Thursday, May 29, 2014

Author Thursday: Interview with Katharine Tree

Today's guest is debut author Katharine Tree, and she's talking about her novel Dark and Deep. BFF Diana and I have known her for years (many years, for Diana)(I believe the words "summer camp" may be involved). She's very cool, and I wish her many book sales. ;)

1. What flavor is your writing? (Spicy? Action? Space odyssey? Ninjas? All of the above?)

It’s homesteading adventure with what I’ve heard called “strong romantic elements”. The characters are contemporary people, but they’ve thrown themselves into an Iron Age micro-society. The adjustment is jarring and brings out the... hrm… interesting aspects of their personalities. The narrator’s relationship with the hero is at the core of the story, and there are several spicy scenes, but they’re diagnostic of what is happening with the rest of the characters’ lives and with the settlement as a whole. The hero is Scottish and there are limited amounts of kilt-wearing and Gaelic-speaking, so I suppose it qualifies as Scotsploitation too.

2. Congrats on your first book! Where did you get your inspiration for Dark and Deep?

The single biggest influence on Dark and Deep was the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Outlander was the first modern romance I had ever read, and I am now obsessed. I had just gone through all seven books twice, and couldn’t find anything else that interested me after them, so I started to write my own book instead. Dark and Deep has a similar flavor and similar themes: you watch the hero through his wife’s eyes while they and the people around them deal with love, death, war, violence, sex, illness, family, and allegiance. Whether or not Dark and Deep also involves time travel is left for the reader to decide.

3. I hear you had a lot of fun researching this book. What was your favorite part?

Is it a spoiler to say that somebody gets a hole in his head? There is a primitive trephination scene in the book, and researching that was gruesome fun. I have a childhood friend who is now an M.D., and she very kindly sent me a lot of scholarly papers about traumatic head injury. She even found a pamphlet about how to perform an emergency trephination in the field. With photographs. To make the story work, I had to choose the “best possible outcome” scenario for almost all aspects of this part of the story, but at least I knew what the possible outcomes were.

4. What are you reading now, or what books do you have in your TBR pile?

I am in the middle of The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond, which is about the inner workings of small-scale societies. When one isn’t living in a modern state society, a lot of assumptions and priorities change, and Diamond does a great job of explaining how. I also need to re-read the seventh Outlander book in preparation for the release of the eighth one next month.

5. What are you working on now?

I am partway through the sequel to Dark and Deep; I have the story mapped out as a trilogy. I’ve also gotten side-tracked by a short prequel, which is teaching me all kinds of things about the hero, and which will give the reader a bit more traction at the beginning of Dark and Deep. I plan to distribute [the prequel] for free, when it’s finished.

You can find out more about Katharine at these links:

Dark and Deep, by Katharine Tree

Anna Woods has left the modern world behind to forge a homestead in the wilderness with twenty-three strangers. They have animals, tools, and enough food and dry goods to last a year, maybe two before they must produce everything they need for themselves, find neighbors to help them, or learn to do without.

While the material hardship of their new lives is real, the social and emotional ramifications of their situation are the hardest things to bear. Anna soon falls in love with Alexander Smith, the settlement's metalworker, and together they find solace from the disconnection of the old world and the loneliness of the new. Alex's twin Arthur, however, has come to the settlement with his own ideas of how he will function without laws, police, or a known past to stop him. When he nearly kills Alex he tears the three of them, and the settlement as a whole, away from the comfortable illusion of civilized order and into the deepest and darkest dangers--those that come from within.

Dark and Deep is an adventure/romance with elements of homesteading, going native, predestination, folklore, cultural reconstructionism, the politics and economics of small-scale societies, linguistics, primitive medicine, primitive warfare, biological psychology, and naturalism.

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