Winner Announcement!!! —-> Congratulations Kristina T!! You have been randomly selected and have won the $15 gift card!! P.S. Everyone’s comments were so great and I loved reading each one of ’em! I bet Karina did too. You guys all rock!! More giveaways coming up! 😉
I haven’t read a lengthy series, back to back without interruption in ages, but Karina Halle’s “Experiment in Terror” series absolutely hooked me. I could not, and did not want to stop. Especially when I hit the end of book #5. ARGH!!!! I need more!! Fortunately, there is more to come, (3 more books on the way, and a few short stories, too)!! *squee* I can’t get enough of these raw , real characters and I’m dying to explore every facet of them as the series progresses. And you know what makes it even better? Having a big group of reading friends that are just as ecstatic about them as me!
So… while we wait on book #6 (I hear some very good things are in store for us!!), I got us the next best thing. The author herself!
*beams while trying to maintain composure* Er? My cheeks are hurting… is this silly grin starting to look scary looking? OMG! Do I look like crazy clown lady right now? Eeeeeeep!!!
Maryse: Welcome Karina!!! I’m thrilled your here! This is one of my absolute favorite series, and I’m excited to have been a part of Dex and Perry’s world, even if it was for just a week. Having you here with us today is icing on the cake.
Tell us about your inspiration for the Experiment in Terror series. How did these characters come to you? Did you envision how the entire series would go from the start, or does it unveil itself piece by piece to you as you write each installment?
Karina: I’ve always been in love with being scared so writing a series of novels that dealt with what I deemed scariest – ghosts AND falling in love – seemed like a no-brainer. But it took a long time for the series to really come to fruition. I had gone to school for screenwriting and had written numerous scripts that either fell in the horror/thriller area or romantic comedy but while I could bang them out, I couldn’t really get them to reach people…also, I freely admit I love descriptions and the occasional purple prose (as I am sure you’ve noticed) and the freedom to write what I wanted. Screenwriting is a very rigid and pared down discipline so I figured some of my ideas may be better in a novel.
The thing is, I always assumed writing a novel would take me a really long time – like, years. It didn’t. In October 2009, I set the goal of writing every single day for one month and six weeks later, BAM I had Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1).
The specific idea for the series had come to me several months before. I came up with the name Perry Palomino (and Ada) one day when I was visiting people in Ontario. I wrote a short synopsis on my iTouch (which ended up being quite different from the series as it is) and then forgot about it. Months later, Perry nagged at me. Soon I conjured up Dex, I set my goal for writing every day and I was off and running.
The series has been planned from the very beginning but I’d be lying if I said I had all the answers up front. Characters grow without you knowing it and they end up dictating the ride – not the author. The series is more or less on the original track I set it on but I’m thrilled at the way new ideas and scenarios and characters have impacted the story.
Maryse: These characters are way too alive to have almost never been created. And I get that the characters pretty much dictate the story. You start with something but as they grow and change, the original story does. I hear that a lot from authors, and I love how dynamic writing seems to be. It sounds exhilarating!
Good thing Perry nagged!!! 😉 We LOVE Perry. So many of us relate to her on a personal level. Pretty on the outside, and yet she suffers from bouts of “normal” self doubt and insecurities. Her character is real, and believable. Please tell us more about her. How were you able to breathe such life into a fictional character?
Karina: I wanted someone sassy and fun but realistic, too. Nothing bugs me more than seeing perfect characters in books and movies. I’m not thin. Many of my friends aren’t supermodels. Why should the characters be? Why not write someone that people can relate to? Why can’t a girl with some curves be as sexy and desirable as a stick-thin model? I know for a fact they can be and I was happy to have someone like Perry cement this fact in literary form. It’s just too bad the girl’s self-esteem doesn’t always correlate with the way she looks. Seriously. Perry is a hottie, not a dumpy, ugly chick that some readers seem to think. She’s just extremely hard on herself…and who isn’t?
I also wanted to touch on the nearly universal issue of “What the hell do I do with my life? What am I meant to do? Who am I meant to be?”
Maryse: Yep… everyone questions their current role in life, and you know what? I probably would have done the same thing she did. It’s probably why I got such a kick out of her dilemma. Going for what feels right in life, vs. going for what’s “expected”.
So….umm… Dex. *squeeeeeeeee* We LOVE Dex!!! *blush* Well… most of the time. 😉 That is one heck of a complicated character. While we are able to see and feel everything Perry does, Dex can be an absolute conundrum to us. Mostly gorgeous, cocky and self-assured one moment (read: infuriating) and lonely, broken and even scary, the next (that’s when we want to cuddle him – well… not so much during his “scary moments” but you know 😉 ). So who is Dex? Why is he so afraid of change, and why does he punish himself so much (and in turn, punish Perry)?
Karina: Ah, the golden question. I won’t really answer those questions because finding them out is half the fun. But I will say he does have his reasons…I don’t believe that a person’s past can excuse someone acting like an ass but it can at least explain them. I think The Dex-Files and future books will shed some light on this.
Maryse: Noooo… *sigh* you’re right. Half the fun in “Dex” is discovering who he is, bit by bit. Hey. Can’t blame a girl for trying. 😉 How hard is it getting into his head, when you write his POV? (by the way, THANK you for those scenes!! They make him that much more real.)
Karina: Once I get started and really settle into that brain of his, it’s not so hard. It’s fun. He really can be all over the place, can’t he?
Maryse: Yep. I crush hard on him, and yet, he can totally offend me at the same time. Hrmmm… Sounds like my college days. Do any of your characters resemble (in appearance and/or in personality) people you know? If you could have a “dream cast” who would portray your characters?
Karina: Of all the characters, Dex was originally inspired by a few people I knew, as well as some musicians (Mike Patton) and actors (Robert Downey Jr.) but he eventually came into his own. Now he’s just Declan Foray, his own person.
Dream casts can be hard…Dex is a really hard one to portray. I’d probably say a young Mike Patton for looks. I actually think the actress from Paranormal Activity would make a great Perry. I mean, seriously. She is hot, curvy, snarky, always has a camera up her face, being haunted, etc. Taylor Momsen is totally Ada Palomino, no doubt there. I thought of her when writing it. There’s a Dita Von Teese in Rebecca, Jessica Alba in Jenn and Bradley Cooper in…well…Bradley. Oh, and continuing with the casting musicians streak, let’s throw in Josh Homme as Maximus (here’s another picture of him).
Maryse: I love visuals and that sure helped. I totally saw Dita in in Rebecca!! And while I didn’t visualize Jessica Alba, OMG YES to her (and my version of “Jenn” was pretty much… Jessica!). All of these are fantastic! Maximus, really comes to life in my head now.
I love how you build the tension and romance in the series, one book at a time. You don’t give it up, easily. From the start, the reader knows it’s coming. While the “paranormal” issues that plague Perry and Dex are paramount to the series progression, the romantic issues are just as important by way of character growth. You’ve turned something scary and almost inconceivable, into something that the reader personally becomes involved in. Tell us about your own emotions, as you’ve written this “will-they-or-won’t-they” storyline.
Karina: Oh my *George Takei voice* well I’ve experienced everything Perry has. So I know it hasn’t been easy. There are sometimes when I do yell at my computer “JUST KISS HER GOD DAMNIT GAAH!” or I get mad at Perry when she friggin flat-out lies or Dex when he’s being a scared little boy. For me, personally, writing Lying Season was enthralling and emotionally draining. I felt on edge the entire time. I hate confrontation, I hate feeling awkward for other people (which is why I can’t watch the BBC version of The Office), I hate it when you’re forced to see the things you don’t want to see. I wrote the last few chapters of that book in one day, a marathon for me, and I was left wrecked and fucked up for days afterward. That ending was a doozey. I still get verklempt thinking about it.
Maryse: GOOD!!! Good to know that Lying Season messed you up as bad as it did us. Mind you… I LOVE you for it. That was an AMAZING exhilarating ride, and had just enough of everything to have met 100% connected and feeling butterflies in my stomach the entire book.
Music plays a big part in this series (lots of Seattle grunge band references) that I loved! Even a few moments of Dex singing to her, or… not to her… that sent me into an emotional tailspin. Do you have a playlist for your books? Anything in particular that played in the background while you wrote?
Karina: Oh yeah. I have playlists galore. GALORE! I have some of them on my blog but I can run through a few songs and albums that have been important in all books.
First of all, let’s talk about the book titles! Experiment in Terror itself is a song by the band Fantomas (which is a cover of song from the said titled movie). Red Fox is a song by the band Tomahawk (and it’s about skinwalkers…it’s where I got the idea!). Lying Season is a song by Alice in Chains. On Demon Wings is a song by jazz horror band Bohren and Der Club of Gore. Into the Hollow is a song by Queens of the Stone Age…
Otherwise, albums that have been very influential are Fantomas “Directors Cut” and “Delirium Cordia” (the latter is only for the very brave…I listened to it during all of the asylum scenes in #4). Depeche Mode “Violater” and “Songs of Faith and Devotion” (“Halo” from the former is a great, um, “Perry and Dex having relations” song…that was also playing when I wrote that scene, the lyrics are very apt too). Massive Attack’s “Heglioland” and “Collected” are great for any intimate D&P stuff. Team Sleep. A ton of Nine Inch Nails, “Downward Spiral” and “With Teeth” specifically. Every Rob Zombie/White Zombie album. Slayer. Rob Dougan. Tomahawk. BILLY JOEL!
Maryse: What a fantastic list! In realizing that you are a huge music fan, I found out that you are also a music journalist and have worked in the music industry for years. Tell us about that exciting part of your life. Who’d you meet? Any funny moments? Any crazy anecdotes? Favorite bands (past and present?).
Karina: Where do I even begin? I have a ton of crazy anecdotes but I’m not sure how fitting they are for the public (or even if I’m allowed to disclose them!). Some of my funnest (is this not a word yet?) experiences have been with my favorite band Faith No More. From drinking with them in their dressing room in Finland with a toy monkey, to being on stage in LA to watch them with Jerry Cantrell, Danny Devito, Dave Lombardo, Scott Ian, Kirk Hammet, etc. Funny things include being catapulted over a fence and flashing everyone in an attempt to get into a Bad Religion photo pit. Being driven around on the Slayer tour bus après show in Seattle. Introducing comedian Brian Pohsen to Rob Zombie (talk about surreal). Drinking with the Deftones and Baroness in Spokane. Actually most of the fun moments involve rock stars and alcohol! Some of the moments I’m most proud of are my interviews with Chris Cornell and Bill Gould.
Maryse: Yeah… I get it… “unofficial nondisclosure agreements” and all that. 😉 But some of these definitely sound like scenes that should be in future books. I’m just saying’. 😉 hehe. The *flashing everyone* one made me giggle.
Tell us about your experience with self-publishing. You’ve mentioned some difficulties time-wise when you: “…became a cover-planning, editor-hiring, social media-guru, marketing-and-PR-powerhouse, and everything else that running your own publishing company entails…” Has it been harder then you expected? Is the complete control over your series, characters and marketing worth taking on the extra duties?
Karina: It’s extremely hard and much harder than I expected. I mean, I did know going in that I would have to find an editor and a cover artist and do my own publicity but I had no idea how hard it would be to get noticed, to stand-out. I know Darkhouse can be a bit of a rough book for some people (it’s my first book and there’s not much I can do about that) so I just hoped that people would like it enough to keep reading. Most did but even then I wasn’t reaching the people I wanted to. I knew I had a good product with the series, so I felt extremely hopeless for a while. I had no clue how oversaturated the market was and it took me a good year to finally found the audience I always knew the books were for (and you Maryse were a HUGE help). These books aren’t mainstream, they aren’t strict romance, they kind of straddle pop culture, age groups, genres…so finding the audience has always been a very important and tricky thing for me to do. But hey, it’s getting better every day!
Maryse: Awww so good to know that this is working out for you. You should be writing, that is for sure! And I’m thrilled I got to be a part of it. *hug*
How many more books (and possible short stories) are expected in the Experiment in Terror series? What else are you working on?
Karina: Eight novels, 2-3 novellas…and a trilogy WAY down the line. Possible spin-offs too (I’m looking at a certain character) but we’ll see because I do have a lot on my plate with 10 potential novels all vying for attention. I’m just about to start a book called The Devil’s Metal, which I am hoping for a September release date. It’s a 2-3-book series, adult paranormal romance. A lot of it is based or inspired by my work in the music industry. It’s set in the 1970’s and it’s: Almost Famous but with demons instead of groupies. I’m super freaking excited to start it.
I’m still working on my contemporary adult comedy romance called Lost in Wanderlust and hoping for a November release for that. Then I’ve got either a new adult contemporary or an adult horror romance before the year is gone (of course Into the Hollow and The Dex-Files too!)
Maryse: Oh rock star books!!! YAY!!!! See… a few of your real-life rock star “memories” might fit in perfectly. I’m very excited to read them all.
The Experiment in Terror books are emotionally intense and addictive, and so many of us consider it one of our favorite series. Do you have a favorite book or series, that affected you similarly?
Karina: At the moment, the Fever series since you kept recommending them to people who loved EIT! Ha ha.
Maryse: LOL!!! YES!! Nobody can resist Barrons. So glad you liked my recommendation!
- Karina Halle’s author Facebook fanpage
- Experiment in Terror Facebook fanpage
- Karina Halle’s website
- Karina Halle on Twitter
P.S. –> $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card giveaway (to one lucky winner, that I will randomly choose from the comments below).
How to enter for a chance to win it? Just leave a comment below, I will end the “contest” at 9pm EST tomorrow night (Thursday July 19th 2012), and I will contact the winner by email to confirm if you want the Barnes and Noble card or the Amazon card. The winner will be contacted and the gift card will be sent to the email address provided (make sure it’s valid!!). NOTE: The “winner” will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email notification. If no response is received, I will randomly select another winner. Make sure to check your email, so you do not loose your chance. This is open to anyone that can receive an emailed giftcard from either of these two companies.
For more about what I’ve written on the Experiment in Terror series, see below (lots, right? haha. I LOVE this series soooo much):
- Karina Halle – Experiment in Terror Series Reading Order
- The Experiment in Terror Series – Intrigued Readers Want to Know…
- Behind The Books – Interview With Karina Halle
- Book Review – Darkhouse by Karina Halle
- Book Review – Red Fox by Karina Halle
- Book Review – Dead Sky Morning by Karina Halle
- Just Finished Reading Lying Season by Karina Halle & I’m Freaking Out!! The Torture Is Just So Gooood!!
- Book Review – Lying Season by Karina Halle
- Book Review – On Demon Wings by Karina Halle
- Book Review – Old Blood by Karina Halle