Writing superheroes: Karen Doorneobos

Why does Karen Doorneobos’s super alter-ego listen to the voices in her head? Read on and find out…

superhero copy If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?

First scene would be: first-born child of two visual artists can’t even draw a stick figure. Does pretty well with pottery but as a tween, discovers writing. Some of my early efforts were poems that rhymed as methodically as rock songs from the 70s. I did a lot of journaling and non-fiction in my teen years and I’m hoping some of it is still in my mom’s attic!


All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.KAREN Bathmini 

My secret identity isn’t so secret. When I’m not writing (or reading) I prefer to be traveling, visiting museums, going to classical concerts and trying new food. Living life!


 Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?

Partners in crime would have to be my husband and kids. My husband’s superpower is that he rescues me from having to make dinner every single night. I cook often, but there are about three days of every week that he comes home from work and cooks. He has this amazing talent of looking in the fridge and being able to come up with something. My kids have the superpowers of being rather neglected and yet still manage to thrive!


Where do you get your superpowers from?

Coffee. And when it’s not coffee, it’s tea. I drink both quite happily.

Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?

 * Snaps fingers * That’s what I need: a secret lair! If I had one it would include a fireplace, a whirlpool tub, sauna, steam room, candles (not in the steam room or sauna), surround sound, books, and my laptop…all housed in a private solarium with huge potted plants.

What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?

My powers are not always used for good. 😉 As far as training goes, I try to walk daily despite Chicago’s weather conspiring against me all winter. I think exercise is important in keeping the mind healthy. Speaking of the mind, music, reading, and listening to NPR keeps that ticking right along.


Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?

 That costume is my bathing suit and cut-off jean shorts so that I can go out on the deck and—write!


 What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?

Chocolate is my kryptonite. Seriously, though, I spend a lot of time not writing. Procrastinating has been a life-long issue for me. I set timers, goals, word counts, bribes, punishments…anything to kick my a$!


What important lessons have you learned along the way?

Listen to those voices in your head. Write down what they’re saying.


 What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?

The absolute best moment was seeing my first book in a bookstore in the FICTION section.

If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?

How much time do you have here?! I’d try to write more, and write more quickly, but not sacrifice the quality.

What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.

Best writing advice I got was in college when a teaching assistant said the best training for a writer was to live life and not spend it sheltered in academia writing for literary mags. Upon graduation I bought a one-way ticket to London and lived and worked there for six months. I then spent nine months after that traveling and doing volunteer work throughout Europe. I spent a month in Greece and a month in Moscow. I married a guy from Holland (Europe) and always see America through his eyes too. I’ve worked many jobs, met many people, moved quite a bit, had two kids, lost a parent…I’m never at a loss for words.

9780425261392_UndressingMr_CV.inddTell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.

UNDRESSING MR. DARCY will make you laugh, and as one of my heroes says in the book, “Everyone needs a little Mr. Darcy in their lives.”

What makes the book so relevant now is that my heroine is addicted to social media and an old fashioned “Mr. Darcy” walks into her life, challenging her and her modern ways. But is he so old-fashioned after all? He does an educational striptease show talking about his clothes as he proceeds to take them off down to his drawers at Jane Austen festivals.


 Do I have your attention yet? Because if not, I’d like to mention there is a sexy pirate in UNDRESSING MR. DARCY as well!   You can read the first chapter here!

 Buy now at Berkley PenguinIndiebound – AmazonB&NKobo BAMiTunes    

What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?

 Big projects on the horizon include digging out after spending more than a year writing and promoting this new book! I just painted my daughter’s room…she’s thirteen and we just went from pink and yellow to charcoal gray! A lot needs doing around here…!


 You can find Karen at:




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1 comment

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    • Suzan on January 12, 2014 at 5:46 pm
    • Reply

    Loved your interview.

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