Friday, August 2, 2013

Writer Karen Scioscia Discusses Her Book 'Kidnapped by the Cartel'

In our ongoing series of WCI interviews, we're talking today with Karen Scioscia, novelist, columnist and freelance writer. Her debut novel, Kidnapped by the Cartel: A Novel Inspired by a True Storywas released earlier this year. She also has a passion for acting and is a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Women In Crime Ink: Welcome, Karen. First of all, when did you begin writing, and what inspired you?

Karen D. Scioscia: My father was a college professor who taught English and speech until he was 83 years old. He also wrote and directed many plays. My maternal grandmother wrote a weekly column in a newspaper in Florida until her death at age 96. Writing is in my genes.

WCI: How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing amidst all your other commitments? 

KS: I write whenever I can. The best times for me creatively are first thing in the morning and later in the evening. The mid-day hours are filled with so many of my other endeavors. I am also out conducting interviews during the day for my newspaper column.

WCI: In what genre do you most enjoy writing?

KS: True stories, or “based on” true stories, are my favorite. My novel, Kidnapped by the Cartel, released this year, was inspired by a true story.

WCI: You wrote the book after a family member was kidnapped and missing for 11 days. How difficult was that on your family and, eventually, for you to do research write about it?

KS: The goal was to find her and get her back. It was a harrowing experience for everyone. I was involved in the search for several days. My heart went out, after this experience, to everyone who's ever had a family member abducted. Family members encouraged me to write about this.

I found out that this was not an isolated incident. In my research, the things I was hearing were even more harrowing than what we had gone through. So, I created a character, Amanda, in my book. It's a compilation of all the different things I learned and the research I did.

WCI: What else draws you to that genre?

KS: I find people so interesting and everyone’s life is some kind of story. Some folks are just more fascinating -- good or evil -- to read about than others.

WCI: What are your current projects?

KS: I am currently writing two articles for the November edition of Mob Candy Magazine. It's a special issue focusing on women involved with the Mafia. My stories are on Mob girlfriend and courier, Virginia Hill, and Marion "Kiki" Roberts, a dancer who got herself tangled up with the wrong people.

I'm also in the beginning stages of an exciting novel about terrorism and the container shipping industry. The research part is fun and challenging. I also write a weekly column for the Charlotte Observer and I'm a contributor to I'm working on budgeting my time!

WCI: What has been the reaction to your book from readers?

KS: I’ve had a very favorable response. The book was on Amazon’s “Hot List of New Books” the first week it came out. Readers have said things like, “I couldn’t help but feel the pain and horror the parents felt when searching for their daughter,” “great attention to detail,” and “I highly recommend this book.”

WCI: What are two of your favorite books, and why?

KS: Tough question to answer since I have so many books I like a lot, but I’d have to say Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is one of my all-time favorites. So interesting and thought provoking, it was difficult for me to put down. I like almost anything by the late, great Nora Ephron. She had the ability to make you laugh and think at the same time.

WCI: What are your writing plans for the future?

KS: I enjoy writing books, so I’ll be working on another one. I intend to keep up my newspaper column, plus, and I’m thinking of taking a screenwriting class.

You can learn more about Karen Scioscia on her website by clicking here. Her book, Kidnapped by the Cartel, can be ordered here.


Cozy in Texas said...

I would think the research alone would be difficult for this subject. We hear more and more about abductions these days.

Karen Scioscia said...

You're exactly right, Ann. The Mexican drug cartel's methods of operation were worse than I had imagined.

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