What inspired you to become an author?
Once, Terry Pratchett said, “Too many people want to have written.” Shortly after reading that, I read an article about Neil Gaiman’s writing gazebo. I decided, right then and there, that I wanted to write, and I wanted to do it in my own writing gazebo.
I was a voracious reader, so it became a natural extension to try my hand at writing.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
Wicked Lies came about because of the subject matter. Jonas Stone is a man who has kept a lot of himself to himself. While he’s always supportive, always there for the other agents of the witch-hunting Mission, he’s never really opened up to them the way they are forced to rely on him while out on a job. The fact that a whole part of him has been kept under wraps is not incidental to this.
The title speaks to the lies we tell ourselves when we think that we don’t deserve something, that we aren’t worth something; they’re the lies we say when we try and convince ourselves that we shouldn’t go after what we want. Jonas has a lot of those, and it’s up to Danny to get him to open up.
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
This varies, book to book. With Wicked Lies, my editor and I named it after it was written. But the latter two books in the St. Croix Chronicles, Gilded and the forthcoming Corroded, were titled long before they were finished. Some are easier fitted than others.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
While I always hope that readers take away something from the things I write, I usually try to avoid necessarily detailing what. After all, what I intend doesn’t always turn into the same message readers take away.
However, in this book, there is a message I want readers to take away, and that is this: the damage our society causes, the scars we leave, when we vilify and lessen the importance of a person because of his sexuality goes deeper than we think—if, in fact, we bother to think at all. We have the power, we have the voices, and we have the will to turn bigotry and persecution into welcome and equality. Our kids, who are struggling with LGBTQ concerns as early as middle school, deserve a chance to grow up loved, supported, and into the individuals they are.
Because I’m serious, every dime I make on Wicked Lies goes to the It Gets Better Project, which funds support and out-reach groups for youth across America. If you love Jonas that much, if you’re inspire by Danny, then I hope you will give all the people you meet the same benefit of tolerance and caring that these two men received. That’s the message I want to give, and to keep on giving.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
In a lot of ways, the whole book was inspired by my experiences, but nothing specifically in it is me or those I know. The stories and decisions each character makes is unique to their goals and motivations. What transferred, really, was my desire to tell a story about a man whose sexuality and environment really shaped the burden he carries.
I wrote a blog post when I first announced Wicked Lies, talking about how the choices and behaviors of people around me shaped what is—to me—a huge part of my life, but which is virtually unknown or even disregarded by most everyone I know. It wasn’t that far of a leap to understand that there are many people, those like Jonas, who may feel the same way.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A lot of authors have inspired me in various ways, but if I had to pick just one, I’d go for broke: Neil Gaiman has served as an unofficial role model for a very long time. It’s not his success that drives me (although, hey, let’s face it, that ain’t bad, either), but rather, his freedom. The ability to cross genres, to write what he dreams, to do comics and screenwriting and books, is similar to what I’m working for—only in my case, I’m happy sticking to short stories and books. I want to be able to cross-genre without fear of losing my audience, I want to have a writing gazebo (metaphorically speaking, the “writing gazebo” has become my name for any writing nook I end up making—no matter what, it will be a gazebo, and I shall attack it with whatever spells I choose!) and I want to be always writing, always dreaming, and yes... financially solvent doing it. Neil shows that this is possible. I just have to work hard.
What books are in your to read pile?
Since I currently don’t have time to read—a travesty, I know!—I have a TBR pile a mile high. I’m most looking forward to the Victoria Dahl books I’ve got stored on my kindle, and I’m waiting for that perfect moment when I have a chance to read the sequel—well, the second book, anyway—to my favorite book, A Monk Swimming. Singing My Him Song is non-fiction, but I loved the first and I can’t wait to read it!
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
My current work in progress is Corroded, the third in my steampunk urban fantasy series, The St. Croix Chronicles. As I’m writing this one, taking Cherry to all sorts of deliciously dark places, I’m working on the last edits for The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway. This novella will be out in summer and it features a surprise guest appearance!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, and it goes like this: Writing is a discipline. Like any job, it takes effort, hard work, and willpower to keep yourself in that chair and put words on paper. Or, well, on the screen, really. There are a thousand things that need doing to make the “ideal” writing space, but here’s your reality check—those things done will not make writing come any easier, without any less effort. They’re the Philosopher’s Stone of the writing world. “If I can just organize my post-its,” or “I need a better way to plot,” or “All I need is X, Y, Z and I’ll be ready!”
Bull. What you need is to make sure your writing area is clean enough to work in and then you need to get to work. Words don’t write themselves, and until you learn that—until you actually master the discipline of sitting down, when and where you can, and writing your words—you are a dreamer.
There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer, either. Dreamers are wonderful, imaginative people. By all means, dream your dreams and share the bits you love the most, and live the life you want.
If you want to be an author, a writer, a peddler of those dreams, then you better work. I have an ongoing series in my blog that talks about working to be a writer, so if you need a kick in the pants and a helpful toolset, go check it out. Otherwise, get thee to your pages and develop that discipline!
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A Dark Mission Novella
A Dark Mission Novella
Genre: Paranormal Romance (Avon’s first male-male romance)
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of Publication: 3/5/2013
Number of pages: 112
Word Count: 29,159
Formats available: e-book
Jonas Stone has been given his first independent operation: rescue the insurrection leader’s imprisoned grandson from the Mission. Getting the job done means more than getting Danny Granger out-it means staying with him while he heals. Staying too close, for way too long.
Danny is everything Jonas isn’t: confident, optimistic, honest--a man to be reckoned with. If only it didn’t mean going against everything Jonas has planned. He’s kept his secrets for years, hid behind a mask no one could see through...until now. Danny isn’t the kind of man Jonas deserves. But he might be exactly the man he needs...
About the Author:
Born from the genetic mash-up of lesser royalty, storytellers, wanderers and dreamers, KARINA COOPER was destined to be a creative genius. As a child, she moved all over the country like some kind of waifish blonde gypsy and thrived in the new cultures her family settled in. When she (finally) grew up, she skipped the whole genius part and fell in love with writing because, really, who doesn’t love making things up for a living?
One part romance fanatic, one part total dork, and all imagination, she writes dark and sexy paranormal romance and urban fantasy. When she isn’t writing, Karina is an airship captain’s wife and Steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful and rainy Pacific Northwest with a husband, four cats, two rabbits, the fantasy of a dog, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.
Twitter: @karinacoopera Rafflecopter giveaway