I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction, especially JRR Tolkien, Frank Herbert, and George Martin, and I always hoped that someday I could give back to fantasy a little bit of the joy that reading has always given me. Seven years ago on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, I realized I had enough original ideas to finally write an epic fantasy. I started writing and never stopped, finishing four manuscripts in seven years. The Steel Queen is the first of those manuscripts, the first in a five book epic fantasy saga to be published by Harper Collins.
Prior to writing, I spent over twenty years as an international business strategist for BHP. My work with BHP took me around the world and I count myself very lucky to have lived in Australia for eight years, 5 years in Melbourne, living in Brighton, and 3 years in Wollongong, on Church Street. In Melbourne I worked for BHP Petroleum, first as an engineer and later as the head of strategic planning for BHP Petroleum worldwide. After a stint in Corporate, I jumped to BHP Diamonds to develop the first gem-quality diamond mine in Canada’s arctic, then back to BHP Coal in Australia, and finally for BHP Engineering as a Vice-President. While working for BHP Coal, I lived in Wollongong for three years and managed the turn-around of an innovative coal seam gas power project while also managing a coal seam gas group located in Brisbane. I’ve traveled widely across Australia, from the craggy peaks of Tasmania to the coral reefs of Cairns, to the waterfalls of Kakadu and the endless beaches of Perth, and I’ve come to love the sunburnt land. I consider Australia as my second home.
When I am not working, I love scuba diving, snorkeling, underwater photography, kayaking, traveling, reading, painting, and doing a variety of arts and crafts. I live with my husband in Portland Oregon, in a house perched on the edge of the forest. And when I am desperate for a beach the beautiful Oregon coast is only a few hours away.
I have a degree in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in the USA. I started as an engineer, then I became an international business strategist, and now I am a fantasy writer and it is a dream come true.
Which writers do you know who have had a strange or unusual job, before, during and after their published books?
Karen’s first book The Steel Queen will be out in February next year, but she came to Australia for a flying visit two weeks ago and kindly let us video her talking about the series and various other bits and things. Her only regret was that she wouldn’t be here for AussieCon!