Q&A with Karina Halle
BadassBook Reviews welcomes Karina Halle today for an interview. Karina is the author of the much loved and obsessed over several series: Experiment in Terror, the Artists’ Trilogy, and Devils’. Clearly we at Badass love Karina Halle. So when we heard that Ms. Halle was releasing a stand-alone historical romance horror novel we were pretty excited. This month, Karina releases Donners of the Dead and further below we feature Donners of the Dead. We are participating in an Xpresso Blog Tour which is hosting an amazing giveaway (scroll down to see the very cool prize!). Enter below to win!
Regina: Karina, you write stories that your readers emotionally connect to and react to on an intense level. I guess I am speaking about myself and my own reaction. I have my theories as to why. In my opinion, you write about realistic character faults, bad choices and readers relate to these. Why do you believe that your readers connect so strongly to the characters that you write?
Karina: Well, if I have to guess I’d say that you hit the nail on the head. I believe it’s because I write flawed characters that people can relate to them. No one is perfect and while it’s fun escapism to read books about people you may aspire to be, you won’t be able to relate to them. I know I don’t. But give me someone fucked up like I am and I’m suddenly in their shoes. No reader is perfect.
Regina: A central theme in all of your books is sexuality. It seems to me – -just my opinion – is that sexuality is central to humans and our daily life and you bring this issue to the forefront. You write about it in the way we — the readers — think about it. Do you purposely incorporate sexuality into your writing?
Karina: Sex drives everyone. Even those abstaining from it are making a conscious opinion about it. I don’t think I’m purposely incorporating it but since my stories deal with dark desires and the fragility of our hearts when it comes to romance, sex is a natural factor. Only a couple of my books don’t have sexual acts in them but they still thrive on the idea that at some point sex will happen. I don’t know if I could write books that didn’t feature it in some shape or form.
Regina: Vices, greed and sex seem to govern so many of your characters’ choices. Why?
Karina: Not too sure about the greed part, but then again greed doesn’t have to be about money – it can be about power and affluence. I suppose that, combined with sex and the vices that most people fall victim to in some shape or form, are what drives most people’s choices in life. If not, it’s at least very dramatic and drama is necessary in fiction.
Regina: Music plays such an important role in your books. Music helps define Dex and Perry’s connection in the beginning of their romance, music helps tell the story between Ellie and Javier in the Artist’s Trilogy, and it obviously is a character on its own The Devil’s Metal. Does music help you connect to the stories and the characters?
Karina: Definitely. A lot of my books are based on songs or named after songs. Scenes have been built on particular songs or lyrics or even a certain string of notes
Regina: How do you set about writing the sex scenes (yes I sound obsessed)? They are so unique, not fade to black and not just raw.
Karina: Get your head out of the gutter! Well thank you for that compliment, I really strive to not make it boring. I basically just have the characters stay true to themselves and if I read it over and it sounds too repetitive or like something that’s been done or said before, I work really hard to fix it. I love the sex scenes as they play out in my head but when it comes to writing it, it can be difficult to get everything just write. It seriously takes me forever when I’m writing sex scenes, but I am glad it pays off for the reader.
Regina: Why does Dex appeal to so many women? He isn’t tall, he isn’t successful and many people do not like him. I don’t state these factors as my ideals, but typically the hero in a novel is a huge charming guy with lots of money. But Dex, is an anti-hero, but not in a typical way. Why do you think so many of your readers loved him?
Karina: Ha! You know what? I honestly have no idea. Personally, money has never factored into the equation for me so I suppose I assumed it wouldn’t for other people. And sure, he’s not stereotypically handsome but men who are too handsome rub me the wrong way too – it’s boring! When I really think about it though, I think readers love Dex because he’s very funny, very damaged and he would do anything for Perry. No matter what book you’re on in EIT, you know that Dex will have her back no matter what. That’s endearing as hell! Did I mention funny?
Regina: I love how you provide readers with multiple points of view. Dex’s point of view seems unique. How do you prepare yourself to switch to Dex’s point of view? He’s so funny and pervy and all guy, is it an easy transition or do you have to gear up for it?
Karina: I have to gear up for it at first and channel him but he’s really easy to write. It’s fun. I’ve had many friends tell me I am more Dex than I am Perry, so maybe that helps? Lol.
Regina: Several of your books/series are rooted in the supernatural. What influenced you to write about ghost? Do you watch shows like Ghost Hunters or Paranormal State?
Karina: I don’t. I hate those shows. Haha! Seriously. I’ve always loved scaring the shit of people, even as a young girl I would make up elaborate stories to terrorize my friends. Yeah, I was sadistic and I guess I still am. And to be honest, aside from aliens, ghosts scare me the most because you can’t really do anything about them and they can be anywhere.
Regina: What books and genre do you prefer to read when you have time and can sit down to read?
Karina: I read pretty much all genres. Anything that sounds interesting. I love things that are thrilling and dark, adventurous or horrific. I like plot-heavy stories that keep you turning the pages. I like my romance to have plot too and to be loaded with sexual tension. I’d say I need a form of romance in all my books, but all my Stephen King favorites don’t have romance so there you go! As long as the writing is competent (bad writing is the number one reason I put down a book) and the characters and plot are interesting, I’ll read it.
Jake McGraw was unlike anyone I’d ever known. He was brash, rude, unapologetic and arrogant; chauvinistic, close-minded, and terribly stubborn. He was built like a tree, tall with a hard chest and wide shoulders and hands that looked like they could wrestle a bear. He was a cigar-chomping, scruffy-faced, beast of a man. I was pretty sure I hated him. And I know he hated me. But among the flesh-eating monsters in these snow-capped mountains, he was the only thing keeping me alive
The year is 1851 and pioneers in search of California gold are still afraid to travel on the same route as the tragic Donner party did years before. When the last wagon train to go into the Sierra Nevada mountains fails to arrive at their destination, Eve Smith, an 18-year old half-native girl with immense tracking skills is brought along with the search party, headed by an enigmatic former Texas Ranger, Jake McGraw.
What they find deep in the dangerous snow-covered terrain is a terrifying consequence of cannibalism, giving new meaning to the term “monster.” While the search party is slowly picked off, one by one, Eve must learn to trust Jake, who harbors more than a few secrets of his own, in order to survive and prevent the monstrosities from reaching civilization.
Tour wide giveaway. Open to US and Canada. One lucky winner will receive signed paperbacks of Donners of the Dead, The Devil’s Metal and The Devil’s Reprise plus a tote bag AND a one-page handwritten story about the winner in a fight with a zombie!
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