Hey there! Lately, I’ve been gushing over one of my new favorite series, Dark and Otherworldly, so can you imagine my absolute delight when the author agreed to an interview! I love Kristen Brand’s writing, and the Dark and Otherworldly series is out of this world!
Getting to Know Kristen Brand:
Q: Who are some of your literary influences?
Kristen Brand: While I don’t consciously take influence from anyone in particular, I think I owe a lot to the urban fantasy authors who made the genre big in the early 2000s. Those books popularized kickass heroines with magical know-how fighting supernatural threats, and there’s a lot of that in the DNA of the Dark and Otherworldly series.
Q: What aspects of your writing process do you find most rewarding? Most challenging?
KB: “I hate writing; I love having written” is a quote that I identify with a lot. When the words are flowing, writing the first draft is the best part, but sometimes it’s like trying to get blood from a stone.
Often, I find that when I’m having a hard time moving forward in the story, it’s because subconsciously I’m not happy with the direction I’m going and need to go back and change something. I guess that’s simultaneously the most challenging and rewarding part: coming up with creative solutions when I run into problems.
About Kristen Brand:
Kristen Brand is a huge nerd. She writes speculative fiction with lots of action, romance, and witty banter. When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading novels or comic books, and she can’t get through the day without at least one cup of tea. You can find out more about her work and read free fiction about everything from lovestruck supervillains to malevolent fairies at her website, KristenBrand.com.
Q: I noticed that you’ve written many superhero stories in addition to fantasy. What drew you to these genres?
KB: I blame 90s cartoons for my superhero obsession. I watched a lot of Batman: The Animated Series as a kid.
Fantasy was the genre that first got me into reading and remains my favorite to this day. I think books are magical, so there’s something especially fitting about reading stories that have magic in them.
Q: If you were a superhero, what would your name be, and which superpower(s) would you have?
KB: My superpower would definitely be telekinesis, though I wouldn’t use it to fight crime. I just want to be able to pour myself a new cup of tea without having to get up from the couch.
And coming up with new superhero names is hard! One thing I quickly learned writing superhero fiction is that so many good names are already taken. The first three or four codenames you come up with? Throw them out the window and keep brainstorming, because I guarantee there’s already at least one comic book character who goes by it. SuperheroWriterProblems
About the Series:
Q: Can you tell readers a bit about the Dark and Otherworldly series?
KB: Sure! It’s an urban fantasy series that follows Leigh Morgan, who’s made it her mission to fight otherworldly monsters after one abducted her sister as a child. She’s traveled to Otherworld and is close to organizing a mass escape of their human captives when she catches the attention of Dredarion Rath, an inhuman prince plotting to usurp the throne. Cunning and observant, he’ll catch on to her plan if she makes even the smallest mistake, but keeping secrets gets harder as the two of them are drawn closer together.
Poison and Honey is the first book in the series, and the story continues with Sting of Thorns, which comes out on September 15th . The Cruelest Curse will wrap things up in November, though I’m leaving a dangling thread for the possibility of future books.
Q: What inspired you to write the series?
KB: I take a lot of inspiration from fairy folklore. When most people hear “fairies,” they think cute little people with wings—which isn’t wrong. But fairies are also monsters lurking in dark lakes and waiting to pull you under. They’re bewitching courts of coldly beautiful lords and ladies who’ll make you dance until you die of exhaustion. They’re shapeshifting tricksters as likely to curse you as grant you a boon.
I wanted that vibe for the series’ setting of Otherworld. It’s a place that, on first glance, looks like an amazing world of magic, castles, and enchanting creatures, but quickly turns sinister and dangerous.
Q: If you could spend the day with any character from the series, who would you choose? What would you do?
KB: I’m going to cheat egregiously on this question and say Leigh’s whole team. I love Leigh, but she’s the strong and silent type, and I’m a quietish introvert, so spending the whole day with her would involve a lot of awkward silences. But getting the whole gang together—Garrett, Sal, Tariq, and Wendy—would be a lot of fun. I imagine alcohol would be involved, and I’d get to hear a lot of stories about their missions.
Q: As you know, I adore Leigh and Dredarion and their swoon-worthy romance. Can you give us any hints on what’s next for this pair?
KB: Pain and suffering, haha. Their romance is sometimes described as “enemies-to- lovers,” but it’s more like “enemies to friends to even worse enemies and hopefully eventually to lovers.”
Readers of Poison and Honey know that I didn’t exactly leave their relationship in a nice place, and the two of them spend a lot of Sting of Thorns struggling to be around each other. While the first book was set entirely in Otherworld, the sequel brings them to the human realm, where Dredarion faces some hard truths and comes to understand more of Leigh’s perspective. Then the question is if they can reconcile with each other when their loyalties are opposing.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you and your work (i.e., website, Twitter, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
KB: Definitely stop by my website at KristenBrand.com. I’ve got lots of free fiction there, including a Dark and Otherworldly prequel short story. I tweet about books and comics as @BrandedKristen and pin bookish and fantasy-related stuff on Pinterest under the same username. You can also find me on Goodreads.