Hey you guys! Remember me talking about Karina Halle from such fun times as my review of her third book yesterday? Well, she stopped by and answered some of our intensely detailed journalistic questions, and has confirmed once again our belief that YA authors are the coolest people in the world.
Apart from being the author of The Experiment in Terror series, Karina Halle works as a freelance music journalist, (as well as sometimes writing for travel and film.) She started the indie publishing company Metal Blonde, and lives in Vancouver's West End where she writes, listens to rock music and enjoys adult beverages! In other words, she's another author we NEED to get to our slumber party!
I love the way you incorporate different aspects of the supernatural into this series. Do you believe in ghosts? Has anything scarily supernatural ever happened to you? If so, tell us about it! Or tell us the scariest story you know!
I do believe in ghosts. But unfortunately, nothing very supernatural has happened to me, but maybe one day it will. If I do know any ghost stories, I think they've made their way into my books!
Do you scare yourself while writing?
YES! Oh my goodness, yes. I scare myself shitless. Usually it's due to the music I am listening to at the time -- I rarely write without music and the music I pick for the scary parts is pretty frightening in itself. While I wrote the mental institute scenes in Lying Season, I listened to Fantomas's Delirium Cordia...with the lights out. I know that's asking for trouble (it's less music and more creepy noise), but to be honest, I love scaring myself. And others, naturally.
Obviously you would be the most fun at a slumber party.
I didn't realize until after reading Red Fox (the second book in the series) that you are a self-published author. Can you tell us how you came to choose this route? Do you think the general attitude toward self-publishing has changed in recent years, and what, in your opinion are the benefits?
I chose self-publishing because I wanted complete control over my series. For a YA novel, it's quite mature with certain aspects (sex, swearing, drugs) but entirely realistic. However, I knew that publishers would make me cut that stuff out, especially with the "chaste" themes being found in so many YA novels. So, I never queried any agents or publishers and just decided to do it on my own. In hindsight, perhaps I should have...but I'd never know the industry like I do now.
The benefits of self-publishing is the sense of accomplishment you get when your books are being well-received and doing well in sales. You know you did it all by yourself, made your trailers and hired cover artists and found an editor and did all those things under your own guidance. I also love the sense of control, as well as the immediacy of self-publishing.
That said, there are a million drawbacks to self-publishing. One of the biggest has to do with reviewers/readers perception of self-published novels. There are many reviewers/readers who are not interested in self-published work. While I can't blame them for their bias -- after all, not many self-publishers bother with an editor or a designer -- I feel it's unfair to write off all of self-publishing as a whole. There are gems out there and not every self-pubbed novel is so because the author "failed" at writing. Thankfully there are so many bloggers out there who DO give a chance to self-published works (particularly if they are well-reviewed), and they are the unsung heroes of the publishing world. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for them.
Of course, for my next novel (unrelated to the Experiment in Terror series) I am going to try and get an agent. The truth is, I spend 80% of my time acting as a publisher and agent and 20% as a writer. I would love to devote all of my time to writing and going with a traditional publisher will hopefully give me that.
Thank you so much for giving us a realistic glimpse of both sides of the self-pub coin! And I wish you much future success. Mostly selfishly. Because I want to read more.
Perry (the heroine of the Experiment in Terror series) is one of my favorite protagonists in recent years, and one of the reasons I love her is because of how real she feels. One of her biggest struggles is with her self-image -- struggling with being full-figured in a family of model-skinny women, and in a field where women are judged more for their appearance than anything they say or do. Tell us your thoughts about her.
Women come in all shapes and sizes. When you're a teenager, that's the time you're most critical of your body and the time you're going through changes as well. However, unless the book is just about "the fat girl" most novels do not deal with a heroine who happens to be bigger than average. No, Perry isn't fat, but she's far from perfect and she was fat in high school. As most of us know, a lot of the trauma that happens to us during those years, stick with us afterward. Hell, I'm 30 now (cries) and I still have hang-ups that originated 15 years ago. So I wanted to showcase a character who has these hang-ups, these fears, this dissatisfaction with her body because most women have those, no matter what their weight is. Aside from her ghost-seeing problems, Perry could be anyone. She's like the Jimmy Stewart of the YA world.
That is SO true! Also, I love her so much.
If Dex was real, would you fall in love with him?
Ha. Wow. OK. I'd most definitely fall "in lust" with him, but love would be unlikely. At least, not on what the reader and Perry knows about him. If we based it on what I myself know about him...let's just say maybe!
I have to say I agree with you. He's one frustrating mo'fo, but LORD, is the man sexy!
THE YA QUESTIONS
Karina at 15. Okay, seriously, my 15-year old self thinks Karina is way cool. And is jealous of her outfit.
If your real life adolescence was a YA book...What would you, the main character, be like?
I'd be the fun-loving, adventurous girl who throws lots of parties and likes to go on trips with her friends. These trips usually involve booze, pot and me deserting my friends alone in a forest. But it's fuuuuuuuuun.
I'll remember that if I ever find myself in a forest with you...
Who is your secret crush?
If I tell you, it won't be a secret anymore! OK fine, twist my arm. It's the shy guy with the amazing smile who quotes the Simpsons, has a wallet chain, and can play every instrument. There's a lot of subtle flirting...I hope at some point I work up the nerve to tell him I like him "more than a friend."
Beer can help with that nerve..
What is your number #1 source of angst?
My parents! Damnit!
At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?
When I slap my ex-boyfriend after I find out he cheated on me. In front of everyone. At a graduation party.
Okay, THAT is a story we need to hear!
And who would play you in the film adaptation?
If Jessica Simpson could act, I'd say her (I won a lookalike contest with her, long story). But she certainly CAN NOT. So I'll say Emma Stone? She's far skinnier than I, but she's goofy and sweet and just a tiny bit awkward (I'm A LOT AWKWARD).
Karina says this her "skid" self, but with that sweet face?
THE SLUMBER PARTY Qs
What is your secret power?
I can make a fool of myself in any situation.
Beer can help with that, too...
What is your #1 favorite food?
Japanese food! I could eat sushi, teriyaki, udon, etc, for weeks and not get tired of it
Tell me about your area of expertise.
I am an expert at over-analyzing things.
If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick and why?
Are we robbing a Casino? If so, my fighters would include Katniss from The Hunger Games, Saba from Blood Red Road, Roland Deschain from The Dark Tower Series and Jason Bourne . For smarts I'd pick, Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park and Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs. Atticus Finch can keep us level-headed. For emotional support I'd pick Jane Eyre, and for my own love interest, I'd pick Aragon from LOTR and Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. Actually let's throw in Tyrionne Lannister from that book too, just for comic relief.
I really like the fact that you'll have both Aragorn AND John Snow for your love interests!
What is your best karaoke song?
"Go With the Flow" by Queens of the Stone Age. I sang it once at Dimples Karaoke Bar in Burbank. They put a cowboy hat on me and gave me a DVD of the event. That reminds me, I should destroy the evidence.
Never! You must keep it always, so your kids can find it one day by accident and use it against you.
Tell me something scandalous!
Oooh! I once tried on a pair of Christian Louboutins, right after spin class. Sweaty, nasty feet, no socks. Take that, snobby Holt Renfrew sales people!
This made me snort my La Fin Du Monde up my nose.
What is your favorite adult beverage?
I guess "booze" is too vague of an answer, so I'm going to say Caesers. It's a Canadian take on the Bloody Mary. They are tasty as hell and are as excellent at 9AM as they are at 9PM. Followed by New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. And Jagermeister.
See, I find Jäger to be a guilty pleasure! (I love licorice), but can never get anyone to drink it with me.
What book have you read the most number of times?
A toss-up between Jane Eyre and The Long Winter.
Who is your "freebie"?
Singer Mike Patton, only because he was established as my freebie a long time ago and haven't bothered to change him since.
Hello, Faith No More! No need to change that.
YA authors are so cool. Who would you give a BFF charm to?
Hannah Moskowitz, she seems like a good time!
Out of all of the characters you've written, which one do you most wish you could be?
Wow. That's a toughie. I think Wine Babe Rebecca Sims. She doesn't make an appearance until Book #4 Lying Season, but she's quite significant in it and will continue to be afterwards. I like how ballsy and intuitive she is, plus she's smart, empathetic and confident. Also, she's pretty hot, has a killer sense of style and isn't haunted by ghosts and weird creatures.
If you were invited to the FYA slumber party (and obvs, you ARE), what pajamas would you wear, and what is the most crucial snack food and/or movie you'd bring?
I'd wear flannel PJs, old concert tees, my Homer Simpson slippers and I'd bring All Dressed and Ketchup chips. They are Canadian flavours Americans are missing out on! The movie I'd bring would be Mystery Science Theatre 3000 the movie, because if you laugh at that then I know we'll be friends. That, and Labyrinth is always a good choice.
So, I'd say this lady is MUCH prettier than Jessica Simpson.
Now it's time for a quick game of MASH! Karina provided 3 choices for each category, and I filled in the 4th 'bad' choice:
A S H
Robert Downey Jr.
Red Fox, New Mexico
# of Kids
Host of your own ghost hunting show
Enough to be comfortable
Be more than comfortable
Enough to make my friends and family comfortable
You get paid in gum
4x4 hybrid thingy
Wow, that was one of the most epic MASH turnouts EVER! I hope you and Michael Fassbender enjoy carting around your gaggle of kids in that rickshaw! Who am I kidding? OF COURSE you will, because you'll be married to Michael Fassbender!!!!
Thanks so much for taking the time to hang out with us, Karina! We can't wait to hear more from you and your books!