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Joyce Lamb, USA TODAY12 a.m. EDT May 3, 2013
Congratulations to Karina Cooper, whose title Tarnished has won the Best Steampunk Novel of 2012 in the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Woo hoo! Karina, like so many other romance authors, is at the RT Booklovers Convention this weekend but took the time anyway to chat with HEA about her new release (One for the Wicked), RT, finishing up her Dark Mission series and what readers can expect next for Cherry in the St. Croix Chronicles.
Joyce: Welcome back to HEA, Karina! At this moment, you’re at the RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City. How’s it going?
Karina: Hi, thanks so much for inviting me back! I do so love being here.
As I am writing this, it’s 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. Having spent much of the evening and early hours catching up with all the wonderful authors and friends I’ve missed over the past year, I am just now creakily getting up and preparing for the day. ALL of my mornings are like this-nothing begins until I’ve had coffee. My Friday, guaranteed, is exactly like this: waking up, dragging myself slowly towards the coffeemaker, grunting incoherently. But after? It’s all about looking somewhat human for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, where I’ll be receiving the award for the Best Steampunk Novel of 2012 for Tarnished. (Check out the other winners of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards.)
I have been terrified and ecstatic and over the moon since I got here.
Joyce: Congratulations, Karina! Not that I’m surprised.
Which three authors are you most excited to be hanging out with at RT?
Karina: It’s so hard to just pick three! My roommate is Amanda Arista, who wrote Diaries of an Urban Panther, and we have a long and storied history of RT shenanigans. I ALWAYS run into Stephanie Dray, and I love chatting with her. She’s my con pal! I can’t wait to hang out with Jaye Wells, who I know from Twitter and only just met passingly my first night here.
Joyce: Which three authors are turning you into a goofy fangirl?
Karina: Jaye Wells, Victoria Dahl and Tiffany Reisz are all here, and my little heart goes all a’twitter to see them. I can’t wait to meet up with them and pretend like I totally deserve to be in their company. I know, I know, we’re all human, but I admire them so much, I turn all giddy and tongue-tied.
Joyce: What’s the most amazing thing a reader has ever said to you?
Karina: There is a reader who is currently going to school for a degree in some kind of criminal forensics thing, and she was so hooked up on The St. Croix Chronicles sweet-tooth killer that she combed through every page looking for clues as to who it may be. She wrote me this wonderfully detailed message outlining who she thought the killer was — and who she thought would be the perfect match for Cherry. It was so thoughtful and thorough that I was left in awe. The fact that she put her criminal forensic skills to use on my series made me so, so happy.
Joyce: What’s the weirdest thing?
Karina: The weirdest thing ever was when I received a review from a reader who suggested that my Dark Mission series was nothing more than a thin attempt to excuse the many witch hunts in human history. I was so aghast — and I have to admit, a little amused — because this series really is all about how terrible the witch hunts are, and how the witch hunters are coping with these awful choices they make. It doesn’t bother me, but I do always wonder about the person’s thought process. As someone whose spirituality leans closer to “witchy,” I found this more interesting and a little weird, rather than offensive.
Joyce: How do you feel about One for the Wicked wrapping up your Dark Mission series? What are you going to miss about it?
Karina: I am so mixed about the end of this series. Nostalgia, relief, satisfaction, a little bit of loss, and a lot of bittersweet. I love that I was able to wrap it all up, bring together all of the characters I’ve spent time with over the past two years. But I’ll admit that I miss them already.
It sounds kind of strange, but I really loved being able to check in with all of the previous characters as the series continued. It gave me the opportunity to see how they were coping with the aftermath of their own books, and what they were doing now that the struggles had only gotten worse. Seeing them struggle and work and make the effort to stay together, to work through their issues, and rise to the challenges of the ongoing plot made me ridiculously happy.
Joyce: Please tell us more about One for the Wicked.
Karina: One for the Wicked is about two things: a revenge story gone awry and good intentions gone bad. Shawn Lowe wants nothing more than to bring down the Lauderdale family. Kayleigh Lauderdale needs to solve a decades-old puzzle, before time runs out and her father’s dreams crumble. Although their goals are at odds from the start, first impressions aren’t at all what either expects — and there’s nothing like a sizzling attraction to uproot all your good intentions.
As decades of conspiracy unfold and masks are torn off, Kayleigh and Shawn will have to figure out what’s worth holding onto, and what family really means.
This is the book that reveals all, and boy, is it a wild ride.
Joyce: What’s next in your St. Croix Chronicles series?
Karina: I am so excited! Next in my series is a double-header. The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway is a novella set five years before Tarnished, outlining Cherry St. Croix’s first-ever collection. This novella is extra special because it’s my first release with Carina Press, and in honor of the celebrity inspiration for this novella, half of my proceeds will be going to Make-A-Wish.
After the novella in August, I have a September release for Corroded, the third in the series. This book follows Cherry as she hunts for a murderer in London below the foggy drift, desperately seeking revenge.
Joyce: What else can readers expect to see you from you this year and next?
Karina: This year, it’s all about Cherry’s misadventures! I’m so thrilled to be able to really delve into her ongoing story and am very much looking forward to getting her into all kinds of trouble. I have some other projects in the works, and I look forward to the time when I can announce them, but until then, I’ll say this: It’s going to be a great year for murder, mayhem and mystery!
Joyce: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Karina: I’m off to go find some kicky shoes to sport at RT, so thanks so much for having me, Joyce! I love reading HEA, and I am just tickled to be writing a version of happily ever after for readers as voracious as myself. I wish everyone many, many hours of happy reading!
Joyce: Thanks, Karina!
HEA curator Joyce Lamb has 25 years of journalism experience and eight published romantic suspense novels, three of which have been RITA finalists. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter (@JoyceLamb). You can also follow HEA on Twitter (@HEAusatoday).