I hail from the Netherlands and grew up eating lots of Gouda cheese, riding a bike to school, and not wearing wooden shoes. Having adventurous Dutch genes, I married an American Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, East Africa, in a bizarre humorous 10-minute ceremony that fortunately has stuck so far.
My man is a development economist and I follow him around the world and watch him toil running projects that assist business and agricultural enterprises in developing countries. I have cooked, shopped, mothered, traveled and written stories in Africa, Asia, Europe, the US and the Middle East.
Writing as Karen van der Zee I’ve dreamed up over 30 romance novels published by Harlequin Books. My non-fiction stories have appeared in the The Washington Post, in the travel-humor story collection I Should Have Just Stayed Home published by RDR Books and in The Female Nomad and Friends by Rita Golden Gelman published by Three Rivers Press. My tales of (mis)adventure have also appeared in various e-zines.
I’m an expat writer not living in paradise (like Peter Mayle or Frances Mayes). I do not drink wine from my own grapes or tend my own olive groves. I have, however, visited my butcher’s bedroom in Palestine, eaten fertility sausage in Kenya, and almost landed in prison in Uganda.
After a couple of years in Moldova and then the US, I’ve now moved to the South of France, where I’m enjoying friendly people, good food and delicious wine. Conquering the mysteries of the French language will take some time….