Who is Kalayna Price. Give us the dirty low down.
Who am I? I’m the girl with the blue hair in the corset who is sporting kick ass boots, a hoop over one shoulder, and laptop tucked under one arm. Or at least that might be who you see at a con. On a day to day basis, I’m just a girl locked to a computer, pounding out words.
Grave Witch is the first in your Alex Craft series. I love that Alex is poor, doesn’t get along with her family and struggles physically after she has to use her magic. Give us some insight into writing her character.
Alex is a struggling business owner–she just happens to be in the business of allowing the living to question the dead. She’s not out to save the world, she’s just out to pay her rent and feed her dog. And hey, like most people, if she can do some good along the way, that is good too. Her ability allows her to work with the police to help solve murder cases, but she knows she’s not the type of person to chase bad guys down dark alleyways—not if she has some other choice. Writing Alex is a lot of fun because she lives in a fantastical world and she goes up against extraordinary challenges, but she still has to deal with issues like family and finances.
Death is a really cool character – hello hot dude in jeans. I find it interesting Death and Alex have this chemistry between them – he is much more than just a creepy taker of souls. Why go that route?
When I was plotting the books, I realized very early on that if Alex could talk ghosts and interact with the spirit realm, that she had a good probability of meeting a grim reaper type character. Their first encounter eventually was distilled down into the opening line of the book
(right from the beginning too—I’ve never kept an opening line throughout an outline and all drafts of a book before, but that one just worked for me) and from there I started to get a feel for their relationship. They had a lot of chemistry on the page—granted, chemistry laced with tension as Death could stop in for a visit or for a soul—and by the time the outline for the book was done, I knew he’d be a romantic interest in the series.
I also can’t leave out Falin Andrews. He abruptly comes into Alex’s life surrounded in mystery and let’s face it – he is a smexy dude too – but more in a rough and gruff way. How did his character come about?
Yea! Falin has felt really left out in all these interviews. I’m so glad you asked about him. How did his character come about? Very quickly, actually. Alex, Death, and Falin all emerged from the depths of my mind around the same time. He was a little hard to pin down in the early stages of plotting, but once I nailed down his back-story and they way he thought and viewed the world, he really took on a life of his own. Which was good because in Grave Witch, Falin is part antagonist to Alex and part partner in crime working with her on the story’s mystery. We only get to see him through Alex’s eyes, and let’s face it, she doesn’t start out with a very favorable view, so I really had to know what was going on behind his icy stare.
Alex’s beloved dog, PC is a hairless chinese crested. What inspired you to choose this unique dog? Do you have a pet that curls up on your lap as you type?
A Chinese Crested of the truly hairless variety is a small dog with patches of hair only on the head (the crest), feet, and tail. This hair is typically white or black, and their skin is usually pigmented any number of combinations of pink and grey. The first time I saw one, I couldn’t decide if it was adorable or had some terrible disease. In my experience, most people either think they look like ugly hairless rats or are cute in a pathetic way. When I was creating Alex’s character, I liked the idea that she’d be drawn to a dog who just didn’t fit in. He’s not a stray of unknown origin—let’s face it, sadly, those are a dime a dozen. He’s a pure breed that many people would be vaguely repulsed by. It worked for her.
As far as my own pets, I have two dogs and two cats: a nine year old lab mix, a two year old blue healer/greyhound-we-don’t-know-what-else-but-she’s-cute mix, a tortoiseshell cat who you can see pictures on at facebook because she likes to "help" me write, and blue point Siamese mix with a split personality. Typically at least three of the four are with me while I write.
You also write the Haven series with two books out, Once Bitten and Twice Dead. Was it hard to start in a new world with new rules? Are you a big plotter or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I am very much a plotter. I don’t always stick to the plots I originally outline, but I always start a book with an outline in hand. As far as starting a new world with new rules—I love world building. I come from a high fantasy background so building worlds and figuring out what kind of characters would exist in those worlds is one of my favorite things to do. So, no, it wasn’t hard at all. I was worried when I first decided to write two urban fantasy series that I’d have trouble keeping things straight in my head, but both the characters and the world are different enough that I haven’t had an issue so far. *knock on wood.*
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years older and with different colors streaked in my hair? Okay, no, not what you meant. Hopefully in five years I will still be writing and publishing books. The Haven series will have ended by then, and I have no idea if more books in the Alex Craft series will be picked up or not (there are three books contracted at the moment) so I may well be working in completely different worlds or even different subgenres. I have outlines for a YA and a cyberpunk just waiting to be written, so who knows.
I have seen tweets and facebook posts about your hula hoop dancing. Now I have seen you hooping with a hula hoop on FIRE! How did you get started with this and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been hooping a little over a year and a half now. I got started after my brother saw a hooper at Dragon*con 2008 and became obsessed. He eventually coerced family and friends into trying. At first I went along just for the health benefits and because it was an excuse to hang out with friends I’d started drifting away from after college but got a chance to see when we’d gather to hoop. Then I realized it was also a whole lot of fun. I burned (as in hooped with fire) for the first time a little under a year ago. It is definitely an adrenaline rush, and something I wish I could do more often.
What does 2011 have in store for you?
The next Novel of Haven, Third Blood, will be out the first part of the year; Grave Dance, the second Alex Craft novel will be released in the summer; and more than likely, the as of yet unnamed fourth Novel of Haven will be released near the end of the year. It’s going to be a busy year!
I have to ask since I’m slightly obsessed with chest hair *ahem* – Does Death have a hairy chest? *crosses fingers*
You’ll have to wait until Alex gets his shirt off to find out. *Evil writer grin*
Thanks so much for having me here today, Mandi!
Today I have one copy of Grave Witch to giveaway! To enter, leave a comment. Open to US/Canada through Saturday October 9th.