Today I would like to welcome to the blog author Karina Cooper. Karina is currently on tour promoting All Things Wicked, the newest book in her Dark Mission series and is so good. Check out my review for it here. Karina was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me that I would love to share with you all. So without further ado, here's Karina everyone.
Thanks for having me here! I’m pleased to answer any other questions readers may have for me, so if I don’t overindulge you with my answers below, ask away!
First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
Oh, where to start? I was born in California, spent a few years there before hightailing it across the country. I made that trip a couple times, back and forth to visit between the coasts when I wasn’t skating up and down the eastern coastline. I’ve always been a bit of a wanderer and a dreamer, which might explain my grades in any class that strayed away from anything I find interesting.
I’ve always dabbled in writing, so it probably came as no real surprise to my family when I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet–or is that pro-verbal bullet?–and write a book. Or, as the case may be, five. Six. Seven? All right, lots of books. It’s become my thing, you know; this is what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
When I’m not writing–okay, family and friends, settle down, no one needs to hear you laughing in disbelief–I’m a gamer of all stripes and a Steampunk fashionista. Which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: I play games and dress up in neo-Victorian couture, although not always together.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes and no. When I was in high school, I would write these 12, 20, 40 page stories wherein I’d give my friends a questionnaire–you know, ideal man type of questions, ideal career, so on–and sew them up a tidy little happy ending. It was, at the time, just something to do while everyone else around me was hooking up (and there I was, the theater geek with the unrequited crush).
I seemed to always come back to writing between all the other things I dabbled in. As much a career gypsy as I was a wanderer, I tended to vacillate between fields of work, from the super scientific (paleontologist, Egyptologist, ichthyologist with a specialization in sharks) to the incredibly Bohemian (actress, artist, writer). After about ten years of “could I, should I?”, my husband finally sat me down and told me to write the (#&#% book.
So I did.
What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
I’m a born-again plotter. I used to pants everything–ladies–but one day I looked at my “random crap I’ll get to another time” folder (this is the folder where good stories go to die) and realized I had 156 incomplete projects in it. It was about this time that a friend of mine sat me down and taught me how to plot. She had me sign a contract in blood, too, that said I’d not only finish the book, but I’d make it fabulous and sell it.
That book was Blood of the Wicked, and I’ve never looked back. I’m a born-again plotter.
Don’t ask who’s blood that was.
Can you tell me about your series. Why witches?
The Dark Mission series is currently five books–with books four and five slated for a late 2012/early 2013 release, respectively. It takes place fifty years after the world we know was devastated by a series of cataclysmic events. In a bid for power and control, a zealous religious sect known as the Holy Order of St. Dominic stepped into the chaos left behind, pointed the finger at witches–which, of course, certainly exist–and lit the fires that would carry the city of New Seattle into the future.
Now, there is a war brewing between the persecuted and those that hunt them, and not everything is as it seems. What should be black and white isn’t, and what’s good isn’t always as pure as it could be.
I chose witches because I believe in them. I believe that they are a very real and rich part of our culture as humans and part of our past as various cultures. I believe in people that have extra abilities–whether intuition or otherwise–and as a species, we have a startling tendency to persecute that which we don’t understand. Or can’t control.
Witches are the closest thing to human in the paranormal world. They don’t feed on blood or flesh, they don’t turn into furry beasts under a full moon. They aren’t filled with slime or covered in scales or anything that allows us to draw a visible, physiological line between us and them. We are them; they are us. How tragic is it to murder those who could, but for the sake a genetic anomaly, be us?
Where do your ideas come from?
This is one of those questions that has no answer. It’s cheap to say, “Everywhere, of course,” but it’s also true. The initial concept for New Seattle came while watching the Discovery channel. The idea for Caleb stemmed from my own thoughts on my own family. Other ideas have come from people I meet, people I wish I could meet; places I’ve been, places I want to go. Things I hear, things I read, things I make up in the small, vicious part of my brain that assures me that all of the nice people who ride the bus with me are serial killers just looking for an opportunity.
I have a brain that won’t stop. And when it doesn’t have anything interesting to digest, it makes it up.
A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
A witch out for revenge is in danger. The only man who can help her is the man who betrayed her, and he doesn't play well with others.
Out of any of your books, which one would you like to be a character in? And why?
I’d like to be a character in Lure of the Wicked. While both Blood of the Wicked and All Things Wicked are action-packed and filled with adventure, Lure of the Wicked takes place in a spa.
A spa, people. This means that while the hero and heroine are running around trying to solve murders and dodge bullets and the like, I’d be over there, getting a massage from Joel–whose hands, for the record, really should be dipped in gold.
I’m a high-maintenance sort of heroine. Give me a good massage, a facial, a manicure and a hero who doesn’t mind doing all the heavy lifting, and I’m good.
Do you ever see yourself writing a different genre?
Funny you should mention that. Late June, I’ll be releasing a book called Tarnished, the first in the St. Croix Chronicles. This genre is most emphatically not a romance. It’s a Steampunk urban fantasy set in Victorian London, featuring a heroine who straddles the line between Society miss and underground bounty hunter. The genre has a decided historical flavor, undercut with elements of Steampunk sci-fi and classic Victorian adventure stories.
I also have ideas always kicking around in my head. I want to branch out into all sorts of genres. I love romance, it’ll always be my first passion, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dabbling with any story that really grips you by the throat and whispers write me or I murder the ones you love.
What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I read all sorts of stories. I’m drawn to just about anything Neil Gaiman writes, and I love, love, love the City Watch-focused Discworld books by Terry Pratchett. (Sam Vimes is my favorite character of all time.) I tend to favor happily ever after stories (or at least happily for now) so don’t usually read overly tragic books. I enjoy reading Regency romances because I find them utterly charming, and I love paranormal romances that are dark and adventurous and gritty.
This should come on the heels of a confession hat when I was a child, I read every last thing I could get my hands on. I attended many schools, and I’d often spent class time in the library, starting at A and working all the way through to Z and pulling out whatever book caught my fancy. Hilariously enough, that’s how I read my first Harlequin. Somehow, it got shelved at my elementary school library.
I’ve read science fiction books bigger than my head. I’ve read the complete works of William Shakespeare, every last extended errata of J. R. R. Tolkien, and most of the Wheel of Time before I finally decided I just didn’t care anymore. I like to read. I’ve always loved it. Most of the time, if there’s a book around and I’ve got nothing lese to do, I’ll crunch it.
But I have my favorites.
Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
My favorite book is a non-fiction. It’s all A Monk Swimming, and it’s by Malachy McCourt. I remember whole segments of this book, and I’m not a huge non-fiction reader, but the heart and soul of this one really stuck with me through the years. I strongly recommend it to everyone.
Have you ever fallen for another author's hero? If so, who and why? Describe the characteristics that make up your perfect hero.
Jericho Barrons, the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.
Riley from Nalini Singh’s Branded by Fire. Let’s throw Hawke in from Kiss of Snow. Those are just the ones I’ve read lately.
I tend to fall a little bit in love with most heroes I read. The ones listed above are men who are strong, don’t take any crap from the women doing everything they can to prove something these men already know, and are confident in themselves and what they need to do. These are traits I love to see in a hero. I like strong, sure alpha men who know where the line is between being tough and being brutal–even if men like Jericho walk a very thin line between the two.
There are other heroes I love out there, but I’d need a spreadsheet and about three days to list them all out.
What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?
Forgiveness scenes. The ones where the hero or the heroine has to make the choice to forgive and forget or break it off completely.
I’m a Virgo/Libra. For those of you keeping track at home, this means that I really, really want to get organize, but haven’t the faintest idea of how. This also means that among my more deeply rooted Virgo traits, my first inclination is to walk away. It’s just easier. If it’s not working, shed your skin and try again somewhere else, right? (Yes, I know, I feel bad for the mancandy, too... It’s a wonder he’s stuck with me, isn’t it?)
But the men and women in these books can’t do that. Or else it wouldn’t be much of a romance, would it? Each has to find redemption–in themselves and in each other. This is a little bit of a an alien concept to me, so I always have to go to one of my non-Virgo friends and pose a question. These get pretty hilarious, especially when they don’t know what the plot is.
Okay, so, you’ve murdered your lover’s witch family...
Yeah. That’d end well.
If you could have dinner with any three book characters, who would you choose and why?
People expect me to pick Jericho Barrons. Let me just tell you, I wouldn’t be eating dinner with Barrons in the house, if you know what I mean.
If I had to pick three, I’d choose Silas from Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. I’d have to special-order some blood so he could at least have a sipping wine, as it were, while we ate and talked. I’d choose Sam Vimes from Terry Pratchett’s aforementioned Discworld series. Now, I know what you’re thinking–this could be problematic, since Vimes does not like vampires. But I bet if I could get them to sit down to a nice table (perhaps I’d have to rope Lady Sybil into helping) and set out some ground-rules–like, nobody mention that red and wet word–it could go quite well.
Lastly, I’d choose Alex Craft from Kalayna Price’s Grave Witch, because let’s face it, I’ll need some female sensibilities to balance out the guest list and I think she’d bring a wit to the table that would amuse Silas and possibly cause Vimes’ forehead to twitch.
It could be epic disaster. But it could also be lots and lots of fun.
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
Neil Gaiman, straight up, no quibbling. To say I admire him is to cautiously suggest that perhaps the sky is a little bit filled with stars. One of my great goals in life is to one day be wealthy enough–or at least comfortable enough–that I can actually outbid someone on one of those ‘Take tea with Neil’ auctions he does for charity now and again.
Beside him, I’d seat Chuck Wendig, who is loud, hilarious, and very possibly my only real advisor when it comes to all things alcohol. I believe that Chuck’s beard would somehow counter-balance Neil’s dry humor to the point where a possible vortex of space/time could erupt somewhere in the vicinity. If we’re lucky, it’d rain puppies, so that I could take one home.
Third at the table, but certainly not least, I’d invite my dad. As a self-published author in his own right, and the root of this writing sequence in my DNA, he’s the man who taught me that stories could come from anywhere, anytime, for any reason. He’s brilliant, funny, and engaging–and I’m not just saying that ‘cause he’s my dad. The man would have the whole table in stitches.
That, there, is my ideal dinner table. With me, of course, and a cup of tea.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m going to laugh uproariously now. Please don’t take offense...
...Okay, I’m good now. So, in this quaintly titled “spare time”–let’s hypothetically say I have it–I like to play games. Video games, table top role play games, and live action role play (LARP) games. Anything that involves playing through a story. (I swear, this still counts as writing...)
I’m also a Steampunker, as I mentioned, which means I enjoy dolling up in neo-Victorian clothing and accessorizing with Victorian-style sci-fi gadgets. You know, just because. I’d say I do more, but... really. This is all I’ve got!
I don’t have one. I watch movies the same way I devour books–too fast and too often to really put one above all the others. At least for movies. I like a lot of them more than others: Labyrinth, Mirrormask, Stardust, Love Actually, 50 First Dates (don’t judge me), Hero, The Lord of the Rings, The Warrior’s Way, Iron Man (1 and 2), Sherlock Holmes... really, the list goes on.
Currently? Holding On by The Parlor Mob
This is likely to change just as much as my movie of the week is.
I suck at this game!
Currently, my favorite color is a dusky sort of rose. A few months ago, it was anything teal. Before that? Purples. Dark red. And so on.
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
I already mentioned Tarnished, the first of the St. Croix Chronicles, coming out in late June. There’s also my fourth Dark Mission book, Sacrifice the Wicked, which is slated (tentatively) for a November release. Between the two series, I’m nicely busy until at least July.
Afterwards? Well, I’ve got a few ideas rolling around the chaotic landscape that is my head. Stay in touch!
Juliet Carpenter was always protected from the darker side of the witching world. But the massacre below Seattle, the one that claimed her sister’s life, opened her eyes to the true nature of those around her--especially Caleb Leigh. Juliet can’t believe that she slept with the man who killed her sister and now has just one thing on her mind: revenge. But old habits die hard and when it becomes clear that she can’t trust her Coven either, she’s left on the run with a man she hates more than anything.
Caleb isn’t proud of the things he’s done to survive, but nothing hurts him more than the pain he caused Juliet. Unable to reveal the truth about her sister’s death, and with both the Coven and the Mission hard on their heels, he must get Juliet to trust him long enough to save their lives. Because it’s not just the two of them who are in danger: if Juliet won’t let go of her rage enough to tap into her powers, everything they love--each other, their families, this whole miserable world--will be lost.
Places to Purchase:
San Francisco provided me with a home only until the wanderlust struck. I was raised all over the U.S. like some kind of tiny blonde gypsy, and marinating in the melting pot of so many cultures may be the source of this wild imagination. No matter where I was or what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up—actress to artist, web designer, fashionista or author—I was always creative.
As far as careers go, daydreaming for a living kicks so much ass.
Places to find Karina: