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“I hope that my reinterpretation of the vampire takes off and allows for others to do the same. I also hope that readers take away from my books the same ‘wow’ that I did when I read Anne Rice for the first time.” -Karen Dales

August 2, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

DarkMedia Interviews Author Karen Dales:

It’s important to begin by stressing the fact that you don’t meet people like Karen Dales every day.  Confident, intelligent, and never intimidated by her own success, Karen is an author who means to leave an impact — and does.

In a post-Twilight era, Karen Dales is someone who has succeeded in allowing vampires to retain their enigma, along with a true sense of gravity and unapologetic darkness.  Her richly engaging stories will take you on a journey to a time before the word vampire existed, within the world of “The Chosen”.

DarkMedia had the pleasure of talking with Karen about vampires, mythology, and the fine art of never surrendering when a story needs to be told.

The themes and characters in The Chosen Chronicles, fantastic as they are, really reflect the nature of the human condition so well. Has the experience of writing this series been cathartic for you?  What do you hope your readers will take from it?

I’m not sure if they have been cathartic for me, more to the fact that I’ve discovered new friends in my life. The characters in The Chosen Chronicles are very real to me and in many cases in writing the series I’ve been guided by them. Sometimes I’d want to do X with a character but then that character would say “No. I want you to do Y.” As an author you have to go with what your characters want and that can lead you down avenues within your writing that you never imagined.

I’m hoping that my readers will connect with each of the characters. I’ve had people come back to say that they love Fernando, but they sometimes wanted to smack him. I like that. 🙂 I’ve heard people talk about my characters as if they are real people to them. When that happens then I know I’ve done a great job and readers really care about the story and the characters.

Vampire literature has taken several twists and turns since Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897. Who would you say have been the most influential authors in the genre? And what do you hope your own influence will be on vampire literature from this point forward?

Author Anne Rice

Hmmm…that’s a tough question and I may be dating myself, but I’d have to say Anne Rice. She brought Vampires into a new vision without giving up too much of the old. I think from her books, especially “Interview with the Vampire” and “The Vampire Lestat” having become such huge hits it really opened up more within the genre rather than that of just the Dracula-type vampire. In some ways she gave writers permission to reinvent the vampire, not only to what they are but their origins as well. She also brought them to the modern era and gave vampires the wide range of humanity/lack-of-humanity that we even see within our reality of humanity. She did a remarkable job and she is one of my favourites for the original four of the Vampire Chronicles.

I’d love to be counted along with the greats like Anne Rice. I hope that my reinterpretation of the vampire takes off and allows for others to do the same. I also hope that readers take away from my books the same ‘wow’ that I did when I read Anne Rice for the first time.

You’re often asked about creating characters in the context of a role playing game. Would you recommend that as a character building exercise to other aspiring authors? Is it something you would do again?

I’m not sure if I would do that again. It was an interesting exercise because I go to play the characters in the game first before even thinking of writing the novels with them. If I was a new writer with a need to know how to create engaging and real characters I would do the “role playing” creation again, but thankfully I’m not. It’s not absolutely necessary to outline your character so completely as they change and grow, as we do, but it’s a good way to start if you’ve never created a character before.

How many books do you have planned for The Chosen Chronicles? Do you already have the ending mapped out, or will you continue to write them until it feels right to give the story an end?

When I started writing The Chosen Chronicles I had planned for 4 books. I’m currently writing the fourth – Thanatos: Book Three of the Chosen Chronicles, which I hope will be released next year.

Since I completed “Angel of Death” I’ve heard back from fans asking for Fernando’s story, so I’ll probably do that one. Also, since I’ve finished “Shadow of Death” a new book or more has come to mind for after Thanatos. It seems that the characters still want to play and so I’ll let them. 🙂

Congratulations on being the winner of not one, but two Siren awards for “Angel of Death”. How do you think that experience influenced you as a writer? Did it give you more confidence in your work, or is it intimidating to follow that kind of success?

Oh, it was wonderful finding out that not only did “Angel of Death” win Best Horror 2010 by Siren Books, but when I found out I also won “Best Overall 2010” that was amazing. Being book of the year was just an incredible feeling. It’s also made me more conscientious to write the best stories I can, to strive to be better and better, and from what the reviews for “Shadow of Death” are indicating, I’ve done that. I hope to do the same with “Thanatos.”

You’re often on interview panels at conventions, with other top authors. What’s the most interesting question you’ve ever been asked?

I’ve been asked many interestesting questions over the years, so I’ll turn this around and give you the funniest answer to a serious question.

I was an author guest at Polaris last month along with other vampire authors Charlaine Harris and Kelley Armstrong. I was on a panel with Charlaine where we were talking about how we use and see telepathy within our stories. It was a great panel.

At the end of the panel the moderator asked, “Are there any last thoughts from our panelists?”

I put my fingers to my temples, squeezed my eyes shut, in mockery as if I was sending out telepathic messages to those in the audience. Everyone erupted in laughter. I was surprised and looked at the rest of the panelists to find that Charlaine had done the exact same thing, to which we said at the same time “great minds think alike.”

I’ll always remember that with a smile on my face.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors with a story to tell? What’s the best advice someone gave you?

So many people have stories to tell. It’s why humanity created language in the first place. We’re story tellers. We love to tell things to each other which are either true or not. We are communicators. But to write well one needs to really learn the art of writing. I went to University to learn. It wasn’t until I wasn’t until I was 40 that I was published.

Lots of people write, and that’s great. But learn your craft, hone it and then publish. Never give up. Never surrender.

We’re in a time when people can publish their own works very easily. It’s a great opportunity but a badly written book will still come off that way.

Take your time. There is no rush.

What are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Ricardo Pinto’s “The Third God: Book 3 of the Stone Dance of the Chameleon Series” Excellent series if you love well described fantasy. It’s not like Tolkien at all. No elves, dwarves, etc. It’s completely original and one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a long time.

Can you describe a little about your process as a writer? Do you have any rituals, or things you’ve grown accustomed to doing, or having, as you write your books? How long does it typically take you to write a novel from start to finish?

Author Karen Dales

I don’t really have any rituals when it comes to writing. I usually try and write when my son’s in school or when my son is asleep and my hubby’s working. It can be difficult to find time, especially during the summer when I get “Mommy, mommy, mommy…” every five to ten minutes. I’m looking forward to when my son goes back to school so I have more time to write. Not to say I don’t love The Bug, but summer has proven a bit of a break from writing for me.

As for timing of how long from start to finish…it really depends on the book, the time of year and what life throws at me. I do hope to get Thanatos done by the end of this year.

You’re currently working on a historical romance in the Edo Period of Japan. That sounds fascinating, in addition to being a huge departure from your work within The Chosen Chronicles. What inspired the departure? Are you enjoying the diversity?

Actually, the Historical Fiction novel is based upon a dream I had. It was so vivid in detail that it’s stayed with me and I’m enjoying writing it.

There won’t be any vampires or the like in it. No paranormal aspect at all. I think that’s going to be fun, but more so it gives me the opportunity to research and learn about that place and time in history. Yea, I’m a bit of a history buff. I have a bookcase full of historical fiction next to my bookcase full of paranormal fiction.

Where can people find out more about you as an author and your work?

People can find out more about me and my works through my website.

You can find out where to buy The Chosen Chronicles by going to http://karendales.com/books.html to see all the links to Amazon Worldwide, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Powell Books and even Smashwords.

Thanks so much for having me on DarkMediaCity!

______________________________________________

Please join Karen as she hosts a discussion on Vampires in Literature and Myth, exclusively on DarkMediaCity:

For hundreds, if not thousands, of years there have been legends, folklore and mythology surrounding the vampire.  Through literature, several prominent authors have continued to shape the image and drive the evolution of perception.  From Byron and Stoker to Rice and Meyer, come discuss with us your favorite aspects of the mythology and literature, and what you’d like to see more of in the future.

The chat will take place on August 11th, beginning at 9PM EST.  Please click here for more details — and to RSVP.

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission, excepting links to the interview.)

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7 Comments on ““I hope that my reinterpretation of the vampire takes off and allows for others to do the same. I also hope that readers take away from my books the same ‘wow’ that I did when I read Anne Rice for the first time.” -Karen Dales”

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