I had the pleasure of interviewing Karina Halle, author of Darkhouse and Red Fox. I'm currently reading Darkhouse and will have the review done hopefully this week. She has generously donated one copy each of Darkhouse and Red Fox to one lucky commenter. Fill out the form below and leave a comment telling me Have you ever experienced a haunting?
What/who inspired you to become a writer??
I don’t think there was anything or anyone in particular that inspired me to become a writer. Since I was very young I was always crafting stories in some shape or form. Sometimes it would be drawings (usually of animal people...you know, Beatrix Potter style) and I’d have stories to go with them (but I wouldn’t write them out). I also used to build elaborate worlds in my head as well, but the writing part came last. Yes, I was lazy even as a ten-year old. But as I got older (like 13) and actually started to put pen to paper, I think author’s like Ann M. Martin and Christopher Pike were the ones who inspired me the most. I like Martin because she was able to build a gigantic world with her Baby-Sitter’s Club series and I liked that you would follow the characters throughout all the books. And Pike appealed to my macabre side. Which was in full-force at an early age. I was a very sadistic child.
Do you have a favorite genre of book that you like to read/write? If so, why??
I started out my writing career by dabbling in screenwriting. I went to school for it, had a script optioned by a producer. With scripts I loved to either write thrillers/horror or romantic comedies, which was odd because I hate watching romantic comedies. So what I like to write and like to read can differ. With novels though, I definitely love to write anything tense, exciting or scary and that goes for what I like to read too. That said, my moods and tastes change. I doubt I’d ever write a cheesy bodice-ripper, but you never know!
What helping aids do you use to focus when you write? Music?? Nature???
Music. Totally. I’m a music journalist and music is a fantastically huge part of my life. Every book I write has a particular playlist and there are some bands that I always turn to in certain scenes. Because the Experiment in Terror series is scary, I listen to a lot of Fantomas, Depeche Mode, Rob Zombie, Bohren and Der Club of Gore etc, to build the mood. I don’t even think my books would exist if it weren’t for music (and I rarely write without listening to something).
That said, being in nature is also a great motivator. I think that stems from when I was younger, too. Growing up in beautiful British Columbia, I spent a lot of time on my parent’s boat, visiting different islands. Something about the scenery, the fresh air, causes a giant influx of crazy ideas to pop up. If I go away on the boat for a few days, even now, I come back with maybe 10 new ideas for my writing.
What character(s) of your book(s) do you relate to the most??
Ah, Perry Palomino, definitely. We’re a lot a like...and not alike in some respects. I think when I first started writing Perry, she was a lot like me but it’s interesting to watch her grow over the course of the books. The events shape her, so she has evolved into a much different person than I am. But insecure, inquisitive, adventurous...that’s totally me. I relate to Dex too (the male lead), probably because he’s closer to my age and there’s a cynical, world-weary side to him that I like and I can relate to his (secret) past.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring writers like myself?
Well, I think any words of wisdom at this point will probably seem really cliche. But I’d just say, stop making excuses for yourself. I know so many people who say “I’d love to write a book but...” and fill in the blank. Whether it’s you don’t have motivation or time or ideas...just stop making excuses and do it. I would always start writing novels and never finish them. I think the idea of writing a novel for some people is extremely daunting. But look, it doesn’t have to take you a whole year. I wrote Darkhouse in six weeks, writing every single day while keeping a full-time job. I am not a morning person AT ALL but I woke up an hour early to write before work. If you want something bad enough, you’ll do it. Give your excuses the heave ho, stop thinking and start acting.
How do you visualize your stories?? In pictures?? Conversations? Dreams?
Eee, this is a toughy. I’m afraid if I think about the writing process too much it’ll mess me up. But I can tell you that I definitely visualize it, though it’s not a conscious thing at all. It’s hard to explain. But as I write, I see it all in my head without any prompting from myself. I don’t force it, it just happens. Sometimes I’ll read scenes and even though I haven’t described the place at all in the writing, I can see, or rather know, what it looks like. You know, the rug is a certain shade of blue, the walls are wood paneled, the cups they drink out of are white China. I can see the light as it comes in the windows and lights up the place. But I don’t think about it and I don’t always write it down. It must be all sub-conscious. It’s pretty fascinating, actually.
As for conversations, yeah. This probably makes me crazy, but my characters talk to each other in my head all day long. That’s why I always have to have a pen and paper on me.
What are your writing goals for the next 5 years??
Even though I fully enjoy being self-published, I would like to have a book or two done through a traditional publisher. Not all of them. But at least one, so I can have the best of both worlds - and it would probably help the “self-published books are crap” stigma. Other than that though, I just hope the EIT series to be a success. All eight books will be out. I hope to have written at least the six other books I have planned, too.
How long did it take you to write Experiment in Terror series?? What/who inspired these books??
Darkhouse took me six weeks, but that was six weeks of writing every single day without fail. Sometimes for just an hour, sometimes for four. But it got done. Red Fox took me a whole year because I was starting up as a music journalist, so that writing cut into it, plus I was traveling all over the world for concerts. Dead Sky Morning took me three months. I think Lying Season (book four) will be about the same in the end. Of course, I don’t write every day - if I did, it would be done a lot quicker. But I’m in no rush! I love my characters to death, so I savor the experience of writing them.
Darkhouse was inspired by...well, a mixed bag of things. It’s hard to narrow it down. because it wasn’t just a book but the whole series. Red Fox was inspired by the Tomahawk album Anonymous. Dead Sky Morning was inspired by an article I read in my parent’s sailing magazine. I couldn’t believe that there was such a place as D’Arcy Island, that so many unspeakable terrors occurred on this island, and that it was in my backyard. I knew that had to become a setting for one of my books.
If you could have dinner with someone dead or alive, famous or not famous, who would it be and why??
This is always the toughest interview question! OK, I can’t pick one, so I’d have a dinner party. Dave Grohl would be there because I love him and he’s hilarious. Marilyn Monroe because I’d love to pick her brain and get to know the real her. Cary Grant to add some class (and he’s also surprisingly hilarious). Alfred Hitchcock because he’s my idol. Stephen King so I can bug him about the Dark Tower series. Betty White. Just cause. Oh, and Ryan Renolds. Good ol’ Canadian boy!
Let's do something fun...write something about each of the the next 10 words in 10 words or less.
The scary things that go bump in the night
The cheapest vacation you can take
A necessary evil
Something I need more of
Always coveted, rarely attainable
A genre that’s growing in popularity as the world decays
The most important quality I possess
What a writer does
I need a lot of it!
What made you decide to jump on the E-book trade?? And how do you feel about it??
I jumped on E-books because it’s just the thing to do. The world is changing, you better embrace it and keep up. I don’t have a problem with people reading e-books and I like how immediately accessible it is. I think reading, anything, is a wonderful thing. That said, though I have an e-reader, I rarely use it. I like physical books and even though my tiny apartment barely has room for them...I make room. But I’m old-fashioned like that. I like to buy CD’s too. I hope bookstores and CD stores never go out of business. What’s happening with Borders is disheartening to me.
If you found yourself on a deserted island, what 10 things would you take and why?
My ipod, fully loaded. Solar powered battery charger. My laptop. Sketchbook. Pen. My boyfriend. Philosophy 3-1 body/hair/face wash. A very sharp knife. Several liters of rum.
How do you write your books?? Are you by the seat of your pants writer or do you plot out your books in advance??
A little from column A, a little from column B. I plot out all my books in advance (very necessary when planning a series) but though the major plot points don’t change, the scenes in between can and do. Some of the best scenes come from my characters dictating what should be going on. I don’t try and stop them, I let them act it out. It sounds nutty to say, but sometimes I really don’t have much control over them. I love that.
And last by not least, if you could time travel what period of the history of future would you go to??
The 1950’s. I adore the films, the fashion, the style, the society. It’s far enough back to be different but not far enough that it’s unrelated.