Karen Chance was kind enough to stop by today and answer some questions about her upcoming urban fantasy anthology Inked (available January 5th) which I've been drooling over for months now (how gorgeous is that cover?) January 5th is a huge day for Karen because in addition to Inked, Death's Mistress (Dorina Basarab, Book 2) is also releasing tomorrow and Karen has generously offered a copy of Death’s Mistress for one of you to win (see below for complete giveaway details).
Karen Chance is the author of the Cassandra Palmer series and the Dorina Basarab series. She grew up in Orlando, Florida, the home of make-believe, which probably explains a lot. She has since resided in France, Great Britain, Hong Kong and New Orleans, mostly goofing off but occasionally teaching history. She is currently back in Florida where she plans to continue writing while dodging hurricanes (and occasionally drinking a few).
Book Description: Four of today's hottest urban fantasy writers together for the first time! From today's most provocative authors come four tales of urban fantasy and paranormal romance exploring body art that is more than it seems-in a world of magic and mayhem that always leaves its mark. This captivating tattoo theme surrounds each author's popular characters and worlds: Karen Chance's war mage Lia de Croissets, Marjorie M. Liu's demon-hunter Maxine Kiss, Yasmine Galenorn's Otherworld Intelligence Agency operative Camille D'Artigo, and Eileen Wilk's Lupi world.
ATUF: “Skin Deep” is the title of your story in Inked. Can you give us a teaser of what it's about?
KC: It’s about Lia de Croissets, a half-werewolf who works with the War Mage Corps, a kind of supernatural police force. Her boyfriend, a werewolf named Cyrus, goes missing about the same time that the corpses of other Weres start showing up having been skinned alive. The story is about her search for Cyrus while also attempting to find out who the killer is. I have the first chapter posted to my site at http://www.karenchance.com/books_sd.html.
ATUF: "Skin Deep" is a continuation of the characters you introduced in the Wolfsbane and Mistletoe anthology story "Rogue Elements" and the Strange Brew anthology story "Vegas Odds." What order should we read these in? Can "Skin Deep" be read as a stand alone?
KC: The order is “Rogue Elements”, “Vegas Odds” and “Skin Deep”, but I believe they all pretty much stand alone. I try to make all of my shorter pieces do so, as not everyone buys every anthology.
ATUF: “Skin Deep” is set in the same world as your Cassandra Palmer and Dorina Basarab series. Any chance we'll run into some familiar characters?
KC: Caleb crosses over, as does Sebastian. I think that’s all in this one, though. One of the things I like about doing the Lia stories is that they allow me to show a different side of the world I usually write. So while crossovers are possible, they probably won’t be frequent.
ATUF: How did you come up with the idea of the War Mage Corps? And can you tell us a little about this supernatural police force?
KC: Every society of any complexity needs a peace keeping force of some kind, and it seemed reasonable that a magical community would need a strong one because of the abilities of the people they have to reign in. The War Mage Corps is therefore made up of mages with greater than usual powers, who are trained to keep the magical community safe and, as much as possible, law abiding. They tend to be a lot more autonomous than human police, with the ability to act in emergencies without direct orders from above. Think a bunch of supernatural James Bonds and you kind of have the idea. Of course, people with that kind of power can be dangerous if they get out of control themselves, which makes for some interesting story lines.
KC: Thank you, I enjoy writing both of them. As for their own novel, it’s something I would like to do, but that decision rests more with the powers that be at my publishing company than with me. I do plan to write more about them, though, in some format.
ATUF: What are some of the challenges unique to writing short stories/novellas as opposed to full length novels? Do you have a preference?
KC: I vastly prefer writing novels. A short story has to incorporate all the aspects of a novel—characterization, plot, world building, etc.--in a much more compact form. I always find them far more challenging than doing longer works, although I always like my shorter pieces when they are finished.
ATUF: Do you have a favorite story in this anthology?
ATUF: All of the stories in Inked involve tattoos. Do you have any tattoos, magical or otherwise, that you can share with us?
KC: No. I’m a certified coward. I’m afraid that the idea of getting stabbed by a needle several thousand times doesn’t appeal.
ATUF: I don't think I've seen a cover for any of your books that aren't gorgeous (the Cassandra Palmer covers are consistently stunning), but Inked has to be my favorite so far. Did you have any influence on the final design?
KC: I have always been very fortunate in the cover art my books have received. And I was thrilled to discover that they’d decided to use Lia for the Inked cover. I hadn’t had any hints on that before I received it, so it was a very nice surprise. But other than for providing the subject, I can’t take any credit for the design.
ATUF: I love hearing about what my favorite authors are reading? Can you tell us some of your favorite urban fantasy books?
KC: Too many to name, really. There are some awesome authors out there right now. In paranormal romance, my favorite would have to be Nalini Singh, who does some great world building in her books (which is one of my favorite things). In UF, I’m enjoying Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, which just seems to get better and better. And, of course, the ladies in the anthology with me—Marjorie Liu, Yasmine Galenorn and Eileen Wilkes—all rock!
ATUF: What projects do you have coming up next?
KC: Well, I’m not sure if “next” is the right word, as it’s coming out concurrently with Inked, but my second Dorina Basarab novel, Death’s Mistress, hits the shelves in January. I’ve also just finished a short story for the Chicks Kick Ass anthology, due out in 2011, and I’m currently working on the fifth Cassandra Palmer novel.
Thank you so much Karen for letting me pick your brain a little. Come back anytime!
Books and anthologies by Karen Chance:
Karen is giving away a copy of her new book: Death's Mistress
Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.
Back home in Brooklyn after the demise of her insane uncle Dracula, Dory’s hoping her life is about to calm down. But then she gets some visitors. A friend wants Dory’s help in finding a magical Fey relic, and the gorgeous vampire, Louis-Cesare, is desperate to find his former mistress Christine.
Dory and Louis-Cesare quickly discover that the same master vampire Christine is bound to is also rumored to be in possession of the relic. But when the master vampire turns up dead, they realize that there’s more at stake than a missing mistress. Someone is killing vampire Senate members, and if Dory and Louis-Cesare can’t stop the murderer, they may be next…
Read a sample chapter here. Look for Death's Mistress on January 5, 2010!
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