“BLANK” Makes Me Happy – Karina Cooper

This month we get to venture a little bit into the happy times of debut author Karina Cooper. Her Dark Mission Novels are dark and dangerous stories of witches and witch hunters. You can read my review of the first book in the series, Blood of the Wicked, HERE.

This is what Karina has to say about what’s making her smile these days…

Life Makes Me Happy

Wait, wait, I swear this isn’t a cop-out! See, I started this post    like five times. And every single time, I’d be halfway through it    and I’d start thinking, “But, this other thing make me happy, too.” It seemed kind of unfair. So, instead of just one thing that’s    making me happy at the moment—currently, a hot cup of a coffee and my littlest cat purring on my lap—I figured I’d give you a sweeping overview of ranom things that make me happy. So, here we go. My ADHD is out in full force, so hang on for the ride. Ten things that make me happy!

1. Animals Make Me Happy
This one isn’t that hard. I have four cats and a rabbit, and every one is super loving and sweet. I adore all of them. When I write all    day long, my youngest kitten (named after the heroine in my second book, I admit it!) curls up on my feet or on my lap and keeps me company. When it’s TV time, my oldest tank cat strolls out from wherever he’s been hiding his 24 pounds of badassery and climbs up on the couch with me. The other two are more independent, but the princess cat is super sweet first thing in the morning (further proof she’s not my cat) and the fanged princeling strolls by to check in every afternoon. My rabbit will prop up on her cage and lick the bars with excitement when I walk into her room. Having these furballs around always raises my spirits!

2. Writing Makes Me Happy
I don’t know if I can explain this one beyond the simplest sentence: Plotting, writing the first draft, revising and turning in a book    makes me ridiculously happy. I thrive on it. What can I say? The fact that Blood of the Wicked came out Tuesday, May 31, is one of those things that will make me happy for ages and ages. Look, world! I did it!

3. Sweating Makes Me Happy
Don’t judge me! I’m sort of a closet exercise evangelist. Only not so much closeted, these days. As the life of a writer is pretty sedentary, I didn’t start working out until fairly recently. Problem is, I got hooked. How in the world am I supposed to be lazy and addicted to working out? It’s just one of many conundrums that infects my life. (Virgo, meet Libra. Libra, cross Virgo. Rinse,    repeat.) Right now, I’m working out with a friend when we both have the time, and I’ve started a belly dance class that mixes pilates and yoga in with the course. It’s intense, and super sweaty, and I feel so good at the end of it that it almost makes up for    the full-body pain that follows the day after. Almost. … Oh, who am I kidding? I love it.

4. Cherries Make Me Happy
When the cherries start hitting the stores, I’m always so thrilled! I can eat those until my tongue turns red and I’m buried in a sea of cherry pits. I love, love, love cherries. I’ll put one in my mouth and suck on it for as long as I possibly can until it’s all dessicated and I have to tear into it to find the rest of the flavor. I’ve accidentally swallowed a pit or two in my time by doing this, but I can’t stop! I can’t wait for cherry season again.

5. Military Commercials Make Me Happy
…Especially the ones that have anything to do with welcoming home soldiers. I get so heart-warmed about it — it’s the weirdest thing, really. I just start getting all sniffy and I’m all, “Waaaaah, he was all alone and he thought no one was there to greet him and they    just did a party out of nowhere and he’s all, ‘Welcome home, man,’ waaaaah!” It’s ridiculous.

6. Hair Dye Makes Me Happy
SO MANY COLORS… Wait, sorry, where was I?

7. Harem Anime Romances Make Me Happy
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Ouran High School Host Club. You’ll see exactly what I mean. I’m a sucker for romances anyway, so when you add in comedy and and handful of gorgeous men, it just makes my day. (I always, always go for the black-haired one… I can’t help it!) And when the protagonist finally makes his or her decision, or when one of the suitors finally makes that move that you know won the heart of the protagonist, I squee out loud. Involuntary squealing! I’m such a sucker.

8. Shoes Make Me Happy
I get a fabulous little feeling when I open my closet and look at all my shoes. My collection (teetering as it is) makes me squee with    glee. I have so many that the mancandy has forbidden me to buy more—like that’ll work. I love wearing cute shoes, usually with high heels because I have a short complex. I always want to buy more!

9. The Mancandy Makes Me Happy
Ten years together and my heart still does that breathless little thump when I see him. The fact that he’s blonde makes no sense,    either. But that’s happiness for you.

10. You Make Me Happy!
I love waking up to find email and tweet @replies from those of you who took the time to send me a love note! I wish I had more hours in the day to dedicate to just responding back to everything, but I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading about your experiences with Before the Witches and Blood of the Wicked. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, in the world like the love notes of dedicated readers.

So there’s a glimpse into the various things that make me squee with joy!

When you really look at it, it’s safe to say that yes, in fact, life makes me happy.

I hope that among all those other things that make you happy, reading Blood of the Wicked counts among happy moments in    your day. Sure, it’s dark, gritty, a little bloody, but it’s also been called “sexy as hell”. Take a few, curl up, get something hot to drink, and enjoy. Besides, who says gritty tales of love and intrigue can’t make someone happy? They count for me!

It counted for me, lol… Here are a few questions that I had for Karina, about her happy things, and about Blood of the Wicked.

1) You mentioned “plotting” your stories. What’s your favorite part of the story to write? The beginning, the middle or the end? What’s the HARDEST part to write? What part requires the most cherries, lol?

My favorite part of the story to write is… It’s… Hm. You know what? I think my favorite bit to write is the whole thing! The way I write, I actually break the story down to scenes. I don’t even consider beginning, middle or end as I’m writing, I just take it scene by scene until I’m all done. I really enjoy doing this because the way I plot, I already have told the story — I’m just putting the words to it, now. It takes all the pressure off, so I don’t start sweating what needs to happen int he middle, the end, etc. I’ve already done that sweating. All that said, the hardest thing for me to right are fight scenes. I don’t know why, but I sit and stare at my pages for hours before I actually dive into a fight scene.

The bit that needs more cherries is — wait. Um. Let me rephrase this. When I sit down to write a sex scene, I — Damn. How do I    phrase this without sounding really, really bad? Of course I mean the fruit, here, but there’s just no way to say this without snickering like a 12 year old. Okay, fine: My sex scenes need more cherries. There. Happy? (Oh, hey: Being juvenile makes me happy, too.)

2) Did you know there’s an entire SHOW about soldiers coming home, and people who suprise them or plan big events for them?? *buys you stock in Kleenex*

NO. Is there? Oh, man, I’d never get anything done!

3) Are any of your characters general behaviors based on people you know? (I’m curious mainly about Silas.) Do you draw from your real life friends/family/aquaintances for character building?

Ohhh, Silas. I love him. But to answer your question, all of my characters are influenced in some way by everyone I know and meet. I’ve never mirrored anybody, but a few traits I pick up on might end up in this character or that. Part of the process. Silas isn’t based on anybody in particular, or even in general; he’s his own person, an amalgam of various traits and quirks and beliefs. If anything, Silas’ tendency to swear is actually based on my own. Ahem.

4) How did you come into the idea of the underground Seattle storyline? It’s really incredible, and very different from anything else I’ve read. Not someplace I’d ever like to go, but someplace I think I can actually see because of how detailed you were in the description.

Aw, thanks for saying so! I actually don’t remember what initially inspired it — I think I was drawn by the idea that Seattle already    has a bit of a precedent for building on itself. Even now, if you go to Seattle, you can take a tour through the Underground, which is  all the subterranean passages that used to be Seattle and first-floor shops back in the day. It’s really surreal! It reminds me of a line from Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series: “What Ankh-Morpork was built on was Ankh-Morpork.” 

5) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cottage by the river! It kind of reminds me of a Thomas Kincade painting, lol. Will we see that place, or Matilda again? (I’m guessing we must, since we HAVE to find out why she has such an interest in Jessie!)

Oooh, now that you mention it, I can see what you mean! Matilda’s place — which I very tongue in cheek call “Sexytime Sanctuary” when I talk about it — came to me in vast swatches of color. The green and purples and the gray or sun-lit sky above. The warmth of the steam (pond faeries!), the flagstones and giant fronds. I’d love to have a little cottage like that. We will see it again, and certainly you’ll see Matilda again. After all, it’s not the first time you’ve met her… (Right?)

6) Are all the books in the series going to mention the previous characters? I know that Lure of the Wicked features a character we meet (and don’t really like very much, to be honest, lol) in Blood of the Wicked. Will get get to see what happens with Silas and Jessie?

Ah ha! I’m actually quite glad you don’t like her very much. I did my job right!

We will revisit characters as the series continues, but not every book will feature the same characters over and over. Blood of the Wicked, Lure of the Wicked, and the third book, All Things Wicked (out early 2012), are tightly conjoined in that we see a lot of the  same characters as their stories wrap around each other, but not all following books will be the same. Certainly, as we see familiar faces again, we’ll also meet new faces and get embroiled into new stories along the way, including events that lead us out of the metropolis and into the wild.

Some might surprise you. Others might disappoint you. It’s a sad fact that not everyone can have a happily ever after, but I can promise you everyone who gets one will have to fight tooth and nail for it!

Ok… there you have it… “out of the metropolis and into the wild”. THAT sounds like fun!! So… my lovely book people, what do YOU want to know about debut author Karina Cooper or her Dark Mission series? Karina will be popping in and out today to respond to comments and answer questions. And maybe, just maybe, there’s a FREE e-copy of Before The Witches in it for one random commenter! So… ask away… and make sure you go pick up Blood of the Wicked, you won’t be sorry :-).

One Comment

  1. Comment by Karina Cooper:

    Yay! This makes me happy, too!

    That said, I did notice some rather glaring errors — right for write, really? — and I shall have to beat my assistant with wet bamboo. (Wait, I don’t have an assistant? Drat. All right, I’ll take the lashings.)

    If I’m not back in ten minutes… wait longer. I’m scattered and prone to wandering away. 😉

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