Monday, June 27, 2011

Interview with paranormal romance author Karina Cooper

Please welcome paranormal romance novelist Karina Cooper to Reviews and Interviews today. She is doing a virtual book tour for her newest release, Lure of the Wicked from Harper Collins.

One lucky commentor will win a $25 gift certificate at the end of Karina's tour. Please see details below.

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 delight to find that it counts as A Real Job! One part romance fanatic, one part total dork, and all imagination, she writes dark, gritty and intensely sexy paranormal romance, but reads anything she can get her hands on.

When she isn’t writing, Karina is an airship captain’s wife and Steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful and rainy Pacific Northwest with a husband, four cats, one rabbit, the fantasy of a dog and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.

Karina, welcome! Please tell us about your current release.
Lure of the Wicked is at the polar opposite end of the city of New Seattle. Where Blood of the Wicked took place in the lower, filthier, desperate streets and the ruined remains of the old city, this one will take us to the very top – the crème de la crème of the idle and rich. It’s such a different feel, a different mentality and world, that it’s almost as if it’s not in the same city at all!

Which really just goes to show much of a divide there is between the two layers of the city. A divide even more stark by the presence of a mid-city missionary masquerading as a wealthy heiress to get inside New Seattle’s premier resort and spa. And if you’ve read Blood of the Wicked, you’ve already met Naomi West – rough, abrasive, and nobody’s idea of a polished woman of any means. Now put her in a place filled with wealth and luxury. Let’s add one charming, smooth-talking businessman, one rogue agent bent on a killing spree, and shake. Vigorously.

What inspired you to write this book?
After I’d written Blood of the Wicked, I knew I wanted to explore the opposite end of the city. Having set the tone for the lower levels, all I had a thought of was how to showcase the epic divide between rich and poor. I didn’t really get the idea for the plot until I visited my first spa. It was while I was soaking in the heated pool did a particular scene – let me just say “cufflinks” and leave it at that! – come to me. From there, it all quickly fell into place. Who the heroine was, what kind of man could match such a virago, and the truth behind Naomi’s brass-balls façade.

What exciting story are you working on next?
All Things Wicked is the next story in the Dark Mission line, and that’s going to be out in February 2012 or so. Of course, that’s all done and in, so I’m not working on it. I can tell you, though, that I’ll have at least two more books out down the line – in fact, I’m working on the next book now to help explain some of those lingering questions that I know are going to drive readers batty. (I apologize for nothing! Nothing!)

In another vein, I’m also working on a new book that is set in an alternate history version of London, during the Victorian Age. It’s Steampunk meets urban fantasy meets Victorian-style classics, and a completely different feel from the Dark Mission series entirely. I’m really excited for the moment when I can announce it, so shhhh. This is our secret, okay?

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I wrote THE END on Blood of the Wicked, I sat back and thought to myself, “This is it. Even if I don’t sell this, even if no one else likes it, I did it. I plotted it. I wrote it, I finished the book. I’m a writer.”

That’s it. Simple! And I think it’s different for every writer. I love hearing about those moments from everyone, personally.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full time, and I also hold down a part time job as a photographer’s assistant. My schedule works like this: I write five days a week, from about 9 to 5, give or take. I stop for nothing! Except, of course e-mails and interviews. Ahem. Since the mancandy works by day, it leaves us the evenings to catch up. You know, pretend to play house.

The other two days are devoted to my job, which is a lot of fun because I get to take photos of people and have a neat little glimpse into the lives of other people and families.

For the most part, I’m a writer, through and through. I chew through pages like it’s sustenance – which is sort of true, especially on days when I forget to eat until much later. This happens a lot. Coffee, for the record, isn’t really food. Just in case you were wondering.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have several, really, and I’ve already talked a lot about the weird need I have to keep a hot cup of coffee or tea or something at hand. I mean, it’s just weird. Really.

Another thing I do – especially with characters who have strange speech patterns – is as I write them, I say everything out loud. (It’s one of the reasons I don’t write well in public.) It’s as if I’m dictating to myself, so it’s all very slow and halted. “And… .that’s… sort of… annoying... Don’t… you think?”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ha! At which point? When I was very young, my mother worked for the California Academy of Sciences and, later, the Smithsonian. Because of my exposure to the sciences, I wanted to be an ichthyologist, and I wanted to study sharks. Then I wanted to be a paleontologist and specialize in dinosaurs. After that, I wanted to be an archaeologist and focus on Egyptology.

Later, I wanted to be a lawyer, an actress, an author (this started early!), and then even later, I dabbled with fashion designer, web designer, and back to author.

As you can tell, I landed on author.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I get a lot of questions asking me why in the name of all things cheese did I choose Naomi as my heroine for this book. It seems a majority of readers reacted so strongly to her behavior in the first book that they can’t possibly see what makes her heroine-material.

I have to admit, every time one of those crosses my attention, I laugh. I can’t help it! I really can’t figure out if readers really don’t see that potential here, or if they’re too used to a Certain Type of Heroine. Or maybe they’re just so put off by first impressions that they don’t care to know more.

I have to admit, Lure of the Wicked is my favorite book so far, and I think it has to do with the fact that I sympathize with Naomi a little. I mean, sure, I’m no Mission-sanctioned hunter, and I can’t possibly compare my life to hers, but I know what it’s like to be trapped in a situation that feels as if there’s no way out. Even if you excel in it, even if you’re the best of the best, there has to be room for choice. For an option.

I wanted to give Naomi hers. And see if she was strong enough make the right one.

I hope you enjoy Lure of the Wicked as much as I loved writing it! And thanks so much for having me here. I can’t wait to dive into the comments, so if you want to ask me anything – and I mean anything! – then please do!

Thanks for stopping by today, Karina. Now I guess you have to get back to writing!

Readers, anyone who leaves a comment on this blog, or on any other blog that Karina is visiting while on her tour, will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate. The more times you comment, the more times you're entered to win. Nothing to lose, but you can gain more insight about the author if you follow her tour. Dates and locations can be found here.


Jim Hartley said...

Sounds like an interesting book. But when I find a series of interest, I always like to go back and read the books in order ... would probably do that here, too.

tammy ramey said...

the book sounds wonderful and i can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

Aw, thanks, Jim and Tammy, I'm glad you are intrigued.

I also tend to like reading in order, which is so great because then I feel like I have so much more to read and indulge in when I pick up a new series. I hope you enjoy!

Maria D. said...

Congratulations on the release of Lure of the Wicked....I haven't read Blood of the Wicked but will be adding it to my wishlist to purchase...I think coffee should be its own food group:)


JeanMP said...

What an interesting sounding book.
Congratulations on the release.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

The whole series is new to me, and I am now adding it to my wish list. It has everything I like in a book: intensity, a strong setting and romance.


Anonymous said...

Whoops, pressed the wrong button:

The whole series is new to me, and I am now adding it to my wish list. It has everything I like in a book: intensity, a strong setting and romance.


Carol L. said...

This book has me intrigued but of course I'll have to get Blood of The Wicked.I love series books but have to read them all. :)
Congrats on your new release Karina.
Carol L
Lucky4750 at aol dot com

Jess said...

This sounds like a great read. You are a new to me author, but I am looking forward to reading your work.

jcross719 at yahoo dot com

Chelsea B. said...

Fabulous interview! This series sounds great!


Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone! I'm so late to my own party, but I'm at RWA in the fabulous New York City -- and wouldn't you know it? My signal through my phone is so not good. Oops! So much for 4g, right?

So bear with me as I take this name by name!

@Maria: Coffee? It needs to be its own food PYRAMID. Awesome, I love fellow coffee lovers. Thanks for the congrats!

@Jean P: Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the read.

@N S: Let's not forget strong heroines. I love me some strong heroines, and I'm with you there on the strong setting thing. I love to breathe the world.

@Carol L: I do the same thing, not to worry. I hate reading out of order, even when it's "okay" to do so. I hope you enjoy!

@Jess: Don't feel bad, I'm a new to everyone author. :) My debut came out just last month! That said, I hope you enjoy so much.

@Chelsea B: Thank you for the kind note. I hope you love it!

Okay, really, it's like almost 2am here in NYC (my brain is on PST time...). I should sleep! Every minute counts... right?

Sarita Leone said...

Lure of the Wicked sounds like a great book. I am intrigued!