I had my first Author Interview with the Goodreads’ Lovers of Paranormal group this week! Scroll down to see the entire glorious thing.
Answering these questions was really fun, and surprisingly therapeutic. Writing a book is such a major process that involves all your resources–mental, physical, and emotional to name a few. But it would be really easy for me to just move ahead with Book II and forget to acknowledge all that went into Book I. This interview taught me a valuable lesson: we should always reflect on our accomplishments, acknowledge our hard work, rediscover all the highlights, and swim in them for a bit as we celebrate crossing a major finish line!!!!! In finishing my first book, I sort of feel like I’ve graduated from something!!!!! To learn all about my Book I adventures, check out the full interview below.
Work on Book II has officially begun! I am so excited, and I cannot WAIT to share the adventure with you in October!!!!!!!
Need a free copy of Strega (Book I)? The Goodreads Giveaway has officially begun! Enter to win a free, signed copy!
Books and Author of the Month: Author Interview with Karen Monahan Fernandes
To enhance our Lovers of Paranormal group read, this month we’ve conducted an Author Interview of Karen Monahan Fernandes, the author of Strega, our INDIE PICK for the month of January.
What better way to enjoy a book than to get to know its author and a little bit of the story behind it?
1. What books have most influenced your life?
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings definitely take first place. I fell in love with these epic stories before I could even read. When I was about five years old, my big brother Tom (who I recently lost) read them to me each night just before I drifted off to sleep. These fantastic adventures still inspire my writing.
The runner up is Women Who Run With the Wolves. This book also continues to inspire. Estes so eloquently explores the psychology behind classic fairytales, and exposes the beautiful roots of the beloved archetypes that infuse all story. We all connect with these archetypes. They are in our genes, and they inspire us to feel the most fundamental, powerful human emotions. I still pick up this book every so often to read a quick fairytale for inspiration.
2. How do you develop your plots and characters?
I love captivating, fast-paced, grand stories. I love strong, courageous characters. I love epic, against-all-odds love stories. And, of course, I love paranormal, supernatural, mythological flair. I also love when compelling bits of history give strong roots to a story, and make me feel like I learned a little something in the end. I wrote Strega with all of these things in mind. I had to love my own book the way I love my favorite reads. I am inspired by my beloved Jay. I am terrified by her antagonists. And I am head-over-heels in love with her soul mate. I had to feel all these things before Strega was officially complete and ready to be shared with the world.
My characters are often inspired by aspects of people that have crossed my path. My plots are often launched by obscure fragments of history that fascinate me. As I develop elements of a story, one idea often inspires the next. I let things simmer in my subconscious and patiently wait for compelling ideas to pop out. Usually they emerge while I’m driving, while I’m trying to sleep, or during important meetings—I have piles of sticky notes to prove it.
3. Tell us about your LoP book?
Strega is a fast-paced paranormal thriller with a strong female protagonist. Jay is a modern heroine that is forced on an arduous journey of self-discovery. As she reawakens to her destiny as a Strega, lifetimes of truth descend upon her. To right the wrongs of the past, to protect all that is good, and to reclaim an epic love she has lost again and again across ages, Jay digs deep to find her true power and faces a seemingly undefeatable enemy.
Strega brings to life the richness of ancient Italy’s anthropological and supernatural history. Uncovering the origins of La Vecchia Religione, Strega introduces readers to the Etruscans—predecessors to the ancient Romans—and their beloved Strega.
4. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Getting it just right. I want my writing to be like a musical symphony that gives me (and therefore my readers) chills. Until a paragraph, a page, a chapter resonates perfectly and makes me say “holy [expletive]” out loud, it’s not done. Sometimes I hit the perfect note right away, and other times it takes many drafts and edits. But I can’t move on until I’m erupting with emotion.
5. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I truly loved writing every single part. The scary. The romantic. The historical. But if I have to pick one part, it would be when Jay and Vince first meet. To me, this moment encapsulates a beautiful feeling that everyone can connect with, either through experience or longing. Writing this part made my adrenaline surge. Just thinking about it is making my face flush!
6. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Writing Strega seriously altered my DNA. This is my first novel, so writing it was destined to be an epic learning experience. Strega began as a small seed and turned into a universe. As I wrote it, it took on a life of its own in an amazing way, and I absolutely let it lead me. But I also came face to face with the skeleton beneath the flesh—the vital structure of story. Organizing my wild thoughts into something comprehensible was a major conquest. Carrying storylines from beginning to end, knowing how and when to reveal information, and knowing how to keep a continuous pace are skills that cannot be underestimated. As I stand here on the other side of Book I, I can honestly say that I’m a different person. My brain functions differently (in a really good way). And I cannot wait to answer this question again when I finish Book II.
7. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My writing always involves major metaphor. In Strega, much exists beneath the surface of Jay’s adventure. Demons and death traps are multi-dimensional. On the surface, they are terrifying fun that takes you out of your reality and tosses you into a fantasy world. But under the covers, they represent very real struggle. We all have things we fear, things we run from, things we want to slay, things that cause us pain. Heartbreak, limitations, disease, death. And Jay faces these challenges, navigating through the storm with courage and strength. She doesn’t give up without a major fight. And it’s because of her determination to overcome such staggering adversity that her true power blossoms.
8. What are your future project(s)?
I love Jay, and she has a lot of work ahead of her. I’ll be chronicling her adventures for several more books. I’m currently writing Book II of the Strega Series, which will be released in October.
9. If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I’d be a photojournalist for National Geographic. I love photography and traveling to amazing places.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your LoP community members?
I love our group. I’m a lover of paranormal/supernatural/magic/myth through and through—the books I read, the books I write, and the TV shows/movies I watch—and it’s awesome to have comrades that share the obsession!
Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Durston/Flickr.