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Monday 1 February 2016

ℚ♫ Daughter of the Drackan: Gyenona's Children [1] - Kathrin Hutson

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Daughter of the Drackan (, Exquisite Darkness Press, 353 pages), a Dark High Fantasy, book one of Gyenona's Children series.

Born of humans but raised by beasts who despise the legacy of man, Keelin is the only one who can redeem, or destroy, the future of both races.

**Grab your copy for only .99 until 5 February 2016!**

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Hello Kathrin, welcome to BooksChatter!
"Thank you so much for having me at BooksChatter today!  I’m so happy to be here and to share some awesome tidbits about the book."
We look forward to it!  Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Daughter of the Drackan, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?
"The ‘Fallen’ album by Evanescence, specifically the track ‘Haunted’"
I love that album. I'll share here as much as I can here - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Daughter of the Drackan?
"Inspiration comes from so many different places, and it’s hard to track them all down and make them behave.  Most of the inspiration for ‘Daughter of the Drackan’ was a combination of all kinds of things.

The track ‘Haunted’ on the ‘Fallen’ album by Evanescence played a huge part in creating the conflict of this whole story.

Years of driving through the passes in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains formed Keelin’s home.

Reading Steven Brust’s ‘The Adventures of Vlad Taltos’ series helped me form the idea for dragons and assassins in the same storyline, and my penchant for dark, violent, brutal, gritty things kind of took over the rest.

It probably helped that I drew from some of the emotions of simply having been a teenager to form parts of Keelin’s character.  I got to channel a lot of frustration, apathy, disgust, and yes, a little murder through Keelin’s eyes and actions."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Well, when we’re talking about professional expertise, of course I want my own work to reflect the kind of dedication I put into helping others with theirs.  I’m also an independent editor and consult Indie Authors with the publication process, so my stuff better be pretty (I do edit all my own work, though it definitely gets into more hands than just my own before being released).

Keelin is definitely who I wish I could be sometimes.  That’s about as close as she and I get.  All the social norms I wish I could tear down, all the times I just want to punch somebody in the face instead of listen to their monotonous droning, Keelin gets to do instead.  Plus, who doesn’t like a naked assassin whirling in a flash of teeth and steel, cutting down anybody who crosses her?

Most of my characters are pretty physically skilled at something—mostly fighting.  I’m just not. I may come close to Keelin when I talk about rock-climbing, but let’s face it, she’s got me beat there, too.  She scales entire cliff faces for days…without a harness or a tie-in, without any ropes, leads, or hooks.  I don’t think I could ever do that."
Ah, Keelin sounds like a female version of the French Spider-Man, Alain Robert - he is just amazing.

The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Daughter of the Drackan - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.

"This is a fun question!  I’d actually done a lot of searching on stock photo sites and through pre-made book covers to find something befitting the epic ferocity of ‘Daughter of the Drackan’.  Nothing stuck, obviously.  My good friend Chandler Steele had read this book about a year before, when he’d printed every page out and carried it around with him everywhere he went.  We talked a lot about how much we both loved Keelin, about how he couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Then it dawned on me.  Of course, someone who already knew both me and Keelin, someone who was crazy about her story, and somebody, fortunately, who happened to be a phenomenally talented artist.  I had to ask him if he wanted to do the cover illustrations for the book.

I think he was more than a little surprised (and felt more than a little pressure, I’m sure), but he jumped on the task like a champ.  Basically, we’d chatted so much about Keelin’s awesomeness just for fun that I completely trusted him to capture her correctly.

He described the illustration as, “It’s like she and D’ruk (the drackan on the cover who is a pretty major character) are having a conversation, and then somebody steps out of the trees. Then she just turns a little and stares at them, like ‘who are you to be interrupting our conversation?’”  I thought it was perfect.  Her expression is not quite amusement and not quite disdain.  Plus, she’s obviously naked (as she is in most of the book), but very tastefully so.

I had no ideas for the actual design of the cover, but when I brought all the finished pieces to my wonderfully talented designer, Michelle Rene Goodhew, she came back at me with the ‘old leather’ background, which fits the genre and the High Fantasy setting perfectly.  Dark red because, let’s be real, there’s a lot of blood in this book.  And she found the perfect font—I don’t ever know how she does that, but that’s why she’s the designer, and I’m not."
Why should we read Daughter of the Drackan and the Gyenona's Children series; what sets it apart from the rest?
"I think the biggest thing that sets this book apart from the others (and the series, once the sequel comes out) is that it goes past the normal Epic Fantasy tropes of large-scale ‘good versus evil’.  Instead, Keelin is her own good, her own evil, and she battles the two consistently through the entire story.

This isn’t necessarily about “saving those worthy of saving” or “defeating the bad guy and vanquishing evil.”  Keelin does what she wants, for her own purposes and what she feels is right at the time, but it definitely fluctuates.  She’s unstoppable on her single-minded path toward redemption and revenge, acceptance and rising above the pitiful mediocrity of those who came before her, both drackan and human.  She has to learn to be better than herself, and herself only.

I think the other fantastic thing about this story is Keelin herself.  She’s not for everyone. People are bound not to like her.  I’ve gotten plenty of feedback from readers in certain areas, saying, “Man, she’s annoying,” or “Jeeze, why won’t she frickin do something, already?”  And I love that!  That’s the point!  Keelin herself notices these things about herself, and has to battle her own apathy, rage, and disgust in order to do what she has to get done.

Also, it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything with a female protagonist as badass as Keelin.  Lots of violence, lots of physical superiority—a terror among humans and kind of a plague among drackans.  I would really hate to meet her in real life, and that’s why this story is so authentically hers."
Can you tell us something quirky about Daughter of the Drackan, its story and characters?
"The only ‘quirky’ thing I can think of, really, is that the character Igetheyr, proud patriarch of the High Hills drackan and rather a recluse himself (for obvious reasons—he’s kind of all-knowing and all-seeing) came to me in a dream.  The way he looks, the power emanating off his form, and even how to spell his name.  I woke up one morning, thankfully remembered my dream, and that kind of sparked the entire book.  Once I knew he existed, he was part of it (and he’s in Chapter 1)."
Who would you recommend Daughter of the Drackan to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is definitely not for any of you squeamish types.  There’s a lot of blood, a lot of violence, a lot of pent up rage and ferocity (my grandmother told me she just started the book, and I’m kind of biting my nails about that one).  And a lot of nudity—but that’s who Keelin is (not in the sexual way, mind you.  She’s a drackan in a human body, and drackans don’t wear clothes).

But with all that gore and wicked fighting comes a lot of tenderness, a lot of loyalty and sense of self.  Keelin is capable of love, absolutely, but so far the only beings she loves are drackans, and even they are taken from her, eventually.

I’d recommend this book for anybody who likes the darker side of fiction (like myself).  If you can handle gore and violence, all the better.  If you want to see an awesome female protagonist who doesn’t fall for the first pretty face she sees and doesn’t give a damn about anyone’s feelings, fantastic!  Check it out!  If you want to fall in love with a character without always knowing why, Keelin’s for you.  Sometimes even I didn’t like her that much, but it’s for a reason.  Plus, the fight scenes are really pretty great."
If you could / wished to turn Daughter of the Drackan and the Gyenona's Children series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Well, I don’t know very much about movies besides recognizing actors. So the only dream team I can think of is casting Eva Green as Keelin…totally!  When I saw her play Vanessa Ives in ‘Penny Dreadful’, I knew she was the one.

I’d also probably cast Anthony Mackie as Aloran, Mark Addy as Baghr (you know, Robert Baratheon from ‘Game of Thrones’), and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Igetheyr (because he’s awesome).

And why not…Christian Bale can be Rokien.  I love him."
Fantastic Dream Team!  Did you see the clip of Cumberbatch recording Smaug?  Oh, so good!  And if you haven't watched Christian Bale in The Machinist you are missing out.

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I love anything dark and gritty…with characters people don’t normally get along with in real life.  I don’t know why—I think it reflects something deep down inside me that I’ve tried to keep buried away.  Except in my writing, of course.  That’s where I can really let everything go.  I don’t really ever feel the need to write things light and fluffy, with lots of love and friendliness."
What is your writing process?
"Basically sit down and pump out words whenever I have some spare time.  I have a 1,000 word minimum quota for daily fiction, and I have to stick to that because, if I don’t, the rest of my work could quite possibly take up all my time.

If that all goes according to plan, I could theoretically write a novel every three months! However, sometimes it’s just impossible (take over the holidays for instance.  I took a bit of a…break.  Yeah, we’ll call it that).  But I know that when I do sit down to write, I turn off all social media, tell my husband “I’m writing,” get a giant glass of water, set my iTunes to shuffle, and go at it.

I’m so lucky that, when the words are really flowing, I type about as fast as I can think (tested at 110 word per minute, people.  Seriously), so a lot of the time, all I need to meet that quota is a solid hour and a half."
Blimey!  I just had to test myself - mine was 54 wpm with 100% accuracy.  110 is insane.  Although it was interesting to find out that the highest peak speed on record is 216!!!!!  I can't even picture that!

What is in store next?

"This is always such an exciting part!  Book Two of Gyenona’s Children, ‘Mother of the Drackan’, is already written and should be out either this month or in March (depending on how quickly my wonderful artist friend can whip up the cover art).  This book gets even more intense than ‘Daughter of the Drackan’ (I know, how is that possible?), and I’m so excited to be able to share it so soon!

I’m also currently working on my adult Dystopian Sci-Fi, ‘Sleepwater Beat’, and am so thrilled to say that it’s officially 75% done!  This thing has spit in my face and folded its arms at me in rebellion every step of the way, but I think we might just come to understanding pretty soon.  It’s definitely way grittier than ‘Daughter of the Drackan’—a lot more ‘foul language’, a lot more explicitly raw, in my opinion, but it has so many good things to say and so much energy.  There’s definitely a lot more of me in the main character Leo than there is in Keelin, and that’s both exciting and a little scary."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Ha!  Well, I have two dogs, Sadie and Brucewillis.  Sadie isn’t very photogenic…she doesn’t like to cuddle much unless it’s first thing in the morning and sandwiched between my husband and I.  But Brucewillis is my little love-monger.  He will kiss anybody (and anything).  He’s just a few months over a year old now, and a whopping 85-pound monster, at that.  But this is a picture of us when my husband Henry and I first brought him home.  I do have a sweet, loving side, after all!"

**Puppy overload!**

Daughter of the Drackan
ONLY .99 until 5 Feb 2016!

UK: purchase from US: purchase from find on Goodreads


Kat said...

Thank you so much for hosting me this morning, BooksChatter! This was great (and I love what you did with the photo montage at the top) :D

Victoria Alexander said...

Looove this song! Thanks for sharing :)

ColdHaven said...

I like the unique way you have approached fantasy in Daughter of the Drackan. What about fantasy attracts you to the genre? What do you get out of it that you can't in any other?

Kat said...

Hey Victoria! I'm so glad you love this song. I can't wait for you to hold it in the back of your mind when you read 'Daughter of the Drackan'. I'd love to hear if it colored the book in any particular way for you. Thanks for stopping by!

Kat said...

Hey, ColdHaven! :D I love hearing you think Fantasy's got a unique approach with this book. I think what really makes me love this genre is that it makes suspending disbelief all the more possible. Yes, in Sci-Fi it works too, but you have to have the knowledge and understanding to back it up. With Fantasy, one can make absolutely anything happen (within certain parameters and a good amount of world-building to back it up), but in my opinion, Fantasy has the smallest list of 'rules'. Maybe I say that because it comes particularly easy for me (more so than other genres), but when I write it, it requires far less 'thinking' on my part. When I read it...well...who doesn't like reading something so impossible it feels real?

Thanks for commenting! You know I love it :D

Unknown said...

After reading about the history of the cover, I enlarged it took a closer look. It was well worth it. The cover up close and personal is absolutely amazing. I agree your friend Chandler is an amazingly talented artist!

Thank you!

BooksChatter said...

Hi Kathrin - thank you for popping by, and apologies for the late reply! (we have been away for a few days, hence just got the chance to add a few images to the interview!)
I can't wait to see the next cover :-)


BooksChatter said...

Hi Ree, I have just added an image of the initial sketch that Kathrin had shared a little while back.

Kat said...

Thank you so much, Flora! I came back to check this out for fun...and all those added pictures made me do a happy dance! Especially the dream cast. Don't know why I never made one before...but it's now a background on my desktop. I so appreciate all the work you put into this - the stop was so much fun and the tour was amazing. So glad to have BooksChatter as a part of it! And I can't wait to SHOW you the next cover :D