Thursday, June 21, 2012

Author Guest Post: Alma Katsu

Between Dark Shadows and Anne Rice: 
Author of The Taker Talks About Her Inspirations 

The Taker novels were influenced by my love of Gothic tales. Whether it was stories or movies or art, I have always loved the sinister, dark, slightly melodramatic and often baroque form known as Gothic.

I think this love of Gothic has to do with the time in which I grew up. Gothic was very popular: as kids, we watched Dark Shadows on television in the afternoon. Saturdays were marathons of Hammer horror films. I think I read all of Edgar Allan Poe’s works by the time I was twelve. Then a friend gave me her paperback copy of Interview With The Vampire and I never looked back. By the time I was in my early twenties, I was writing horror short stories and getting published in small press and fanzines. It was during this time that that I wrote the short story where The Taker came to life.

I was inspired to write The Taker after a very spooky experience I had one night in the area around Concord, Massachusetts. I was driving home and had just passed an old Colonial-era farm when I thought I saw a man walking towards me on the side of the road. It was a foggy night and so I looked in the rearview mirror to make sure I'd passed him cleanly, only to see that he'd disappeared. Rather than become freaked out--which is what any sane person might do--being a writer, I started piecing together a story in my head. It became a tragic love story. I imagined the man as a ghost pinned forever to that place, which I envisioned as his childhood home. He was trapped because he'd broken the heart of a woman who loved him fiercely and refused to give him up, even to time.

That was the origin of The Taker. The story morphed and shifted a little in the ten years it took to write, but the essentials are still there: old New England, the supernatural, heartache and longing, and a love so strong that it transcends time. I wanted to create a story that would grab readers and not let go, and to make characters that would haunt you for days after you finish reading. And I’m gratified to hear that’s exactly what readers have experienced!

The second installation of the story, The Reckoning, is out now. I would say it’s more magical than the first book, and a little more romantic and suspenseful. Reviews have been great. Library Journal called it “beautiful and mesmerizing” while RT Bookreviews made it a top pick for June, calling it “utterly enchanting.” Barnes & Noble’s Book Club and Chapter/Indigo both called the series “stunning” and top recommendations. If you’re a fan of that blend of supernatural fantasy/historical fiction/horror that you see in early Anne Rice books, I hope you will check out my novels. More information can be found at http://www.almakatsu.com

The Reckoning 
Lanore McIlvrae is the kind of woman who will to do anything for love. Including imprisoning the man who loves her behind a wall of brick and stone. 
She had no choice but to entomb Adair, her nemesis, to save Jonathan, the boy she grew up with in a remote Maine town in the early 1800s and the man she thought she would be with forever. But Adair had other plans for her. He used his mysterious, otherworldly powers to give her eternal life, but Lanore learned too late that there was a price for this gift: to spend eternity with him. And, though he is handsome and charming, behind Adair's seductive facade is the stuff of nightmares. He is a monster in the flesh, and he wants Lanore to love him for all time. 
Now, two hundred years after imprisoning Adair, Lanore is trying to atone for her sins. She has given away the treasures she's collected over her many lifetimes in order to purge her past and clear the way for a future with her new lover, Luke Findley. But, while viewing these items at an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Lanore suddenly is aware that the thing she's been dreading for two hundred years has caught up to her: Adair has escaped from his prison. He's free—and he will come looking for her. And she has no idea how she will save herself.
eBook (US): Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
eBook (UK): Amazon UK

Thanks Alma for coming on the blog today! I love knowing what is behind all the creativity that goes into creating stories. 

Comments or Questions for Alma? Let her know!

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for this great interview Alma. Always fascinating to read what inspires authors, can I ask about the designs for your books and how much input you have in their design?

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  2. Wonderful interview! I am really going to check out your books as many of my friends absolutely adore them :)

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  3. Hi Petty and Felicia, Thank you for the kind words! Petty, I have no input into the book covers. If you look on the website, you'll see quite a range of designs. I think that's because the books don't fall neatly into one genre or another and so the artists have a bit more free rein. The international covers for The Taker are here: http://www.almakatsu.com/taker-international.php

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  4. I like to think I'd be calm and cool in a situation like that, but I know if I thought I saw a man and then turned around to find him gone I would most likely mildly panic. And then I would drive faster to get away from where I saw him:) Thanks so much for sharing some of your inspiration Alma, I always love knowing little tidbits like that!

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  5. Thanks for the guest post! I would have been freaked out by that experience but that is so cool you took it and morphed it into a story. I supposse that's one true sign that you're meant to be a writer. :)

    -Lauren

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  6. I love hearing about where authors get their inspiration from! Great posting!

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  7. thanks for this nice introduction to the story. Really interesting to know what inspires you to create these books.

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  8. Thanks everyone for stopping by. And for not thinking I was just seeing things that night :-)

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  9. I have to confess I adore gothic stories and The Taken sounds like it would be straight up my street! I love the story of the inspiration of the novel - although I think it would have scared me! :-)

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  10. I so gotta try this series :D I have only heard good things so far and I am very curious

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  11. Okay, that guy is spooky. But sounds like a great way to come to a story! Thank you for sharing all wonderful experience. :)

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  12. I knew Adair would escape! He's certainly an evil force to be reckoned with.

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  13. I love reading now authors get their inspiration! I just got a copy of The Taker...can't wait to check it out. Anne Rice is the one who made me fall in love with the paranormal genre so if this is in the same vein I will love it!

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  14. Thank you for the guestpost. I actually won your first book, and I really want to read it, but I am afraid of the horror parts. I know I will get nightmares if I think it too scary.

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  15. Oh, I remember when I was obsessed with Goth culture. I was never brave enough to go full out goth, but I did go a little dark. My mom put a stop to that quickly though. :(

    LOL! But yes, those shows, the literature, it was all so fascinating and inspiring. I'm glad you found a way to use that inspiration for your stories. Love the covers!

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  16. I have heard so much about this book. I totally need to check it out!

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