Please welcome Karina Cooper to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.TQ
: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?Karina
: Well, let's lay this out: there's interesting annoying-quirk, and then there's interesting addict-quirk, and then there's interesting quirk-quirk. The former involves saying each line aloud as I type it. Really, no one can write in a room with me. Can you imagine reading every word aloud as you're clattering your keys? It helps me with dialects, accents and speech-patterns, but nowadays, it's mostly just because I can't get enough of the sound of my own voice. (This is a joke. Which means it's only partially true.) My interesting addict-quirk ties into the concept that every writer has a vice. Some involve booze by one's elbow, some involve cigarettes clenched tightly between two fingers as nicotine enhanced authors type with eight. Mine involves a hot drink: I absolutely must have a hot cup of something -- coffee or tea or chai or hot chocolate -- near at hand. I may not drink it right away (I have a hot plate just for mugs), but it has to be there, at my beck and call. You know, just in case I have this undeniable urge to quaff back some caffeine and replenish what brain cells I may have wrung dry.
And then lastly, there's my interesting quirk-quirk: I never read my sex scenes until I'm doing revisions. When I write them, I write it all in one go, never even so much as read up a line, and hurriedly move on to writing the next scenes. I have no idea how good or bad or muddled or hot or shameless my sex scenes are until I've completed my first draft and am now working on my edits. Sometimes, I'm pleasantly surprised. Sometimes, I find jaw-droppingly embarrassing errors. It's great fun. And I always blush.TQ
: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?Karina
: My two favorite writers in the whole world are, interestingly enough, British. Perhaps this says something about me. Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett both have influenced me as a writer, although I couldn't say either influenced my writing. I look up to both men with equal respect-slash-stalkery, and Mr. Gaiman has miraculously managed to shape who I want to become in this career, all without actually meeting. It's complicated. I'm a little bit ion love with the man, but only in that "far away" sort of way that insures a) his wife will not come after me with a flaming ukulele, and b) if I ever do meet him, he won't have a restraining order in hand.
Cherry Adair and Chuck Wendig are two more writers that I have so much respect for, and both have helped to influence me greatly as a person. I'm not sure I could point to anyone as to who helped influence my writing... I read so much -- so much, y'all -- that I can't think of anyone off hand who shaped my voice more or less than the others.TQ
: Are you a plotter or a panster?Karina
: I used to be a pantser! But here's my fun little secret that I'm oddly yet abashedly proud of: I have 138 unfinished projects in a folder I call "Grab Bag" but which should probably be called "Crap I'll Never Touch Again". ...Can I share that? (Dear Publishers: I finish books, I swear!) The thing is, until I learned how to plot in a way that actually worked with me (Virgo/Libra, folks, line up to pity the fool), I had the devil of a time completing anything. Within, literally, one day of learning how to plot from Cherry Adair's workshop, I had a full book plotted out. Within three months of that, that book was done, and is now on sale as Blood of the Wicked. Since learning to plot, I have never, ever looked back, and I'm in the process of teaching a friend how to do the same!TQ
: Describe Blood of the Wicked
(Dark Mission 1) in 140 characters or less.Karina
: Is it bad I had to alt-tab over to Twitter to make sure I got the characters right? Okay, here we go: A hunter is forced to use a woman as bait to complete his mission. A secret witch, she'll do anything to save her brother from death.TQ
: What inspired you to write the Dark Mission series?Karina
: Supervolcanoes. Seriously! I was watching the Discovery channel and they had a segment on the supervolcanoes of the world, and as I was watching, I started to feel the gears of creation winding up. Next thing I knew, I was researching subduction zones and mapping out a fictional city built on the ruins of the city we know now. It was eerie. I was also sick out of my mind, but I got over that bit.TQ
: What sort of research did you do for the the Dark Mission novels?Karina
: I became a geologist! Okay, not really. But I did have to do a lot of research into the various tectonic zones and volcanoes around the Pacific Northwest. I also did a lot of looking into what areas of the world are plagued by what disasters. You don't hear a lot about the rest of the world in the Dark Mission series -- that may or may not come later, ahem-hem -- but I did learn that even places we don't hear about a lot have these epic disasters once every few centuries or so. Did you know that the Pacific Northwest has a truly massive quake -- like the kind that hit Japan -- every 200 to 900 years? It's a pretty random spread of numbers, but look at it this way: The last one was in 1700... 300 years falls firmly between 200 and 900, doesn't it? Something to think about!TQ
: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the Blood of the Wicked
: Oh, my. My favorite scene of all in Blood of the Wicked
is close-ish to the end. Silas has just learned something that Jessie deliberately didn't tell him and his reaction is so intense and visceral and raw that my stomach twisted up even while I was writing it. They share a kiss that is as vivid in my mind as if I was the one who experienced it (don't worry, my faithful Freud types, I didn't!), and as negative as the whole scene is, I love it to bits.TQ
: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?Karina
: The easiest character to write is Silas -- he's really not that complex. He's basically a giant teddy bear with fists of iron. All he really wants is to get the fuck out of the city (pardon my language, darlings, but this is Silas we're talking of) and go somewhere sunny and isolated and nurse his bum knee and fish for the rest of his life. He's tempered by his job as a witch hunter, so his inner squishiness is a little crusty around the edges, but he's still pretty matter-of-fact.
The hardest character to write was... Well. I'll say "the villain". That man is so ridiculously complex. He says up when he means down, can't be buggered to explain anything, and has the worst martyr complex I've ever in my life had to tolerate. Seriously, I loathe him. I mean, I love him, but really. I loathe him.TQ
: How many books are planned for the Dark Mission series?Karina
: At the moment, there's three planned -- Blood of the Wicked
(available May 31st), Lure of the Wicked
(available June 28th, 2011) and then All Things Wicked
(which will be available... um... sometime... ish). But the world is so ripe, and the characters so freaking busy sticking their noses into everyone else's business, that there could be more in the future. Who knows? Stay in touch, and I'll announce everything as it happens.TQ
: What's next?Karina
: As I mentioned, there's two more Dark Mission books coming out after Blood of the Wicked
. However, I'll have another novella out later in the year. It's going to be a Dark Mission one, too, and it might just feature someone you didn't expect to see! I also tend towards a sickness in the head, which means I'm always working on something. Stay close. News is forever streaming through the glistening spam meat that is my Twitter feed!TQ
: Thank you for joining us at The QwilleryKarina
: Thank you ever so much for having me! This was fun -- I hope to come back again, if you ever need a wall of text spam to occupy readers. I'm giving like that. ;)TQ
: You're more than welcome to visit again!About Karina's Books
Before the Witches
Dark Mission E-novella
(Avon Impulse, May 17, 2011)In America, they didn't care about witches. But all that was about to change.
Katya Zhuvova fled a country that feared her gifts, but her escape to Seattle left her at the mercy of a ruthless man. With no one left to turn to, Katya hatches a desperate escape plan. Undercover Detective Nigel Ferris is determined to bring down a prostitution ring, whatever the cost. In order to the get answers he needs, he attempts to win the trust of one of the prostitutes involved—but one look at the deceptively sultry Katya and the cool, objective cop disappears. Before either can put their plans into place, Mother Nature shrugs: a cataclysm rocks Seattle, and life is turned upside down.
Brought together by chance, Nigel and Katya are in the fight for their lives. Surrounded by death and fear, shattered by immeasurable loss, they have only a bond forged in fire to cling to as they struggle to survive in a world gone straight to hell. Amazon : Barnes&Noble : Borders
Blood of the Wicked
Dark Mission 1
(Avon, May 31, 2011)
When the world went straight to hell, humanity needed a scapegoat to judge, to blame . . . to burn.
As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she's been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind.
A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what's left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him to the witch he has to kill: her brother
. Silas doesn't know that Jessie's his enemy, only that he wants her, needs her, even as he lies to her . . . and must protect her until his final breath.Amazon : Barnes&Noble : Book Depository : Borders
Lure of the Wicked
Dark Mission 2
(Avon, June 28, 2011)
Naomi West was plucked from one prison and placed undercover in another: the gilded cage that is Timeless, New Seattle's premier spa and resort, where owner Phinneas Clarke—the most seductive man Naomi has ever met—may be hiding a killer. She's an agent of the Holy Order, trained to hunt the guilty and render justice. But while she's tracking down a rogue agent on a killing spree, Phin is determined to uncover her most damning—and dangerous—secrets. Whatever the cost.Amazon : Barnes&Noble : Book Depository : Borders About Karina
After weaving happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (kind of) and fell in love with writing. Imagine her surprise to find that it counts as A Real Job. One part romance fanatic, one part total dork, and all imagination, she can’t help but write paranormal romance and obsess over urban fantasy.
When she isn't writing, Karina is an airship captain’s wife and Steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, four cats, one rabbit, the fantasy of a dog and a passel of adopted gamer geeks. She adores hearing from readers, so visit www.karinacooper.com.Karina's LinksWebsiteTwitterTeatime Iniquity
: One commenter will win a signed copy of Blood of the Wicked
generously provided by Karina.How
: Leave a comment answering the following question:
Whose side are you on, the Holy Order or the Witches?
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: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*