Saturday, April 30, 2011

INTERVIEW: Karen Mahoney

Hello! I'm so excited to finally put up an interview I did a few months ago with the lovely Kaz Mahoney, author of The Iron Witch, which I raved about in February!

Read on to hear about teenage-Kaz, research behind The Iron Witch and more!

For those who haven't yet had the pleasure of reading The Iron Witch, can you describe it for us in a tweet-sized sentence (140 characters or less)?
A teenage girl with magical iron tattoos that give her super-strength has to take her place in the modern-day war between the alchemists and the fey.
(I think that was slightly longer than 140 characters… but not much! *G*)

Where do you get your inspiration from? And can I borrow him/her/it?!
 Ha! If I could lend you – or even give you – some, I totally would. I’m inspired by so many things, but one of my biggest sources of inspiration is folklore and mythology. Seriously, there is just so much there to get you fired up to write!

Did you have to do a lot of research on fey and alchemy or did you just pick bits of information out from that super-amazing-crazy-thing that is known as 'Kaz's Brain'?
 I’m not sure Kaz’s Brain is super-amazing, but I’d certainly go with ‘crazy’ – you’re not wrong there! I actually did a lot of research on alchemy; I used to work in an occult bookshop, so I’ve had easy access to some great material over the years. I’ve been interested in alchemy for a while, so I knew it would find its way into my fiction somewhere along the line. With the fey lore, although I HAVE done a lot of reading (all my life!), for The Iron Witch I didn’t need to use that knowledge so much as I pretty much made up my dark elves. Sure, there are elements from classical lore, but most of it is from my crazy brain. ;)

Which part of The Iron Witch was the hardest, if any of it?
 Hmm… Good question. I like it when I get different questions! I’d say the hardest part was making Donna such a complex character. I hope that comes across... She’s strong – physically, of course, but also emotionally/mentally – but at the same time she is deeply vulnerable and uncertain. Presenting that on the page, without making her just seem random and contradictory, was very hard.

What were you like as a teenager? Did any of that have any influence over the characters you write about?
 As a teenager I was quite geeky. (I still am!) I wasn’t the most popular girl at school, but I was lucky that I didn’t get bullied. Not in a big way, at least. I had a few friends who were quiet, like me, and the cool kids pretty much left me alone with my little group of friends. Even when I was surrounded by people, I often felt quite alone – perhaps that goes into my characters, as they are often loners who have had to learn to look after themselves. Or maybe they rely on one really good friend (like Donna and Navin).

What's happening with you next, writing-wise? Is there any top-secret novel ideas or plans to take over the world? I want all the juicy gossip!
 Well, because you asked so nicely… ;) Up next for me is a short story – a Xan story, actually! – set about a year before the events of The Iron Witch. That will be published in an anthology of dark, urban faerie tales called Wicked Pretty Things. I think it comes out later this year, around September. I’ve finished an early draft of The Wood Queen now, which is the second book in the Iron Witch trilogy (due to be published around Jan 2012), and my agent recently sold the third book to the US – The Stone Demon. (Hopefully, it’ll be picked up in the UK, too.)
I have a lot of other SECRET PROJECTS floating around in Kaz Brain, but I will tell you that one of them is an adult urban fantasy. I need to finish writing it, though!

And just because I want everyone to know, Team Stefan or Damon?!
 Team Damon!! I can’t help it; I always fall for the bad guy… ;)

Is there anything you'd like to add?
Only to say thank you very much for having me, and I really hope people enjoy meeting Donna, Navin and Xan in The Iron Witch.

Thank you Kaz for a great interview! Be sure to check out The Iron Witch (you can read my review while you're at it) and look out for the next book in the Iron Witch trilogy, The Wood Queen coming in February 2012.

Karen Mahoney is the author of The Iron Witch, the first book in a trilogy which continues in 2012 with The Wood Queen. She has also published stories about a kick-ass teen vampire called Moth in The Eternal Kiss and Kiss Me Deadly. Karen is British and currently lives near London with way too many books, though she dreams of one day living in Boston. She doesn't mind if you call her Kaz. She is totally awesome.


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