Today I’m pleased to be hosting a good friend of mine all the way from down-under, Karin Cox. Karin has been writing books for as long as she can remember - both fiction and non-fiction. Today we’re going to talk to her about her latest book, Cruxim. But first let’s have a chat with Karin.
Hello Karin and welcome! Before we discuss your latest book can you first tell us what attracted you to writing in the first place?
I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of writing is winning a poetry contest when I was in about fourth grade, so I was probably about eight or nine. English was always my favorite subject at school, but when I applied for university, I listened to all the naysayers who said, “You’ll never get a job if you do an Arts degree.” So I enrolled in a Science degree in the hope of becoming a zoologist. Big mistake.
Within a year, I’d transferred to a Bachelor of Arts to study English Literature, Communication Studies and Myth and Ancient Literature, which led to my career in editing and to my job as an in house author for an Australian publisher, rather ironically writing books about ... zoology and natural history! Writing has always been a natural state for me. I’m one of those people who jolts awake in the wee hours to scribble ideas in a notepad by my bed or to put them in “notes” on my iPhone. It’s cathartic, a necessary process of working through my own tumultuous thoughts and emotions.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I haven’t yet settled into one genre, and I’m not sure that I will. Currently, I have literary fiction, paranormal romance, young adult dystopian, young adult fantasy, romance, a thriller novel, children’s fiction, and a heap of poetry all sitting in various stages of completion on my hard-drive. I also write non-fiction across many genres: social history, natural history, travel and children’s non-fiction. New Holland Publishers in Australia are just releasing two of my social history books for kids—Gold Rush and Settlement—this month, and another two will follow in April and two more in 2014.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My dad was always a writer, and my sister, too, so I think it is fair to say that writing runs in my family. They have always supported me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. I think that is the best gift parents can offer a child: belief in their dreams
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
Mostly, they just come to me. Usually at two in the morning when I’m trying to sleep—I am an insomniac. But I think every author weaves some of their own experiences or interests into their novels. Cruxim was such pure fantasy that it doesn’t have a great deal of the real “me” in there. I’ve never been a vampire, or in a freakshow (thank goodness), but I have been in a situation where I’ve felt like I was in love with two people before (and neither of them even knew about it), so I can relate to the feelings Amedeo experiences.
Do you have any writing rituals or listen to “mood music” when you write?
I get very absorbed in my world, so I prefer to write late at night, from 9 pm to 2 am. The biggest writing ritual I have at present is a program called Write or Die. I’ve spent so many years editing that it can be hard for me to let go and just hammer out a first draft. Very hard. And I am a terrible procrastinator, so if I have to fact-check, I’ll spend an hour googling a place or an object for historical reference, even if it only appears for one line in the novel! I set Write or Die to kamikaze, which means it will start eating my words if I linger for too long, and I force myself to do 1000 words in an hour. Then, I later edit, research, fact-check and rewrite the heck out of it. It works for me. I write in a recliner in my living room, or on my deck overlooking the pool.
What was your favorite part of this book to write? Which part was the hardest?
My favorite parts to write were the love scenes, or what I see to be love scenes: when Joslyn’s love for Amedeo first becomes clear with the passionfruit scene; Amedeo and Danette, and what happens to her; and the scene where he tries to save Sabine from the burning tent.
The hardest part was definitely writing the ending. I worried that some readers would be annoyed about what happened to some of the characters. But much more is explained in the sequel, which I am currently writing and which explains why things turned out that way. Amedeo might just discover that his upbringing isn’t as typical for a Cruxim as he thought it was.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Probably still an editor. I’ve worked as an editor for fifteen years, and I still love it; however, I really want to focus on writing my own books for a little while now.
If you could live inside the world of a book would you choose?
It would be Mary Renault’s The Bull from the Sea and The King Must Die. Ancient Greece. Cretan Bull Ring. Amazon women. But I’d also be pretty happy in Rivendell or Hobbiton.
Give your fans three fun facts that they may not already know about you.
I have two elbow creases on each arm, which sounds weirder than it looks (thankfully). I can ride a horse like a maniac when I get the chance, and I pretty much grew up on horseback. I adore cats. They can be cruel and selfish and self-absorbed, but they’re so darn cute and funny and deeply self-conscious at times. I can’t help it.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Jimi Hendrix, Mary Renault, Dorothy Parker, CS Lewis, Lord Byron.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because it will make you think, and hurt, and understand that we all make mistakes and that things are often not how they first appear.
So what’s next for you as an author? Any last words?
Next is the sequel to Cruxim, which I know many of my early readers are eagerly anticipating. I’m hoping to have it out by Easter, and it is tentatively titled Creche. It provides a lot more background into Amedeo’s past—background that even he was unaware of, and also into Sphinxes and the mythology surrounding them. So it explains a few incidents in the first book and why they panned out the way they did.
I’m also working on several other projects, some non-fiction, some fiction and some for children, and running my website for indie authors to find reviews, Indie Review Tracker. I’m always busy. If I only had a few more hours in each day (about twelve more a day would be great!) I could get a few more books out this year too. My book of short stories, Cage Life, is doing really well at present too, so I’d like to take some more time to do a few more shorts in 2013 as well. As for sleep, well ...
So Karin, Tell us about Cruxim?
Amedeo is Cruxim, a mysterious, immortal fallen angel. Destined to seek redemption as a vampire hunter, he quenches his insatiable hunger on vampire blood. But when the object of his passion, the novice nun Joslyn, is turned into a vampire and enters a vampire coven, Amedeo's worlds collide. Shattered by the loss of his beloved, he vows to rid the world of vampires once and for all, even if it means destroying Josyln in the process.
A Paranormal Game of Cat and Mouse
Joining Amedeo on his quest to rid the world of the undead is Sabine. Half-woman, half-lioness, she is a Sphinx, a Guardian who has protected humans from vampires since the dawn of time. Yet Sabine comes to this fight pursued by her own enemies. An evil scientist, Dr. Claus Gandler, knows the secret of Sabine's mythological past, vowing to torment her for eternity or destroy her forever.
Immortal Ever After
Captured by the evil doctor, Amedeo and Sabine are paraded as sideshow freaks in the Circus of Curiosities. Only vampire Joslyn has the power to intercede. Will she prove Amedeo's redemption, or his destruction?
Practical Advice for Beginning Fiction (or other genre)for Writers
I’m an editor—you asked the wrong person. Where to begin? I suppose the two biggest mistakes I see are over-description and stage-managing (or telling instead of showing). The “over-description” is a tendency to use far too many adjectives and adverbs to flesh out a scene. New authors do it in an attempt to create a strong visual image, but it can lead to a kind of busyness that just confuses the reader and dilutes the message. Less is often more.
Stage-managing is what I call it when the author tells the reader everything (even unimportant details that are a given), rather than working mood, tension or emotion into a scene using dialogue or action. It can sometimes read like the scene setting elements of a script, and is especially noticeable in first person present tense. E.g. Susan walks to the large green cupboard and opens it to remove a blue china cup with a chipped lip. Using a teaspoon, she dips into a container of instant coffee and tips it into the cup. Then she pours in hot water. After adding cream and sugar, she takes a sip.
This slows down action and unless it is crucial to character or scene development (and I find it rarely is unless the way in which a character does simple tasks is critical to the reader’s understanding of that character, for instance, their method of coffee-making is very unusual), then it is best reworked, or deleted.
Thanks Karin for sharing that with us - and good luck!
and thank you everyone for dropping by!
Links to Karin Cox:
Link to Amazon: http://www.smarturl.it/cruxim
Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KarinCox.Author
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Authorandeditor
Author Website/blog: www.karincox.wordpress.com
Link to Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authorandeditor/