Karen McCullough likes to set her imagination free to roam this universe and others in search of interesting stories. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romance, romantic suspense, paranormal, and fantasy genres. She's won several awards, including an Eppie Award for best fantasy novel and has been a finalist for an Eppie award four times, as well as finaling in the Daphne, Prism, Lories, Rising Star awards and several others. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines.
A former computer programmer, magazine editor, and web developer, she is now writing full-time. Karen lives in North Carolina with her husband of many years. Her favorite activity beside writing is visiting her three children and eight grandchildren, who are scattered around the world.
An Interview with Karen McCullough
I grew up in New Hyde Park, New York, a suburb of New York City that sits right on the border between Queens and Nassau Counties on Long Island. People ask me all the time what it was like growing up in the city, and the answer is: normal. I didn’t know any different, so it was just normal to me to play kickball in the street, running for the side of the road every time a car came by, riding my bicycle all over the neighborhood, including to the avenue for shopping, crossing six lanes of traffic to get to the local candy/drug/stationery store, and being in and out of the houses of all the neighborhood kids all the time. On the other hand, my husband, who grew up on a dairy farm, thinks it’s a hoot that I didn’t see my first cow until I was somewhere around 14.
I now live in Greensboro, North Carolina, home of Wrangler Jeans, the Wyndham Classic Golf Tournament, and the site of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, a pivotal battle in the Revolutionary war. Colonial General Nathanael Greene actually lost the battle (in the sense that he called retreat), but he cost the British so many casualties their army was depleted, and a few months later, Cornwallis was forced to surrender at Yorktown.
What is your favorite part of writing Sweet Romance?
I love writing in general, because I can sit in a rocking chair, staring out the window (or better yet) over the ocean, with a pen and pad on my lap, and call it working. I grew up reading mysteries and fantasy from my father’s extensive library, and I found romance as an adult. I love all three genres and love writing in each or any combination of them. But my absolute favorite part of writing anything is the getting out that very last sentence.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
Oddly enough, my husband. We sat down one day for drinks on the porch, and he asked, “Have you thought about trying to write down your stories?” He’d read a bunch of my non-fiction and knew I could write, and he also knew I loved making up stories. I don’t know why it hadn’t crossed my mind to try to write fiction until he said that, but I started then and I haven’t looked back. (I should note that I didn’t sell my first novel to a publisher until ten years later and it was the sixth complete novel I’d written.)
If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?
Beats me! I’ve been a lot of things over the years – social worker, apartment manager, computer programmer, editor, web designer, but those are jobs I’ve done. A writer is what I am.
Do you have any pets? Please tell us about them!
Not now. While the kids were growing up we had a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a parakeet, a few gerbils, and many, many hamsters. We’ve had to bury them all when they died and I’m not up for burying any more. The dog was the only one who was actually my pet. Gremlin was part beagle, part dachshund and all adorable. It cut my heart out when he died, although at 15, he was an old man in doggie years, and he’d had a long, happy life.
Have you found your own real life happily ever after?
Yes, indeed! I’ve been married to my husband for more than 40 years. We have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
What is one book that impacted or changed your life that you think everybody should read? Tell us about it.
I think the book that has had the most impact on my life and writing is Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I’ve read fantasy before, but that was fantasy in a complete and fully realized world, with very relatable characters, deep moral resonance, and wonderful examples of heroism, courage, honor, persistence, humility, and love.