Thursday, August 5, 2021


I want to first thank Karen Nappa for taking the time for this interview!

I hope that you enjoy this interview as much as I have!

Karen gives us a story based on a photograph.  One of my other interviews mentioned the same technique (you'll have to check my other interviews to see who I'm talking about LOL) and I now I just want to go somewhere to "people watch" and see where my imagination takes me.

Make sure to give Karen a shout-out and FOLLOW her on all her social media!


Karen Nappa is a bestselling author of Seasoned BDSM Romance with a HEA.  Her books are available at popular retailers and include series such as Club Indigo and The Quinn Quartet.

Immersed in the D/s lifestyle herself, she writes realistic albeit romantic stories.  When not dominated by her cats or her Master (in that order – even if it earns her a spanking!), she loves going places to discover the stories waiting to be written.

She resides in the Netherlands with her dominant husband, two adulting sons — and whoever they might drag home with them, and of course her two Chausie cats.  If she isn’t writing or texting with friends, she’s probably reading, running, or listening to heavy metal.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have been a writer all my life, I guess.  The first (romance) book I wrote when I was twelve (of course, it was never published 😃).  I only became a romance author when Ellen sent me a text message in October 2018 with the subject 'Trapped in a Landromat', now wouldn't that be a great book title.  Together we wrote seven Club Indigo volumes, The Quinn Quartet series, and several short stories since then, using the pen name Karen Nappa.  Since August 2021 Ellen decided to retire her pen (for now) and is Karen Nappa just me.

I love to create, I love to read, and I have a never-ending imagination.  So, being an author is probably the most likely occupation for me (even if it's not my full-time job).

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

I think every book or text we read will influence us in some way.  While growing up I didn't read the kind of books I write now. 

I enjoy a wide variety of books.  From (epic) fantasy, to detectives/thrillers (not horror), and (of course) romance.  I'm a big fan of Cherise Sinclair, Lexi Blake, Suzanne Wright, Evangeline Anderson, and Lilly Atlas amongst other authors in our genre.  Those books certainly influence me as an author.  Another book spurted me to writing.  Not because I think the book is great, but because it shows the lifestyle I live and breathe in a very bad way (yes, I'm talking about fifty shades).  Hopefully, my books are everything that the trilogy is not.  I'd rather write about real safe, sane, and consensual BDSM and mature characters.

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

Absolutely.  Real-life is a true inspiration for me.  Laura (the main character from Trapped) is very much like myself - same age, same body type, similar taste in men, same profession, there is some of myself (and Ellen) in Paula, the main character from Appreciated (Club Indigo 3), and Sandra's mother (in Blinded) is almost a carbon copy of my mother.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Everyday events, endless fantasy, and a lot of what if-s... 😂

Most of the BDSM scenes are either moments I've experienced myself (like the clothespin play Suzie and Kate have in Trusted) or witnessed (like the meeting between Sonja and Derek in Cherished and the opening scene between Ben and Sapphira in Standing Fast).  But the easiest way to explain is to share a snippet from one of my newsletters here with you.


I don't suffer from writer's block, just from too few hours in a day.

During an online coffee break at my day job, one of my colleagues popped the writer's block question.  It's a familiar one, often asked in interviews and by readers.  I decided to practice 'show don't tell' 😂

I went to Unsplash (a fun stock photo site) and searched for terrace pictures and settled on the one above.

So a normal person might see a cozy evening and people winding down from shopping or maybe working. Now me instead...

Trio on the left. 

The man and redhead are in a relationship that's fizzling out.  She invited a girlfriend in hopes of having a threesome and reigniting the spark.  He’s more interested in the man from the couple on the other side of the terrace. 

Speaking of the couple on the right. 

We're watching the first meeting between a submissive man and a Mistress.  They met online.  He doesn’t know she used to be a man, she doesn’t know he’s actually a billionaire.

Teenagers with the phone in the middle. 

Angie (character names is a different story, folks 😏) is excited about her new boyfriend, who’s attentive and sweet.  She’s meeting Monique, her best friend since kindergarten, and showing some of Farid’s texts.  Monique will go looking for Angie when she disappears without a trace.

Second-floor window. 

Pots indicate someone used to take care of the place but it looks desolate now ... What if the woman who lives there lost her job because she was perpetually late because she has to take care of an elderly aunt and her disabled child. 🤔  Maybe have her run into a man who’s going to change her life irrevocably....

Damn, I shouldn’t look any longer at this picture; Already four more stories I'm going to have to write...

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I do a little bit of both.  Some stories start with a (BDSM) scene, a story prompt, or a different kind of inspiration.

Sometimes, a blurb comes up, or a character name.

With that starting point, I'll outline the story.

But... when I start writing the story my characters often interfere and develop a mind of their own.  Characters are funny like that and very, well, human.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

Sometimes I have a picture, but usually the character comes first and the pictures (for the trailers I create for my YouTube channel, social media posts, and covers) come later.

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

Reading, listing to audiobooks or heavy metal (depending on my mood), coloring, painting, cooking or something creative, and running.  (Yeah, my days are often too short!)

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

Too many to name, but I'll try anyway. 

(Erotic) Romance - Cherise Sinclair, Lexi Blake, Shayla Black, Anna Zaires, Lilly Atlas, Suzanne Wright, Golden Angel, Rene Rose, Maren Smith, Joey W. Hill, Nora Roberts

Fantasy - Dave Eddings, Wilbur Smith, Dan Brown, Tolkien

Detectives/Thrillers - Camilla Lackberg, Stieg Larsson, John Grisham, Collin Forbes, Desmond Bagley, Henning Mankell

What are your favorite books by others?

Everything Cherise Sinclair
Master and Mercenaries series by Lexi Blake
Knights of the Board Room series by Joey W. Hill
Everything Hell's Handlers by Lilly Atlas
The Dark in You series by Suzanne Wright
The list goes on and on...

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

Absolutely (although I've never been in Kansas City or Ohio myself LOL).  Club Indigo is a fictional Kansas City club but the layout is based on one of my favorite BDSM Clubs (Club 78).  I also do a lot of research on the locations and gather advice from local (beta) readers.  When I read a book myself, I want to be transported there and picture myself walking around, so that's the same experience I try to give my readers.  I hope they can feel that and enjoy it.

Do you write in single or multiple POV?

Multiple.  Basically, I'm way too curious to stay in one person's head. 😜

What do you find to be your best research tool?

Google is my friend!

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

Yes, Karen Nappa is my pen name.  Since Ellen and I formed one author together it was kind of inevitable, and now I'm fond of the name and will continue using it.

No, I don't write under other names, but if I would write another genre or decide to start writing in my native language (Dutch) I would use another (pen)name.

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I write seasoned BDSM romance with HEA.

I write seasoned romance because I'm past forty and I want to read about characters more like myself.

BDSM Romance because I'm in the lifestyle and I want to show the real safe, sane and consensual relationships.  It pains me that the lifestyle is portrayed as abusive and I want to show the beauty too.

Happily Ever After, because I don’t like book series where you’re forced to buy book after book because you want to know how the story ends.  In my opinion, the reader deserves a happy ending and so do the characters after they overcome whatever they have to battle.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky traits....what led to you being you?

Let's see.  I'm almost fifty, married.  I have two sons (young adults).  I live in the Netherlands (about 60 miles east of Amsterdam), where I share my home with my family and two Chausie cats. 

My day job is software programmer.  I've also been a horse trainer, sales clerk, administrative assistant, designer, call center agent, call center supervisor, business owner, and manager. 

If you are a duo writing team, how do you share the writing process?

While we're not a duo anymore, we did write more than ten books together.  Usually, I come up with the ideas and start plotting and writing.  Ellen does the brunt of the editing, adds her own scenes and ideas, and helps me Americanize scenes (Like how would a Thanksgiving dinner go).  But most importantly, we chat about books, our lives, and what's going on in the world.  I'm going to miss her very much!

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

I find this a terribly hard question to answer.  It depends on your genre and your personal strengths and weaknesses.  However, I'm going to give this a try. 

First, know yourself.  For instance, are you bad at social media and marketing?  Don't self-publish but find a publisher. 

Second, get to know your genre/niche.  Read books.  What works for you, what doesn't?  What kind of covers sell?  What are you going to add?

Third, start an email list as soon as possible.  These are your most loyal readers and reviewers.

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