Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Interview with Karissa Laurel

Do you write in different genres?

Midnight Burning is an adult urban fantasy, but I have a YA fantasy novel coming out this fall. It’s called Heir of Thunder, and it’s about the daughter of an elemental god who has to find her place in the world after her father’s unexpected death. I have started a paranormal romance novel I hope to finish soon, and I’ve published a few science fiction short stories. I also have an idea for a steampunk superhero novel that I hope I find time to write someday.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

I don’t have a favorite. Each genre has different rules and expectations and possibilities. I enjoy exploring them all.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

My original title was Midnight Sun because I wanted to evoke Alaska—where much of the book takes place—and the dichotomy between the main character, Solina, and her twin brother, Mani (Saying more than that might give too much away, for those who haven’t read the book). But my publisher ultimately decided to change it because there was already a well-known Midnight Sun (from the Twilight universe) and we didn’t want to compete with that title. Midnight Burning gave me the contrasting themes I wanted while still suggesting the “land of the midnight sun” idea that Alaska is known for.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

Much of the first half of Midnight Burning takes place in Sinqniq, a fictional village based on a real Alaskan town I visited several years ago. Alaska is one of the last places left in the world that has mostly defied modern development. It enchanted me because it seemed like a place where magic and mystery could thrive. It’s the perfect hiding place for a couple of ancient gods who want to avoid public scrutiny.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

I make no secrets about how much I love Ilona Andrews’ books, and Kate Daniels was one of my first introductions to urban fantasy and strong female action heroes in novels. I also adore Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series and wish I could emulate his sense of humor. My most favorite authors of all time are Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood. I don’t expect to ever write quite like they do; our styles and preferences are ultimately too different, but my admiration for their quality of writing always keeps me striving to improve.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. (Her Hundred Thousand Kingdoms novel is one of my recent favorites). A certain group of magical people have the ability to prevent (or cause) earthquakes, some of which are powerful enough to destroy the world. After a devastating earthquake threatens to wipe out most of the human population, several of these magical folks attempt to survive and discover who or what caused the earthquake and why.

What books are in your to read pile?

Next up is The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. After that I’ve got Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. But somewhere in there I hope to fit in Patricia Brigg’s latest Mercy Thompson novel.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

The sequel to Midnight Burning, called Arctic Dawn, is coming out at the end of this summer. Heir of Thunder, my YA fantasy, should be coming out soon after that. Right now I’m working on the sequel to Heir of Thunder, and I’m revising the first draft of the third book in the Midnight Burning series. Somewhere in there I’ve got to finish a Sherlock Holmes short story for a group anthology project.

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

Streetlight Graphics designed the cover of Midnight Burning. They do all the covers for Red Adept Publishing’s books, and they do a phenomenal job. I had a little input into the development of Midnight Burning’s cover, but the final product was ultimately a surprise, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

Midnight Burning
The Norse Chronicles
Book One
Karissa Laurel

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Date of Publication: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1940215501
ASIN: B01055ET1A

Number of pages: 278
Word Count: About 95K

Cover Artist: Streetlight Graphics

Book Description:

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night she suffers a nightmare of a vicious wolf devouring her twin brother, Mani, who lives in Alaska. When Solina learns her dream was real, she journeys to the Land of the Midnight Sun to search for answers.

Solina soon suspects Mani’s friends are more than they seem, and she’s certain they know more than they’ve admitted to the police. Val and Thorin resist and elude Solina’s efforts, but Skyla, an ex-Marine, joins her crusade for the truth.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina learns her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his murder, and the fate of the entire world. She must learn to control her newfound gifts and keep everyone safe because, if she fails, a long-lost dominion of gods and monsters will rise, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Google Play     Kobo     iTunes

Excerpt – Chapter One

My brother, Mani, once told me Alaska was the first place he had ever travelled where he knew he was somewhere different—somewhere decidedly not home—before he ever set foot on the ground. I didn’t understand what he meant until now. Outside my airplane window, the glassy waters of Cook Inlet reflected a bright blue late-summer sky. Dark and looming, the Chugach Mountains encroached from the east. Far to the north, the ghostly, snow-crusted visage of Mount McKinley rose above the landscape, an ancient king, high on his dais, surveying his kingdom.
By comparison, Mani and I had been raised somewhere a little more commonplace. Home was a small town in the foothills of North Carolina, over three thousand miles away. And this was the first time I had ever left it. I probably should have eased into long-distance travel in the same way I eased into a cold swimming pool—one toe at a time. A trip over the border into Gatlinburg. A weekend visit to D.C. But no, I had taken a plunge from the high dive instead, and boy, was I in over my head.
The captain’s calm and assuring voice spilled across the cabin, announcing our approach and descent into Anchorage. Seatbelt signs chimed and flashed. A pair of flight attendants swept down the aisles, collecting trash and reminding passengers to raise seat backs and lock away tray tables. I closed my eyes, drew in a deep breath, and urged my heart to return to its regular pitter-patter pace, but it refused to obey.
I breathed in again and trapped the breath in my lungs. Chill, Solina, I told myself. It’s only a week. I could survive anything for one week, right? And I wouldn’t be on my own. My brother’s best friend, Val Wotan, was at the airport waiting for me. Val had texted me a dozen times to make sure I hadn’t missed my connecting flights or fallen out of the plane somewhere over Canada. Val was expecting me, and I was a glutton for fulfilling others’ expectations. I also owed this trip to my brother, to the honor of his memory. How could I ever look myself in the eye again if I gave in to my doubts? If I didn't give Mani my absolute commitment?
Val deserved my loyalty, too. In the few years I'd known him, Val had risen from casual acquaintance to something I wasn't quite ready to label, but just thinking of him made my heart beat a little faster, my breath come a little quicker. Val had earned my regard by being the sibling I couldn't be for Mani after he’d left home. He had watched Mani's back, made him welcome and comfortable in a strange and foreign place. He had even saved my brother’s life once.
I chuckled, remembering how Mani had loved to recount the story of the raging bull moose—deep in a rutting frenzy and crazed by the need to mate with anything female and fight anything that wasn’t. Not long after Mani had first arrived in Alaska, he and Val had gone off on a backpacking trip. They came upon the moose on the edge of a meadow and caught it off guard.
The moose turned its hostile gaze on Mani, lowered its rack, and charged. Stunned and uncertain how to react, Mani stood frozen in place and watched his life pass before his eyes. Meanwhile, Val calmly drew a .44 Magnum from the side pocket of his backpack and fired off a warning shot. The moose reconsidered his challenge and lumbered away into the woods.

If only Val and his gun had been there the night my brother died. Then I might have been coming to Alaska for an entirely different set of reasons.
About the Author:

Some of Karissa Laurel’s favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between.

Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin or go hunting for rusty old relics at flea-markets. Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie.

Website –

Publisher Book Page –   

Youtube -


Karissa Laurel said...

Thanks so much for the great interview and for featuring Midnight Burning!