Plus: Riders by Dave Hum, Brendan Hendry, Brendan Mulholland and Paul McSherry, Kinfolk and Will Tun and the Wasters
Blog: Storyteller’s Grove http://kvictoriasmith.blogspot.com/
Wall Street has fangs. In a 24-hour world, does anyone notice the unusual behaviors of many, including the reclusive rich. When international power brokers, vampires and shape shifters hiding in plain sight, threaten Micaela and those she loves, will this heiress to a Druid legacy deny her power again and let others die? Can she accept the friendship and love of others with strange and frightening powers? A thrill ride of money, magic and murder across the globe.
Do you sleep better at night believing that vampires are things of fiction?
It is the first time that CMF features a novelist. I think that those who read Dark Dealings will really know why she is making a stir in the literary world. Through the twists and turns of this story, Karen Victoria Smith incorporates traditional Irish music either as a way to describe a feeling of the moment, an incident music or the tunes around characters when they go to a ceilidh. This is after all a story that merges Celtic myths and vampire horror. For those who haven’t picked their copy of Dark Dealings, I recommend you do it now. It is a great read.Very satisfying and full of suspense and action. You won’t be disappointed. In fact you will keep coming back for more and wish for a continuation story of the characters. It is a book with a lot of HEART, WIT and LAUGHTER. You will know more through this interview:
CMF You created an interesting character in Micaela. How many percentage is she you?
KVS: It is an interesting process. I did not set out to create a character that was me. But writers write what they know. And by that I don’t mean just that because I worked on Wall Street that is what I write about. We, as writers of novels or music, know emotions and experiences; we know our life and the lives of those near and dear. I was recently talking to a friend about a difficult decision I had to make but wasn’t ready to make. I said I was just going to put it up on the shelf and deal with it later. I suddenly heard Micaela’s voice coming from my lips. She is in some ways a lot like me. But good characters always get to do the things we wish we could do and say the things we wish we could say. Micaela is perhaps my alter ego in that way.
You told me that Dark Dealings is “It has been a labor of love. A tribute to all I know and have learned”. How strong is the knowledge of Celtic mythology in your family?
The knowledge was stronger in my grandmother’s generation. She is my Una (Micaela’s grandmother), but not so much in my parents’ generation. My grandmother instilled in me not only basic knowledge as a small child but a love and curiosity for my Celtic/Druid heritage. I began to seriously reconnect with that heritage in college and have pursued it since. My dream would be to live in a traditional cottage in a small Irish village where I could write and smell the earth and feel the energy from the land.
Your characters unfold gradually as opposed to in your face kind of vampire treatment. Do you have a liking for things that are implied in writing?
I have always like novels of discovery. I want my readers to see my characters change and grow and, in the process, become dear friends and family, even the vampires. I am a throwback to in my approach to writers like Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, even Stephan King. I can only wish to approach their caliber of writing, but I like the tension, the relationships to evolve. It is so important that reader feel like a novel is an experience in which they are a participant and not an observer. When I read as a child, I always imagined myself to be a character in the story. That extended to my favorite television shows and movies. I wrote some of it down but never kept it. Guess today you would have called it FanFic.
Dark Dealings is certainly not your typical vampire novel. We are dealing with a career woman dealing with powerful people and war of wits. Is this going to be a chronicle?
It will be a chronicle of both Micaela and a number of the characters in Dark Dealings. I am currently working on edits for Ogham Court, which is based on Devlin, Nora, Aine and set primarily on the street where the Salmon Run Inn and the Singing Stone is located. Relatively minor characters in Dark Dealings but who have developed lives of their own that I suspect one day will come full circle back into Micaela’s life. Micaela as a strong career woman is again a reflection of my personal career path before a became obsessed with writing. She is also a product of my taste in female characters. I could never stand helpless females waiting always to be rescued. Even when I read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (hardly paranormal horror LOL) I identified with Jo. She was smart, strong-willed with a hidden vulnerability, with a sharp tongue that was sometimes her undoing.
I think one of the things that are worth noting is how the relationship between the characters unfold. When we think of Nikki, her tale is kind of ‘sneaky’ because who would have thought there is more to her than just working as a law enforcer. Are you more into the characters or the plot?
I think both are important. But I consider myself character-driven. I start with a rough sketch of a plot and the theme. I spend a lot of time in the beginning developing my characters and they continue to reveal themselves in each round of edits. For me, it is taking well formed characters and sticking them in tough situations and watching how they respond and are changed as a result.
Where did you get your inspiration for the Baron?
Beyond my central interest in my Celtic heritage, I have been fascinated by old European royalty before the late 19th century. Two of my favorites are the English , particularly the Tudors and the early Russian dynasties. Both are so deliciously dysfunctional full of treachery, murder and political intrigues. I actually debated the end scene for the Baron (trying to avoid spoilers here). Could have gone either way for him.
If ever this becomes a movie, who do you see playing the role of Liam?
I have some thoughts on this but I would really love to have readers chime in on my Facebook page with their suggestions or to my Pinterest board for Dark Dealings. I love seeing for my work and the works of others how each reader brings their own interpretation to the character. It is a shame we lost Heath Ledger, though
The book is like a sly predator. It starts gradually and the last parts become really explosive and action packed. This isn’t one of those sentimental romance novels masked as vampire fiction. was deviating from the typical vampire franchise your intention?
LOL, I most definitely do not write romances. The recent trend in vampire and shapeshifter fiction has been very light, right up to vampires that walk around in the daylight. It was not always like that. Vampires and other preternaturals can be multi-dimensional characters yet they are capable of great violence. I am actually a huge fan of Laurell K Hamilton and her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. Ms. Hamilton builds intricate worlds of preternatural creatures in an alternates and very edgy universe. Her plots and subplots are not everyone’s taste as she pushes the envelope on sexuality and violence. But at the same time she explores questions of power and what it means to be human or a monster. The Trueblood television series is similar in that it does not sugar coat the needs and desires of the humans or preternaturals. Lestat in Anne Rice’s chronicles is also from that same genre. Ms Rice’s beautiful writing is I think pivotal to the resurrection of the paranormal genre beginning in the 1970’s and 1980”s
I think there can be romance but that it must be the light part of a very dark world. It is part of the exploration of the character whether they are a normal or a preternatural. In Celtic tradition there is the balance between the male and the female, the light and the darkness. Balance does not always mean 50-50. AS the light and dark half of the day the balance changes throughout the year and is part of the cycle.
Dark Dealings is an LGBT friendly fiction where characters like Connie really shines. Has the current political climate gay rights also influenced your writing?
Frankly no. The current political climate is wonderful but a step in the evolution of society that began decades ago. When I first imagined Dark Dealings, it came from the recognition that most non-Judeo-Christian cultures have some form of the vampire and shapeshifter. I wanted to develop an international multicultural world for Micaela to move in. It seems a natural extension that a diverse world be just that …diverse.
Somewhere in my upbringing, twelve years of Catholic School notwithstanding, I developed a more pagan philosophy regarding all living things. It perhaps comes from the Celtic acceptance of all the possibly creatures that populate the Otherworld and this world. Or maybe growing up in the post-Woodstock generation. In my world, as in my life, people do not come from cookie cutters or in one flavor. It is the variety that makes life an exciting ride. In the middle of Dark Dealings, Micaela goes to her grandmother Una to talk about creatures and thing which are not supposed to be. Una’s response is that “we who have touched the Otherworld know differently.” I wanted to create a world in my book and the books that follow that accept that all things are possible and valid. It sounds trite but if we can accept the premise of vampires and werewolves who seem just like us than why not LGBT characters who are three-dimensional and powerful characters in their own right. I love the character of Connie; she is smart, quick with a weapon when needed, a powerful shapeshifter and a loving and loved partner who happens to be another woman. Regardless of sexual preference I want all my characters to be multi-layered and complex. I did not set out to make her lesbian but as she evolved she spoke to me and told who she was. She is in some ways the perfect foil for Ethan or perhaps a hint at a less stuffy side of him. I suspect we will see more of her.
Smashwords (for other formats) http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/157380
Available in print through Amazon.
Also in print at CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3868445
Featured MP3: Riders by Dave Hum
One of the tracks taken from the album Travelling Light. I will have a full album review soon.
Featured video: Brendan Hendry, Brendan Mulholland and Paul McSherry
They have a CD Tuned Up. Review also coming up soon.
Featured Band: Kinfolk
Kinfolk are Brian Mcdaid and Gerry Power. Brian and Gerry met in south of England in 2000. Both were working in different bands, and involved in different musical collaborations. Gerry was busy on the London singer songwriter circuit playing suppot spots to established artistes such as Nils Lofgren, Colin Blunstone, Geno Washington, Bert Jansch. Brian was poised to go to America having just been offered a deal. Since that meeting they have worked together with a number of other musicians, mainly playing live venues throughout the UK. Since late 2004 they have been drawing on their shared musical heritage to create KINFOLK and their debut album: THIS LAND.
Brian was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His parents are from Donegal and Fermanagh in Ireland. Gerry was born in London of Irish descent, his parents coming from Cork. Both share a similar musical heritage being influenced by traditional and contemporary folk music from Ireland, Scotland and England. For Brian this influence was inevitable – his uncle was the lat Irish folk legend Corny Mcdaid.
Typical of many young people, their musical experience and experimentation developed over the years. These included rock, pop, jazz, funk and country. However throughout their musical careers they have always maintained a strong acoustic and folk link.
This meeting of musical experience has produced a song writing duo that has flourished and developed together. They have produced songs of quality diversity, appealing accross a wide range of folk music tastes.
Up and coming: Will Tun and the Wasters – Star of the County Down- Acoustic Cabin Sessions
They will be my featured band around mid-October so watch out for an interview with someone in the band .