This week's author is Karen Chance, who wrote Touch the Dark and Claimed by Shadow. Claimed by Shadow made the NYT Extended List and made it into the USAToday list as well.
For more on Chance, visit her website.
WN: How did you come up with your character of Cassie Palmer?
CHANCE: I wanted to do something a little different, and no one had a clairvoyant as their lead character, much less one brought up by the vampire mafia! I also wanted to do time-travel in the books, because I’m a historian by profession. My lead character becomes the Pythia, the world’s chief clairvoyant (based on the ancient Greek oracle at Delphi), who can not only see the past, but travel into it.
WN: With the boom in books having plots involving the paranormal, what's different about your paranormal world that fans of the genre will like?
CHANCE: Cassie is a strong female lead, but not a comic book type character. She has limitations and has to use her intelligence and the allies she is able to make to survive, instead of constantly gaining new powers. There are also a lot of strong supporting characters in the books, as I like the entire cast to be as memorable as the lead.
WN: From your perspective, why are paranormals so popular right now?
CHANCE: The recent successes of Harry Potter, Buffy and Lord of the Rings certainly hasn’t hurt! But I think it’s also a factor that today’s urban fantasy has very little to do with the old sword and sorcery tales. It tends to cross genre lines and combine the best of a number of worlds. For example, my books mix mystery, fantasy, romance and action/adventure. Someone who likes mysteries, but has been thinking that they’d like to try something new, might be tempted to pick up a fantasy that incorporates mystery as one element. The same is true for romance, which has developed quite a large paranormal subgenre lately.
WN: Were you a reader as a kid... what turned you on to reading/writing books?
CHANCE: My mother read a lot and always had many books scattered around the house.
We also had a great local library where I discovered Agatha Christie, Tolkien, Rex Stout, Bradbury and many more wonderful authors.
WN: What's the best part of being a writer to you? What's the most challenging
part of writing for you?
CHANCE: The best part would probably be when someone e-mails me to say that my books
really made their day or helped them get through a tough time. The most difficult is definitely finding time to write. I have a demanding full-time job, and therefore fitting in my writing can be a challenge.
WN: What's next for you as a writer?
CHANCE: I have a novella out in August called "Buying Trouble," in a Berkley anthology entitled On the Prowl. There will also be two new books out next year, one with Cassie as the heroine (in May 2008) and another with a different protagonist (Midnight’s Daughter, in October 2008). It should be a fun and busy year!
WN: What is the best/most influential book you have ever read and why did it inspire you?
CHANCE: That’s a difficult question, as I read lot! Going back to childhood, the earliest fantasy I can remember being completely enthralled by was A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It was the first time I realized what a wonderful genre fantasy can be, and it shaped my reading (and writing) preferences ever afterward.