“Let’s start by saying that I have looked forward to and feared this interview for many months now. I love your first novel, Billy Purgatory and look forward to the next. But you are one tough act to follow.” Normally I type a little intro here, but I’m definitely taking the compliment, KVS!
But all serious-like: Karen Victoria Smith is a writer who I met via Twitter last year – I meet a lot of people on Twitter – actually, I think I’m engaged to a woman in Bulgaria because of Twitter. I should probably look into extradition laws and stuff like that…
…anyway, KVS wrote a book called Dark Dealings, and she’s launched said book independently and that’s kinda the whole point of this interview (she’s running a contest too) – nobody comes on here of their own free will. I kind of understand that, because even if you’re an accomplished writer-type-badass like Karen is – why would you willingly subject yourself to this insanity if you don’t have anything to promote?
Dark Dealings is a really good book – and I’m not saying that because she said Billy Purgatory was awesome (but she’s right, Billy Purgatory is kinda fucking awesome) – I’m talking it up because I was one of the first people lucky enough to read it via the tried and true beta-reading method we authors employ. I found the book smart, fresh, fascinating, and full of paranormal goodness, yet spun in such a way that it wasn’t like all the other paranormal goodness that I, and probably you too, had been reading lately.
Plus, there’s a really hot Russian femme-fatale in it – and you know – she had me with Russian and fatale. I am a guy though – we’re kinda easy – that’s why all those Bond-girls work with the sexually-taun-taun-tre names like Katarina Smeardmenoff.
Russian Movie Hotness Exhibit A
KVS’s bad girls are a lot smarter than that though – I guess I’m just making the general point that I’m easy.
Russian Movie Hotness Exhibit Kurylenko
I really need a
Russian girlfriend any girlfriend.
Okay, maybe ANY is too strong a word…
So – without further Smeardmenoff’n, let’s start talking about fascinating Karen Victoria Smith stuff and her super-cool book of badassary, Dark Dealings in another episode of
11 Questions of Badassary!
Author Karen Victoria Smith
1. So, you wrote a book – what can you tell us about what happens in it and stuff?
Well nice investment banker (oxymoron) chick, Micaela O’Brien, falls in with some big bad vampires and shapeshifters. She doesn’t realize what they are at first, because things like that are not supposed to exist. But they are tearing each other up, literally. No big deal, until they come after her and her some of her not so ordinary friends. But Micaela has to recognize that she is not so ordinary herself, if she is going to kick some fanged and clawed butt.
KVS is talking about this book, Dark Dealings!
2. There’s a lot of exotic locales in this book. What’s doing with the historical ref’s, Celtic mythology, American Indians?
It all started when I really began researching the vampire and shapeshifter myths and realized that outside of the Judeo-Christian system, every ancient culture has its own version of each. So, that coupled with the potential for these creatures to easily blend into modern society led to a global network concept. It also means that pretty much anywhere I ever travel can be considered a research trip and a potential tax deduction.
Hear that IRS? Anywhere – even on a BOAT!
3. What’s the secret to writing a strong female protagonist? What about the perfect femme fatale? How much of you is in each of their personalities?
There is a lot of me in my female characters, both things I have said and done and things I wish I had said and done. Which ones are which are for me to know and hopefully no one to ever find out. ***wiggle eyebrows***.
Cause for every sweet Buffy…
I do think that the writer has to have a strong personality in order to write strong characters. When writer writes “what we know”, it is more the emotion than the fact. I have been told by many that I am a “handful”. On the other hand, I will say I have never met a real vampire (wouldn’t tell you if I did).
…there’s a pissed off ninja-chick who’s still mad she didn’t get that pony when she was 8.
4. Where does your interest in magic and the paranormal come from?
I’m of Irish descent through all branches of the family, but most importantly, my paternal grandmother. She loved a good story and the scarier the better. We used to huddle on the couch and watch Lugosi and Chaney and others into the evening. She tried to introduce me to the old stories and the language of Ireland. I came back around to this in college until today. By the way, Una, Micaela’s grandmother, is based on her.
If your granny tries to tell you stories about this kinda stuff instead of bitching that now that Lawrence Welk comes on at 6pm it’s too damn late for her to stay up and watch it – pay attention!
5. As far as popular culture goes – in your opinion what do people get wrong with these kinds of paranormal/dark tales?
Good question. I think they get the central questions wrong. Most uninitiated readers and some writers, think it is all about violence and sex. And some of what is out there is just that.But, in good paranormal/dark urban fantasy, there has to be a theme. The classics of vampire fiction, like Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, explore deeper issues of power, life and death, or what makes a being human.
This sexy thing got it so right!
Sorry second glass of red wine and I start getting philosophical.
Really its all about sex and violence— more is better.
“B-yuuuuu-duh-pest” kinda got it wrong.
6. When you’re writing burned out and need a break what really stupid crap do you veg out to on TV?
It varies. The only reality show I have ever watched consistently was Biggest Loser.The idea of people transforming themselves like that is fascinating. Of course the cynic in me wants to see them one year later. Otherwise: I love Harry’s Law, Grimm, Borgias, Trueblood (although cannot figure out why a bunch of vampires live in so remote a location), Game of Thrones…sorry no SoapNet.
Vampires living in the sticks has a lot to do with this hot little cheese-fry slinging firecracker.
7. Do you have a writing process and what is it?
My process is still evolving. I am trying to be more organized upfront to save on edit cycles at the back end. But I always start with characters and a spark of a plot. I try to see how the two fit together in a bigger picture (theme. Once I have a sense of a beginning (although that changed from the original draft of Dark Dealings) a middle and an end, I let start connecting dots.
Oh and two glasses of wine and music
True Blood is finally starting to make sense to me.
8. What’s your favorite book? What inspires you? Take any inspiration from art or music while writing this?
My favorite book…just one????? Well besides Billy Purgatory… Non-fiction would be Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, based on Joseph Campbell’s examination of the myth cycle. Fiction: Little Women. Don’t look so shocked. As a young girl, I wanted to be Jo and Katherine Hepburn nailed it in the movie. Jo is a string female character who pursues her passion, howver unconventional. My music varies with what I am writing. I listen to Traditional Irish Music, metal, pop music. Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger in definitely on Micalea’s iPod. When I run, its got to push me to be faster.
Definitely on Billy Purgatory’s iPod too… (right next to Yanni)
Thanks to you, I have been listening to Type O Negative, for the darker places.
RIP Peter Steele #badass
9. What do you think about the nature of the self-publishing world?
I think for people who have the passion to write WELL, love a challenge and don’t mind giving up what little free time they have, it is an amazing world to be in. No one knows for sure what will happen next. I started writing at a time where indie publishing was unheard of or often confused with vanity publishing. The only goal was traditional publishing through an agent. Now the world shifts almost daily. Being indie allows me to be light on my feet and respond faster to the changes.
10. High finance is kind of a backdrop to your book – can the reader draw any metaphors from the current state of the financial world and evil monsters?
I spent a decade on Wall Street. I think whether it is politic (maybe another Micaela book), big business or Wall Street, power attracts certain types. I knew and know a lot of good and well intentioned people who work(ed) on Wall Street, and then there are the others. It is the Law of Attraction at its worst. The idea of power in all its forms and what it can do to people is fascinating and will be one of the themes in my books.
11. What’s next for KVS?
I’m editing a paraquel to Dark Dealings that follows several minor characters, Aine, her grand-niece Nora and Devlin, the owner of the Salmon Run Inn. It originally started out as a lame attempt at a short story, but the characters thought they deserved much more page time. They also think they should loop back into Micaela’s arc in a much bigger way at some point in the future. We’ll see.
I’m also outlining the next Micaela book which will deal with science and medicine as a power. It is still in early stages, but the elements are starting to come together.
And in my spare time, I am doing developmental editing for other writers and running 5Ks. I’m not at all like Micaela…nope…not me.
Click to get your Kindle paranormal on!
At thirteen, Micaela O’Brien was found wandering a pasture in Ireland, the sole survivor of a mid-air explosion. Now, as a successful investment banker, she will discover that Wall Street has fangs and claws. When international power brokers, creatures hiding in plain sight, threaten her and those she loves, will this heiress to a Druid legacy deny her power and let loved ones die again?
A thrill ride of money, monsters and murder across the globe.
Thanks Karen Victoria Smith for share-time in 11 Questions of Badassary!
Click for Time Zombie Transportation to Amazon!
Billy Purgatory is Jesse James Freeman’s first novel. He’s also studied psychology and film and scripted comics. When he’s not writing books, Jesse James trains falcons to kill Leprechaun Robots, and will continue to do so until the world is relatively safe.
Jesse James recently contributed 4 essays to the book Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays, co-authored by Tess Hardwick (Riversong) and Tracey Hansen. All author proceeds will be donated to charities engaged in the fight against breast cancer.
Click to check out Write For The Fight!
Authors Tess Hardwick and Tracey Hansen, inspired by the myriad voices in the world, compile a melting pot of life paths from over a dozen unique individuals, each exploring the four timeless questions we’ve all pondered:
· What do you miss about being 5 years old?
· What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
· What, at this point in your life, do you want, wish and dream of for your life going forward?
· What would you want said about you on your 80th birthday?
These experiences make us who we are, defining our personalities, perspectives and dreams as we move through the seasons of life – from memories at age 5 to the person we hope to be described as on our 80th birthday.
From the thoughtful to the blunt, experienced to the young – WRITE FOR THE FIGHT is a humorous and emotional journey that will take you back to the best of times and get you energized for the future. All writer royalties will be donated to charities benefiting the fight against breast cancer.