AUTHOR BIO

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Karen StephenMy second novel, MOTHER TONGUE, was released December 6, 2014. It is a suspense novel with romance and thriller elements set amid the danger and chaos of the Nationalist separatist movement in modern-day Corsica.

unknowncrewThe back story is based on a wild adventure I had at nineteen involving, a British “yacht”, The Widgeon of Fearn, a “crew” of 13 dissolute young people, who sailed the Northern Mediterranean, and, among other things, tried to sneak two Foreign Legionnaires off of the island of Corsica! We failed in our mission but I never forgot the many stories of intrigues and foolishness that would evolve eventually into MOTHER TONGUE.

Since then, I have become fascinated with one of the main goals of the Nationalist movement—the preservation of the traditional Corsican language, which is called lingua corsa or Corsu (in French). MOTHER TONGUE is at heart the story of that language—and it’s meaning to one woman who has tried her entire life to ignore her Corsican heritage.

I was born in Chicago, Illinois to a father who was off a few days later to fight the good fight in as a naval officer in WWII and a mother who had graduated from the University of Chicago in Political Science in 1937—quite the feminist before my time. My maternal grandmother was also a four-year college graduate—in German and Latin—back in the early 1900s.

Wind n SeaWhen the war was over, my parents divorced and my mother took me and my older brother on an odyssey across America, which started at a dude ranch near Tucson, progressed to a custom-built home in the shadow of Cheyenne mountain in Colorado Springs, then on to a duplex on the wrong side of Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills and, finally, to a life on the beach in La Jolla, California. There, I mastered the art of body surfing with my girlfriends and the art of the writing from my Honors English teacher.

I graduated near the top of my class in high school, gave the commencement address, and went on to Stanford University to major in chemistry. Love took priority over Bunsen burners, and I switched to a psychology major, which allowed time to pursue my first real romance—the back-story for DEGREES. Trekking from one university to another, but still garnering top grades, I graduated from San Diego State in 1965. Moving on to graduate school at the University of Illinois, I received a Masters in 1968 and a Doctorate in Psychology in 1970.

Over the next forty years I worked in both the public and private sector, first as a research psychologist and then as a clinician. I retired in 2009 from the nation’s largest HMO and from my role as a union leader. This year, just to make life interesting, I was called back into the fray and am serving part-time as the Mental Health Clinical Director for a large health plan serving the Medi-Cal population in 14 northern CA counties.

In 2001, I got bitten by the fiction-writing bug after running into my former high school chemistry teacher, turned award-winning author, at my Fortieth high school reunion. Encouraged by his review of the first draft of a novel I had written several years earlier, I began taking writing classes and participating in professionally led critiquing groups. DEGREES took shape over the next several years and was self-published through CreateSpace. I was thrilled to be asked to promote my novel at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. I went on to attend Algonkian and Write to Market conferences and participated in their online author development site AuthorSalon.

DEGREES OF OBSESSIONdegrees kindle is available at Amazon.com.  Click on COVER IMAGE to buy.

I am the mother of two grown children and am devoted to my four grandchildren. I collect antique flamingos and admit to having a neon flamingo in my bedroom, which makes it look like a pink bordello! I live in the San Francisco Bay area.

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