Karen’s Scottish romance is netting new fans

Karen Frances at a recent book signing
Karen Frances at a recent book signing

Karen Frances now has nine novels to her name, with readers all over the world enjoying her brand of romance fiction.

But the mother of five from Smithstone admits it all started with a conversation over a few glasses of wine.

“My friend and I were talking about romance novels while our husbands were talking about football,” she remembers.

“What annoyed me was that nearly all romance novels seemed to be set in America, even the ones that aren’t written by Americans.

“I must have had a few glasses of wine because I announced ‘I could do that! I could write a novel!”

However, it took a while for Karen to convince herself that she really could write a novel.

She had written quite a bit when she was younger but with five children to look after there was never time to pursue it, so she had put it to one side.

In truth, her desire to become a writer had started to burn again earlier as the impact of the recession was felt on her husband Paul Conway’s chain of butcher shops, where Karen also worked.

“It wasn’t so much that money was tight, but we were working really hard and I began to think there had to be more to life than just working and looking after kids!”

“I began typing away on my laptop and I got up to chapter six on my first book.”

At that point she decided to show her work to a friend, who gave her the encouragement she needed to continue.

The books have flowed from her laptop since then, publishing an incredible nine novels in the past two and a half years.

They are all self-published after a friend advised her that she would make more money from that than she would from a small publishing house.

Meanwhile her ever supportive husband, Paul, spotted a programme explaining how it was possible to publish your own books via Amazon.

Her first books, The Captured series, were set amid the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond and attracted some great reviews from around the world.

Readers from as far afield as America, Canada and Australia have been hooked on her characters and storylines.

Since then, Karen has kept up a steady stream of romance novels, as well as contributing to an anthologies, Love After Losing, for the charity SANDS and Where Words Fail Music Speaks for a charity supporting people who suffer from cluster headaches.

However, her latest publications, published eight weeks apart, are the ones she is most proud of.

Playing the Game and Playing to Win are both sports romance novels set in Glasgow.

“I’ve been told the story lines are quite realistic,” she said.

She chuckles a little as she speaks about her leading man, a Scotland international who also plays for one half of the Old Firm.

To her readers’ annoyance, however, she refuses to reveal which one.

“I try to be very diplomatic when I give an answer – I don’t want to upset anyone!”

Ultimately, she says, the books are a love story about two people from different backgrounds coming together.

The storyline deals with not only football in Glasgow, but domestic violence and Karen has been praised for the sensitivity that is shown in the storyline.

Writing her novels has opened up new friendships for Karen and she’s enjoying some of the trappings of a writer’s life, such as emails from readers and book signings.

She took part in a big book signing with several fellow authors recently and was amazed and delighted to sell all 100 of the copies of her books she had with her.

Karen has had “a few health issues recently” and has had to take things easier than she would like.

Suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, which makes typing very painful, has been a strain and she may have to take up the offer from a friend to type her words for her while she dictates.

One thing’s for sure though – Karen will keep writing.

“Some writers plan in their heads how the story will go. That doesn’t work for me – the story just takes over.”

Like many women, she’s trying to find a balance between working and spending quality time with her family.

But she loves to write.

“Writing is a passion for me! And through it I’ve met so many people and made some great friends.”