what it is, who are afraid to dip their toe in the pool, who might love my books and others that sit in this category if they actually read them, there can be the perception that Chicklit = fluffy nonsense.

This is not true.

Sure, like in any genre, books in this category span the entire spectrum from outstanding to atrocious, but the best examples of the genre are fantastic reads. And, like any genre, the lines are fluid. It includes everything from laugh-out-loud comedies (a la Bridget Jones) to heartbreaking tales like JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You.

A way I can narrow down my specific corner of the genre further, is to identify the books that would sit next to mine on the shelf, those ‘people-who-bought-this-book-also-bought…’ books.

My fave Chicklit author—the one who I want my books to sit next to the most—is Lindsey Kelk.


She’s written seven (soon to be eight) I Heart books and three Tess Brookes books, as well as several stand-alones. Her writing is fast-paced, funny, heartfelt, and relatable. She’s a full-time author and her books are sold worldwide, and I feel qualified to say this because I’ve read hundreds of Chicklit books, one of the best in the biz.

So, if I was pressed to give the Twitter pitch definition of Chicklit, I would say this:

It’s fiction about women, for women.

That would leave me 204 characters to further explain that men often read and enjoy it, and some of it is written by men, but I stand by my one-liner.

I am also trying (without a lot of traction at the moment) to get ‘travel romance’ to take off as a sub-genre: exploring the transformative effects of travel on the love-weary. But until it becomes mainstream, I’m happy to inhabit my little corner of Chicklit.