Sunday, July 29, 2012

Spotlight & Giveaway: The CEO'S Unexpected Proposal by Karen Rose Smith

Today it is my Pleasure to Welcome Harlequin Special Edition author Karen Rose Smith to HarlequinJunkie!

Karen is here to tell us about her brand new release The CEO'S Unexpected Proposal 

Sara: If you had to sum up The CEO'S Unexpected Proposal….
Karen: My latest release is The CEO'S Unexpected Proposal.  Mikala and Dawson were friends back in high school. The night of the prom Dawson had been Mikala's white knight and she never forgot that or the way he made her feel. They are reunited at their fifteenth year high school reunion and Dawson asks Mikala, who is a music therapist, for help with his son.  As Mikala leads ten-year-old Luke on a journey to emotional healing, she leads herself and Dawson, too. But old wounds form scars that are difficult to forget. They have to leave the past behind to find love, trust and their happily-ever-after.

Sara:What sparked the idea for your novel “The CEO'S Unexpected ProposalKaren: Music can lift me up, energize and heal. I wanted to use all of those feelings in a book.

Sara:How did you come up with character in this book?
Mikala has a lot of me in her.
Karen: She appeared in my imagination almost fully developed. I added details to her background that would explain how she felt about the world and her relationships with people in it. 

Sara:How did you come up with the title?Karen: The title was one in a list I gave my editor and embodied themes in the book. My working title had been A DANCE WITH HER PRINCE CHARMING. 

Sara:What were the challenges you faced in bringing this book to life?Karen: The emotional content was, at times, challenging.  I wanted to make the situation and Luke's therapy honest and real.

Sara:Please Tell us  a little bit about yourself...

Karen: An only child, I delved into books at an early age. I learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, and wished I could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though I escaped often into story worlds, I had many aunts, uncles and cousins around me on weekends. My sense of family and relationships began there.  Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in my novels along with couples finding true love.

As my couples fall in love I like to use different settings. Many of my first releases were set around my home town in Pennsylvania. Over 80 books later, I now enjoy settings like Northern Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming where the landscape can become as integral to the plot as another character. There is something about canyons, mountains and the ocean that give me a sense of awe and I like to bring that to my romances.

Readers often ask me about my past times. I have herb, flower and vegetable gardens that help me relax. In the winter, I cook rather than garden! And year round I spend most of my time with my husband, as well as my two cats who are my constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding me life isn't all about work. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Sara: What inspired you to write your first book? How long did it take you to publish your first book? 
Karen: I was used to an exercise routine of biking, swimming and aerobics when I started having back pain. I was confined to bed rest and I needed a creative and emotional outlet. I turned to writing. I wrote for six years and finished thirteen manuscripts before I was published. Then I sold two books in one week to two different companies.

Sara: How did you choose the genre you write in?
Karen: Relationships have always fascinated me. I read teenage romances, then Emilie Loring and Harlequins. It just seemed to be the most natural genre for me to write.

Sara: Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
 Karen: That depends on the book. In my latest release The CEO'S Unexpected Proposal, I knew I wanted to write about a heroine who was a music therapist. I developed the story around her. But in my ebook AWAYS DEVOTED, a mystery/romance, I thought about the story first then developed the characters around that.

Sara: What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us? Is this book part of a series?
 Karen: I'm working on two projects at once--a new series for Harlequin Special Edition--The Mommy Club (women helping parents in need of a helping hand), as well as a new mystery series for Kensington tentatively called Staged To Death. It's a 3 book series about a home stager who stages high-end houses. Caprice De Luca takes in stray animals, shops in a vintage store, likes to cook and loves her big Italian family, though they often interfere in her life.

Sara: Take us through a typical day in the life of “Author”
 Karen: Writing, tweeting, blogging, working on promo, gardening, writing, relaxing with hubby, writing

On a lighter note... 

Sara: Would you rather be ugly and loved or beautiful and lonely?
 Karen: Definitely ugly and loved.
a.  Rather find true love or be filthy rich?
 Karen: Find true love.

b. Invent an item that everybody uses or a song that everybody hums?
 Karen: I do have a practical side, too. If I invented an item everyone uses, I'd probably be rich! Everybody humming one song might not do that.:)

c.  Have a relationship with someone 10 years younger or 10 yrs older?
Karen: Ten years younger.

d. Be deaf or blind?
Karen: This is a tough one. For a few years, because of the result of a medication, I developed severe cataracts. I listened to TV rather than watched, listened to books on tape instead of reading. I couldn't see well across a room but I could hear voices, hear loved ones' words, develop listening skills to make up for what I couldn't see. I think I would rather be blind and stay connected to the rest of the world with words. 

e. Sing in the rain or dance in the streets
Karen: Sing in the rain. SINGING IN THE RAIN is one of my favorite movies.
Sara: If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Karen: Consistently Yours
Sara: Your favorite quotes?
Karen: Ralph Waldo Emerson.  "None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone."
"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."

Sara:  What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author? 
Karen:A songwriter
Sara: If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?
Karen: Something creamy with a bit of zing.

Sara: Which super power do you like to have and why?
Karen: I'd like to be able to read other people's know their feelings and motives. But I'd also want to be able to turn it on and off so I wouldn't get overloaded!

Sara: What one thing that has happened in your life has made the biggest impact on who you are today?
Karen: My marriage. Because of it I have experienced unconditional love. I've also learned how to give it.

Karen thanks for this wonderful interview.

Karen will be giving away copies of her book The CEO'S Unexpected Proposal 
To enter the Giveway: Please enter your email in the Rafflecopter below and Leave a comment for Karen on your thoughts on the book or A proposal story if you have one to share.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. No, I don't. Any proposal that shows care would be nice.

  2. Would love to win a copy. I enjoy Harlequin books

  3. Music has always been an important part of my life (although it doesn't have a starring role). I love being able to read about people that can combine their jobs with something they really to do.

  4. When my husband proposed to me he did it twice. First time was stark naked (no idea to this day where he hidden the ring) and then in a Wetherspoons pub in Canterbury full of students. Married 6 years in August

  5. I don't have a proposal story for myself but I have one from my sister. When my sister was proposed by her husband, he threw the ring up in the air at her and told her to catch. Anyone who is throwing something at you and tell you to catch, you catch it. That's what my sister did until she realized it was a diamond ring. Her husband got on one knee and asked her to marry him. My sister is married 10 years today.

    1. Perfect day to answer this question Kai :)

  6. My father first proposed to my mother when he was 16 and my mother 14. World War II arrived and got in the way of a budding friendship and romance. When my father was stationed in New Guinea for the war, my mother realised that she would miss him terribly if he did NOT come back! My father proposed a second time, almost 10 years after the first. My mother said ‘yes’ and they had their fairytale wedding. Now, 65+ years later, they still hold hands when they are out and about.

    1. Aww...adorable! thanks for sharing Mary

  7. My husband's proposal was not too exciting but it was very sweet! We didn't have much money, but we went out to eat and he proposed in the car before we went in to eat! ( I think he was nervous and wanted to get it over with!)

  8. I loved reading the proposal stories. I thought I'd add mine. When I got home from work on my college summer break, my boyfriend was at my family's house to visit for the weekend. When I went up to my room to change, I found my engagement ring on a yellow rose on my bed. We've been married 41 years this summer. I'm so glad all of you shared your stories with me.

  9. Hi Karen, I'm a big fan of your books, especially your romance suspense books. But have to admit, that I haven't read your romance/harlequin book before. But I'd love to, and the story sounds nice. I don't have any special story about proposal, I don't even remember how my husband proposed me *big grin*. He's not a romantic person. But I don't mind at all, because he's willing to wait for me since I was in high school till I said I was ready for him, and that's a long waiting for him, because he's 10 years older than me :)

  10. This is a great book. I'll waiting to read this book.
    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  11. Love proposal stories. I met my husband on a blind date, and we were engaged 4 days later. He was in the navy at the time. I spent a week at my brother's in Virginia in January, he came to Illinois for a week in February. I went back to Virginia a week before the wedding in March. We have been married for 40 years now.

  12. My husband proposal i just remember, when first i take him to my house, he'd say to my mom that he wanna serious with me. and in the periode 1 years, im married with him. :D

  13. This sounds like a great book. It's always nice to read a story about helping the little ones in some way and also helping/healing themselves and finding love at the same time. Can't wait to look into and read more about this book.

  14. i don't have

    sounds a great book and love the cover, so sweet :

  15. Love reunion stories. This sounds sweet.

  16. Thanks for sharing all of your stories. I really like reading about proposals. I forgot to mention my husband did ask my dad's permission to marry me before he left the ring on the rose. Do any of you watch the Bachelorette? I think I watch to get to that proposal.

  17. I've written romance for the past 20 years. I'll be breaking out to mystery in 2013. But I hope to include a touch of romance in that, too.

  18. I like the cover of the book, especially the blue dress. Ooh, you're gonna write mysteries? Will they be cozies? Those are my favorite kind of books. I liked the interview; it was interesting.

  19. Yes, I'll be writing a series of cozy mysteries. My sleuth comes from a big Italian family, likes to cook, take in stray animals and is a home-stager for high-end clients. I'm really excited about the series and it's a challenge to do something so different from what I'm used to.

  20. i have fallen in love with ur books they all are so good. ur great karen

  21. well, because I never being proposed before, so I don't have any story about it. But I love proposal stories and hope that the day will come when a man in my future life will come and propose me in romantic way....

    about the book, the story sound good and I love the cover too.
    hoping that I have the chance to enjoy the story by winning this giveaway.

    Thank you, Karen

  22. Angie--Thanks so much for your kind comments. I appreciate them.

    Funzee Shu--I hope you do have a proposal story in the future and find the happily-ever-after I write about.