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Karin will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
What was your first book?
Eolyn was the first book that I published; on this tour, we are celebrating the release of the second edition.
Describe your first break.
When I finished writing Eolyn, I queried many agents and publishers. My first break came from Eric T. Reynolds, the editor of Hadley Rille Books. He liked the manuscript very much, and I signed on with them to publish the first edition. I had a very good experience with small press, but for many reasons, when time came to renew the contract, I decided to strike out on my own.
What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
I like to read history and historical fiction; I prefer to write fantasy and other speculative genres, such as science fiction and horror.
Are Happy Endings are must in your stories?
No, not at all. Publishers Weekly said of Eolyn, “some joys bring new sorrows.” This phrase describes my style very accurately. Every triumph comes with some cost or sacrifice. And the fact that two people are in love does not always mean they will be together in the end. Indeed, just because two people are in love does not, in my mind, mean they should be together. Sometimes the happiest ending possible lies in saying good-bye.
I guess the best description for my endings would be “bitter sweet”.
Which, by the way, is also how I like my chocolate!
What makes a protagonist interesting?
I believe every protagonist should have at least one consistent, internal flaw. It can be something subtle, but it must be with him or her from beginning to end. I also like my protagonists to be intelligent and compassionate. They should have the sort of internal strength that allows them to endure the hardest of times without sacrificing their moral compass or the fundamental faith they have in everyone’s capacity to build a better future.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
What is the worst thing?
Honestly? I would say publishing. It’s almost a necessary evil. We are compelled to publish because of a deep need to share our stories, but publishing involves so many onerous tasks, from the day you start querying to well after the book hits the market. I actually wouldn’t recommend publishing unless you know you have a very thick skin and an unusual amount of stamina. The worst thing about publishing is that it takes away so much time from the best thing about being a writer – writing.
Pantser or plotter?
Both. I generally have an idea as to where a story is going, but I allow myself to change course if the characters demand it.
What do you see the direction of your future writing taking? What can we expect next? Give us a little taste.
Eolyn will be followed in the next 12 months by its two companion novels, The Sword of Shadows and Daughter of Aithne. As a series, The Silver Web follows Eolyn’s journey through heartbreak to the height of power. The Sword of Shadows is a darker novel than Eolyn, immersed in the brutality of war. In the third book, Daughter of Aithne, threads of love, honor, betrayal, and vengeance culminate in a conflict between powerful women, destined to overturn the existing order. Overall, I am very proud of this series, and I look forward to sharing it with the world.
Having finished these three novels, I’m currently working on a contemporary urban fantasy and paranormal romance called The Hunting Grounds. I’ve had very enthusiastic feedback about this novel from my writer’s groups. I’m hoping to polish it up over the summer and have it ready for release this autumn.
Just for fun
Cat or dog person?
Cats. I like dogs, but not as live-in companions.
The Lions of Al Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay.
The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe.
Christmas, of course!
Would you rather be the princess or the villain? Why?
Goodness, what a choice! Neither. Real princesses, for the most part, led terrible lives, and I would not want to be one. Just like Eolyn, I see castles as prisons.
Having written some good villains, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t make a very good villain, either. I care too much about other people.
Who has more fun, orcs or hobbits?
Hobbits, naturally. Bilbo’s 111th birthday was the best party in the history of Middle Earth.
In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a ruthless purge of the magas. Eolyn, last daughter of the magas and sole heiress to their forbidden craft, seeks refuge in the South Woods.
When she meets the mysterious Akmael, heir to the throne of this violent realm, she embarks on a path of hope, seduction, betrayal, and war. Desire draws Eolyn toward Akmael’s dark embrace, but fate binds her to Corey of East Selen, a cunning mage whose ambition challenges the limits of love and loyalty.
Can she trust either man?
Hunted in a realm of powerful wizards and brutal deceptions, Eolyn must find her own path to freedom or she will burn on the pyre.
"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes, with a romantic thread." -Publishers Weekly
A vicious blow knocked the wind from Drostan’s lungs and sent his mount screaming to the ground. The knight landed hard, one leg pinned under his flailing horse. A mind-numbing roar thundered through his head. Heart racing, he shoved back his visor, struggling to regain focus.
Drostan watched, incredulous, as a wild cat ripped through the neck of his mount. Almost half as large as the horse, the savage creature had snow white fur and gray stripes. It lifted its bloody jowls, roared, and set ice blue eyes upon Drostan.
Before the knight could retrieve his sword, the cat sprang. Giant claws scraped at his armor and fangs slashed at his face. Drostan wedged a mailed forearm into the beast’s throat, in a desperate struggle to hold it off. His free hand searched desperately for a weapon, any weapon.
His grip closed around the haft of a discarded axe, which he brought full force against the side of the creature’s head. The impact reverberated through his arm, but the cat did little more than pause in annoyance. The creature’s weight was crushing him. Drool dripped hot onto his face.
Adjusting his grip, he drew the weapon back and struck again, driving the metal blade into the animal’s skull. The creature’s sharp howl of pain sent shivers through the knight. He wrenched the axe away and struck again. The cat stumbled back. Drostan struggled out from under his horse and lunged forward, hitting the beast over and over. Blood sprayed everywhere, until at last the giant feline collapsed into a heap of blackened, sodden fur.
Exhausted, Drostan sank to his knees, oblivious for the moment to the battle that raged around him. As he reached forward to touch the animal, it transformed in front of his eyes, leaving in its place a man, his flesh ripped open and covered with blood.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to The Silver Web trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.
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