Author Interview: Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan is a child of the 80’s, which means she's worn neon skirts, black-lace gloves, and combat boots (although never all at once) and can quote John Hughes movies with the best of them. A life long daydreamer, she finally realized that the characters in her head needed a proper home and thus hit the keyboard. She believes that falling in love is one of the headiest experiences a person can have, so naturally she writes romance. Her love of superheroes, action movies, and history led her to write historical paranormals. She lives in the Washington D.C. area and, when not writing, looks after two children, one husband, and a dog — the fish can fend for themselves.
-Taken from Kristen's website

RB: What is your favourite book, and why did you want to be an author?
KC: Oh, man, I don’t think I can come up with just one favorite. I love genre books. I love stories that sweep me away for those hours that I am reading them. As for why I wanted to be an author, I didn’t plan on that. It just happened that there was a time in my life in which I was depressed because I realized that I was a “grown up” (heh, I was 25) and I ought to be doing something that I loved. On a whim, I tried to write a scene that was floating around in my head. It was love at first type. ;) 
RB: How long have you been trying to break into the writing world? What was the first story you ever wrote and do you still have it?
KC: Hmm…well, first I had to learn how to write. That took years. (yeah, years, lol) I practiced on the same story, rewriting it, learning the craft with it. That story got me an agent and it went on submission, but it didn’t sell. My next story was Firelight. In the sense of trying to break in, it took two books and two years –a year for each book. 
The colours of these covers
are spectacular!
RB: Your first book, Firelight, was published in January this year, and the sequel Moonglow is set for release on July 21st, and finally book 3, is expected to be published February 26th next year, what kind of pressure was there on you to write the books so quickly?
KC: There is a lot of pressure to write books quickly. Mainly because you want to build a backlist of books that fans can read, and because fans of romance are rabid –I should know, I’m one too! and they want the next book, like, NOW! Lol. 
RB: When you first started sending Firelight to publishers, where you expecting this kind of popularity from reviews?
KC: No. lol. In truth, I didn’t know what to expect. I loved my story, and did the best I could with it. The rest was up to fate. I also resigned myself to the fact that everyone has an opinion, and everyone has different tastes. Therefore, some would like it and some wouldn’t. That was okay with me. As to the good reviews, of course they make me happy because I want to entertain people with my books. 
RB: There are obvious similarities in both Firelight and Moonglow to popular myths and fairy tales, most notably Beauty and the Beast. Where did you draw inspiration for the supernatural aspects of your stories?
KC: From everything that I’ve read, seen, and heard. That sounds flippant, but it’s the truth. I’ve always loved supernatural tales, and the things I love affect my storytelling. 
RB: Firelight leans heavily on Egyptian mythology, where did that inspiration come from?
KC: I’ve always had a thing for Egyptian art and mythology. It was fun to be able to put that love into my stories. 
They have a real otherworldly feel.
RB: Why 19th Century London as the background for this novel? Was there more interest in the occult during that period? Is there a historic event important to the plot of these books?
KC: The occult was gaining popularity. And the atmosphere of Victorian London works beautifully (in my opinion) with the Gothic overtones I wanted to use in the stories. The Victorian age also gave rise to the Industrial Revolution. I see this as very similar to our time, in which we made leaps and bounds in regards to technology. Like the Victorians, we are also obsessed with commerce yet crave comfortable homes and a secure family life. I like the parallel between their world and ours. 
RB: You included a Ghost In the Machine (GMI), in Moonglow, where did you gather inspiration for that particular supernatural creature?
KC: First, from Anne Rice’s Tale of the Body Thief. That story revolves around the idea that souls could simply take over another body –sometimes permanently. The idea stuck with me. I thought, what about a whole group of these beings? What would their story be? Perhaps they were stubborn souls who refused to die, and so a demon/demi-god strikes a bargain with them and gives them a new body. But there always has to be a sacrifice. For the GIMs, it is servitude. The clockwork heart came from the need to have a way to control them, and to show their unnatural condition. Since their hearts are mechanical, they literally are ghosts in a machine. But I also like the name because it alludes to Descartes theory of mind-body dualism. 
Isn't this a beautiful cover?
Can't wait to read it!
RB: Do you have more story ideas, or any new projects under way that you'd like to tell us about?
KC: Aside from the Darkest London series? Well, when Firelight was on submission, I started on three separate novels, and got about halfway through each of them. I want to finish those someday soon. One is a contemporary paranormal, the other a steampunk, and the other a historical paranormal. I just need to find the time, lol. 
RB: You've included poems at the beginning of each of your novels, The Mask by W.B Yeats for Firelight and Art Thou Pale For Weariness by P.B Shelley for Moonglow. Why those poems and have you chosen one for Winterblaze?
KC: I love the mood and feeling poetry can convey, and try to find poems that fit with the story I’m telling. I consider the poems a bit of “setting the stage.” I thought the poems I used for Firelight and Moonglow were indicative of the character’s feelings. As for Winterblaze, I’m using a line from The Spider and The Fly by Mary Howitt. As for why I’m using it, you’ll just have to find out in February! :)
A big thanks to Kristen for the interview. Firelight and Moonglow are two fantastic supernatural romances with more depth and story than most romance novels.

Read my reviews of Kristen's books:
Firelight and Moonlight

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