March 30th Questions
When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I love to tell stories. I love to rewrite endings or twist relationships. I also like to share stories with people. In high school, I started writing a serial soap opera-type romance for my best friends. It was horrible and clichéd, but we ate it up. That’s when I really decided to write.
What authors inspired you when you were younger?
Oh, wow. I’ve always liked to read, but I don’t know if I was really inspired. I loved my first copy of Rebecca and no one can do character banter like Shakespeare.
What books do you enjoy reading today?
I’ll read just about anything. I am currently rereading Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdoms series because I love twisted fairytales and romance. I enjoy anything with a hint of romance, though I will admit that Regency romances are my weakness.
What’s your latest book about?
Witches, Voids, and Other Sanity Suckers is about Rick, the Alpha of the only Shifter pack in Houston, who has his life just the way he wants it. He has his job, his pack, and a date with a hot woman. And with one phone call, everything falls apart. His pack gains a new member. He learns that people he thought were friends have been lying to him. Someone starts killing witches, attacking centaurs, and eventually attacking the pack. Through all this, Rick and Az have to figure out how Az fits into the pack and into Rick’s life.
What was the inspiration behind your novel?
The thought of a man who likes to be in control and have everything lined up just right being faced with a serious disruptive force (in a pretty blonde package) was the main inspiration. I wanted to see how he would react to so many changes at once.
Tell us about your previous work?
The Family Lies series (Daughter of Deception, The Chaos Child, and Mistress of Malice and Mercy) was my last big project. The relationships in that series aren’t quite the same in this one. Viola, the heroine of the series, held the more “Alpha” role, and she was always sure of her place in the world. The importance of family is similar in both projects, though. I enjoyed writing the dynamics of the Viola/Duke relationship, and some of what I didn’t use for them became Az and Rick.
How do you develop characters?
It all starts with conversations. Before I start on the plot of any book, I have a document full of snippets of conversation between my main characters. I put them in scenarios and then work from there. I envision the start of their relationship and the end of it, and then work my way from point to the next. I think for a relationship to be believable, it has to be organic. It can’t just be “well, he’s hot so I like him”. I want the reader to understand why Rick likes Az even though she drives him up the wall.
What’s your “go to” genre?
For reading? Regency romance. If I can find a book that blends in elements of the paranormal with the Regency time period, then it’s perfection.
What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I would like to write a contemporary romance that doesn’t involve murder or mystery or ghosts.
Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
In the next ten years, I would like to have cleaned out my “In Progress” folder! I hope to be able to devote more time to writing or even make it a full-time career.
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Well, I would still have my “real” job, but I think I would enjoy it less. Writing is my escape and my way of “fixing” unhappy endings.
Can you tell Us what you are working on next?
Letters of Smoke has been in my “In Progress” folder for over two years. I love characters and relationships, and I absolutely adore ex-cop Riona and her blind, psychic partner/best friend Nate. Riona is from a middle-class family of cops and psychics. Nate is from an old, wealthy Charlotte family and didn’t come into his abilities until later in life. They met during the worst case of Riona’s career, and in a way they are both still broken. They don’t talk about their nightmares or the choices they had to make to save each other. In this universe, the Amity Act requires full disclosure on possible house hauntings. Nate and Riona inspect houses for potential homeowners using his psychic abilities and her investigative skills. What is supposed to be a routine house check turns out to involve murder, cover up, and the past they thought they left behind.
What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
Actually, I think I would have a hard time collaborating with anyone. I tend to be a little controlling about my characters because I love them so much. My husband and I have attempted to collaborate on a project, but that one is still in progress.
What are your greatest challenges as a writer?
My greatest challenges are finding quality time for writing, and not making all of my characters carbon copies of each other. I like strong women, but I don’t want all of my female characters to be the same.
Do you have a Writing routine?
Not really. I write whenever I find time, and I jot down any little scenario or conversation that pops into my head.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Write. Read. Write. Share with friends and good critique partners.
What’s been the biggest lesson you have learned on your writing journey?
Never be afraid to start over. If it doesn’t sit right with you, it won’t sit right with your readers.
About Kara Thorpe
Kara Thorpe started writing as a distraction in French class and never stopped (don’t ask her to conjugate many verbs). Born and raised under the South Texas sun, she spends her days navigating Houston traffic and the exciting world of production planning. Nights are for creating character-driven romances and wrangling a stubborn Siamese. Look for Chai’s cameo in each story.
About Witches, Voids and Other Sanity Suckers
Author: Kara Thorpe
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Alpha of the only Shifter pack in Houston, Rick Haskell has his hands full. When the Mage of New Orleans calls for a favor – a favor that pays $400,000 – Rick can’t refuse. Even if that favor means adopting the Mage’s daughter into his ragtag pack. Az Vardan is beautiful, smart, and takes frequent vacations from sanity. Before Rick can learn how to handle the blonde kiss-and-run firecracker, wolfsbane appears in the local coven’s garden, witches mysteriously die in police custody, and a rash of centaur murders rocks Houston’s Paranormal Community. Az’s knowledge of magic may be all that saves Rick’s pack when a new, powerful threat moves in to take over his city.
First person, present tense
Warning: language, violence, and irreverence (and Oxford commas)
It takes an embarrassing amount of time to realize she’s talking to me. It’s the first time she’s used my name – the one I answer to, at least – and she sounds almost reasonable. Normal.
“Can we keep this a secret?”
Seeing as this could refer to anything her cracked brain could come up with, I’m not keen on just blindly agreeing. “Keep what a secret?”
She waves a hand at herself. “Me.”
“Unless you have an invisibility cloak stashed away somewhere, sweetheart, that’s pretty damn unlikely.”
“Are you always this dense? You should come with a foghorn.”
Okay. Forget tossing her in the bed of the truck. I’m going to lock her in the toolbox. “You’re going to have to be more specific. I’m not fluent in crazy.”
“Coulda fooled me.” She crosses her arms over her chest and turns her head to stare out the passenger window. Thanks to several layers of Greta’s makeup, Astraea no longer looks like a human punching bag. I remember where every dark mark is hidden.
She falls silent again. I would rejoice, but there’s a tension in the truck that makes my skin itch. “Out with it.”
“Voids are rare. Usually they’re a karmic bitch slap to someone trying to mess with the rules of magic. People – witches – don’t usually react kindly when faced with a void.” She scowls at her reflection. “Act as if all we do is suck up magic and turn them into bitter hags. Like I want all that nasty magic boiling inside me. Oh, puh-lease. I don’t even like being able to see the future. It makes my eyeballs hurt.”
“Won’t they be able to sense you? Anders could.”
“Matthias isn’t a witch,” she says, as if that explains everything.
It explains exactly nothing. I don’t have time to wrestle answers out of her, either. We’re at the coven headquarters, and Sally Caplinger is waiting for us on the front porch. Princess unbuckles her seatbelt with a quiet click. I want to grab her before she can bolt out of the truck, but this is the calmest she’s been since the previous night. I don’t want to add any magic to her already overloaded system.
“Keep your mouth shut in there. Stick to me like glue. Don’t touch anything. In fact, keep your hands in your pockets.”
“I’m not three.”
“Coulda fooled me.”
The glare she sends my way makes me fear becoming a human torch. Fortunately, the stench of burnt hair doesn’t fill the truck. Maybe sane-Princess has a little self-control after all.