Today I have one of my most favorite urban fantasy authors on the blog for My Favorite Things. Karen Chance writes the Cassie Palmer series and Dorina Basarab series. Book number 5 in the Cassie Palmer series, Hunt the Moon, comes out today! I was lucky enough to get a copy for review and loved Hunt the Moon! She's also in an anthology, Chicks Kick Butt which also comes out today! There's a giveaway for both books at the bottom of the post, so make sure you check it out!
Description for Chicks Kick Butt:
Chicks are awesome—and never more so than when they are kicking some serious vampire/werewolf/demon/monster butt.
Chicks Kick Butt is an anthology that features one of the best things about the urban fantasy genre: strong, independent, and intelligent heroines who are quite capable of solving their own problems and slaying their own dragons (or demons, as the case may be).
Edited by Kerrie Hughes and Rachel Caine, Chicks Kick Butt features original stories from thirteen authors, eleven of whom are New York Times bestsellers:
- Rachel Caine (with a story from her bestselling Weather Wardens universe)
- L.A. Banks
- Rachel Vincent
- Karen Chance
- Lilith Saintcrow
- Cheyenne McCray
- Susan Krinard
- Jeanne Stein
- Jenna Black
- Susan Krinard
- Jeanne Stein
- Jenna Black
- Elizabeth Vaughan
- Carole Nelson Douglas
- P.N. Elrod
- Nancy Holder
Description for Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer #1):
Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits-talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The ghosts of the dead aren't usually dangerous; they just like to talk...a lot. The undead are another matter.
Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking Mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she's forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection. The undead senators won't help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire-and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay...
So we can get to know you better can you share with us 10 things about yourself?
1) When I was young, I wanted to be a chef. Specifically, a pastry chef. My thighs are glad this did not happen.
2) I love Australian Aboriginal art. If I ever get rich and famous (ha!) I will probably end up with a collection. As it is, I have one item, a painting I bought at an aboriginal art gallery years ago. It’s been on my wall ever since.
3) I was almost caught in Hurricane Katrina. I don’t actually recall leaving the city, just hearing Mayor Nagin say something about “if you’re still here, remember to write your name in indelible ink on your arm so we can identify your body after the storm.” Half an hour later, I woke up in the car heading out of town.
4) When I came back to myself on the way out of New Orleans, I had four things in the car with me: a hastily packed satchel of clothes, a bottle of water, the above mentioned painting and a bunch of bananas. I don’t know what this says about my psyche, but there you go.
5) I helped open EuroDisney in 1992. I was working at Epcot at the time to help put myself through university, and they decided to send everyone on staff who could speak French to Paris. They were seriously behind and the park was scheduled to open in less than two months. Despite the song, April in Paris is cold and rainy. And our apartments were still being constructed and didn’t have heat yet. And I didn’t speak French so much as vaguely understand it. But it was my first trip to Europe and I ended up having a great time.
6) I play a mean game of chess.
7) I also play a level-80 undead warrior on World of Warcraft. No, I am not going to apologize for this. No, seriously, I’m not.
8) I wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid, but assumed for years that I didn’t have the talent.
9) I have a Ph.D. in British Imperial History with a focus on India. It was a surprisingly fun field, since I specialized in the British spy network—early James Bond-type stuff.
10) I can’t play any instrument known to mankind. Not one. I know, because I’ve tried most of them. Desperately wanted to be musical, but finally faced the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. Still love music though.
Your world building is amazing! It's complex, but fantastic! You go completely crazy with twists and turns and things that I can't even imagine coming up with. How do your ideas come to you? Is it something that just flows as you write or do you pretty much have a good idea of where things are going from the beginning?
I figured out the hard way that writing to an outline doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried it, but it always ends up sounding suspiciously like I am writing to an outline. The way I do it now is to have five or six things that I know need to be in the book, and just focus on getting them on the page in the most entertaining way possible.
You also have a lot of characters but each one is so different. They have amazing personalities that really make them memorable so I don't think I ever found myself too confused. Where do your characters come from? Does it take a lot of thinking and developing to get them there like that? Or do they just pop out at you and won't go away?
I’m a plot-driven author, so my characters are there because the plot needs for them to be there. I try to make them diverse and memorable, so thank you for that. But basically, they’re who they are because that’s who the story needs them to be.
Names are very important to a story, but not always easy to come up with. How did you come up with the names of the characters in your books?
Some of my characters are taken out of history, so their names are pretty much set. As far as the others go, a lot of their names have hidden meanings that give clues to the storyline; others are there simply because they fit the era in which the character was born and I liked them.
What was your biggest obstacle to overcome when you were writing?
Lately, I guess fear. As in, what I write just won’t be good enough/won’t come together right/won’t make the fans of the series happy. I had a really hard time with that for a year or so, partly because I’m a perfectionist and partly because I’d been listening too much to some of the things said about the books online. I finally dealt with it, more or less, by staying off of forums and by telling myself: “Look, it’s your story. Write it the way you know it’s supposed to go, not the way this or that person wants.” I guess it worked, because I think Hunt the Moon is probably my best work.
Your books kind of have everything as far as supernatural goes. I mean you really go all out. So what is your favorite? I know that your ghosts and the role they play in the books is something I really love.
I like using things from mythology in new ways. My favorite recent find was the Bonnacon, a Celtic myth about a huge supernatural bull that, uh, excretes fire. I came across it in an old mythology book and laughed until I cried. I couldn’t believe no one had ever used it. I mean, come on. It sh-ts napalm! What more do you want?
You have the art of creating sexual tension down perfect! It's so frustrating. You know~ the good kind of frustrating cause your flying through the book praying that you'll come up on that perfectly amazing kiss. So is that as frustrating for you as it is for us? Does Cassie's romance not always go where you may want it to go and more where it 'needs' to go? (Not sure if that makes sense... I'm trying not to be spoilery.)
Are any of your characters based on real people?
If you were to time travel what period would you travel to?
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
I really want to see Scandinavia. Some of my mother's ancestors were Norwegian, and I’ve always wanted to see the fjords. I also really want to go to Iceland and see the volcanoes.
I’m currently working on the next Dorina Basarab book. There’s also a short story with Dorina in theChicks Kick Ass anthology due out the same day as Hunt the Moon. And after that, of course, more Cassies! If you want to keep up with the madness, visit my web page at KarenChance.com or check me out on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cassandra-Palmer-Series-by-Karen-Chance/111936312220825).
The Giveaway: CLOSED
Karen is giving away one copy of Chicks Kick Butt and I'm giving away my copy of Hunt the Moon (please note that this book came to me with a crease in the spine and has caused some loose'ish pages, if you're picky about your books then don't enter for this one :)Open to US/Canada onlyMust be 17 or olderEnds July 5th, 2011
To Enter: This Giveaway has ended
Tell me which book (or both) you'd like to win. Then tell us where and when you would like to travel to if you were to able to travel through time. Remember to leave contact info!