What a pleasure to spy Karen Moore in the coffee shop today, eyeing up the croissants! Karen’s the author of Torn, a superb read for lovers of Italy-based dark crime fiction. Having lived in Italy for ten years and been a travel guide, she knows the place inside and out. Her new novel Release is hot off the press – more details below.
Hi Karen, what can I get you today?
Hi Katy, my usual please – a double macchiato and an almond croissant.
Coming right up! I’m excited to read your new book. A lot of fiction set in Italy is romantic or historical whereas your books are thrillers. Why did you choose to write in this genre?
My favourite genre for both reading and writing is anything dark – thrillers, crime, suspense – that is gripping and fast-paced. I particularly like Nordic Noir, with its iconic characters and often bleak settings, and underlying social issues. I’m fascinated by the way people react when faced with dilemmas and situations outside their comfort zone and I try to explore this in my writing.
I love novels that are driven by a difficult dilemma. What’s the story behind your new story?
The inspiration for my first novel Torn originally came from news reports on the distressing migrant situation in the Mediterranean, with large numbers of people trying to flee from Africa into Europe via Sicily in appalling conditions. Many didn’t survive the journey. Little seemed to be done at the time to bring this under control.
My new book, Release, was inspired by the fact that this situation continues today, although on a smaller scale and with a different focus. That, together with the feeling that I hadn’t quite finished with the characters in Torn, nor they with me.
Although Release is a sequel, it is written as a stand-alone novel for anyone who may not have read Torn.
That’s great to hear. Can you tell me a bit about how you write? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m more of a pantser. My first novel started as a germ of an idea and went on to develop a life of its own and just grew and grew. With Release, I was determined to adopt a more structured approach. Although I had the outline and various plot points in my head, new ideas kept popping into my mind and the characters started to behave in ways I’d not imagined. I like the freedom and flexibility that being a pantser brings and being able to change direction if need be.
If you could invite just two authors (alive or dead) to dinner, who would they be?
I’m fascinated by Daphne du Maurier and Charlotte Brontë, both strong, independent women of their time, with a flair for creating spellbinding stories. Both led interesting lives that would make them intriguing dinner guests. I’d like to know more about their inspiration, iconic settings, and compelling characters, and how they defied the social mores of their era to become distinguished published authors.
That sounds like an amazing dinner party! If you could be a fictional detective, who would you choose?
In keeping with the setting of my two novels, I would have to choose the Sicilian detective Inspector Montalbano from Andrea Camilleri’s books. Judging by the Italian TV series, he has such a wonderful life in the fictional Sicilian town of Vigata: solves the odd case, morning swims in the bay outside his house, fabulous fresh seafood lunches alfresco, an attractive consort always in tow. And all that sunshine!
Wonderful! My last visit to Sicily was cancelled because of the pandemic but I hope to reschedule before too long. Every time I watch Montalbano I want to be there (although perhaps not in the middle of a murder investigation). Do you have an idea what you will be working on next?
I’ve started work on a third novel in the series where we meet some of the characters several years later, although the action has now moved away from Sicily and the characters are facing new challenges.
Fascinating – look forward to reading it. Thanks for visiting the Coffee Shop today Karen and good luck with your new Release!
A threat returns. An attack with fatal consequences. A life lived in fear.
When Hanna’s estranged mafioso husband, Luciano, is released early from a Sicilian prison, she fears he will come after her and her young daughter, Eva.
The revelation leaves her with a dilemma. Invited to Sicily to attend her best friend’s wedding, can she really take the risk?
But even staying at home in North Wales may not be safe. Something strange is going on at her old cottage in the hills. As the lines between Sicily and North Wales blur, Hanna uncovers a criminal operation that leads her to fear for Eva’s life all over again.
Will Hanna ever be able to release herself from Luciano’s grip? Or will her discovery lead her into even deeper danger?
Both books are available in e-book and paperback format on Amazon:
Release – http://mybook.to/releasenovel
Karen Moore is a British thriller writer based in Cheshire. She lived in Italy for ten years and worked as a tour guide in Europe, the USA and Canada, followed by a career in PR and marketing. Release is her second novel.