my review) and Twice Dead and is about to launch Grave Witch, the first book in her new Alex Craft urban fantasy series which releases October 5. The novel is a taut UF thriller with a solidly constructed mystery and engaging set of characters. It is a departure from the usual kick-ass heroine so prevalent in UF these days and readers of similar suspenseful stories such as Diana Rowland's Demon series will definitely enjoy this.
Kalayna is offering a signed copy of Grave Witch to a commenter and she will be dropping by to respond to reader questions.Check out the Contest Guidelines at the end of the post for full details. You can find out more about Kalayna Price at her website and blog.
SFG: Grave Witch, the first book in your Alex Craft series releases next week. What’s the 411 on Alex?
Alex Craft is a private detective and a grave witch—a voice for the dead. She can speak to ghosts and raise “shades” which are a person’s memories given shape and form so that they can be questioned. When she raises shades, her psyche crosses the chasm between the land of the living and the land of the dead. The land of the dead overlays reality perfectly, except that on that plane of existence (where ghosts and spirits dwell) everything is dead or decaying: hues fade, metal rusts, and buildings crumble. Alex sees into this plane, and as a result, using her magic does a number on her eyesight.
Alex is a fun character to write about, and she exists in a world where magic is well acknowledged but not always well accepted. She has magical, physical, political, and emotional hurdles to navigate in the story, and, of course, there’s the ghost silencing killer and a case which might cost her soul.
SFG: Death as a character is rarely used, how did Death make his way into your novel?
With dreamy eyes and a sardonic smile? Okay, no, not exactly what you meant.
Death was a character who showed up very early on in my plotting. With Alex having the ability to talk to ghosts and spirits, it made sense that she could also see the grim reaper. When trying to decide how Alex would have met him, I had this great idea for a scene from her backstory which I eventually distilled down to one sentence and used to open the book:
“The first time I encountered Death, I hurled my mother’s medical chart at him.”Their relationship improved after that first, rather unfortunate, meeting, but there is still tension there that creates great chemistry between them on the page. When I first decided to make Death a character, I don’t think I realized how his character would play out, but by the time I started writing the first book, I knew he’d be a major series character.
SFG: Is there a planned over-reaching story arc and number of books planned for the series and do you know how it will end?
“Yes” to the former and “not so much” to the latter question. There are several underlining plot threads that will play out over the series, and I know where the story is headed, but I don’t have a set in stone “this is how the series will end” plan for the books.
SFG: It must have been exciting when you signed with Ace/Roc. Can you describe the moment when you first learned of the deal?
Actually, that ‘moment’ was stretched over several days, which was both agonizing and thrilling. What happened was this: About a week after my agent sent Grave Witch out to editors, I received a call letting me know an offer had been made. I was ecstatic, but that isn’t the end of the story because the book then went to auction. The days while I was waiting for the end of the auction are a blur. I remember pacing a lot, and I was pretty useless at work. News would come in a flurry and then there would be more waiting. I remember reading an update from my agent in an email and then the phone ringing. I told her I’d just read her email and her response was “Well, I have more news.” By the time the auction ended I was emotionally exhausted. Happy. Thrilled. Maybe even scared. But more than anything, excited.
SFG: What is it that most appeals to you about writing fantasy/urban fantasy?
The versatility of the genre. The authors writing Urban Fantasy tend to take the best parts of other genres and mix them together so you have these thrilling stories with magic and murder, horror, love, tragedy, mystery—you name it, and it has probably been incorporated into an urban fantasy book. I love the genre, and I hope my books will provide others with the same kind of entertainment I’ve found in other great writers in this genre.
SFG: You also have another successful dark urban fantasy series on the go. Tell us more about the novels of Haven.
The novels of Haven follow Kita Nekai, a shapeshifter on the run from her clan and responsibilities who is turned into a vampire and sucked into the supernatural underbelly of a city called Haven. Kita’s world is a closed one—meaning as a whole society doesn’t know supernaturals exist—while Alex’s world is open and everyone knows the monsters under the bed really are real. It’s a lot of fun to be writing two series that have worldbuilding on opposite sides of the spectrum. At first I was a little worried about writing two series in the same genre at the same time, but Alex and Kita are very different, as are their worlds, which shapes how their stories are told, so I haven’t had any trouble keeping them distinct.
SFG: When did you first “discover” urban fantasy as a reader? Do have favourite writers/series?
|Kalayna with Laurell K. Hamilton|
I have a lot of favourite authors, and it’s hard to pick just a couple, but I’d say some of the best authors I’ve read recently include: Karen Chance, Kim Harrison, Chloe Neill, Patricia Briggs, and Ilona Andrews.
SFG: You have a number of other passions besides writing including your art and fire hoop dancing. How and why did you become a fire hoop dancer?
Well, I didn’t jump straight to fire. In fact, two years ago, I couldn’t even keep a hoop up around my waist. My brother was actually the one who got me into hooping. He saw someone doing it at Dragon*con 2008, got a little obsessed, and coerced family and friends into trying. I must be the slowest, most uncoordinated person in the world because it took me almost a week to reliably keep the hoop at my waist, but it was great exercise and I was in excellent company, so I kept working at it. Within a couple weeks I was learning tricks and having a lot of fun on top of the workout and the chance to hang out with friends—talk about a no lose situation!
I’d been hooping a little over six months the first time I hooped with fire. I think it’s probably something you’re either going to love or hate. For me, the roar of the fire all around me is a major adrenaline rush. I love it!
SFG: What other projects to you have coming up and can you tell me something about them without having to kill me afterwards?
Currently I’m focusing on the two series I’m contracted to write. The next book in the Haven series, Third Blood, will be out in a few months, and the second Alex Craft novel will be released next summer. Other than that, I can’t give out any definite news, but there have been rumours about a sky pirate anthology . . .
SFG: You’ve appeared at a number of conventions. Tell us the craziest thing that has happened to you at a con?
I wish I could say I had a really crazy con story, but nothing is popping to mind. Of course, my threshold for crazy might be different as I started attending cons in college when ten of us would pile into one room and would survive the con by eating Ramen cooked in a coffee pot because we couldn’t afford to go any other way. Those were crazy times.
|Kalayna and friends with members of the Clockwork Dolls at Steampunk Worlds Fair 2010|
Thanks so much for having me here today, Doug!
You are most welcome Kalayna, and you have an open invitation to guest anytime.
ABOUT KALAYNA PRICEKalayna Price is the author of the Alex Craft Novels, a new dark urban fantasy series from Roc, and the author of the Novels of Haven from Bell Bridge Books. She draws her ideas from the world around her, her studies into ancient mythologies, and her obsession with classic folklore. Her stories contain not only the mystical elements of fantasy, but also a dash of romance, a bit of gritty horror, some humor, and a large serving of mystery. She is a member of SFWA and RWA, and an avid hula-hoop dancer who has been known light her hoop on fire.
BOOK DESCRIPTIONGrave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn’t mean she likes what they have to say . . .
As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around . . .
To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life . . . and her soul.
Click Here to read the first chapter.
- Leave a comment, or question about the book, the series, writing or urban fantasy in general, to be entered into the draw to win a signed copy of GRAVE WITCH.
- One name will be drawn at random. Open internationally.
- Giveaway runs until Midnight, Saturday October 9.
- Leave a way for me to contact you.
- Links to this post on your favourite social media sites, blogs, etc., would be appreciated.