I’m a former internal audit manager and now a full-time novelist. I love traveling, especially on ships, to explore new ports of call. I’ve been to all the continents, except Antartica, and that one isn’t on my bucket wish list, and I’ve been on too many cruises to count. When I’m not living out of a suitcase, I’m home in Philadelphia with my Danish husband and cats.
BLOG: I plan to post updates about travel, including my new hometown Philadelphia, ships, travel, books, and libraries.
A Thrill to Finally Hold My Aquavit
BOOK STATUS: My debut novel AQUAVIT went live on Amazon in May. Sample chapters are available to read for free. If you buy the paperback, you can download the e-book for free. AQUAVIT tells the story of a disillusioned businesswoman Kat Jensen, and the ordeals she must go through to take a well-deserved, extended vacation. AQUAVIT is available on Amazon as an ebook & paperback. Also available on Barnes & Noble Nook and other e-retailers. Amazon Link
FUTURE NOVELS: My muse and I are following Kat on her adventures at sea en route to Hong Kong. We have lots of ideas and not enough time to write them all down.
PUBLICATIONS: Here are some of my articles that were published over the years. As a senior internal auditor, I kept a low profile and couldn’t accept other paid employment. But I wrote and edited for internal publication hundreds of confidential audit reports.
Internal Audit Magazine: Have You Audited Your Compliance Department Lately? Link to: the article
International Travel News: Trip Down the Amazon (the real one!) Link to Amazon Article
International Travel News: Trip Around Sweden in Our New Volvo. Link to: Sweden article
WHY AN INTERNAL AUDITOR BECAME A NOVELIST: This is more than a bit, so you’ve been warned. Please stop when you get bored! I was born in Ohio at an airforce base hospital, so maybe that is why I like to travel so much. I don’t remember Ohio or my next home in Delaware, but I spent most of my childhood in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from high school, I was an AFS foreign exchange student to Denmark for a year and lived in a small city on the West Coast called Esbjerg, known for the North Sea oil and fishing.
I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Liberal Arts. My favorite classes were in Sociology – the study of people and society – which must bode well for fiction writers. I started out majoring in Accounting but found the first required class incredibly boring. Later on, I got my CPA and suffered through lots of accounting courses, but I still hate number and doing my taxes!
With my BA in hand, I moved to the nearby boom-town, Houston, and somehow got a job in a bank. Probably since I’d worked part-time in an Austin department store’s credit department. In Houston, I worked full-time in banking and switched departments after about six months when boredom struck while I attended night school to get my MBA in Finance and International Business, but not Accounting.
The oil and gas economy was tanking and bringing down the banks, so after graduating, I headed west to California. My mom insists I’d said, “I’m moving here,” after riding the cable cars when I was a kid. But I don’t think that’s the main reason I moved. If it was, it had to be subliminal. I had some friends and a college roomie in California, but if that hadn’t panned out, I had my eye on Australia.
Banking was also suffering in San Francisco from too many foreign loans and incestments gone wrong, so my plan to be a relationship manager fizzled out. But the Federal Reserve Bank was hiring staff to examine the mess, and I joined their bank holding company examination group. I traveled, not just in the district’s nine western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, but to major financial centers – Chicago, New York, and London. And auditors don’t travel for a day or two. They are often on the road for weeks.
Banking and the life of an examiner had become routine, and I was fascinated by investment banking and the stock market from some London exams and even attended stockbroker classes at night. I moved to Bank of America’s nearby internal audit capital markets group. In this position, I had even more travel including more of Europe and Asia besides trips all around the states. One audit I led was a global around the world job.
Internal auditing was becoming more of a commodity, and the trend was to outsource the function to consulting firms. I moved to New York City and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers internal audit consulting practice for a change of pace and an opportunity to spend more time closer to Wall Street and the financial epicenter. I did not audit PwC but assisted their clients with their audits and special projects.
This expertise, learning more what not to do and how bad things could get screwed up, led to an opportunity to be in charge and manage internal audit departments at Knight Capital Group, a public trading firm, and then D.E. Shaw, a private hedge fund. Then I joined UBS, auditing the auditors, and HSBC as part of the local NYC audit management team, and finally to Philadelphia and my writing career.
Over the years, I’ve started a few books but never finished them. My career as an internal auditor gave me tons of variety and challenge just trying to stay one step ahead of diverse businesses I had to audit. I also didn’t want to spend every waking hour behind a computer. I’ve always enjoyed books, movies, theatre, and storytelling So maybe this was fate and just a long time coming.
But I’m here now. I’m a novelist. And I’m never bored with storytelling. Maybe just the editing and marketing and querying and well, you know, the crap that comes with every job. And now that I’m finally doing this, except for some fun vacations and time off to travel, I’m not going anywhere.
QUESTIONS/COMMENTS: Email me. Karenstensgaard@yahoo.com