Author on the Couch:

An Intimate Look into the Minds of Our Favorite Authors.

Today I’m conducting a session with

Karin Shah.



At the end of our session, I’ll provide instructions

on how to win two copies of Karin’s newest novel



Me: So Karen, tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.

Karin: At age 42, I had a stroke. I was lucky enough to have it in the visual cortex, so all I have have is a burnt out spot in my vision which my brain has learned to look past, but the shock of a healthy person (I had zero risk factors) having something that could have killed me happen out of the blue, made me realize how short life really is. I stopped pursuing New York publishing houses and agents, I didn’t feel I had the years to wait for them to get back to me. It’s been a few years now and I’m looking for an agent again for my middle grade/ younger young adult as NY is still where it’s at for that age group, but I’ve retained that feeing of the fragility and fleeting nature of life.

Me: Whoa… A stroke at 42. That’s scary and so danged random. My husband is 42. Yikes. Hearing your story is a reality check. We just never know when stuff like that could happen.

When it comes to writing, what personality trait of yours helps you the most as an author?

Karin: I was picked on a lot as a child and I think that really steeled me against rejection. The ability to bounce back from the negative is vital for an author.

Me: Kudos to you that you can take something so painful–being picked on as a child–and see it as a positive because it’s given you a thick skin. Reframing painful things like that is a valuable skill to have. And when it comes to this industry you are so true–rejections and bad reviews alone can be devastating if we don’t know how to handle them.

Talking about positive personality traits, leads me to my next question. What personality trait of yours hinders you most an author?

Karin: One the flip side, I still suffer from self-doubt, which usually manifests itself in chronic procrastination.

Me: I think most writers struggle with self doubt. I know I sure do. When it comes to procrastination, most of the time it’s rooted in some sort of fear–which of course makes it a cousin to self-doubt.

Tell me about your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened?

Karin: My first signing at RWA was awesome. I felt really good about my career at that time.

Me: What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path as a writer, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing? What happened? How did you get over it?

2015-04-25 19.25.54-3Karin: After my first book STARJACKED, a Science Fiction Romance, was published, I had a big slump. The sophomore slump is pretty common. I realized the distance between the first contract and the second could be far further than I thought it would be. I questioned whether I should write at all, but the ideas and characters didn’t stop coming, so I figured I might as well write them down. And if I was going to write them down, it just made sense to submit them. 🙂 Since then, I’ve had four more books published.

Me: I had to show off my copy of Starjacked. I’ve had it forever. I think I got it at the 2010 RT Convention in Columbus! To anyone who likes Sci-Fi Romance–this is your book!

Which of your characters are you most like?

Karin: They all have pieces if me, but I’m probably most like Thalia, the heroine of my second book, Blood and Kisses. Ok, she’s a witch, but I gave her a disfiguring (more in her own eyes) birthmark that identifies her as the Witches’ Champion. She was heavily teased about it as a child and though I don’t have a birthmark, I share a similar history. I had severe cystic acne and was socially awkward to boot, so I was a constant target in elementary and Jr High. The overt mocking had died down by high school, but the damage was done. It took years for my self-confidence to re-bound. Now, I realize, though I wouldn’t have anyone suffer as I did, that surviving that emotional abuse allowed me to be the adult I am, to accept and move on from rejection and not worry too much about what people I don’t care about think.

Me: “…surviving that emotional abuse allowed me to be the adult I am, to accept and move on from rejection and not worry too much about what people I don’t care about think.” AMEN. RIGHT ON. It’s amazing how many people I see every day who still struggle to deal with being verbally/emotionally abused by their peers in school. And I’m seeing them five, ten, twenty, thirty, years after it’s over. That kind of abuse can do serious damage.

Karin: Many of my other characters, especially Deyna from Halfling, are ostracized, so I guess you could say that’s a recurring theme with me; the need for people to shed the conception of themselves imposed by others and love their true self, no matter what society may say.

Me: Wow. Wow. Wow. So powerful! I had to create a Quotable from it!KarinShahQuote

Me: We’re nearing the end of our session, so let’s switch gears a bit. What book do you wish you’d written? Why?

Karin: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I love that series. The world is so deep. I’m always lost after I finish re-reading it, longing to go back inside and live with the characters. It would be fabulous to write something that sparks so much excitement in so many people.

Me: If you could have dinner with any famous author who would it be?

Karin: JK Rowling. Talking writing with her would be so interesting.

Me: The cover of your newest book is GORGEOUS. Tell me a bit about HALFLING.

HalflingKarin: The crippled reject of a scorned people, seventeen-year-old Valayan wanderer Deyna has never eaten, owned, or used anything she didn’t scrounge or steal. She’s used to life at rock bottom, but when her father sells her to be the annual Sacrifice to their enemies, the winged darklings, she discovers a new low.

Marked for death at the hands of the darkling king, only the discovery that she’s half darkling saves her life.

As a servant in the darkling palace, Deyna thinks she’s landed on her feet. She has fresh, clean food, a real bed, and people, like young Lord Ahran, the handsome captain of the king’s guard, who might actually care if she lives or dies. But all is not well in the darkling lands.

The mysterious Jackal-Wolf is stealing grain shipments and raiding armories. A civil war is brewing, the gods have plans for her, and Ahran may not be exactly what he seems. Will the girl who’s spent her whole life running take a stand—even at the cost of her own life?

Me: Share with me one of your favorite paragraphs.

Karin: I like this paragraph because I think it showcases how resilient Deyna really is. She’s in prison, slated for a death sentence, but she never gives up.

“She supposed a being as pitiful as she—the deformed reject of a scorned people—should welcome death, but by Celu, she wanted to live. To feel the ground beneath her feet, taste sweet water, fill her nose with the tangy scent of the Immortal Forest. Her eyes burned. Her body couldn’t conjure another tear, but a dry sob wracked her as she thought of the other things she’d miss, caressing the velvet ears of her cur, Lithu, listening to the whicker of the horses from her pallet beneath the dard on a heady summer night.”

Me: Wow! That’s a powerful passage. I can’t wait to read it!

You can purchase HALFLING at:


You can connect with Karin at:



Have you read any of Karin’s other books?

Have you had any experiences similar to Karin’s?

What personality traits of yours help you/hinder you as a writer?

What have been your highs/lows as a writer?

What book do you wish you’d written?

What author would like to have dinner with?

For a chance to win a copy of


all you have to do is leave a comment!

Karin will draw two random names on Saturday May 2nd.

 **Would you like to be an Author on the Couch?**

 Just email me at and I can set you up with your very own session!

 *If you enjoyed this post, do me a favor and hit the handy dandy share button.*
*Thank you. You rock!*

About the author: abbieroads

43 comments to “Author On The Couch: Karin Shah”

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  1. Karin Shah - May 2, 2015 Reply

    Thanks, Donna and Asa for visiting! I have the fun duty now of announcing the two winners of .pdf copies of Halfling! Sorry it wasn’t earlier. My family dragged me off bowling (I came in last in the first game and won the second!) and I never miss the Kentucky Derby! (The horse I was rooting for lost–Dortmund–but American Pharoah–the misspelling is from a naming contest– was truly impressive!) but now I will calculate the winners. I am using the extremely scientific method of assigning each name a number and pulling numbers from a hat. And the winners are: Asa and Christy! Congratulations! Please contact me at Karin @ shahs . Com (no spaces) and I will email those to you. Thanks so much to everyone who joined me “on the couch” and thanks again, Abbie, for shrinking my head. Your questions and responses were awesome!

    • abbieroads - May 2, 2015 Reply

      Karin! The pleasure was all mine. You truly are inspiring!

  2. Asa Maria Bradley - May 1, 2015 Reply

    Great interview! I haven’t read any of Karin’s books, but will do soon.

  3. Donna MacMeans - May 1, 2015 Reply

    LOL – a blog that requires math to comment – I LOVE it!!!

    Karin – as I’m on digest, I didn’t see that you were here till today. Forgive my tardiness. I LOVE the passage you shared from your book and the artful way you wove in elements of the paranormal to some very normal feelings of lost of the familiar. Well done.

    As for the rest…well…I remember babysitting to earn money in high school. One time as the father of my charges was taking me home, he said to enjoy high school as it was the best time of my life. I wanted to cry as if this is the best – life must really suck! Those that thrive in high school never leave. Those of us that survive continue to grow and achieve – just as you have done.

    • abbieroads - May 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Donna!

      My mom used to say the same thing to me when I was in High school “these are the best days of your life.” I HATED high school. I HATED my teen years. I was determined that my life AFTER high school and my teen years was going to be the best. And it is funny looking back–those who gloried in High School topped out in high school. And those of us who couldn’t wait to get it over with are still achieving.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sarah Andre - May 1, 2015 Reply

    Jeez, the math problem threw me…

    Hi Karin and Abbie!
    4am, and I’m finally getting around to yesterday’s emails. Sorry I missed the blog, how inspiring and familiar your words were, Karin. (Picked, on, severe acne, self esteem issues that have taken years to recover from.) You should write romantic suspense, like Abbie and I do- you get to kill those people off. (wink!)

    I got my masters degree in speech therapy and spent ten years working with stroke patients, so I appreciate your words of wisdom. And I’m a lot older than both of you so I have an overdeveloped sense of fleeting life and not waiting around for the tradition publishing dream. (That took years to walk away from!)
    Here’s my Quotable, Abbie: Life is too short and we all need to carjack a Formula One race car, step off the clutch and scream toward our dreams at 200mph.

    SO nice to have met you, Karin!

    • abbieroads - May 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Sarah!

      I love your quotable!!!!! I may steal it : ).

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Karin Shah - May 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Sarah, I’m volunteering at my son’s school library today, so I just saw your comment. I was worried the math questions were going to get harder. It’s a good thing they didn’t! Still, there better than the letter captchas which I’m too blind to read half the time! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

    Thanks, Christy! It’s funny how often we think we have no story of our own to tell, when in fact there’s reams to share! Especially when triggered by such excellent prompts!

  6. Christy McKee - April 30, 2015 Reply

    Truly an interesting interview. I had a similar wake up call– not as profound as your stroke– that set me on the “no time to waste” path to becoming a working writer. Without the life changing event I would still be standing at the beginning of the path instead of at the top of the first mountain.

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Christy!

      Isn’t it amazing how something bad can sometimes lead to something good?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Shari Heinrich - April 30, 2015 Reply

    A great interview, candid responses, from Karin. Yes, Karin, you’ve gone through things at our mid-life that aren’t supposed to happen; and you championed through your younger years. May every adversity become fuel for your writing passion and ideas.

  8. Joanne Guidoccio - April 30, 2015 Reply

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey, Karin. If you ever tire of writing fiction, consider writing your memoir. Your story would resonate with readers of all ages. Joanne 🙂

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Joanne!

      I’m a mental health counselor–one of the things I love the most about my job is listening to people’s stories. They are always so empowering! Just like Karin’s story.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Shari Heinrich - April 30, 2015 Reply

        Abbie, yes, great interview style. Like Karin, I’ll have to pop by and see what’s going on! (and, oops, just corrected the email address, realizing how I really created it a few weeks ago).

        • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

          Hi Shari! Thanks for joining us! How I envy you tall ladies! I’m sure those “friends” were envious, too!

        • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply


          Thanks for the positive feedback. I’m really glad everyone seems to be enjoying the blog!

    • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Joanne! Hmmm, a memoir that’s an idea.

  9. Jane Lynne Daniels - April 30, 2015 Reply

    What a powerful interview. Very much enjoyed reading and learning about you and your books, Karin. And Abbie – love your approach to interviewing.

  10. Miranda Liasson - April 30, 2015 Reply

    This was completely inspiring! Your honesty is courageous, Karin! Thank you Karin and Abbie! Awesome interview!!

    • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Miranda! I’m glad you stopped by!

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Miranda!

      Thanks for the positive feedback! It’s always appreciated!

  11. Pam - April 30, 2015 Reply

    I’m with you. JK Rowling is one of my go-to inspirations. Great motivating interview!

    • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Pam! Abbie gives some great jumping off points. I think I’ll be stopping by on Thursdays to check out what other authors share “on the couch!”

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Pam!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Maggie Mundy - April 30, 2015 Reply

    Thanks you into the insight into your writing. I was bullied at school and can fully understand the effect it can have on you. Now I look back at those people and think they were quite sad. I love the cover of your book and the premise sounds interesting. Best of luck with sales

    • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Maggie! I know what you mean. How horrible must they have felt about themselves to treat others the way they did. I truly hope my bullies are happy now because life’s too short to harbor ill will. Still, I don’t mind giving them their comeuppance in my books.:-)

      • Shari Heinrich - April 30, 2015 Reply

        Awesome way to look at it, and deal with it. Some of my nicknames growing up by “friends” and not friends, oye, vey: froglegs–long and gangly. But MY did they turn heads when I grew up, got athletic, and put on mini-skirts. Olive Oyle, tall and gangly. As others got chunky at college, the “freshman 15” got me looking better, and learning about nutrition, DANG, I’d been undereating protein for MANY years…..

        • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

          Hi Shari!

          Sweet revenge…

          Thanks for stopping by!

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Maggie!

      I think you’re right–those bullies have such low self esteem that the ONLY way they know how to feel better about themselves is to make someone else feel bad. It’s very sad really–for everyone.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Saralee - April 30, 2015 Reply

    What a great interview! Karin, you are so resilient and insightful. I love your world-building, too — it’s fun to dive into the worlds you’ve created. Now I want to be a fly on the wall when you and JK Rowling get together! That would be an excellent conversation to listen in on.
    Best wishes with your new book Halfling — that cover is gorgeous!

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Saralee!

      I want to be a fly on the wall with you!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Saralee! There was an interview with JK in the (oh, gosh my bad memory) I think it was the NYT, after she published Casual Vacancy and I was so annoyed by the tone and focus of the interviewer. She seemed more interested in JK’s appearance and making judgements about her lifestyle than actually providing any real insight into JK. I wanted to comment, but you had to be a subscriber and I was too cheap to subscribe just for that!

  14. Susan Gee Heino - April 30, 2015 Reply

    Wow, what great insights, Karin! I’m so glad you’ve rebounded from that horrible stroke–what a shock that was. Your work is amazing and I’m just fascinated by your world building and creativity. I think Ms. Rowling would enjoy sitting down to talk writing with you! Thanks for a great (and inspiring!) interview, Abbie and Karin.

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Susan!

      I’m with you–Karin’s creativity is pretty amazing!

      Thanks for visiting Author on the Couch!

    • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

      You’re too kind, Susan! Thanks for joining us this morning!

  15. Dyanne Conner - April 30, 2015 Reply

    Good morning Karin and Abbie~

    Karin, what an powerful and inspiring interview. Thank you for sharing your experiences and reminding us to love and respect ourselves and ignore the rest.

    Abbie I’m loving Author On The Couch! Can’t wait to see who will show up next week.

    • abbieroads - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Hi Dyanne!

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m so happy to hear positive feedback on Author on the Couch! It warms my heart!

    • Karin Shah - April 30, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, Dyanne! And thanks for having me, Abbie! I agree with Dyanne. The format is great. You’ve really made me think!

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