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What Is That Book About by Karen Harper

I like the name of this website.  “What is that book about?” has to be a question we all ask other readers.  Usually, we expect a quick answer.  “It’s about a huge shark attacking people.”  “It’s about this girl named Katniss in the future who…”  “It’s about this southern belle named Scarlett who falls in love with the wrong guy named Ashley while trying to protect her plantation during the Civil War…”  And so it goes.
 
But the major plot line or even the central character is sometimes really NOT what the book is about.  I imagine if someone were asked that big question about my latest book BROKEN BONDS, he or she might say, “It’s about a social working helping Appalachian kids to get to school who falls in love with a guy whose life is threatened—and then she’s in bad danger too.”  Yes, true.  This romantic/suspense novel is “about” that, but it really, like most novels, is about much more.
 
BROKEN BONDS is about a very independent young woman (though she has two sisters nearby) who wants to help down-and-out children, even at risk to herself.  She’s a bleeding heart and a do-gooder, but are those really negative terms?  Children in Appalachia are still starving.  Coal mines are playing out.  Fracking is coming in.  I don’t pass judgment on any of that as a fiction writer, but the story does include information about those social issues. 
 
The good about fracking:  it provides jobs; it lowers the price of our fuel; it makes us more independent from relying on foreign oil.  The bad about fracking:  it can create pollution and contamination of ground water; the sites are noisy and dirty; some who invest in it are operating “beyond the law.”  Ah, instant conflict.  BROKEN BONDS provides an intense love story and frightening suspense but it’s also “about” some real food-for-thought issues.
 
I did my undergrad college and student taught on the edge of Appalachia where this story is set, so I hope that fascinating place is also what the book is about.  Even small, picturesque towns there suffer from the struggles between the haves and have-nots.  Some beautiful areas have enclaves of wealthy people who build condos and houses right next to abandoned barns or rocky corn fields.  Independent, isolate eccentrics inhabit the area, which always provides great minor characters—and villains.  So I guess BROKEN BONDS is about all that too.
 
In each book of THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY, the relationship among the three Lockwood sisters plays a key part in the action.  So, in a way, SHATTERED SECRETS, FORBIDDEN GROUND and BROKEN BONDS are about sisterhood and family. 
 
So what is my book about?  It’s about love, hate, danger, people behaving well and badly—it’s about life, not your life, but then again, maybe so.  Most of all, a book should “be about” the reader having an exciting, emotion-packed, learning experience in a fictional world that is also quite real.  Happy reading with whatever the book is about for you!


A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen's books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. Karen has given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.

Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Broken Bonds, the third book in the Cold Creek Trilogy.

You can reach Karen via her website 

About the Book

Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 384
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle

Haunted by the past…

Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.

Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.

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