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* Skye Warren: Author Override
* Narrator Lorelei King: Interview
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* Carolyn Crane: Author Override | UTC Review
* J.T. Geissinger: Interview | UTC Review
* Men and Women of the Military Giveaway Hop
* Keri Arthur: Interview | UTC Reviews

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Alma Katsu

You might've seen her books around the internet or at the bookstores and while they are very eye catching with their beautiful covers, they are also amazing stories.  As always, we like to bring you authors that you must read and Alma Katsu is just that.  Her Taker trilogy will leave you speechless.  Now, please help us welcome Alma to UTC and lets get to know her a bit more.

We love the opportunity of getting to know the authors behind the books we love. Can you tell us five things about yourself that may surprise us?

1. I’m half Japanese, on my mother’s side.
2. I used to be a music critic, writing for newspapers and magazines. That was many, many years ago.
3. I’m a quilter, though I took it up fairly late in life and am self-taught.
4. I was an avid horsewoman many years ago.
5. I was a vegetarian for thirty years but gave it up a couple years ago in favor of hamburgers, steak and bacon.

THE TAKER has been compared to successful books written by Anne Rice and E.L. James. What are your thoughts on those comparisons?

Interview With The Vampire seems to be the book that leaps to most people’s mind when they read The Taker, which I feel is incredibly flattering since that novel was a big inspiration. The dynamic among the main characters is similar in both books: a heroine (in The Taker) being drawn into the world of the supernatural, bound to her master in this realm who, like Lestat, is seductive and powerful yet also dangerous. In the Taker books, immortality is a curse bestowed on the wicked as punishment for their sins, so there’s also the question of the nature of good and evil, a metaphysical theme that you see in Anne Rice’s novels. And there’s the historical aspect, too: The Taker is also set in an earlier period in American history, though instead of the lush heat of New Orleans, the novel is set in the New England area where I grew up.

I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey so it’s a little harder to speak to the comparisons, but I think it has to do with the male lead characters. There’s been comparisons made between Christian Grey and Adair. They’re both very dominant men, assured and charismatic in their own ways. I wanted Adair to be the kind of man who can make women weak in the knees with one glance, but unlike Grey, Adair has a streak of true evil in him. His challenge in the trilogy is to learn to overcome it.

In THE TAKER, Lanore experiences a lot of heartache. In some ways, she seems more like "The Taker" in certain situations as she survives through some difficulties. Do you feel like there are some characteristics of yourself in Lanore?

Lanore is a young woman growing up in a very small, remote town in the early 1800s. She is anxious to grow up, to have her life begin, but her prospects are very limited and what’s more, there’s really no one who can help her get what she wants. What she thinks she really wants is Jonathan, whom she loves completely, but as it turns out, she wants even more from life than he does. I think of Lanore as curious and headstrong, like a lot of us when we’re young. She acts in her own self-interest, as do most people, and—like most people—is tested at one point: will she cross this line to get what she want? In The Taker, she does (I should point out that she’s also saving Jonathan’s life, so she doesn’t see it as a betrayal) and it’s only afterwards that she sees that she made a terrible mistake, both for Jonathan and herself.

I grew up in a small New England town, which I was also anxious to move beyond. My prospects were also very limited. I share those characteristics with Lanore and I think that’s what makes me understand why she made some of the choices she did.

Tell us about your novella, The Marriage Price? Whose POV will it be?

The Marriage Price is told from the viewpoint of one of the minor characters in The Taker, Evangeline McDougal, the child bride wed off to Jonathan. Everyone assumes that she’s so very lucky, to be wed to the son of the richest family in town, the family that keeps the town afloat. The story shows how she comes to understand that there is a price to pay for her good fortune.

We heard that you have background as Senior Intelligence Analyst for several US agencies. Have you used any of that experience in the Taker series?

Not in ways you would think. There’s no Colonial-era spying in The Taker, for instance. One thing I’ve noticed after 30 years in the intelligence business is that you become a keen observer of human behavior, and humans are not as good as we’d like to think we are. Everyone wants to be honorable and to think well of himself, but life rarely lets us behave that simply. I think this comes through in the characters. As one reviewer said of The Taker, no one is completely innocently or completely guilty. Sometimes, you’re faced with a challenge to which there’s no easy answer and in deciding what to do, your true nature prevails.

What are your plans after the trilogy?

I’m working on a fourth book (can you have a fourth book in a trilogy?) that’s more of a spin-off, based on the story in The Reckoning of the monks who discovered the spell for swapping bodies. It’s been incredibly fun to write and a change of pace from the Taker books—but some of the characters make an appearance at the end, in a way that will shock followers of the Taker story, I think.

I’m also working on a YA novel right now that—surprise—is not paranormal. It’s more of a modern day thriller.

If you could meet any author (alive or dead) so you could pick their brain, who would you choose and why?

Thomas Hardy. He wrote stories of people struggling against both their nature and circumstance, but without being cloying, or overly sentimental. People have said they’ve seen a little of Tess of the D’Urbervilles in The Taker.

What's the best way to get out of writer's block?

Knock on wood, this has not been much of a problem for me. I try to work on my writing every day, so that’s probably a help. And I try to read fiction that inspires me.

If we were unforgivably rude and pulled at random five things from your hand bag, what would we find?

An alarming number of Pentel RSVP fine point pens. They’re my favorite pen for writing, and like any author, I feel as though I need to have multiples on hand in case the one I’m using runs out of ink.

A cracked container of Tic Tacs, leaking mints all over my purse.

A couple packets of Emergen-C for when I’m on the road and I feel like I’m coming down with a cold.

Receipts from the post office. It seems like I’m mailing a book to someone every week.

My giant Filofax. Lately it keeps track of Skype chats with book clubs and my travel plans.

True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. . . .  

On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her . . . despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.

Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.

Alma has a copy of The Taker in trade paperback up for grabs. US only.  By entering the giveaway you are agreeing to be added to Alma Katsu's newsletter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kaylyn D. said...

That is a great cover. I would read that book without knowing anything about it.

cutiephinphin said...

Great interview. I've not read any of Alma's books but this one sure sounds intriguing. Will definitely be checking her out.

jaimecr76 said...

Great interview! I love the cover!

Lynette Eklund said...

I've wanted to read this since I saw it in the airport bookstore, but I didn't have time to pick it up then. Maybe this is my chance!

Rebe said...

I agree - great interview! I haven't read Alma's books before but after reading the interview I'm definitely interested (which is not usually the case). Thanks!

adamsgirl4602 said...

great interview. the cover of the book alone made me add it to my to-be-read list. looking forward to reading :0)

adamsgirl4602 said...

great interview. the cover of the book alone made me add it to my to-be-read list. looking forward to reading :0)

Mina said...

Fantastic interview! AK has become one of my fav authors. Loved both her books and I am counting the days to get my hands on the final installment. It may sound crazy, but I root for Adair no matter how evil.

Kelsey Summer said...

Great interview and thanks for introducing me to this. This book isn't what I usually read, but it really sounds interesting to me.

Gail Nichols said...

It sounds like a great book. I would like to read it.

Cathy V said...

Great interview! I have added this book to my "to read" list. It is right up my alley!!!

Katie said...

Great Interview thanks for the awesome giveaway i been wanting to read this book!!!

Danielle @ Romance Book Junkies said...

Great interview! You totally got me hooked on this series now. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

Maris said...

I really want to read this book. The plot sounds intriguing and I'm really curious about it.

Damaris (Maris)

Betty Hamilton said...

This sounds like a great book. I'd LOVE to wind a copy!!

Maria D. said...

The Taker sounds like an interesting book. Fun interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

Debbie Haupt said...

Great interview, thank you for giving us a little more insight to who's new voice in the genre is starting to roar.
Love the series

Christine said...

Fantastic interview and the book sounds great.

Chinyere said...

I have always paused when I see her covers. Very artistic and beautiful. I can't wait to read the books.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Chinyere ezinwanyi

Barbara E. said...

I have seen The Taker around the internet but didn't pay much attention to it. Now that I know more about the book, I'm looking forward to reading it.

Yvette said...

Awesome interview and great cover!

Kassandra L. said...

What an interesting book. I love the cover.

Irayda Moran said...

I love the covers on the books.. Great interview..

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Lanore sounds a bit like a young Scarlett O'Hara

Bboo04 said...

And I thought I was the only one with tic tacs all over the bottom of my purse. lol Thank you so much for the giveaway!

S.A. said...

I read the review for The Taker and I'm intrigued. I love your honesty about how a reader will either love it or hate it. To me, this is a challenge...and I love challenges!

The interview with Ms. Katsu was awesome! As a reader, I like to know a little more about the author other than the story. It's a sneak-peek into their lives. Sometimes it's the author who I relate to more than a story and I become a loyal follower.

Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'm the lucky winner. :)

Poppy Fields said...

Fantastic interview. I adore this series and am so glad to hear there will be a fourth book! I am eagerly awaiting the third now!

Jen B. said...

I have heard such great things about this series. I am really excited to read it. And, yes, you can have a 4th book in a trilogy! Just check out the Kushiel's series by Jacqueline Carey. She has a trilogy of trilogies that started as just one trilogy! jepebATverizonDOTnet

laurie said...

Fantastic interview and the book sounds great.


Texas Book Lover said...

Great interview. The books sound terrific and I love the covers of this series!

SdyLion said...

The books sound amazing and I would love to read the 1st one. It sounds like a must read. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

susan317 said...

This looks like another great series to dive into!