Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On Tour: Karen E. Olson, Author of Shot Girl

Karen E. Olson's new book, Shot Girl, featuring crime reporter Annie Seymour hit bookstores last week. I thought it would be fun to have Karen stop in and visit as part of her virtual book tour this month. You can read my review of her latest book here.

Please welcome back Karen to Musings of a Bookish Kitty!

So have you heard about the red, white and blue pickle?

Back more than a few years, there were two reporters. They were covering a very, very, very small town and were bored to tears. So they decided to write a story about a farmer who grew a red, white and blue pickle for the Fourth of July. He had several false starts; some pickles were purple and yellow and others striped. But finally he persevered.

The two reporters filed the story and a photograph of the farmer holding the pickle. The story ran in the paper. It got picked up by the wire service. And then someone at the Associated Press said, “Wait a minute.” Do you know that pickles aren’t grown, but are actually cucumbers? And you can’t grow a cucumber, much less a pickle, that’s a different color than green. And on top of that, the farmer in the picture looks an awful lot like one of those reporters.

This is just one example of how easy it is to make stuff up and get it in the newspaper. This is something I’m exploring in my new Annie Seymour mystery, SHOT GIRL. I look at how a reporter who is on the rise gives in to temptation and financial gain and makes up a story that almost goes undetected.

When I started writing fiction, it was so liberating to be able to make stuff up and not worry about it. I didn’t have to check with three sources to make sure what I was writing was factual. I didn’t have to do any research at all if I didn’t want to. Annie owns a gun, but I didn’t actually ever hold a gun or shoot one until two years ago. I’ve never been beyond the fences at the New Haven port, much less been on an actual freighter. But I wrote about both in DEAD OF THE DAY. I’ve never seen tic-tac-toe playing chickens (although I’ve read about them), but I wrote about them in SECONDHAND SMOKE. I’d never seen a Cow Parade before writing SACRED COWS. I’ve never climbed down a fire escape, like Annie does in SHOT GIRL.

Fiction opened up a whole new world for me. And for the record: The red, white and blue pickle story really is true. The reporters had to find other jobs. Maybe they’re writing fiction now.

* * *
Karen E. Olson is the author of the crime fiction series featuring crime reporter Annie Seymour. She is currently working on a new series that will feature a tattoo shop owner in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Karen E. Olson has teamed up with several authors at the First Offenders blog, maintains her own blog at Amazon as well as her own website.


  1. Hi Wendy! Hi Karen! Lovely to see you back here. :-)

    Oh, the things Annie do... they're enough to put a smile on your face. It did for me. *GRIN*

    I can no longer claim ignorance to the red, white and blue pickle!

  2. I remember you telling that pickle story, Karen. Still funny! And it really makes you wonder about what you read... Anyway, the picture of your new book cuts out the last few letters in the word "isn't," leaving the reader to wonder if the story just might be true after all. Probably not planned but brilliantly executed! ;-)

  3. Hi Karen,
    I haven't read my copy of Secondhand Smoke yet (I just got t recently), but now that I know there are tic-tac-toe playing chickens I will have to move it up. I'm looking forward to reading Shot Girl, it sounds like a great storyline.

  4. Hi Karen - I really liked how Annie's past came up in this book. I had forgotten that she was even married! I think I've just been hooked on Vinny :)

  5. Alice: Lovely to see you, too!

    John: I love it that you're taking the whole tour.

    Christine: You'll love the chickens.

    Iliana: I almost forgot Annie was married, too.

    Chris: This story was legend at the newspaper. A friend actually has hard copy of it.

    Wendy: Thanks so much for hosting me today!

  6. Hi Karen! Thanks for another great guest post! I really enjoyed reading them all. :) And yes, I couldn't get enough of Annie Seymour's series. ;)

  7. Thank you everyone for stopping by! And thank you especially to Karen for writing this great post.

    Christine - I second what Karen said. You'll love those chickens. :-)


Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.