August saw Simon & Schuster release the debut novel from retired police officer Karen M. Davis. I recently read and reviewed Sinister Intent, and loved it. It left me with a desire to find out more so I approached Simon & Schuster and Karen was happy to answer some questions for me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Hi Karen, welcome to Beauty and Lace and congratulations on a fabulous debut.
Thank you very much.
What made you decide to become a writer?
My mother was a successful mainstream novelist, the late Lynne Wilding, and she encouraged me to write my stories down when I left the New South Wales police force in 2006. After twenty years of being a uniform cop, a detective and an undercover operative, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress and had no option but to leave the job I loved. Writing started out as my therapy and grew from there.
Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?
I wrote a little book of memoirs that I called “Cop this” and my mother showed it to her agent Selwa Anthony. Selwa encouraged me to turn my real life stories into fiction. This of course was no easy task as I had no idea how to put a book together. By this stage my mother had passed away so I had to figure it out for myself. So I analysed crime books and did a lot of reading and writing. Sinister Intent was four years in the making and was almost completely re-written after the first draft was looked at and thought to “have potential.” In July 2012 after many edits, Simon & Schuster offered me a two book deal. I still have to pinch myself sometimes.
How did you feel the first time you saw your book in print?
Amazed and thrilled. It was incredible, a very surreal moment. I could not believe that it was in print and looked so impressive. I still have trouble comprehending that I wrote it sometimes. Of course I’m very very happy with the outcome. When I see Sinister Intent on the shelves anywhere I feel like laughing because it’s just crazy. I’m very lucky.
How much of Sinister Intent is based on personal experience?
I would say probably around one third of the book is very close to the truth in some way. The story is fictional but some of the things that happen to the main character, Detective Lexie Rogers, are inspired by similar things that happened to me. Some of the characters are also inspired by combinations of people I have met and worked with throughout my career. I suppose you could say that the things I have seen and done definitely give me plenty of ideas for scenes and plots.
Your debut, Sinister Intent, was released August 1st. What can you tell us about it?
Sinister Intent is the story of a young Detective, Lexie Rogers, and her struggle to overcome her demons after a vicious knife attack leaves her traumatised. As the newest member of Bondi Junction detective office, she is determined to prove that the events of the past will not contaminate her future. When a local bikie is killed in what seems to be the beginnings of a bikie war, Lexie’s first murder investigation unearths a sinister world of crime, deceit and misplaced loyalties. Fighting a growing attraction to her partner and unsure of who she can trust, Lexie forms an unlikely alliance with one of the bikies whose life is in jeopardy. Though as the stakes turn personal what Lexie discovers is that she too is in grave danger. She knows too much. What follows is a frantic race to find the killer, before the killer finds her first.
Is this a stand-alone or will there be more about Lexie Rogers and the Bondi Junction Detectives?
It is going to be a series that I am really excited about writing. I love Lexie’s character and that of the other detectives at the fictional Bondi Junction detective’s office. Even the characters that are not so nice I still love to hate and have fun writing about. Lexie has more adventures in book number two that is already completed and I am just starting book number three.
I am left with some questions about Rex of the Devil’s Guardians, are we going to meet him again and have the chance to get answers?
Yes definitely. Rex plays a part in book number two where you learn much more about him. In Sinister Intent I had to keep him rather mysterious so as not to give too much away – and I don’t want to do that now. However, I can assure you that many questions are answered. I want Rex to remain a constant character in the series for as long as it may go for.
Are you working on anything at the moment you can tell us about?
I have been pretty busy with the promotion of Sinister Intent lately but as I said I’m just starting the third book in the Lexie Rogers series. I am at the plotting stage and have done a very rough draft of the first few chapters. The story is still developing in my head but I’m very excited about it. I have a multitude of “war stories” from my own experiences to throw at Lexie yet.
What made you choose your setting?
My agent told me to write what I know and love so I suppose it came naturally to write crime and have the setting in Sydney. Working as a cop since the age of nineteen, almost straight out of school, I certainly know a fair bit about the police world and the criminals that inhabit it. Having lived in Sydney all my life and having worked at Newtown, around Kings Cross and the eastern suburbs – including living at Bronte for ten years – it seemed the easiest option. I know those areas and it also helps that the eastern beaches are internationally known as well as a picturesque setting for a novel.
What does being a woman mean to you?
I love being a woman and I love being a mother. I like feminine women who are also strong, confident and independent, who will speak their mind without arrogance. I strive to be like that and am doing my best to bring my two teenage daughters up to believe they can do anything they so desire if they put the work in. I’ve never understood petty jealousies regarding looks or assets between groups of women. I think we should all stick together and help each other achieve our goals, not knock each other down. I’m all for sisterhood.
Thank you so much for your time Karen, now I am even more impatient for the next book…