Saturday, July 25, 2015

Karissa Laurel ~ an interview and her novel ~ Midnight Burning


Karissa Laurel

Karissa Laurel always dabbled in writing, but she also wanted to be a chef when she grew up. So she did. After years of working nights, weekends, and holidays, she burnt out and said, “Now what do I do?” She tried a bunch of other things, the most steady of those being a paralegal for state government, but nothing makes her as happy as writing. She has published several short stories and reads “slush” for a couple of short-story markets.

Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for speculative fiction. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes.

Karissa also paints and draws and harbors a grand delusion that she might finish a graphic novel someday.

Q: Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A: I am neither. I don’t like getting up too early, but I have a hard time making it past 11:00 or so at night. I tend to be most high functioning in the late morning and afternoon.

Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
 A: I usually sleep with earplugs, and dead silence is my preference. When I’m home alone, though, I sometimes sleep with the TV on. Even with earplugs, a little babble comes through and I feel like someone is nearby.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, though rarely classical.  The commonality between most of the performers I like is a strong sense of musicality and composition. My favorite bands are Muse, Metallica, System of a Down, Queen, and Jack White (White Stripes). I’m a terrible singer, but I love to sing in my car-- such a stress reliever. When I’m in the mood to sing, I love Journey, Maroon 5, Billy Joel, Elton John, Florence and the Machine, and Pink. I also have a weak spot for 80s music or modern bands influenced by the 80s.

Q: Favorite color?
A: I have my nails painted a cool mint green color right now because that color is so chill and relaxing to me. I collect a set of dishes and kitchenware from the depression era called Jadite because it’s that light green/mint color that I love.

Q: Dine in or dine out?
A: I was a chef and caterer in a previous career, so I love to cook but not when I’m rushed for time, which is most weeknights.  I like to eat out at restaurants that make food I’m not interested in trying to make at home, so that usually means ethnic food. We love to go out for Vietnamese, sushi, taco trucks, Indian, Greek, etc. But if we want steaks, seafood, meatloaf and mashed potatoes style stuff, then I’d rather make it at home. Nothing makes me more disappointed than going out to eat and getting something that I think I could have made better myself at home.

Q: Coffee or Tea?
A: Coffee, coffee, coffee!!! Where I’m from, everyone loves sweet iced tea, but I never developed a taste for it. But I’ll drink coffee any way you give it to me.

Q: How did you come to write your genera of choice?
A: I prefer fantasy and science fiction genres because reading is all about escapism for me, and the more fantastical the story, the more I can escape the real world. Midnight Burning is an Urban Fantasy, which tends to be one of my favorite genres to read. Urban fantasy means fantasy that takes place in the real world, and I like the contrast of setting magical creatures and people against everyday, commonplace things technology and modern sociology (modern, liberated women, in particular)

Q: What is your favorite part of writing?
A: I love when I get in the “zone”. I might describe it as a sort of trance state, where the words are coming fast and furious and I’m so into it I can tune out the world around me and really sink into the story. If writing is a drug, then the “zone” is the high. I think writers are always looking for that feeling when they write, and it’s why we keep doing it. I also really like editing. If writing is like drawing a pretty picture, then editing is getting to color it in and add the details that make it really come alive.

Q: Who's your favorite author?
A: I have lots of favorites, but the writer who makes me weak in the knees with envy is Neil Gaimon. I love his style, voice, tone, world building, characters…everything. When I read his stories, I absolutely believe magic is real.

Q: Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
A: I do both, but it depends on where and when I’m writing. I tend to carry a pad of paper around with me so I can write when having a lap top isn’t convenient. I like longhand writing a lot because something about the flow of handwriting seems to fit the speed at which the words appear in my head, and I can get in a nice rhythm with my pen. 

A bad habit for writers is going back, re-reading, and editing what we just wrote. It’s a waste of time and impedes progress. When I’m writing long hand, I tend to do less going back, rereading, and editing.  But when I go to type up what I’ve handwritten, I rarely type it in exactly as I’ve written it. I almost always edit as I’m typing it in.

Q: Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?
A: Even though I don’t tend to do a lot of plotting ahead of time when I set out to write a story, I very much like knowing the ending in advance. Having and ending in mind makes driving the rest of the story a lot easier.  But that never means the ending can’t change. I’ve certainly started with one ending in mind, but changed it after the story ending up taking a different route.

Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I am working on book three in the Midnight Burning series. Book two is with Beta readers right now, and I hope to get it into my publisher, soon. I’d like to have a very loose, rough draft version of my third book done before the second book goes into editing. Then, after editing the second book, I’ll know what changes I need to make to the third book and I can get back to work on finishing it up.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: Like I said, I have a second book in this series almost ready to submit to my publisher. Assuming the publisher likes it and accepts it, it might be a year before it comes out, but having a perfectly polished, well written book is worth the wait, for me.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A:        website:
            Youtube Book Trailer:

Book Description:

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Drivento learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

Buy Links:

I’m happy you could join me on Books and Banter.  I hope you had fun with the Q & A’s

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