Interview with Karen Mason

How do you approach cover design?
I have a theme (as everyone can see!). I like the single female on the cover that encapsulates the essence of one of my main characters. I took inspiration from the 1970s Roxy Music album covers with the impossibly beautiful girls with glossy, pouting lips and alluring eyes. I like to think my covers are a thing of beauty, and I also like to choose a font that relative to the time period of the novel.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Jane Eyre - because it is the ultimate love story, and of the triumph of the meek. I love that she ends up the one with the power, both financial and physical. And Rochester is so sexy!!
Star Dreams by June Flaum Singer - this book was very influential to me. It's loosely based around Jackie Kennedy, but with added storylines. It's quite obscure, but I love it!
Lace by Shirley Conran - the first grown up book I ever read.
The Profession of Violence by John Pearson - the biography of the Kray Twins. Anyone who reads my books will know that there is usually a crime element, be it a seedy 1950s club, or a murder. I also write my Phillipa Hardcastle books.
Stuart a Life Backwards by Alexander Masters - a wonderfully touching portrait of a homeless man which makes you think twice about those who are living on the streets.
What do you read for pleasure?
Crime novels, rubbish celebrity magazines and the Daily Mail website (although that's usually to shout at it and mentally correct the hundreds of typos that litter it!)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a tablet and unfortunately Kindle doesn't work, so I use the Kobo app.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Giving away my books for free. If you make one of the books in a series, people will usually end up buying the rest of the books, and if they like them, they will end up buying your other books.
Describe your desk
I don't have one. I write on my laptop, on a laptray, on my sofa.
When did you first start writing?
When I was about four or five. I used to ask my mum to buy me exercise books so I could draw stories and from what I recall, they were usually quite grown up in content.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's the latest instalment of the Never Forget saga. It's the next generation of women, based in 1978 and reflects the choices girls of that generation had - choices their mothers and grandmothers never had.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was fed up of being rejected by agents. I became an indie author around the time that there was a proliferation of celebrity, ghost written books, which angered me and made me realise that a lot of publishers put the lure of profit over quality, so, with tremendous faith in myself, I published Summerset via Lulu five years ago and I have no regrets. But that doesn't mean I won't go down the traditional route in the future.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Greatly. Being distributed to sites such as Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Sony and Kobo has widened my audience and I have to say, I probably have more readers in the US than I do in the UK. Interestingly, I have friends who are traditionally published authors and they have no audience in the US because their books haven't been released over there, whereas with Smashwords, I have been able to reach a worldwide audience with very little effort
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to inhabit worlds that I haven't lived in, via my head. Researching interesting subjects and interpreting them in my own way. After a long day at work, it's nice to hunkle down on the bus with my tablet, visit my 'mind palace' and write, and by the time I'm done, I'll leave the palace, shut the door and I'm home!
Who are your favorite authors?
Lesley Pearse, Barbara Vine, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jackie Collins, Mark Billingham and Louise Bagshawe.
What is your writing process?
I write it all down in linear order, usually it's full of errors and structurally weird. Then I quite often leave it and work on something else, then go back, read the work through and make basic edits. Then I will print it out as a paperback book as it's easier to read a book to get an idea of what it will read like when published. I edit it then, then usually it goes to my editor (mum - she's brutal), then back to me, then I read it edit, read it edit and it goes on and on until I hope the mistakes are few and far between and the story makes sense. I think when it gets to the point when you've read the story so often that you hate it, then you have probably reached publishing point.
Published 2013-09-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Forever Live and Die
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 84,800. Language: English. Published: September 26, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
When former MI5 agent Jane Raven sees a man murdered whilst on the London Eye, she fears she is beginning to lose her mind. Her only hope comes in the form of faded glamour girl, Cheri Hughes. But Cheri is not all what she seems and a game of cat and mouse quickly ensues, with only one woman coming out victorious.
The Line of Passion
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 164,940. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Historical
Three generations of women, all ruled by their hearts. One, a poor girl who has married above her station but risks it all by falling in love with a penniless poet. Her daughter a beautiful actress who is facing a mid-life crisis and coming to terms with her sexuality, and finally her daughter. themarried MP who falls in love with another man, on the verge of her becoming Prime Minister
Out of Darkness
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 129,050. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
How long must a woman atone for her sins before she can move from out of the dark into light? Former Suffragette and unmarried mother Amelia Hicks is forced from her exile into London Society, when her beloved aunt dies. Finally allowed to blossom, she finds love, a purpose and quite possibly the son she gave away on the day he was born.
Tainted Love
Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 71,310. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Phillipa is asked to investigate a historical allegation of rape. The problem is, the victim committed suicide in 1990 and the men accused of the crime have spent decades using their power and influence to evade justice. Phillipa quickly realises she has bitten off more than she can chew and both herself and those she loves could be in serious danger.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 59,230. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Phillipa has a battle on her hands, juggling the mysterious case of a missing woman who disappeared at the same time as a beautiful MP's assistant, and trying to find the truth behind the recent riots that have been plaguing South London. Sending her trusty assistant Sam into his first undercover mission, she wonders if she has bitten off more than she can chew.
Rise Like a Phoenix
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 159,020. Language: English. Published: July 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
The last instalment of the Never Forget Saga Sisters Angel and Rio are set for their final showdown. Angel is determined to gain control of Titan Records – her mother’s media empire, and Rio is doing all she can to cling onto it. With Angel trying to hold to her sanity, and Rio’s lack of confidence, crippling her, it could be anyone’s game. Who will prove victorious in this battle that has raged
Better the Devil You Know
Series: Never Forget. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 133,870. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
Angel and Rio are now young adults, trying to forge their way in the world, all the while carrying on the legacy of resentment and revenge that has blighted the lives of the generations before them. Rio escapes America, moving to England and finding success, love and heartache. Angel tries to make it as a rock star, all the while battling the childhood demons that torment her.
Where The Heart Is
Series: Never Forget, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 109,350. Language: English. Published: May 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » General
Book 5 of the Never Forget saga. Ellie and Viva are now successful businesswomen, battling to keep their marriages, families and careers. In the greedy 1980s, can these two young women really have it all? Or will sacrifices have to be made?
The Lucky Ones
Series: Never Forget, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 149,820. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » General
Book 4 of the Never Forget Saga. Ellie and Viva, daughters of sisters Annie Holland and Iris Lindholm are now eighteen and desperate to make their way in the world without the help of their famous mothers. Fate brings the cousins together and a tentative friendship is formed, but the feud that has divided their family for years threatens to break the fragile bond that has been forged between them.
Teenage Kicks
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 48,830. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
When Phillipa Hardcastle is given the task of finding out who sent an anonymous email to Levi O'Neill - Crime Editor of The Sunday Wire, claiming to be from the killer of two recently murdered radio DJs, she uncovers an horrific secret linking the men; and faces a race against time to stop another murder from happening - this time on live television.
Never Tear Us Apart
Series: Never Forget, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 110,980. Language: English. Published: April 19, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
Book Three of the Never Forget Saga. Sisters Annie Holland and Iris Lindholm continue their bitter feud. Can motherhood and the success they find in the world of fashion change them? Or are the wounds both women carry from childhood, too deep to ever repair their relationship?
The Exciting Life
Series: Never Forget, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 65,560. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » General
The sequel to Never Forget. Annie and Kenneth Holland, the brother and sister adopted by Nesta Villiers at the beginning of the second world war are now young adults. Annie widowed and debt ridden after the suicide of her racing driver husband, and Kenneth running Tanner Beresford, his aunt's company. Into their lives comes the mysterious Iris Lindholm, and things will never be the same again.
Paradise Lost
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 112,830. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
A new family saga from Karen Mason. All her adult life, Evie Wallis has held the secret that she is the true heir to Barnham House, the stately home nicknamed 'Paradise' because of its beauty. When she finally gets the chance to visit the house, a chain of events occur that make her question if her inheritance is what she really wants.
Scorpio Rising (A Phillipa Hardcastle Mystery)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 51,770. Language: English. Published: July 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
When private investigator Phillipa Hardcastle is accidentally handed the wrong bag, she finds herself embroiled in a case involving an amateur plastic surgeon who is disfiguring young girls. Is the person operating alone or are they part of a bigger organisation? Whatever the answer, Phillipa suddenly finds herself in more danger than she's been in a long time.
Never Forget
Series: Never Forget, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 130,310. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
1912 and on-board the Titanic, two very different women are embarking on journeys that will change the rest of their lives. Alice is the poor, pregnant girl running away with her criminal boyfriend. Nesta is the wealthy but barren wife of a cruel man who is threatening to divorce her. When the mighty ship sinks, a terrible crime is committed which means these women's lives are entwined forever.
Two Become One
Price: $1.75 USD. Words: 140,980. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
What would you do if you were told your long lost twin is actually one of the most famous and well-loved women in the world? That is what happens to 'bad-girl' Farrah O'Rourke, who is requested to go to the bedside of Antonia Smedley, the much-adored wife of the Mayor of London, who, at just thirty-eight, is dying of cancer. What will happen when these two very different women meet?
Mad About The Boy
Price: Free! Words: 108,730. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Former soap queen Elizabeth Maine is about to make her glorious comeback when she is suddenly faced with ghosts from her past, who threaten to expose the lies she has surrounded herself with over the years. She feels the time has come to tell the world the truth and write her biography, telling all about her traumatic childhood and the secrets she has kept hidden for so long.
Mrs Osbourne Regrets
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 29,320. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
When a British MP is exposed as homosexual, his wife Diana finds herself a social outcast. Her perfect 1950s, upper-class world is blown apart and she learns a lot about herself, motherhood, love and what is really important to her.
The True Tale of Jezebel Cole
Price: Free! Words: 86,390. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
When world famous novelist Patty Belleville goes missing, her daughter goes on a quest to uncover the real story behind her mother's disappearance and on the way discovers some horrific truths about the woman who has always been so distant with her. Will she ever find Patty? Or has something more sinister happened to her?
Only You
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 135,280. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
The epic tale of Violet Spencer, a woman who rises from humble shop girl to the head of one of the world's biggest cosmetic companies. After surviving heartache, loss and an horrific attack, she faces her biggest challenge - holding onto her precious company when it's threatened with takeover.