1. Do you use a pen name? If so, why?
I use my real name, believe it or not! I married a guy named Mercury, which was the first thing I noticed about him. I did payroll for his company. I thought he must’ve been a punk rocker with a name like that, but it’s real. Americanized from the Sicilian “Mercurio.”
2. What is your favorite novel that you’ve written? Read?
I was just thinking about that this morning! I was going to ask you if you’d ever read Pan by Knut Hamsun, since it’s always called “prose poetry” and I know you write poetry. I think I’ve read that book more than any other. Mysteries by Hamsun is a close second. It has my favorite all-time line: “Would that thy knife were as sharp as your final no.” He’s got dwarves, hallucinations, dreams, the mysteries of the endless Norwegian day where the sun never sets, off-kilter crazy people who are always hiding big secrets. I swear the creator of Twin Peaks was a Hamsun fan.
My favorite book so far that I’ve written is my recent Blowing off Steam. I just cut loose and had a lot of fun with that one. I’ve got explosions, steamboat races, opium smuggling, crazy Chinese drug lords, and sleazy lawyers. I was inspired by how much I adore “Breaking Bad.” Only I had to change the meth into opium since it’s a historical. And since it’s a menage, you don’t really want to picture Walt and Jesse doing it, either! So it’s only very loosely based, of course. But I really enjoy slapstick, and there are lots of slapsticky moments in there.
3. Does the environment affect your writing (where you live, the seasons, the weather, etc.)?
What affects me is loud-ass neighbors! I must be ultra-sensitive to noise. My dream is to buy a house in the country with at least ten acres, so the nabes are farther away.
4. Where is your favorite/most bizarre place to have your characters boink?
Oh, hands down, inside a spirit cabinet. Remember in the 1800s when “mediums” would secret themselves inside their “spirit cabinets” and bang a lot of tambourines around, then emerge clothed in gauze pretending to be their spirit guide from the other side? Well, in my upcoming Cold Steel and Hot Lead, one of the protagonists is a former showman, so they all do it inside his spirit cabinet. I had to totally research to make sure they had ones big enough back then.
5. Do you base your heroines/heroes on photos of celebrities? If so, who? Include links if you like.
Yes. It’s easier that way to picture them walking, talking, or saying certain things. I’ve already recycled Alex O’Loughlin from Hawaii Five-O twice, and I just finished recycling Robert Downey Jr. too. Someone suggested Jon Hamm from Mad Men, but Don Draper isn’t terribly heroic, so he wouldn’t work. I mean, Don’s a hero, or maybe an antihero, but he also treats women horribly.
6. Bonus question! What’s the last thing you ate today?
Am eating! Pesto pasta, and my fluffy Newfoundland puppy is lying at my feet snarfing a few bites here and there. She only follows me upstairs when I carry food up here. She just said “phoo” because I haven’t given her another bite. She should be glad because I just stuck her into another book. Children are such ingrates.
Also by Karen Mercury:
Ménage Amour: Going for the Gold 1: Working the Lode
Ménage Amour: Going for the Gold 2: Either Ore
Ménage Amour: Going for the Gold 3: A Good Prospect
Ménage Amour: Going for the Gold 4: Sure as Shooting
Ménage & More: Going for the Gold 5: Blowing off Steam
Ménage Everlasting: How the West Was Done 1: Training Ivy
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