Hello, this is L.M. David. Today I am interviewing Karin Cox, author of Cruxim. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. And wow, you brought a flame thrower. I take it you have heard about our ongoing problem with a vampire. If I were him, and I saw that thing, I’d try to dig a hole straight through the earth to avoid getting a crispy smile with at that thing. Maybe you could let me borrow that for a week or two…
Okay, let’s get started.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. Well, let’s see. I am a voracious reader, a cat lover, a “sometime” belly dancer and, above all, a writer who lives with her pets, her partner and her baby daughter Selena in Capalaba on Brisbane’s sunny bayside, which is in Australia.
Q. I just turned green with envy – Australia is where I one day hope to visit. What enticed you into wanting to be a published author?
A. I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of writing is winning a poetry contest when I was in about fourth grade, so I was probably about eight or nine. With my (enormous) earnings, I bought a kite and I thought, ‘now this is a gig I could get used to’. I still make about the same amount of money per annum. English was always my favorite subject at school, but when I applied for university, I listened to the naysayers who said, “You’ll never get a job if you do an Arts degree.” So I enrolled in a Science degree in the hope of becoming a zoologist. Big mistake. I later transferred to a Bachelor of Arts to study English Literature, Communication Studies and Myth and Ancient Literature, which led to my career in editing and to my job as an in-house author for an Australian publisher, rather ironically writing books about … zoology and natural history!
Q. What genre are you most comfortable writing?
A. I haven’t yet settled into one genre, and I’m not sure that I will. Currently, I have literary fiction, paranormal romance, young adult dystopian, young adult fantasy, romance, a thriller novel, children’s fiction, and a heap of poetry all sitting in various stages of completion on my hard-drive. I also write non-fiction across many genres: social history, natural history, travel and children’s non-fiction. New Holland Publishers in Australia are just releasing two of my social history books for kids—Gold Rush and Settlement—this month, and another two will follow in April and two more in 2014. So it is anyone’s guess whether I will eventually pick one genre or whether I’ll keep sticking my fingers in a lot of pies (and potentially getting burned by some).
Q. The title of the book I’m interviewing you on is called “Cruxim”. What is that and tell me a bit about the book.
A: Cruxim is a mysterious, immortal fallen angel. The character Amedeo is one. He’s destined to seek redemption as a vampire hunter, and quenches his insatiable hunger on vampire blood. But when the object of his passion, the novice nun Joslyn, is turned into a vampire and enters a vampire coven, Amedeo’s worlds collide. Shattered by the loss of his beloved, he vows to rid the world of vampires once and for all, even if it means destroying Josyln in the process. Joining Amedeo on his quest to rid the world of the undead is Sabine. Half-woman, half-lioness, she is a Sphinx, a Guardian who has protected humans from vampires since the dawn of time. Yet Sabine comes to this fight pursued by her own enemies. An evil scientist, Dr. Claus Gandler, knows the secret of Sabine’s mythological past, vowing to torment her for eternity or destroy her forever
Q. Where did you get your inspiration for Cruxim and some of the other stories you have written?
A. Mostly, they just come to me. It’s usually at two in the morning when I’m trying to sleep—I am an insomniac. But I think every author weaves some of their own experiences, or interests, into their novels. Cruxim was such pure fantasy that it doesn’t have a great deal of the real “me” in there. I’ve never been a vampire, or in a freak show (thank goodness), but I have been in a situation where I’ve felt like I was in love with two people before (and neither of them even knew about it), so I can relate to the feelings Amedeo experiences.
Q. Do you have any writing rituals or listen to “mood music” when you write? Where is your favorite place to write?
A. I get very absorbed in my world so I prefer to write late at night, from 9 pm to 2 am. I like the silence, when my kid and my partner are asleep and my imagination can run away with itself. The biggest writing ritual I have at present is a program called Write or Die. I’ve spent so many years editing that it can be hard for me to let go and just hammer out a first draft. And I am a terrible procrastinator. So if I have to fact-check, I’ll spend an hour googling a place, or an object for historical reference, even if it only appears for one line in the novel! I set Write or Die to kamikaze, which means it will start eating my words if I linger for too long, and I force myself to do 1000 words in an hour. Then, I later edit, research, fact-check and rewrite the heck out of it. It works for me.
Q. What was your favorite part of a book to write? Which part was the hardest?
A. My favorite parts to write were the love scenes, or what I see to be love scenes: when Joslyn’s love for Amedeo first becomes clear with the passion fruit scene; Amedeo and Danette, and what happens to her; and the scene where he tries to save Sabine from the burning tent.
The hardest part was definitely writing the ending. I worried that readers would be annoyed about what happened to some of the characters. But much more is explained in the sequel, which I am currently writing and which explains why things turned out that way. Amedeo might just discover that his upbringing isn’t as typical for a Cruxim as he thought it was.
Q. I admit your book does sound interesting, from a vampire lover’s stand point. If you could live inside the world of a book would you choose?
A. It would be Mary Renault’s The Bull from the Sea and The King Must Die. Ancient Greece. Cretan Bull Ring. Amazon women. But I’d also be pretty happy living in Rivendell or Hobbiton.
Q. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
A. Because it will make you think, and hurt, and understand that we all make mistakes and that things are often not how they first appear.
Q. So what’s next for you as an author?
A. Next is the sequel to Cruxim, which I know many of my early readers are eagerly anticipating. I’m hoping to have it out by Easter, and it is tentatively titled Creche. It provides a lot more background into Amedeo’s past—background that even he was unaware of, and also into Sphinxes and the mythology surrounding them. So it explains a few incidents in the first book and why they panned out the way they did.
I’m also working on several other projects, some non-fiction, some fiction and some for children, and running my website for indie authors to find reviews, Indie Review Tracker. I’m always busy. If I only had a few more hours in each day (about twelve more a day would be great!) I could get a few more books out this year too. My book of short stories, Cage Life, is doing really well at present too, so I’d like to take some more time to do a few more shorts in 2013 as well. As for sleep, well …
Q. And one last question. What advice do you offer writers who are struggling towards becoming published?
A. That depends on whether they are struggling to be published with a trade publisher or they are struggling to finish their work in order to be published. If the first, I would say to be very careful of what rights they sign away and to manage their expectations of what a trade publisher will offer them. To the second I would say, “No one ever reads half-finished novels. Put your writer bum in your writing chair and write it out.”
L.M. David: Well that is about it. Thanks for stopping by, Karin. Now … about that flame thrower.
Karin Cox edits and writes in her “spare time” while being a full-time mum to a toddler and to a black cat with the improbable name of “Ping Pong.”
She is the author of more than 30 trade-published natural history books, biographies, Australian social history books, children’s picture storybooks, and travel guides, several of which have won awards. Karin has had poems and short stories published in anthologies worldwide and her ebooks Cruxim, Growth, Cage Life, Hey Little Sister and Pancakes on Sunday are available on Amazon.
Thankfully, the busier she gets, the more creative she is (and the more likely to afford to hire a housekeeper). Karin and her partner live in sunny Queensland, Australia, where she writes from her back deck overlooking the pool, her study (overlooking her messy desk) or her couch (overlooking Dr Phil, who gives her a lot of inspiration). You can follow her on twitter @Authorandeditor or visit her fanpage on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KarinCox.Author. Also, feel free to email her on email@example.com