Karen Duvall is the author of Knight’s Curse, an upcoming urban fantasy release from Luna Books. Karen dropped by the virtual offices to share some details about her book. Check it out!
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Karen Duvall] Inventive, inquisitive, and always up for new challenges. A world-class procrastinator who often bites off more than she can chew. Think of me as a work in progress.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about your book, Knight’s Curse?
[Karen Duvall] Knight’s Curse is an urban fantasy starring a heroine named Chalice, who is half angel and half human, with superhuman senses. She’s enslaved by a group of sorcerers who use her special skills to steal cursed artifacts. To keep her in line they bond her to a homicidal gargoyle and the only way to break the curse is to kill the beast. Problem is, gargoyles are immortal. Her fallen angel father gives her the secret for killing the beast, but freedom is expensive. Chalice must pay for hers with either love or death, or both.
Publisher’s Weekly has listed Knight’s Curse as a Top 10 Pick for Fall 2011.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Karen Duvall] I wanted to write about a strong otherworldly character that didn’t fall in with the usual urban fantasy tropes. I wanted her to have her own mythology unlike anything else, so I took a slice of real medieval history and put my own spin on it to give Chalice a unique ancestry. After some research, I came upon an authentic order of female knights from the Crusade Wars called The Order of the Hatchet. With their husbands off fighting the good fight, someone had to defend the village left behind, so these women banded together and took up arms to protect their people. I put my own twist on history by mating these women with their Guardian angels to produce offspring with special abilities that perpetuate the knighthood into the twenty-first century.
There are some familiar fantasy staples among the characters in the story, such as elves, sorcerers, and demons. I also include a mummy, who’s really an undead saint and an original Hatchet Knight who counsel’s Chalice. Chalice is partnered with an immortal warrior protector afflicted with the same gargoyle curse that she is, plus he has a few additional anomalies that give him a magical edge. Chalice can’t help but fall in love with him.
The villain in the book is a sorcerer who kidnapped Chalice as a child and trained her to use her superhuman senses to steal cursed and charmed objects he sells to the highest bidder. To assure her loyalty, he bonded her to a gargoyle that longs to sink his teeth into her and make her his evening meal. But the gargoyle is as much a slave as Chalice is, and they both hate their slave master.
[Manga Maniac Café] What have you learned about yourself through your characters?
[Karen Duvall] My characters have taught me about boundaries, how far I would stretch mine to get what I need for myself, or for someone I care about. They also taught me tolerance and forgiveness for both myself and others.
[Manga Maniac Café] Why do you think books with fantasy elements are so popular with readers? What do you enjoy most about them?
[Karen Duvall] People read fiction to escape. I think fantasy is the ultimate escape because it takes us out of a world we’re familiar with and broadens the scope of our imagination. It also hearkens back to our childhood love of fairytales and the bigger than life heroes who thwarted the meanies of our nightmares.
I love fantasy stories for the very reason I just described. They push the envelope of our imagination and explore making the impossible possible, if only on the pages in a book. Fantasy is just good clean fun.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[Karen Duvall] Digging my characters out from under the immense obstacles I buried them under. I took what the worst that could happen to a whole new level. Ha!
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Karen Duvall] I had a few bedtime story favorites as a child. I adored James and the Giant Peach, The Time Garden, and The Phantom Toll Booth, to name just a few. I couldn’t get enough of those worlds and read as many of those types of books as I could get my little hands on.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Karen Duvall] When I’m not creating stories, I’m creating art. I’m a graphic designer and I also design creative content for virtual world gaming. I enjoy that very much, plus it subsidizes my meager income. My pets keep me busy and I have an active dog that requires more exercise than I’m able to give her, but I’m working on that. I need it as much as she does.
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!
You can also pre-order Knight’s Curse by clicking the Amazon widget below. Knight’s Curse hits stores August 23!