Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Author – Karen Dales

karen_dalesCanadian urban fantasy author Karen Dales celebrated the launch of Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles. Karen has dropped by to tell us about the series and her unique twist on vampire mythology, something completely different.
BIO: Karen Dales was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the author of The Chosen Chronicles. She began writing Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen Chronicles and Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles after she was inspired to create the character of  The Angel for an on-line role playing game she was part of. It was from that experience the birth of The Angel was formed and through years of research Karen fleshed out The Angel and other characters that  came to her.

Having completed York University’s Creative Writing courses years previously, Karen began to write Changeling and Angel of Death as one novel. It was on their completions that it was clear they were two distinct novels of an evolving series that has come to include Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles, which will be released April 8, 2011. Karen is currently writing the next installment  - Thanatos: Book Three of the Chosen.

In January 2011 Karen won the Siren Books Awards for Best Horror 2010 and Best Overall 2010.
You can follow Karen on Twitter on Facebook, and join her Facebook Fan Group.

Karen is always interested in hearing from you so please leave a comment or question for Karen. Welcome Karen !

Vampires are Hot!

I’m not just talking about the vampires you see or read about who are leading men material in paranormal romance. I’m taking about the fact that now, more than ever, we’re seeing vampires on the rise in fiction, television and in movies. But why?

That’s the real blood in the mix, isn’t it?

I was on the “Vampires of the Future” panel moderated by vampire author Nancy Kilpatrick at Ad Astra to discuss some of these issues, and though the talk only lasted an hour, I’m sure we could have gone on for the whole weekend. Regardless of what some people may believe, vampires are here to stay and may in fact be a burgeoning literary genre rather than a trope. One thing, as a vampire fan, that I have discovered, is that there seems to be two distinct vampire camps: Vampires as lovers/heroes as in paranormal romance and Vampires as monsters who would do anything to dominate, subdue, enslave and devour you like the little cow that you are. Sometimes you have these two types coming together where the good vampire beats the bad vampire. It works, but it isn’t something that is new.

interview_vampireIn my opinion it was with Anne Rice’s vampire novels that we truly see a new invention on an old idea. In essence, she gave us a new mythology behind vampires. No longer did vampires descend from the lineage of Vlad or Dracula, Ms Rice took the mythos far enough back in time to tie her mythos to the Egyptian mythos. It was brilliant. Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a new incarnation or mythos of vampires since.

At least not until now…

I have endeavored to do just that through the story of The Angel in my series The Chosen Chronicles.

wpa466c6e0_05When I started writing the series, beginning with Changeling: Prelude to the Chosen Chronicles, I had several questions that came to mind. The main one was what the hell did vampires call themselves before the word vampire was even created?

It came to me…they were Chosen. They were Chosen out of humans to become something more, something powerful, but for what exact purpose? The answer to even that question was lost to antiquity, and for an immortal that’s a pretty long time. I do plan on answering it in Thanatos: Book Three of the Chosen Chronicles, which I’m currently writing.

Little does anyone know, including himself, the answers all surround The Angel.

In Changeling the reader is given The Angel’s origin story. It is in this novel where many questions arise about him and what it meant to be Chosen. There are two great hints in it; the fact that the Angel is believed to be the Welsh Lord of Death and the Hunt – Gwyn ap Nudd, and The Angel’s interaction with the white faced demons.

wp165af247It is in the next novel, Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles, that we are transported through time to the late Victorian age in London. The Angel truly is one of death and I draw upon Christian mythos to help validate our current image of the cloaked figure with skeletal paleness and a blade that cuts down people. It is not a mistake on my part that Gwyn ap Nudd was/is considered an Angel of Death, even today, mythologically speaking. As an author I used those and wove them together.

In the time of Angel of Death: Book One of the Chosen Chronicles, the Chosen have ‘bought into’ the idea that they were the vampires that publishers and penny dreadful published for the mass mortal market. The Chosen have bought into their own bad publicity despite the fact that they haven’t come out of the coffin. The only thing that alerts them that what is being written is not the truth of what they are are the discrepancies of description.

In Angel of Death, The Angel is commanded to the Mistress’ presence or see his Chooser, Father Paul Notus, (yep, he’s a Christian monk and a Chosen), killed. He is then given the task of finding out how the Chosens’ food supply (ie. Mortals) are becoming poisonous to the Chosen and put a stop to it. A solitary creature for the most part, The Angel ends up teaming up with Fernando de Sagres. Fernando is Chosen, but he has fallen into the ‘Vampire lifestyle’ and attitude. He’s the guy you love to hate. He’s also the type that loves a good meal, if you get my drift. The two Chosen are joined by Notus’ mortal housekeeper – Jeanie. She becomes the love interest of The Angel and it is in part her participation in the quest that keeps things very dangerous and interesting.

I’m not going to spoil the end by telling you whodunit, but through Angel of Death, more questions to the true origins of the Angel and how that fits in with the Chosen come about.

In Shadow of Death: Book Two of the Chosen Chronicles, which was just released on April 8, 2011, I bring The Angel and Notus to my home town of Toronto about 100 years after Angel of Death. It is here that revenge against the Angel for having thwarted the attempted genocide against the Chosen comes to play. Unfortunately for the Angel, it comes about in the worst way possible, and not all of it is due to those he hunted down in the first book.

Here I play more. I don’t want to give too much away, but needless to say, in Shadow of Death my take on vampires becomes different than what I’ve read (at least), and lends to even more questions about the Angel. There are more hints and more clues, but it won’t be until Thanatos is published in 2012 that a brand new mythos about vampires will be revealed.

Is it hard to do something brand new in the vampire genre, especially concerning its mythos? You betcha. But at the same time I have a plethora of real mythology, archaeology, and anthropology to draw upon. Yes, there’s lots of research that goes into making a mythology seem plausible.

The Chosen are evolving and that evolution will be seen in Thanatos.

Vampires are evolving and that evolution will be seen in the minds/imaginations of those that write about them.

I want to thank Doug the Sci-Fi Guy for having me on today. If you’re interested in a unique and award winning take on vampires feel free to check out my books or check out my website.


Thanks for visiting Karen and you are welcome to join us anytime!


  1. Hey Doug, this is a great post! I had the pleasure of meeting Karen at this year's Ad Astra and she was fantastic on the vampire panel, as well. I agree that it's very tricky to do new things with vampires when so much of it has already been done, but there are innovative things that come out among the rehashes, "Let the Right One In" and Karen's Chosen books among them. Tanya Huff also led an interesting discussion on this when she spoke at a library event last year; fascinating stuff!


  2. Thanks, so much, Darkeva, for your wonderful comments! I'm really please to hear that you believe my books to be innovative within the Vampire genre!


    Karen Dales

  3. Karen, after angel of death I was sure hooked and can't wait to read this one! You are defiantly one of the best urban fantasy authors I've read in a long time so you can count on me as a fan and fellow Ontario resident to support you for a very long time!
    Great work. Keep it up!
    Gina Kincade


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