A Conversation with Karen Randau Author of Choir Loft Murder

Can Frankie unravel the vindictive plot before she becomes a crazed killer’s next victim? — Choir Loft Murder: Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas by @klrandau

Do you have any quirky writing rituals?

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters? The plot, and that usually comes as a “what if” question. Then I need a damaged character who solves the “what if.” I have to get to know the character intimately, and I have to match her with a nefarious antagonist that all logic says she can’t overcome, but then she does, usually by outwitting him or her. Both plot and character drive my stories.

As an author what do you think makes a good story?

What do you look for in a story as a reader? I love to read—I guess that’s how all authors get into being authors. The books I read tend to be like the books I write—action-packed, flawed characters who overcome much both internally and externally, a believable plot. I’m not so much concerned if something actually could happen because I’m looking for entertainment, but if something is outrageous, it takes away from the story.

Who is your audience?

I thought I wrote for women, but I’m finding that men enjoy my books as well. The people who enjoy my books are looking for intrigue, action, and twists, but they don’t want to see a lot of gore, sex, or swearing on the page.

What has been your favorite reader feedback? 

I enjoy hearing from readers who learned something from my books. When I was writing Survival Instinct, book 2 in the Frankie Shep mystery suspense novellas, I did a lot of research on using plants as medicine and loved the feedback I got like, “I didn’t know pine needles were high in vitamin C,” or “I didn’t know aspen bark was like a antibiotic.”

How do you interact with your readers? 

I send a monthly email, and I get feedback on that. I enjoy connecting with my readers. I also have a Facebook and an Instagram page and like it when people respond to my posts there.

What was the defining moment that made you say to yourself, “Today, I am going to write a book that I will publish.”? 

I’ve always had “thoughts” that were out of the ordinary, and I verbally told myself stories as a child. Some of my family members told me talking to yourself meant you were crazy, so I stopped. I chose a career that required creativity (marketing communications), but I didn’t think I had the focus to write a book. One day I was confessing to a coworker, another writer, about some thoughts I was having. I asked if she thought I had finally lost my mind. She said she thought I had a novel in me that was begging to get out. I wrote that novel, but I’m exceedingly happy it never got published. What it did instead was teach me how to write, publish, and market a novel; it convinced me that I could do it, and that doing it would add joy to my life. So I did.

If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?

 I often get told my books should be movies. For my Rim Country Mysteries, I think Naomi Judd would make a good Rita. In the Frankie Shep books, I’d choose Reese Witherspoon.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book? 

There is a whole sport dedicated to blowguns—it’s more popular in Japan than in the U.S., but there are some master level shooters worldwide. I found the whole thing fascinating.

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together? 

We would hang out by the waterfall on her ranch, and we’d talk about deep things. Sometimes, we’d cook together, or just sit on her front porch and enjoy the splendor around her property.

What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

I’ve been writing my whole life, but writing books has been more challenging for a lot of reasons—including the need to get inside people’s heads to bring them to life on the page. The fact that I can do that and create books that people like means a lot to me.

How do you define success as an author? 

We’d all like to say we make a serious living writing books, but only a few people actually do that. Success can be a lot of other things. Finishing a book is a measure of success. Publishing it is another. My favorite thing is connecting with readers who got a life message out of my books.


Her fiance a murderer? As she digs for the truth, she must fight to survive a plot to frame the man she loves.

Frankie Shep has endured too many tragedies in her life. When she finally dares to love again, a revengeful plot threatens to cancel her wedding plans and send her fiance to death row. But this feisty modern-day rancher won’t stand for it.

A member of the church choir dies from a blowgun dart to a vital artery, and the murder weapon implicates Quint. Frankie is shocked to discover Quint was a champion blowgun competitor but quit the sport after a family disaster. And now he’s refusing to talk about his fate.

So she takes it on herself to track down the killer before Quint accepts a life-altering plea deal. She’s devastated when she unearths his motive for the crime. But someone else lurks in the shadows, and that’s who she’s determined to find. Little does she know the killer follows her every move, ready to strike her down when she gets too close.

Can she unravel the vindictive plot before she becomes a crazed killer’s next victim?

Choir Loft Murder is the riveting third book in the Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas series. If you like engaging heroines, twisty plots, and eerie settings, then you’ll love Karen Randau’s pulse-pounding thriller

Purchase Links
Choir Loft Murder
Entire Series Page

Karen Randau authors fast-paced mystery, suspense, and thriller books featuring intricate plots, told from the point of view of strong female protagonists. In addition to the Frankie Shep Suspense series set on a fictional ranch in Wyoming, her Rim Country Mystery Series are set in the quaint fictional mountain town of Rim Vista, Arizona. She is also one of seven authors of novellas in the Tawnee Mountain Mystery Series. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her multigenerational family.

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