Karen Truesdell Riehl


Karen Truesdell Riehl's writing achievements are remarkable, given the award-winning author's lifelong battle with dyslexia. She was unable to read until the age of ten. Her published works now include a 2015 San Diego Book Awards winner, Helga: Growing Up in Hitler's Germany. Her other books include a memoir, Love and Madness: My Private Years with George C. Scott, telling of her 30-year hidden liaison with the international film star, six novels, eight plays and a radio comedy series, The Quibbles, available from ArtAge Publications at http://www.seniortheatre.com/product/the-quibbles-radio-shows/. Her children's play, Alice in Cyberland, was an award winner in the National Southwest Writers Contest.

Helga was an elementary school librarian, a 1948 German immigrant, when the author met her in 1977. Asked about her experience during the war, Helga quietly revealed she had been a "Jugend," a member of Hitler's child army.Ten-year-old Helga was forced to join the Hitler Youth weekly meetings. Lies and treats were used to build her allegiance to the Fuhrer. As the war drew nearer to her home in Berlin, Helga was sent away to a Youth Training Camp. Her slow disillusionment and harrowing escape home, is a coming-of-age story of a young girl's survival of Nazi mind control. Helga: Growing Up in Hitler's Germany was a 2015 San Diego Book Awards winner.

In the romance novel, Hello Again, a finalist in the 2015 San Diego Book Awards, Shannon Taggert falls in love with Nate, a graduate student teaching assistant. But there's another woman in Nate's life, Tally, the daughter of Walter, his mentor and benefactor. Before meeting Shannon, as Walter lay dying, Nate promised to marry his daughter.

The Ghosts of Fort Ord was inspired by the author's month-long stay near the remains of the abandoned military base.

After having lived for several years in Terre Haute, Indiana, the author was inspired to write a story about scandals in a fictional small town, Freedom's Sins.

Saturday Night Dance Club, was inspired by a true story of four couples, from the 1900's to 1930's, touched by the Great War, organized crime, the Depression and the threat of another war, finding sanctuary in their weekly dance club.

Drawing from her personal experience, Karen wrote Bad Girl: A Play. The Safe Haven Home for Unwed Mothers provides shelter from a judgmental society, but reveals its hypocrisy as well. The young women from all levels of society, rich and poor, share only their shame.

Many overnight weekend getaways on the famous Queen Mary produced her latest novel, The Ghosts of the Queen Mary.

Karen loves to hear from readers of her books.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenisriehl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.riehl.52
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/KarenTruesdellRiehl

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My hometown is Seattle, Washington, the setting for Saturday Night Dance Club. You can read about my 7-months in New York, living with an actor who later became a film star, in my memoir, Love and Madness: My Private Years with George C. Scott. In Freedoms Sins I drew inspiration to write a novel about small town scandal from living in New England and Terre Haute, Indiana. I now live in Carlsbad, California, one of the settings for my latest two novels, Hello Again and The Ghosts of Fort Ord. Experiencing life in different regions of the country widens my understanding of the characters I create.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Hello Again, a romance novel, is currently available as a preorder from Smashwords, with a publication date scheduled for Valentine's Day, 2014. It's the story of Shannon, a young woman about to graduate from college, who falls in love with Nate, a graduate student teaching assistant. Shortly before graduation day Shannon discovers Nate is engaged to marry Tally, the daughter of a man who's been like a father to him after his own father died. Nate promises to break his engagement when he heads back home to see Tally. But fate and faint-heartedness get in the way of that promise. Shannon discovers she's pregnant. Nate marries Tally, and Shannon raises their son alone, telling him his father is dead. After twenty years of separation, fate steps in again to bring Shannon and Nate back together, this time carrying with them the baggage of lies and broken promises.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Karen Truesdell Riehl online

Where to buy in print


Bad Girl
Price: Free! Words: 15,670. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General
A story of eight young women in a home for unwed mothers in 1954.
Hidden: Diary of a Bad Girl
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 25,180. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Truesdell Riehl's memoir, spanning 62 years of her life, reveals how she had to hide her stay in a home for unwed mothers during the judgmental 1950's, broke free, only to hide her love affair with a returning Vietnam veteran, while being married to a wealthy, socially prominent man, followed by years of hiding her past from family and friends.
The Inn Game and Sins of Kot-Do-Init
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 30,150. Language: English. Published: February 9, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Set in 1970, this is the whimsical story of the owners of a ski resort in the fictional village of Kot-Do-Init, who try to entertain vacationers while small town gossip and the hunt for a madman swirl about them. Jim White's death from a fall from a skimobile while riding it late at night with another man's wife places the town's wealthy playboy under suspicion.
Six Women
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 33,910. Language: English. Published: June 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Feminist
The Chester Writers Club of Chester, California, established thirteen years ago by six women who met in a local community college writing class, meet the last Thursday of each month at noon. Their ages range from 42 to 93. Through the common threads of hardship and pain expressed in their writing, readers gain insight into the lives of the women of the book club — and possibly even their own.
Dancing Bears and Messy Pigs
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,520. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2016. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables
Dancing Bears and Messy Pigs is a fairy tale play for children.
Two Plays For Children
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,960. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2015. Categories: Plays » American / African American, Plays » Women Authors
These two children's plays, royalty-free comedic fairy tales, Alice in Cyberland and The Emperor's New Clothes, may be performed by actors of all ages, featuring audience participation.
Deception's Sins: A Roger Sundbee Mystery
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 33,430. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Roger Sundbee arrived on Deception Island after a failed attempt at writing a tell-all book about the residents of Freedom, Indiana, (Freedom's Sins). The small island off the coast of Washington seemed to be the perfect place for a fresh start. But when the town coroner's dead body is found on the beach, and Roger is the last person to be seen with him alive, he becomes the prime suspect.
Ghosts of the Queen Mary
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 52,080. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Toots, a writer of sexy romance novels, and Max, both in their sixties, enjoy a weekend “cruise” on the Queen Mary, a ship docked for forty years in Long Beach, California and thought to be haunted. At dinner in Sir Winston's Restaurant, the couple experience a ghost sighting of their own. It's the Duke and Duchess of Windsor!
Helga: Growing Up in Hitler's Germany
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 58,600. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Ten-year-old Helga is forced to join the Hitler youth weekly meetings. Lies and treats are used to build her allegiance to the Fuhrer. As the war draws nearer to Berlin, Helga is sent away to a Youth Training Camp. Her slow disillusionment and harrowing escape home, is a coming-of-age story of a young girl's survival of Nazi mind control. A 2015 San Diego Book Awards Winner.
Bad Girl: A Play
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 15,680. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2014. Categories: Plays » Women Authors
From the playwright... I wrote this play as a reminder of the harsh, unforgiving times that were the 1950’s, when uncomfortable words and actions were swept under the rug. If the dialogue sounds last century, or events seem improbable, we can be grateful they do. It's a fictionalized account of what happened to "girls in trouble." But the story is true. I lived it.
Hello Again
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 66,090. Language: English. Published: February 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
During her final semester at a San Diego university, Shannon falls in love with Nate, a graduate student teaching assistant. Before saying goodbye for the summer, the two pledge a lasting love. But there's another woman in Nate's life back in his Boston hometown. Tally is the daughter of his mentor and benefactor, Walter. Nate vowed to Walter on his deathbed that he'd marry his daughter.
Saturday Night Dance Club
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 67,930. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Biographical
Pearl's young world is shattered when Papa orders her to leave home. She takes with her the secret of catching Papa in the pantry with the maid. Pearl finds a job in the city. On weekends she heads downtown to the Canteen to volunteer as a "suitable young lady" to dance with the boys in uniform. Pearl considers this her patriotic duty --until Will sweeps her into his arms and heart.
Freedom's Sins
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 66,770. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
The author of a bestselling memoir, Love and Madness, My Private Years With George C. Scott, Karen Truesdell Riehl turns to fiction in this tale of love, sex, suicide and scandal in a small town in Indiana.The charred remains of the Cameron house is the site of an unsolved arson fire, evoking fear and fascination in those with hidden connections to it.
Love and Madness: My Private Years with George C. Scott
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 88,250. Language: English. Published: July 1, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Film and theater audiences were attracted to George C. Scott's powerful stage presence and charisma, as was Karen Truesdell, a Stephens College theatre student. After performing with him on stage, a long term love relationship developed. Her liaison with Scott spanned 30 years as his hidden mistress and mother of his child. Truesdell Riehl's account makes a compelling page turner.
The Ghosts of Fort Ord
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 34,160. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
After she becomes pregnant with twins, Olivia Bauer is haunted by ghostly dreams of dead soldiers. Her husband Michael passes them off as nothing more than the result of indigestion. He doesn't believe in ghosts. Olivia and Michael move to an area next to an abandoned military base. As she explores the ruins of old Fort Ord, Olivia's recurring nightmare is about to become a reality.

Karen Truesdell Riehl's tag cloud

1930 depression    1950s    1950s culture    1970s    adult love    any age cast    aryan myth    audience participation    bigotry    broadway stars    broken promises    casualties of war    celebrity scandals    children 1 to 10    childrens plays    coming of age    dyslexia    extramarital affairs    fairy tales    families and relationships    families during war    families in crisis    film celebrities    forgiveness and redemption    fort ord    friend relationships    george c scott    ghosts    ghosts funny    gossips    grandparents and grandchildren    hardship to happiness    hiding secrets    hitlers germany    home for unwed mothers    homes for unwed mothers    hotel business    humorous kids play    hypocrisy    indiana    inspirational us history    judgemental    kids play with a moral    lasting friendships    love again romance    love relationships    loyalty    male predators    marriage and humor    marriage and love    mothers raising boys    mystery adult    mystery and romance series    mystery and thriller    nazi germany    overcoming hardship    patton    plays    pregnant teenagers    priest pedophiles    prohibition era    propaganda    psychics    quirky humor    rape    regrets    revenge mission    san diego    scandal    scandalous    scandals    seattle    self esteem    seniors whimsical    sex after sixty    ski resort    small town    spousal abuse    tales for children    the holocaust    town legends    townsfolk    unwed mother    unwed mothers    unwed mothers home    war 1914 1918    war and mothers    women and friendship    women authors    women between 35 and 65    women biography    women during wartime    women in disgrace    world war 2    youth suicide