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Friday 19 February 2016

ℚ♫ Key of Mystery: Night Angels Chronicles [1] - K.H. Mezek

Today we are double lucky and have two author interviews for you! For our second helping we have the pleasure of meeting up with illustrator and novelist to talk about Key of Mystery (, Evernight Teen, 218 pages), a Young Adult Urban Fantasy, book one of the Night Angels Chronicles series.

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

Hello Karen! Welcome to BooksChatter and thank you for taking the time to be here today!

We love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Key of Mystery, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I am a boxing and kickboxing instructor and a spin instructor. One of my favorite things to do is make playlists for my classes! Here is one of my latest playlists."
What was the inspiration for Key of Mystery?
"I was inspired to write Key of Mystery and this series, Night Angels Chronicles, first, by my obsession with vampires, and second, by my background in martial arts, weapons, and full-contact boxing and kick-boxing.

When I say vampires, I mean the real, old-fashioned, depraved and blood-lusting killers.  Two of my favorite books are Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.  The modern-day books are too watered-down for me, so I wanted to write something that, over the course of the six books, takes the reader back to that dark, cruel world and out the other side.

And since I am a full-contact fighter and I teach in a gritty boxing gym, I wanted to write a series with a female lead who can kick some serious ass and doesn’t just give in to losing her identity in a man.  Sera, my heroine, does fall into a star-crossed love affair, but she also becomes one of the most powerful beings on earth. B ecause I have experienced fighting for real, I am able to write about it in a way that most women cannot."

How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Well, again, I am reflected in the series through my desire to create a strong female lead who overcomes fear and learns to stand on her own two feet and face challenges without giving in to being ruled of those around her.

I  was in an abusive marriage and when I freed myself from that, I started a creative writing program in juvenile hall called InsideOUT Writers.  The first group of youth I worked with were girls, all facing life sentences for serious crimes.  Those girls all had the most horrific life stories and they inspired me in some of the characters in the books.  They really taught me more about the truth of my own life than I ever thought possible and they made me believe in redemption."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Key of Mystery - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I love Key of Mystery’s cover so much.  I am an artist myself, I have nineteen children’s books published, most of which I also illustrated, so I am very particular about artwork.

The first cover design my publisher gave me, I hated.  Then I drew a sketch, basically, the outline of what the final cover looks like and Jay Aheer, the incredible artist, nailed it.  I love the dark atmosphere and the mischievous smile and the general sexiness of it.  It was important to me that the reader not be given an idea of what Sera looks like.  I wanted the reader to be able to create Sera in his or her own imagination."
I do like your cover and every bit of your artwork I have seen!

Why should we read Key of Mystery and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?

"Not only is Night Angels Chronicles a romance that sizzles off the page, it has the blood and gore of the real vampires tales of old, and an underlying mystery that gives the series a depth that most modern vampire/fantasy stories don’t have.  The further the reader gets into the stories the more they will be drawn into the dilemmas that Sera faces."
Can you tell us something quirky about Key of Mystery, its story and characters?
"Let’s see…one of the really fun things about the series is that the suburb where Sera lives, called Oak Haven, is a total take-off of Calabasas, the wealthy LA suburb made famous by the Kardashians and their reality shows.  I raised three children as a single mother in this environment and I can tell you, beneath the perfect façade lies a very dark underworld.  Anyone who knows Calabasas will recognize that I have recreated it in Oak Haven.  It’s a pretty… biting… exposure!"

Who would you recommend Key of Mystery to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?

"I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of fourteen, due to adult situations.  The first book introduces Sera’s two love interests.  The entanglements get progressively more complicated as the series progresses."
If you could / wished to turn Key of Mystery and the Night Angels Chronicles series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I would love to have a woman director.  Sadly, Hollywood is still a boys’ club, isn’t it?  Kathryn Bigelow, perhaps?  If it was a man I would say Cary Fukanaga, who did True Detective and is doing Stephen King’s It.

For the lead, Sera, and her two love interests, Peter and Jimmy, I would say they should find some new talent, like they did with Harry Potter.

There are so many fun characters in these books, like the Ancient Queen Ahhotep, Mehmed II, I even have Vlad the Impaler.

But for Sera’s nemesis, Fabian Gore, I would love to see Tom Hiddleston—I adore him and he is a fantastic actor!  I also love Natalie Portman."
I didn't know that It was being remade - as I tentatively looked forward to it I found out that in fact Cary Fukanaga walked away from that project...

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

"Night Angels Chronicles is so all-consuming right now, I can’t imagine writing anything else at the moment.  But I have, in another life it feels like, written and illustrated nineteen children’s books that have been published in the United States and the UK, and been sold all over the world.

I also love to write essays based on my experiences raising children as a single mother and inspired by teaching creative writing to incarcerated youth.

I have a childhood memoir I’m working on called Into The World, an excerpt of which won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Award for Nonfiction.  And I have finished another literary work called Letters from Purgatory, which is with my editor at Black Lawrence Press.  I write my literary works under my name Karen Hunt."
And you can read the winning excerpt from Into The World, Reflections from Instanbul, on the New Millenium Writings site.

What is your writing process?

"I can’t say I have a ‘writing process.’  My thing is to sit down and write, no excuses.  I have everything in my head.  I don’t make outlines.  I make notes, I do research, I think, then I write the entire book.  And then I go back and write it again.  And then I edit it as many times as needed.  It is just a process of refinement.

I try to free myself from constraints of worrying about whether it is good or bad in the first draft and just get through it.  At a certain point in the writing process you have to get hard on yourself.  But only after you have allowed yourself the freedom to write the first draft without constraints—at least, that’s how it is for me."
What is in store next?
"I am almost finished with the second book in the series, Book of Angels.  Things heat up between Sera and Peter, the otherworldly being who has been sent to protect her.  But she continues to question whether or not he really cares about her or if he is just after the key that she possesses.

Sera fights off a bunch of Undead, outwits a demon in order to get the Book of Angels, and saves a young boy who plays an important part in the series later on.  She has her first exploration of the tunnels beneath Los Angeles and of course there are a few gruesome murders."
Do visit Karen on her Facebook page to find out more about the LA tunnels and to see that awesome drawing in all of its glory!

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?

"I have a program that I started called My World Project, connecting youth from remote and sometimes war-torn areas around the world through art and writing.  I just returned from one month in a small village in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, working with kids there, and it was amazing. 
I also had the opportunity to work on Book of Angels and was greatly inspired by the desert. So, here are two photos, one of me and the kids in Village Tissardmine..."
And one with me walking through the Blue Gate in Fez.  Some people say I remind them of a female Indiana Jones, and I take that as the highest of compliments!
I can see that :-)  Thank you so much for sharing all of these brilliant images with us!

Key of Mystery
Available NOW!

UK: purchase from purchase from Kobo UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from Smashwords purchase from All Romance 

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