Brother of Interest by Karina Bartow – Interview and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Karina Bartow who is celebrating the recent release of Brother of Interest, the second book in her Unde(a)feted Detective series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC.

Karina decided to become an author early when her mom and sister took her to meet a children’s book author at the local library when she was 9.

“As she spoke about her work, I could perceive the joy it brought her, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she explained.

“Speaking of your mother, what’s the most embarrassing thing she’s ever done to you?”

“Oh, that’s a tough one because it’s such a wide pool! I guess I’ll choose the movie theater incident. I was sixteen, and she and I went to see ‘We are Marshall’ on our own. We arrived plenty early, and nobody was in the cinema…or at least that’s what Mom thought. As we ventured to our seats, an upbeat song was playing on a commercial, so she started busting a move. I pleaded with her to stop, but she insisted, ‘No one else is here!’

“Then, she learned otherwise, as the silhouette I’d seen in the back gave way to a slow clap. What can I say? She danced like nobody was watching!”

Her office is a medium-sized spare room in her parents’ house.

“I’ve always had it Paris-themed, and up until last year, it featured a mural of the Eiffel Tower that my mom painted by hand. We redecorated and changed the color scheme, so with heavy hearts, we painted over it and replaced it with a canvas,” she said. “Now, the walls are yellow, and I have my nephew’s toys—which, at fourteen, he still can’t part with—in some chic cubby containers. Thankfully, he likes Paris, too.”

So, it should come as no surprise that, if her publishers were to offer to fly her anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, she would choose Paris.

“The beautiful architecture has always inspired me,” she explained. “Besides, I’d love to get my dream trip as a business expense!”

She always set her books outside of my home state, though, so she does most of her setting scouting online until she can personally visit the area.

“Years ago, I selected this awesome aquarium for a character’s workplace. So, I made plans to go there when we took a family vacation to the town. As soon as we set foot in the place, I saw how lame it really was and that I’d have to rewrite that element. But we already paid admission, so we made the best of it and took our tour…and tried to stifle our laughter over the lameness of it. On the bright side, it had a nice gift shop!” she told me.

Even though it was a children’s author that sparked her interest in writing, Karina writes love stories and mysteries. She told me that she really enjoys being able to switch between the two because that way she never gets tired of either.

“What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?” I asked.

“Making readers feel something, whether it’s happiness, rage or anything in between. As a reader myself, I never enjoyed the classics because they’re just intellectual, in my opinion. I couldn’t engage with them and feel like I was part of the story. Of course, they fill a major place in literature, but even so, my personal passion for writing didn’t manifest until I started reading emotionally-driven books.”

When Karina is writing her love stories, she shared that she finds the plots come first and everything else sprouts around it. However, in the case of her mysteries, the characters and what they personally go through occurs to her before anything else.

“For instance, with my latest one and the series it’s a part of, I knew I wanted it to revolve around a deaf detective and her meddlesome husband,” she explained.

I asked her to tell us something about the book that wasn’t in the blurb.

“Much like Husband in Hiding, its forerunner, Brother of Interest is a family story at its heart. Amidst the criminal activity and red herrings, the characters navigate challenges we all face in our families, such as fractured trust and changing roles. There are lessons in how they overcome them, but there’s also a realistic element that sometimes the way you overcome is just by accepting new circumstances.”

She has another book coming out later this year, Wrong Line, Right Connection, that is a historical romance that follows a switchboard operator and how she unexpectedly finds love by transferring a caller to the wrong number.

“I finished it and a draft of Brother of Interest around the same time, and I ended up submitting them both to the same company. I never expected it to lead to two acceptance letters!” she said.

The hardest part of crafting a story is coming up with the title.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever started a book with the title in mind. I usually come up with it a few chapters in, but sometimes it takes longer,” she explained. “I don’t like to go with an obvious choice but also don’t want it to be too off-beat. I aim for something witty and original but understandable at the same time.”

“Could you ever co-author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?” I asked.

“I just thought about this the other day. I doubt that I could with a lot of people, but if there was someone, it’d be James Roday-Rodriguez. The episodes of “Psych” that he wrote were so outrageous, and I think we would just bounce off of each other. He might drive me a little crazy, but I’m willing to take that chance.”

Finally, I asked Karina if she had a favorite place to read.

“My deck. Our yard doesn’t offer many places for a sitting area, and I begged my dad to build one for years. To my gratitude, he finally did in 2019, so I’ve read for hours out there the past three summers.”

When Minka Avery left the police department and her life as a deaf detective, she thought chasing after her toddler daughter and keeping tabs on her mischievous husband would be the extent of her excitement. Before long, however, her brother lands on the list of suspects in a high-profile crime and throws her world into chaos.

Torn between her conflicted feelings for him and her desire to see justice carried out, she decides to unofficially explore the matter on her own. She begins to see that the case is bigger than it seemed at first glance, but before she can unravel it further, she discovers Robin using her garage as a hideout from the authorities! Now forced together, can Minka overcome the many distractions to figure out the massive scheme that’s really playing out? And can the bizarre circumstances somehow improve her and Robin’s chilly relationship?

About the Author: Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding came out in 2015, followed by Forgetting My Way Back to You, 2018. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!

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Buy the book at Amazon. The first book in the series, Husband in Hiding, is currently free at Amazon through February 19.


  1. Thank you for having me!

  2. I’m so proud of my talented sister! Her desire to be an author is truly incredible!

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