Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Interview with dark fantasy author Kathrin Hutson

Today I have an interview with Kathrin Hutson to talk about her new dark fantasy novel, Daughter of the Drackan: Book one of Gyenona’s Children.

During her virtual book tour, Kathrin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky, randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Kathrin Hutson has been writing fiction for fifteen years, editing for five, and plunging in and out of reality since she first became aware of the concept. Kathrin specializes in Dark Fantasy and Sci-fi, and the second novel in this series, Mother of the Drackan, will be released this February.

Kathrin runs her own independent editing company, KLH CreateWorks, for Indie Authors of all genres. She also serves as Story Coordinator and Chief Editor for Collaborative Writing Challenge, and Editing Director for Rambunctious Rambling Publications, Inc. Needless to say, she doesn’t have time to do anything she doesn’t enjoy.

You can grab your copy of Daughter of the Drackan, in print or as an ebook, on Amazon here:
Welcome, Kathrin. Please share a little bit about your current release.
‘Born of humans but raised by beasts who despise the legacy of man, Keelin is the only one who can redeem, or destroy, the future of both races.’

Daughter of the Drackan is my first published book and the first in the Dark Fantasy series ‘Gyenona’s Children’. It’s a bit surreal for me to see it out there and hear about people reading it—I’m sure it will continue to feel that way, no matter how many books I write. Originally, I’d written the first drafts of both this book and its sequel when I was in high school (11:52pm on New Year’s Eve of 2007, to be exact), and I sat on it for a long time. Then I edited it, had it read by a few different people, and spent two years querying to literary agents and traditional publishing companies. That equaled two years’ worth of rejection letters, which I’ve stowed away in a pretty little corner of my computer’s hard-drive. Then I edited some more (meticulously and with a lot of bloodshed—I took out 11K words from ‘Daughter of the Drackan’ alone), gave it to more people to read, and figured I might as well go ahead and self-publish. That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made with this novel.

As a protagonist, Keelin isn’t necessarily for everyone. She’s gritty, haughty, and sometimes annoyingly whiney. Despite her violence, bloodlust, and infuriating stubbornness, she’s also loyal to a fault, independent, and remarkably good at what she does—namely killing. There’s a lot of my own wild side in Keelin; of course, that’s the side of me I’ll never let out, save for through my characters. She struggles constantly to discover who she is within two opposing worlds, neither of which want to accept her completely, and does the only thing she can to find the answers she needs—manipulating those around her in whatever way suits her purposes. 

What inspired you to write this book?
This book was inspired by a combination of a lot of things. Most of the inspiration came from my growing need to write something dark and epic. I think any fiction with an inherently violent and nasty streak is a good deal more entertaining than bunnies and rainbows. It feels more real to me. And badass characters are hard not to like.

The song ‘Haunted’ by Evanescence was a huge boon in creating the conflict of this story line, listened to for hours on end as I sat in the back seat of my dad’s truck as a teenager (at the time, we lived in the Rocky Mountains and about forty-five minutes away from anything at all). ‘The Adventures of Vlad Taltos’ series by Steven Brust gave me a lot of the developmental ideas for Keelin’s character, and Igetheyr, the patriarch of the High Hills Drackans (and probably the most powerful, omniscient character in this entire world) came to me in nothing more than a ridiculously vivid dream—as did the spelling of his name (and how I remembered it, I’ll never know).

Excerpt from Daughter of the Drackan:
     [Keelin] heard the flapping of wings far before his shadow drew across the open ground. He hovered above her, growling for her to move before he crushed her. The circling trees creaked and moaned as they bent beneath his wings. This was not the first time she had made him land in an area already too small for him. If he could joke at her misfortune, she could smirk at his size. D’ruk’s claws crunched on the leaves as he tried unsuccessfully to land with grace, attempting to bring his wings in toward his body.

Keelin saw the dark shape move again and paused. A twig cracked and the air filled with a foreign, anxious shout. A dark blur streaked from behind another tree, and then stopped only feet from Keelin. It had been caught. She stared back at the first human she had ever seen.

The human stood at the ready with one foot back, balancing its broad and frozen stance. Its arms stretched out at eye level, holding a long, curved bow of wood, strung with a sharpened stick. Keelin considered it a weapon. The human’s skin appeared almost black, contrasted only by the frightened whites of its eyes. It had covered its lower half with something that otherwise would have made Keelin laugh, and revealed its bare chest without shame. This made the creature’s legs look soft, featureless, and weak.

This was a human. She had never actually seen a live one before, but there could be no mistake.

A deep growl rumbled behind her and D’ruk sent reddened hatred to her. ‘I’ll kill it…’

‘No. This is…’ She couldn’t quite find the words, but she didn’t need to explain. He growled again. The human shook its weapon and shouted louder. Keelin couldn’t understand the noises it made, nor why it shoved the weapon toward her. She hadn’t provoked it…yet.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently, I’m in the final review stages of the series’ sequel, Mother of the Drackan. This is one heck of an addition to Keelin’s journey, and focuses a lot more on her relationship with the quiet rogue, Rokien, and her struggles between hunting down revenge and realizing she actually cares for others besides herself. The second book should (hopefully) be out February/March.

I’m also most of the way through my adult Dystopian Sci-Fi, Sleepwater Beat. This is a huge project for me, as I’d only ever written bursts of Sci-Fi in short stories before, and because the story just has a lot to say. It’s got a little bit of everything—sex, drugs, violence (ha!), government and pharmaceutical conspiracy, black market dealings, guerilla warfare, human trafficking and experimentation, and a little bit of superpowers. The superpowers, of course, are a bit different; some of these characters have the ability to illicit physical, emotional, and psychological responses in anyone who hears the certain type of words they use on command, and the protagonist Leo has the power to make anyone believe anything she wants (with a caveat, of course, but no spoilers!). I didn’t think it was possible to create something darker and grittier than the ‘Gyenona’s Children’ series, but I’ve definitely done it with this new novel. Hopefully, this one will release shortly after Mother of the Drackan, around March or April.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer the moment I realized I could turn absolutely anything in my imagination into some form of reality, just by putting it into words and down on paper. I was ten, and I’ve been writing ever since.

When did I first start calling myself a writer? That took a lot longer. It wasn’t when I finished my first short story, or my first novel, or even when I got into the Creative Writing—Fiction program at CU Boulder for my Bachelor’s. I definitely hadn’t even started calling myself a writer when I queried the heck out of any agent and publisher I could find. I think it happened somewhere between starting to write ‘Sleepwater Beat’, which is my third novel, and making the decision to finally stop pussyfooting around and commit to self-publishing ‘Daughter of the Drackan’. I still catch myself on occasion telling strangers, “Oh, well, I write sometimes,” instead of, “I’m an author,” but it gets easier with time.

I’ve spoken with a lot of other authors who have struggled with “calling themselves writers/authors”. It seems we don’t allow ourselves to pick up the mantel until we hear others calling us authors, but I’ve found that what really “makes me a writer” comes from two things: writing, and telling people that I’m a writer, no matter what I think their reactions may be. I work with a lot of other authors on a consistent basis, and the thing I keep telling so many of them is, “Give yourself more credit! As long as you write, you’re a writer.”  

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’d love to say I only write full-time, but unfortunately, I don’t. Instead, I’ve got the next best thing: I’m a full-time author and a full-time editor. So I guess I’m working double-time!

About a year ago, I took the leap into creating my own independent editing company, KLH CreateWorks. I offer copy and content editing services for short stories and manuscripts of any genre, and I do a bit of Indie Author consulting and web content writing on the side. I absolutely love it! Around the same time, I approached Laura Callender, the founder of Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC), originally about any openings for new writers she may have had in her second collaboration. The project schedule was full, but she was looking for a new Story Coordinator to run a third project (we’re now about to publish that third project, have started a fourth, and are just about to kick off the fifth. If you’re looking for a serious way to stretch your writing talents, I super recommend checking out CWC!). I signed on with gusto, and shortly thereafter became CWC’s Chief Editor. A few months later, I was contacted by Aaron Hughes, owner and Managing Director of Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing, Inc. (RRPI), and offered a position as their Editing Director.

I suppose I could say I have four jobs—author, my own boss as an indie editor, and editor for two other companies. I couldn’t possibly be any more thrilled with any other job, especially since everything I do revolves around words, fiction, and other authors.

Of course, being an editor also improves my own writing dramatically, which I love. I also have learned that knowing how to explain the why of my editing decisions to both clients and signed authors gives me a knowledge of writing fiction I never knew I had (or have since developed).  

Needless to say, I’ve got a super busy schedule (which is really the only way I get anything done). I’ve set myself a daily quota, which is at least 1,000 words of written fiction, and I slip that in at any time of the day which suits me. I usually spend most of the day on Saturdays working on my own fiction, whether that’s editing my finished novels or working on the WIP, and Sundays are strictly “no work”. Most of the time, I spend Sundays reading—gotta soak up creativity and imagination from others, purely for fun, in order to refuel my own.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It might not be super interesting, but my husband thinks it’s weird. When I’m “in the zone”, I have a huge bottle of water and a plate of food at my desk at all times. I kind of seem to forget that the laws of time, hunger, and thirst exist, and I peck at the food all day…it gets eaten, eventually, but only after it’s turned cold and the hours have ticked by. Apparently, that’s enough to keep me going all day.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. I suppose those things have both come true, in a way.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you so much, Lisa, for hosting me on your blog! And thank you, readers, for stopping by and taking the time to check out the interview. I do so love getting to chat with readers and other authors, and I hope that, at the very least, your curiosity has been sparked.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Mai T. said...

What is your favorite non-fiction?

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Kat said...

Thanks so much for hosting, Lisa! I'm really excited to be here :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the chance!

Kat said...

Hey, Mai! So glad you made it here :)

When I read non-fiction, which I do plenty (though not as much as fiction, admittedly), I love to dive into self-improvement books in the Positive Psychology field. I took an edX course on Positive Psychology two years ago, and it opened my eyes to a whole world of scientific study and the research arena (especially things I myself could understand)...on the topic of being happy! Way cool.

My favorite non-fiction book right now is 'The Desire Map' by Danielle LaPort. It's kind of a workbook / inspiration / how do you want to feel about your life kind of book, and it's phenomenal!

I also love Richard Dawkins ;)

Kat said...

You're welcome, Gabrielle. Good to see you here :)

Unknown said...

Great excerpt and interview~I really enjoyed learning about you and your book! Thank you for a great post and contest!

MomJane said...

Really enjoyed your comments. The excerpt was outstanding.

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Stormy Vixen said...

Enjoyed the interview, sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing!

Kat said...

Betty and MomJane, it's so good to see you again at this stop, too! I'm loving the support.

I'm thrilled to hear you guys loved the excerpt and enjoyed the interview. Hearing that they're interesting and grab your attention kickstarts my excitement all over again :) And "outstanding excerpt" is an extra bonus!

Rita, thanks for being here! There may be a few other excerpts in the stops to come, and I think you'll like those too.

Kat said...

Eva, so good to see you here today, as well! These interviews just keep getting more entertaining for me, too. So glad the book's caught your attention :)

Audrey Stewart said...

Lisa, Thanks for the intro to Kathrin and her work.

Kat said...

Thanks for stopping by, Misty! I love seeing you here :)

Barb said...

When you were growing up did you know you would be a writer?

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading the interview :)

Kat said...

Hey, Barb!

Good question. From the minute I started writing when I was ten, I knew without a doubt that I was never going to stop. I defined myself as a writer for a long time growing up (until I found other things I really enjoyed, too, and then I made room for defining myself in multiple ways).

I never really knew exactly HOW I would be published or what my writing would bring me beyond the joy of the process and finishing a project. I always hoped someone would find my books, love them, and offer me lots of money for them (I still do). But I never once doubted that I'd keep writing and trying to get my books out into as many hands as possible.

Thanks so much for being here :)

Kat said...

Hey, Victoria. I'm glad you stopped by. Lots more interviews coming up too, with more fun info and quirks! Thanks for saying hi.

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed the excerpt and the interview of course. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great read, thank you for sharing!