Monday, January 5, 2015

Broken Bonds by Karen Harper | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Author Interview, and Giveaway

The Blurb

Three very different sisters…
          Three desirable, dangerous men…
          Three endangered lives…
THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY is set in Appalachia in a small town where the enemy is us.

Haunted by the past…

Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad — even deadly — memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.

Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed. 

Title: Broken Bonds
Author: Karen Harper
Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 384
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle

For More Information

Other books in the trilogy include:

Shattered Secrets:

“Harper, a master of suspense, keeps readers guessing about crime and love until the very end.”  --Booklist, starred review on Fall from Pride.

ISBN-13: 9780778316473
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: MIRA
Publication date: 8/26/2014
Series: Cold Creek Series , #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 400

Sales links:
Barnes and Noble 

Forbidden Ground:

“Masterfully drawing the reader in, Harper has delivered the best, once again.”  --Suspense Magazine on Upon a Winter’s Night.

ISBN-13: 9780778316701
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: MIRA
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Series: Cold Creek Series , #2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 352

The Excerpt

As she made the next sharp turn, Char gasped. A white truck with Lake Azure, Inc. painted on its side was tipped nearly off the cliff, right where the school bus stopped for the kids who lived above. She’d heard a horn honk long and loud a few minutes earlier. Maybe the truck missed the last turn and spun out, since its rear, not its front, was dangling over the edge, propped up by two trees. No other vehicle was nearby to help.

She put her emergency blinkers on and pulled as close to the cliff face as she could. She jumped down from her truck and ran across the road toward the truck. A man was inside!

“What should I do?” she shouted, her voice shrill. It sounded like a stupid question. She had to get the man out of his truck before it crashed over the edge.

The bitter, strong wind ripped at her hair and jacket. What if a blast of air tipped him off? Or maybe even if he moved. She’d swear the two tree trunks that held his truck were shaking as hard as she was. 

She could hear the engine was still running. The driver opened an automatic window.

“A guy in a truck shoved me off,” he shouted. “Meant to. I don’t have any traction. I’m afraid if I shift my weight or open a door to jump out, I’ll send it over.”

The fact someone had done this on purpose stunned her. What was going on? If her cell phone worked up here, she’d call her brother-in-law, the county sheriff, for help, but she was on her own. It wouldn’t help to go back up for help from Elinor and Penny.

“Don’t move until I get something you can hang on to if the truck goes. I have some jump ropes I can tie together. Those trees are shaky.”

I’m shaky. Hurry!”

She ran to her truck and knotted together the three jump ropes she had, tying square knots because she knew they would hold. But she’d never be able to balance the man’s weight if the truck went over the edge.

“I’ve got ropes here, but I’ll have to tie the end to a tree. I don’t dare drive close enough to you to tie it to my truck. It would never stretch that far.”

She knotted it around the trunk of a pine tree that looked sturdy enough, though that almost took the length of one rope. This wasn’t going to work.

A grinding sound, then a crunch reverberated as the truck seemed to jerk once then settled closer to the cliff edge.

“Now or never!” he shouted and opened his door fast.

Interview with the Author

I have a special guest in the studio today.  
Please help me welcome Karen Harper!

Did you have a specific inspiration for this book?

I love the area the book is set in — the edge of Appalachia.  I spent four years near this area when I first went to college.  The area is beautiful but dangerous, perfect for a romantic suspense story.  Also, I love small towns, and Cold Creek is one with tensions and secrets — and a fascinating hero who finally meets his match in Charlene Lockwood.  I must admit I created Cold Creek, but based it on a town in the area I know well.  But it’s easier to put fictional people in a fictional town.

Do you have a favorite character in this book? 

I always am partial to my heroines, in this case, Char Lockwood, a very independent-minded social worker with a soft spot for Appalachian children,  I find it intriguing to live inside the characters’ heads to learn what makes them tick.  Of course, finding the perfect man for my heroines is a challenge.

Also, writing about small towns means secondary characters who are quite eccentric — and some who are dangerous, even possibly a killer or kidnapper.  The sad thing about crimes in small towns is the enemy is often ‘us,’ that is, someone related or familiar, and that brings in treachery and betrayal.  When everyone pretty much knows everyone, crimes are often not impersonal.

What is the best part of being an author?

Great question, as I love being an author and left a job I loved as a high school English teacher to write full time.  I would say “being in the book” is the best part, that is, discovering as I write the story for the first time (not revisions) what the main characters are really like.  They come alive and surprise me, talking, acting, hating, loving.  It is so exciting to see the people in the book emerge as real.  The act of creativity for a writer, I’d say, is the best part of being an author.  (Of course, there’s nothing like a commute to work that is about 20 steps across my living room to my office!)

Do you prefer to write books that are in a series, or stand-alone books?

I enjoy both.  Trilogies seem a great length — something like a TV miniseries.  In THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY each book belongs to one of three very different but supportive sisters.  In these novels, I have more time to develop each Lockwood sister:  Tess, Kate and Char have their own book, their own dangerous adventure and romance.  On the other hand, stand-alones are easier because everything can be drawn together in a shorter space instead of continuing story lines and character development.

What are you currently reading?

I must admit I usually binge read fiction between writing my own books.  While I’m writing, it’s often for background research.  For example, for BROKEN BONDS, I had to study up on poverty in Appalachia (sadly, it still exists); fracking (because one of the possible villains is into that).  For book #1 in the trilogy I read up on childhood trauma and small town sheriffs.  For book #2, FORBIDDEN GROUND, I studied ancient, haunting Indian mounds.  I also try to keep up with newspapers to get ideas for scary situations I could use. 

If I even tried to keep read up-to-date books by my author friends, I’d probably never have time to write!  I love biographies and memoirs too, often historical ones.  I recently finished a book called FOUR SISTERS by Helen Rappaport, the story of the last Russian czar’s family.  Fascinating young women with luxurious lives caught up in a terrible time.

Do you have any hobbies other than reading?

I grow African violets, although I haven’t yet entered them in any shows.  During growing seasons in Ohio, I help my husband with our veggie garden — tomatoes, peppers and herbs, mostly.  My 93-year-old mother lives nearby, and I spend as much time as I can with her, though she’s hardly a hobby.  She loves to read and can still handle regular-sized print!

If you could have a dinner party and invite four authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite, and why?

Charlotte Bronte, since I love her characters in Jane Eyre.  Shakespeare since I taught his plays for years and since I wrote a book about the love of his life (not his wife!) in Mistress Shakespeare.  And King David from the Bible because I love the beautiful, inspiring poetry in The Book of Psalms.  No matter what I write about, it seems there’s always a quote from Psalms that perfectly ties in to the good or evil I write about in my rom/sus novels.

What four items do you always have in your fridge or pantry?

I have to admit I’m a chocolate-holic.  I always have the darkest chocolate I can find, usually in bar form.  I don’t feel guilty about that — it’s good for you.  Call it another vegetable!  And since I’m thinking about it, I need a piece of Lindt 85% Cocoa, extra dark, right now.  Also, I love cranberry juice.  And I have cashews around — lightly salted.

Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?

Just that I love my work and feel blessed to be able to say that.  I’ve been making up stories in my head and closely observing people’s lives for as long as I can remember. 

Once a reader asked me and another author (The other writer was very elderly—she had even known Margaret Mitchell when she worked for The Atlanta Constitution!) “Where do you writers get your ideas?”  I was going to give my school teacher type answer that I get ideas off the page (reading for fun or research) or off the wall (meaning anywhere I stumble on them.) 

But the other writer said very loudly, “Honey, you’re either born with ideas or you’re not!”  And she was right.  People have different talents and gifts.  For fiction writers, it’s always having a story or character or dialogue or place or plot idea knocking around in your mind to get out.  I hope I used that well in the trials and triumphs of the three Lockwood sisters and the men they love in THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY.


Well, that's all the time we have for today's interview.  Thank you so much, Karen, for visiting the Jane Reads studio, and thank you to our great studio audience!  I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did.

The Author

About Karen Harper

A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen's books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. Karen has given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Broken Bonds, the third book in the Cold Creek Trilogy.

For More Information

The Giveaway

Karen Harris is giving away 10 sets of the Cold Creek Trilogy!

If you enjoyed this post, please show your appreciation by sharing it.