Meet My Main Character Blog Hop

Welcome to the Meet My Main Character blog hop!

I want to thank Katherine Harbour, author of Thorn Jack for inviting me. Her novel is also a modern faerie tale, and one I really enjoyed. I reviewed it here, interviewed Katherine here. You can find Thorn Jack online at the usual providers: Barnes & Noble, direct from Harper Collins, Amazon, iTunes, Google, Indiebound, and Audible.

First, some context:

My novel, The Stolen, began as a short story based on the poem “The Stolen Child” by W.B. Yeats, but with a twist. My initial backdrop was a world where all of the monsters we knew were real, but not quite as we believed. Vampires, werewolves, demons, and zombies were, in fact, faeries. The passing of time had warped our collective human memory of them into the pantheon of urban fantasy monsters that we know today. That idea didn’t last. I didn’t want to make another vampire book. I wanted something of my own. My short story’s plot was sound, but the child-stealing faeries needed some kind of transformation, and that was when I decided the key would be change.

Faeries are static in most stories, never developing or growing past their mythic origins. It made sense to me that if they lived alongside humanity—which mine would, though hidden in plain sight—they’d be impacted and shaped by our influence. For example, why use magic when technology is easier and readily accessible? So, my faeries became urban faeries. They didn’t ride horses or carry bows. They drove sports cars; had guns, cell phones, and stock portfolios; and owned night clubs.

For the characters in The Stolen, I knew that I wanted to keep, at least somewhat, to tradition. That meant archetypes and I settled on a wizard, a warrior, and a princess. Like my faeries though, I wanted them to be real, not stuck in idealized notions.

For the warrior, I took the myth of the Fianna and brought it to the modern age. Brendan is strong and fast. But, after a living a long life of violence, he’s also scarred and haunted. It would be impossible to not be. He’s a good man, but the shadows from his past continue to haunt him. He serves a guide to the hidden world, aware equally of the wonder and the danger it presents.

Now the wizard: not inept, not all-powerful, but fully, utterly human. Edward would be a stand-in for me and my fellow fantasy geeks; the answer to our wishes of being a hero in a fantasy book. Be careful what you wish for! He knows magic exists, as do all kinds of fantastical creatures, but he’s never encountered them outside a book. He quickly learns that reading about grizzly bears is one thing, standing in front of one in the wild is quite another. That meant he would need a reason not to run away screaming like a squeamish kid being chased by a bully with a slug.

Enter the princess. And then forget everything you know about princesses, because Caitlin certainly isn’t one. Caitlin is a single mother whose knowledge of faeries and magic extends as far as Disney movies and the stories her immigrant grandparents told her. She can’t hurl magic or wield a sword, and she isn’t “the one” mentioned in any prophecy. Her only super power is the ability to make a little girl laugh, and give that child a good life. When Fiona is kidnapped, Caitlin has a reason to face a dark and terrifying reality, but she’s lacking in the skills to survive it. That means trusting others, which seems like a simple thing, but is it really? Even parents of a child kidnapped by a human monster must bristle at the thought of trusting the authorities to rescue their baby. And those are entities we’ve been taught to rely on in desperate situations. Trusting strangers and a friend who hasn’t been honest would be a nightmare of its own.

These are my main characters. I didn’t choose just one as the main character because each of them depends on the other. With any of them missing, the story would not only fail, but so would they in their goals. I didn’t intend to write a story with multiple main characters, but those kinds of surprises are what make writing so much fun.

The God HunterI’m inviting Tim Lees, author of The God Hunter: A Field Ops Novel. Tim is a British author now living in Chicago. He is a regular contributor to Interzone, Black Static, and other titles. He is the author of the much praised novel, “Frankenstein’s Prescription.” See more of Tim Lees here.

Two “BIG” Annoucements!

1. Today The Stolen goes on sale in paperback! You can get a copy at your local bookstore, or from: HarperCollins, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound.

2. I’ve got a post on John Scalzi’s blog, part of his “Big Idea” series! Do stop by and check it out, the poor guy could really use the extra traffic… (MASSIVELY sarcastic)

That’s right, I’m now a “Paperback Writer.” And yes, I’ve been waiting a long time to use that!

It’s Official! (Dreams do Come True)

As of today, I’m a published author!

Wow…

It took a long while to get here, but then any dream worth achieving takes time and effort. I’ve been posting about my road to publication, and it could be argued this is the end, but I don’t think so. As cliche as it might be, this is really just the beginning for me (I hope!).

Harper Voyager made a sizeable web preview available here, so feel free to “try before you buy.”

Of course the paperback is still scheduled for release on August 5th, but I know you can’t wait that long. It’s okay, you can get both. I’ll understand.

Stayed tuned here for upcoming events; interviews, guest blog pieces, and even in person signings. Speaking of which, be sure to stop by The Qwillery and check out my first interview (direct link here)! While you’re there, be sure to vote in the 2014 Debut Author Cover Challenge Wars!

I’ll also have a giveaway for a signed copy of The Stolen before anyone can even buy it!

Now, if you’ll excuse, I have a happy dance calling my name.

hobbes

Interview with Katherine Harbour

ThornJackCover

It’s my sincere pleasure to have the opportunity to interview Katherine Harbour, author of the novel Thorn Jack. A modern retelling of the Scottish ballad, “Tam-Lin.” It’s always nice to meet a fellow faerie fan, especially one who does such a fine job with it. I don’t normally go for the YA subgenre, but if more books were like this, I’d become a quick convert. It’s a dark and haunting story filled with characters that have depth and genuine voices that make them both believable and relatable. Katherine also has a gift with imagery and I found her prose truly exceptional. Simply put, it’s everything a good book should be; a great story with interesting characters that you genuinely care about.
Katherine was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule promoting the book to join me at the bar for a pint the craic.

Hi, Katherine. First, congratulations on the publication! Welcome to A Quiet Pint, and thanks for taking time from what is no doubt a busy schedule to share a glass and answer some questions.
Thank you!

First question, and possibly the most important: what are you drinking?
Starbucks espresso. I like to be wired when I write.

What about the legend of Tam Lin did you find most appealing? What about the story made you want to do a modern retelling?
I like that the girl rescues the boy, that the faery queen, the antagonist who is going to sacrifice Tam Lin, might actually love him. I wanted to write a modern version because I had the idea of making it more of a ghost story and adding another dimension, such as the heroine’s sister.

As writers, we’re supposed to be like parents and not have a favorite child (character), but we all do. Who is your favorite character and why?
My favorite character is Finn. She was fun to write as she began to awaken from her grief and became intrigued by Jack and his very dangerous family—she’s part Alice in Wonderland, part Nancy Drew. As she developed into a young woman whose curiosity led her into situations where she had to use her wits to survive, I became so proud.

What character was the easiest for you to relate to, and which was the most difficult?
Finn was the easiest character to relate to. Jack was one of the most difficult, as he’s someone scarred by his past as a killer and struggling out of a nightmare and into a life he doesn’t think he deserves. Caliban, his savage nemesis, was also a bit hard to connect with.

How much research did you do for this book?
I tried to read or re-read every book on Celtic folklore or faeries I could find. I also bastardized much of the Gaelic and Celtic languages, since most of the Fatas in Fairy Hollow are Irish.

You clearly have a love of faeries, what about them most appeals to you?
My first encounter with a faery was Maleficent in Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty. In the ‘80s, Charles de Lint and Terri Windling wrote faeries and elves into the modern world and it became a popular subgenre. Then I began reading Celtic mythology and found the faery folk to be a little terrifying, especially their associations with the dead, their capricious personalities, and the variety of shapes they took, from beautiful, to puzzling, to grotesque.

Do you believe in faeries?
Hmm. You’re not supposed to talk about them because they might be listening.

Did you know from the start where the story was going to go, or did you get surprised along the way? If so, when and by whom?
I basically knew where the story was headed, but I was surprised by some twists and turns. I was surprised by the introduction of the Black Scissors, (I woke up one morning with the poem describing him in my head), and by his being Reiko’s former true love. Reiko Fata, the ruthless Fata queen, also surprised me by revealing that she’d grown a heart.

Will we see these characters again in a future novel?
There are two novels—Briar Queen and Nettle King—set to follow Thorn Jack. Briar Queen, #2, is still being revised. I’m just finishing the first draft of Nettle King, #3. Finn’s, Jack’s, Christie’s, and Sylvie’s encounters with the Fatas haven’t ended yet.

In the film version of the book, who do you see as playing the main characters?
I don’t know. I’ve got such a vivid picture in my head of the main characters. I’ve placed some ideas by others on my Thorn Jack Pinterest page, such as Emma Watson for Phouka and Chloe Grace Moretz for Finn.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
All of the fantasy and sci fi authors chosen by Harper Voyager through the open submissions call have intriguing books being released in the next few months. I strongly suggest checking them out!

Thanks again, I wish you great success with Thorn Jack and your writing career, and hopefully you’ll get a chance to stop by again sometime.
Thank you!

You can find Thorn Jack online at the usual providers: Barnes & Noble, direct from Harper Collins, Amazon, iTunes, Google, Indiebound, and Audible. You can find Katherine at her website, here.

An Excerpt from The Stolen

Since I’ve tantalized you with the cover art and jacket copy, here is a sample from the book itself to really tempt you. This is chapter 2, and it’s also the piece that will be available in the free ebook sampler Harper Voyager will release on July 22nd, entitled Voyager. You can find it here, and I highly recommend it as an introduction to several skilled writers.

Enjoy…

 

Caitlin Brady walked out of the Manchester, New Hampshire hospital, her nurse’s scrubs in the bag slung over her shoulder and her daughter Fiona’s small hand in hers. The four-year-old girl was skipping and humming a happy tune. She was always like this after a visit with Eddy. Caitlin completely understood. He’d always made her feel better, too. In fact, without him, she wasn’t sure how she would’ve made it these last few years.

Kris’s car pulled up in front of them, and the willowy young woman got out with a smile.

Fiona struggled with the back door for a moment before Caitlin opened it for her and the little girl climbed up on the seat.

“Thanks again,” Caitlin said to Kris. “I know it’s short notice.”

“No problem,” Kris said, smiling. “You go out and have a good time. You could use it. We’re going to have a night with everyone’s favorite pixie.”

Fiona cheered as she settled into the child seat.

Caitlin leaned in and buckled up Fiona. As she did, it struck her again just how much her daughter took after her. They both had the same curly, fiery red hair, unmanageable, to be honest. The same green eyes, though Fiona didn’t have the matching set of luggage under hers. They were both light skinned and liberally dosed with freckles, though Fiona, like all children, pulled off the look better. Caitlin silently hoped that Fiona wouldn’t also inherent the extra twenty pounds Caitlin carried around, or that she’d at least be tall enough for it not to be as obvious; Caitlin was several inches shorter than every other woman she knew. If she just worked less and slept more, she knew it would make a world of difference, but she had more important things in her life than sleep.

Caitlin ran her hand down Fiona’s cheek and let out a breath. “You behave for Kris, okay, peanut?”

“I will, Mommy.” Fiona’s green eyes lit up. “I love you.”

Caitlin felt a twinge at the words and smiled; even that matched her daughter’s. “I love you, too. Now give me a kiss.” She leaned down, got her kiss, and gave one back before closing the car door with a sigh.

She waved and tried to ignore the pang of guilt as the car pulled away. Eddy was probably right. No, he was always right, and it was annoying as hell.

After a minute or two, she convinced herself it was okay to go to the art show. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath of the crisp autumn air. When she exhaled, she found the guilt assuaged enough that she could probably do an hour or two with the girls. Baby steps, right?

Emerging from the parking garage stairwell, she pulled her keys from her purse and pointed the fob at her car. A sudden, overwhelming chill of dread and hopelessness washed over her. It stopped her so abruptly that she nearly fell on her face.

Caitlin could sense someone behind her, watching her. She could almost feel cold breath on her neck.

She stood there, frozen in place. The only sound was her shallow breathing. She struggled to move her legs, but fear had them cemented in place.

“Come on, Caitlin,” she whispered. “Just remember the self-defense class.” For the first time she could remember, she was glad Fiona wasn’t with her.

Hands still shaking, she gripped her keys so that they protruded from between her knuckles. Then she sucked in a breath and turned to confront whoever it was, spiked fist at the ready.

An empty lot stared back at her.

Continued here

Cover Art for The Stolen, and Preorder Information

THE STOLEN

I was admittedly nervous how the cover art might turn out. As a first time author, I was worried I might get something less than stellar, or that I would absolutely hate it. I’m delighted to be wrong! I love the cover art, and I think it captures the feel of the story perfectly. For those who haven’t gone to the link, here, this is the jacket copy:

Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin’s entire world crumbles. Certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard, Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior, and Dante, a Magister of the fae’s Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston’s suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it’s too late?

The book will be available on ebook on July 22nd and is only $2.99, a bargain at twice the price! You can order it now and beat the rush here:

HarperCollins
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Google Play
iTunes
Kobo

It will also be available in paperback on August 5th! Only $7! Get both versions and have a matched set!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

If you’d prefer to order from your local bookstore, here is the relevant information so they can order for you.
SBN: 9780062358790
ISBN 10: 0062358790
Imprint: Harper Voyager Impulse
On Sale: 08/05/2014
Format: Paperback
Trimsize: 0
Pages: 464
List Price: 6.99 USD
BISAC1: FIC009000