Maidens, please help me welcome Karen to Under the Covers!!
UTC: Thank you Karen for stopping by Under the Covers today for an interview! We greatly appreciate your time! Let's get to know you a bit better. Tell us three things that your fans wouldn't know about you.
Thanks so much for having me here. Three things my fans wouldn’t know about me? That’s a tough one. I’ve always been pretty open about my life. I can probably dig up a few, though. Let’s see...
1. I’m afraid of the dark. Yeah, that’s sad, isn’t it? Darkness is a good bit of what I write about, so really, I should feel right at home. My characters are always alone. In the dark. And most of them love it. But somewhere, in the back of my mind, is a tiny Karen-child, who is skittish and frightened, with the covers pulled over her head, just waiting. For something unknown to appear. I blame the fear on a very active, very fertile imagination. Somehow I always knew there were strange things waiting, plotting, growling – out on the edge between light and dark, waiting to cross over. Now, in my writing, I conjure these things. And control them. Sort of.
2. When the writing comes on strong, I lose track of myself. I lose track of the words. I lose track of everything but the story I see, the story I feel. There are whole sections of my books that even now, after all these years, I just can’t remember writing. Or even planning. The scenes just appear, as if by miracle, overnight. Often I switch over from past tense to present and have to rewrite entire sections the next day. I recognize myself in the words, but not the words themselves. This, I think, is one of the greatest joys of writing.
3. I quit smoking over three years ago. I’d smoked for almost 40 years – it became as much a part of me as my hair color or my sense of humor. And I’m not sorry I quit. I’m healthier than I was and I don’t carry around the guilt that anyone who’s ever smoked knows full well. I can breathe easier and I don’t wake up gasping for air. But writing became next to impossible; the habit had become an integral part of my creative process and I’ve had to fight back from that. Honestly? I still miss it.
UTC: Vampires have been your muse for a long time. What do you find alluring about them? And how do you make sure your vampires stand apart from the crowd?
Vampires? They are the perfect creature for today’s society. They are always young, always vital, sexy, deadly. Forbidden. And so very tempting. Who among us wouldn’t want to be beautiful and stay that way for eternity? Yet, they can have another side – a side of them that yearns for a normal human life. Deirdre says in HUNGER that she longs to see one grey hair, one laugh line, something to show the woman she once was. But no, my vampires avoid mirrors where possible – their reflection is a mockery, a reminder that they are not the same being seen on the surface. Even the most frivolous of my vampires sees a monster in the mirror. Everyone they ever care about dies while they live on, often at the expense of innocent lives. The dichotomy of their two reflections (the beauty and the beast) is why I find vampires endlessly fascinating. And what I try to convey in my books. As far as standing out from the crowd, I try to make my vampires real characters, not just hunger and blood and fangs, but hearts and souls as well. It doesn’t hurt that my main vampires are female, either. Even today, so many of the literary vampires are male. And there’s not a thing wrong with that, but I like to see things from a woman’s point of view.
UTC: I would love to read more about strong, female vampires too! What made you decide to become a writer?
Becoming a writer wasn’t really a conscious decision on my part. I was an English major in college, so the thought that I should try to write a novel was always in the back of my mind. In 1988 I finally acted on that impulse. I bought a portable Smith Corona Word Processor and sat down to write one novel. Just because I felt I should be able to do it. And I chose to write about vampires, because I loved reading vampires. I never thought about getting published. I thought about the character, the story and got entirely wrapped up in that. When it was finished, I gave it to family and friends and they loved it. Loved it and wanted more. Only then did it occur to me that I could really be a writer. From that point on, I was.
UTC: Wow, it’s always interesting to hear how authors first get into writing! If you could collaborate with another author, who would you choose and why?
Aha, an easy question, at last. I would love to collaborate with Mary Stewart, the author of so many wonderful gothic romances. Her “Nine Coaches Waiting” is to die for. Her characterization is flawless and her writing compelling. Personally, I think that anyone aspiring to be a paranormal romance writer should read her entire bibliography. My copies of her books are torn and tattered and thoroughly treasured.
UTC: Mary Stewart, huh? I guess I’ll have to add her to my TBR pile! I love the cover of Hunger, do you have any say in the cover art?
The cover of HUNGER is really tasty, but sadly, I can’t take any credit for it. Other than my short story collection (Fangs and Angel Wings) the covers on all my books were chosen by the publisher. And for the most part, I learned to trust their decisions. I’ve been blessed with some fantastic covers over the years and none of them were ones I personally would have designed. Then again, that’s probably why I’m an author and not a graphic designer... On a related aside, I don’t often get a chance to choose the titles, either.
UTC: If you could choose to be one vampire in pop culture, who would you choose and why?
No contest on this one: Miriam Blaylock from Streiber’s “The Hunger” – while not human (she is a totally different species) she carries such beauty, such sadness and such longing, she’s hard to resist. Second in line would be one of my own characters – Vivienne Courbet. She’s a vampire totally at peace with her existence. I still have no idea where she came from...
UTC: If you had to become a vampire, what food do you think you would miss the most?
The obvious answer is garlic bread, but to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of garlic these days. Maybe Deirdre has influenced me more than I know. I would miss Mexican food, though, especially the stuff they serve at El Cholo in Santa Monica, CA. Their holiday tamales? OMG, so good!
UTC: Mmm, sounds delicious! Tell us, what’s next for Karen E. Taylor?
Right now I can’t think much beyond my cross-country relocation from Los Angeles to Falls Church, Virginia. After that, though, I’m anxious to return to my current w-i-p called Eviction Notice. This time, I’m working with a totally different mythos. Lexi Trask, my new heroine, is a feisty, fiery half-breed elemental (well, okay, she’s a demon) searching for love and redemption in the wildfire-stricken hills of Santa Barbara. For fans of the Vampire Legacy series, and for new readers who’ve discovered HUNGER, the next omnibus volume (CRAVE) will be released in October, 2011 with a third (and possibly fourth) volume in 2012.
UTC: Wow! Eviction Notice sounds amazing! Can’t wait to read that! Well thank you so much for stopping by! We enjoyed chatting with you!
And now Maidens, Karen has graciously offered to give away a SIGNED print copy of HUNGER to US residents only (So sorry to others).
If you would like to win this SIGNED copy, please:
1. Be a follower of this blog.
2. Leave a comment with your email address so that we can contact you if you win!
This giveaway starts today and you have until the 26th to enter. Winner will be picked via random.org and announced June 27th.
GOOD LUCK MAIDENS! And HAPPY READING!