In 2011 I got an email about a brand new paranormal series coming out by a new author. The series was unlike anything I’d read before so I knew I had to read it. I’ve been hooked ever since on this world. I immediately fell in love with these witches and their battle for survival in post-apocalyptic world. While I’ve read and reviewed these books we’ve never had Karina on, so we figured it was time to have her on as the last book in the Dark Mission series comes out this month. She also writes the awesome St. Croix Chronicles.
TBRG: Hi Karina and welcome to our little corner of the internet.
KC: Hi, gals! I’m so happy to be here, thanks so much for inviting me! I’m just tickled to think you’ve been enjoying these books since 2011. Gosh, so much time has passed.
TBRG: Before we get started I have to tell you I love your author picture.
KC: Aww, thanks so much! That was my raven-haired stage. I remember being unsure which I should use, and my agent looked at that one and went, “That fierce ‘I’m a best-selling author’ smile nails it.” I may not be a bestseller yet, but why wait?
TBRG: Ok time for the hard questions…are you ready for them?
KC: I feel like I should channel Emperor Kuzco here: Bring it on. (If I have to go leaping over a waterfall, though, I’m out!)
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
KC: My editors—and my agent. I read a lot—or did, anyway, before I started writing for a living—and while I admire many people and many books, I don’t know that I can claim anyone has an influence on my writing in terms of voice and inspiration. Instead, I really rely on my editors and my agent to tell me when a book is good—and when it needs help. It’s hard, sometimes, to avoid taking reviews seriously. Everyone has an idea of what could have been better, what’s good or not, and you just can’t please everyone. So when I’m feeling like I’m on the right track—or when I’m feeling like I’m totally lost—I really rely on my editorial team to keep me on the straight and narrow.
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
KC: I’m rather quite practical about love. I’m not one of those people who can easily be swept off her feet, and I make the most informed decisions about romance in my own life. The poor mancandy. You know those jokes about men who give vacuums or rice cookers to their wives and end up in the doghouse? Dude, I’d love a Dyson! Or a high-tech rice cooker! And I’m not really the reach for the moon type. Don’t worry, it’s not a failing—I’m quite happy!
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
KC: Hawaii. Only I’m pretty sure that if I ever make it there, I might never come back! (I’d better be sure to take the mancandy with me, yes?)
TBRG: If your mancandy is anything like mine then yes you have to take him with, because otherwise it won’t be pretty 🙂
TBRG: What was the first romance book that you read?
KC: The first full-length romance I ever read was Johanna Lindsey’s Defy not the Heart. I ripped the cover off so that my mom wouldn’t know what it was, and then made sure to hide it in the very, very top of my ceiling-high barrister’s bookcase. I was eleven or twelve.
TBRG: Johanna Lindsey was my first as well…and I loved Defy not the Heart.
TBRG: Who are some of your go to authors, and what are you reading right now?
KC: My go-to authors really run a wide circuit. I’m totally in love with Victoria Dahl’s contemporaries, Merrie Destefano, Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, and Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series. My biggest, most epic wish is that one day I can write lush sensuality on the page like Nalini Singh and evoke the same aw as Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series.
Right now, I’m currently reading Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series—I just finished The Siren, and I tell you what: this woman makes me want to become a better author.
TBRG: If you weren’t writing and keeping us in books (thanks for that by the way), what would you be doing?
KC: I think I’d really like to be a brothel madame. I’d be one of those tough broads in corsets and carrying a whip for those trouble makers, ensuring that all my girls (and boys!) are treated right—well, you know, within bounds—and be this wicked fairy godmother of sex.
I can say all this because, honestly? I don’t see myself ever doing anything but writing. I love this job.
TBRG: What is your guilty pleasure?
KC: Yaoi anime and manga! It’s not so much a guilty pleasure, as I feel no guilt, but it’s totally fun. Boy-love manga is the perfect relaxation time.
TBRG: Who is on your playlist when you are writing? Or if you have the T.V. on for background noise what do you have on?
KC: It depends on what I’m writing. I have this spotify playlist called Can Can Carnivale that I sometimes use when I’m writing the St. Croix Chronicles, but most of the time I have lyric-less music like classical or movie scored. I tended to write most of the Dark Mission books to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons scores.
TBRG: If you could spend the day playing tourist in Seattle would it be exploring things like the troll under the bridge (I kept waiting for him to show up in your books) or walking through the Tulip Festival?
KC: I’d totally do the Seattle Underground tour! I’ve never actually done it, and it’s amazing. Seattle was, in reality, built on Seattle—years back, the whole place caught fire, so they retrograded the streets and built everything on top of the old stuff.
TBRG: I’ve heard the Seattle Underground is not to be missed.
TBRG: Where do your ideas/characters come from?
KC: Oh, I’m going to sound so boring, but seriously: everywhere! I am constantly influenced by everything around me. Shows, comments, music, things I see. I have a note file that is as long as my arm.
TBRG: Are you a planner, a fly by the seat author or a planster?
KC: I used to be a pantser, but I realized I wasn’t finishing nearly as much as I was starting. I have 137 unfinished projects in my writing folder. I was taught to plot, and the very first book I ever plotted was Blood of the Wicked. I’ve been a born-again plotter ever since, and have an ongoing (if slightly late) series on my blog about it.
TBRG: How did you come up with The Dark Mission series?
KC: I was sick one day and vegging out on the couch watching the Discovery channel. They showed a feature about supervolcanoes, and that was the end of that. Suddenly, I found myself wondering what would happen if the pacific northwest—and then the world—all suffered cataclysmic disasters. What would the people do? Where would they go? Worse… who would they blame?
TBRG: Tell us about the series?
KC: The Dark Mission series stays within New Seattle, which was built—bigger! taller! with more glass!—and follows the treacherous conspiracies wrapped up in the Holy Order of St. Dominic’s witch-hunting mandate. Set fifty years after the fall of old Seattle, humanity turned witches into the scapegoat and—driven by fear and goaded by a new authority—recreated the bloodiest Witch Hunts in centuries.
This is not a Good Vs. Evil series—what’s good may not always look that way, and what’s evil may be done in the name of the greater good. Questionable morals, betrayals, murder and lies are the name of this game, and there’s no telling who will survive the final confrontation.
TBRG: Tell us about One For the Wicked?
KC: One for the Wicked is the final resolution—the culmination of 8 books of betrayal and conspiracy finally unraveling. Vengeance buried so deep and questions that go decades back are all at stake.
TBRG: What do you want us to know about Kayleigh and Shawn?
KC: Shawn Lowe is nursing a hatred that would put the Montagues and Capulets to shame. Determined to seek the ultimate revenage—to avenge his parents’ murder and the capture and execution of his friends—he’s willing to turn the daughter of his hated enemy into a pawn. Laurence Lauderdale will be made to suffer—no matter what.
Kayleigh Lauderdale is the daughter of the Director of Sector Three—the science division that has taken over the bulk of the Holy Order’s organizations. Determined to prove that she’s every bit as brilliant as her father needs her to be, she’ll stop at nothing to solve a mystery that has been plaguing her father’s experimental lab for decades. Only problem is, she’s not exactly sure that what she’s doing is right—and when Shawn enters the mix, it only gets more confusing.
TBRG: Using 5 adjectives describe Kayleigh and Shawn.
KC: Conflicted. Guilty. Manipulative. Attracted. Perfect.
TBRG: If Kayleigh were to describe Shawn what would she say? And if Shawn were to describe Kayleigh what would he say?
KC: Kayleigh would call Shawn ridiculously hot—she’s always had a thing for the rough and ready men—but tragically misguided, and even if she does like the passion to which he commits everything, he’s not smart enough to date her. Shawn would call Kayleigh the perfect pawn in his ultimate plans, a cold-blooded murderer, and a daddy’s girl—and then admit that she’s a hell of a lot sweeter than she has any right to be, and “nice” isn’t going to earn her any points.
TBRG: Was it hard to end this series?
KC: Yes and no. You really do miss the series once you write that final The End, but I really am satisfied with the conclusion. I got to check in with everyone, including Jonas Stone and Danny Granger from Wicked Lies, and really show how far they’ve all come from their own books. I’m happy.
TBRG: What are you working on now?
KC: Right now, I’m working on a Cherry St. Croix novella and the third in the series, Corroded. I’m so excited to be back in Victorian London, watching Cherry stumble from mishap to misadventure with her usual determined obstinacy!
TBRG: We want to thank Karina for stopping by and sharing a bit about herself and her Dark Mission series.
KC: Thanks so much for having me! This was fun, and I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the series. I hope your readers have many hours of blissful reading, whatever books they love!
Dr. Kayleigh Lauderdale possesses the only cure for what’s killing the city’s witches. Desperate to acquire it, the resistance sends their best agent, but Shawn Lowe has his own agenda, and it doesn’t include saving anyone—least of all, the daughter of his sworn enemy. He has to ignore the blistering attraction he feels the instant they meet, because he can’t give in until he gets what he wants. He just never counted on wanting her…
Kayleigh can’t believe how out of control Shawn makes her feel. He lies to her with one breath and excites her beyond reason the next. A reckless encounter could steal her heart, while the danger hovering over the city may prove too much for either of them to handle. When the world turns upside down, it will take everything Kayleigh and Shawn have to hold on…to life, to hope, to each other.