We’re happy to welcome Kristi Charish today on the blog! She is the author of Owl and the Japanese Circus, a brand new series out in the US in January. Thanks to the author for answering our questions!
- Welcome on Between Dreams and Reality, Can you present you in a few words?
Hi! I’m an urban fantasy author who loves video games and 80’s adventure movies! I write stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. Besides writing I’m also a scientist- a geneticist and cell biologist to be exact! I have a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Even though I don’t write a lot of Sci-Fi, I find my background helps with writing immensely.
- How would you describe the Owl and the Japanese Circus series?
‘Owl and the Japanese Circus’ is about ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl— who has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.
It’s an urban fantasy in the spirit of adventures movies like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, and maybe a bit of Buffy The Vampire Slayer thrown in.
- So Owl, where’d she come from?
Owl is a disgraced archaeology graduate student who get’s booted out of her PhD program for accidentally stumbling into the supernatural. Misplaced ethics later, she’s left with the choice of a smoldering career or setting out as an antiquities thief, she goes with the latter.
- List 5 characters from Owl and the Japanese Circus and do word associations.
Mr. Kurosawa: Scary
Lady Siyu: Scarier
Owl: Recklessly determined.
Nadya: Cleverly irresponsible.
Captain: To damn smart for his own good.
- Was it difficult to write the first book? How long did it take?
When I sat down to write Owl, I was taking a break from 3rd person narrative and wanted to try 1st person. I found the conversational tone helped me write and low and behold it only took me ~ 9 months to finish.
- Is there a character more difficult than the others to write?
Hmmm. I think Captain is the hardest to write because he’s a cat meaning no speaking and it’s debatable how much he understands of the events going on around him…having said that he’s one of my favorites!
- Did you need to do a lot of researches for your books?
For some things yes, but for other things no. Because I play a lot of RPGs, those segments didn’t take nearly as much research as the archaeological sites and mythical monsters I wanted to use. For everything else there’s Google maps ;-).
- Who are some of your influences?
Definitely Indiana Jones along with a lot of other 80’s adventure movies. The Mummy is another one of my all time favorites. Besides that, I read a lot of contemporary urban fantasy including Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher. I’m also heavily influenced by the video games I’ve played. They’ve come a long way with regards to narrative and story in the last ten years and include some of my favorite Sci-Fi.
- What would you most like potential readers to know about you and/or your book?
I love to read and write fun adventure. I live in the real world so when I read I want to be transported somewhere else. Owl is a manifestation of that and (hopefully!) people also find it a fun read.
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Later than a lot of writers, I think- I only began to write five years ago. I’d always flirted with the idea of being a writer but assumed I wouldn’t be any good at it. It took me a really long time to get the courage up to actually try.
- Do you have a favorite author? Or a favorite book?
I have a LOT of favorite authors and favorite books! A few of my all time favorites include:
James Clavell: King Rat and Tai Pan
Ernest Cline: Ready Player One
Paulo Bacigalupi: The Wind-Up Girl
Peter S Beagle: The Last Unicorn
…I’m certain I’ve forgotten one or two…
As far as UF authors whose books I have set to auto-buy: Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Richelle Meade, Carrie Vaughn, Cherie Priest, Diana Rowland.
And I challenge any author out there to actually keep a favorites list down to one book.
- What can you tell about the future books?
Unfortunately I can’t say too much about Owl 2 (Owl and the City of Angels) except that it is done and handed in! It sees Owl settling into her new job as a contract thief for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, when he sets his sights on a trio of artifacts sitting in a Los Angeles recluse’s private collection. Owl is sent to fetch them and finds out that the City of Angels is anything but.
Kristi is the author of a forthcoming urban fantasy series OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Jan 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocke Books), about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Jan 2016.
Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.
Owl, Book 1
Synopsis:Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.
Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.
Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.
Thanks to the author, you can win a copy of Owl and the Japanese Circus. A physical copy for US&CAN only or an ebook copy for international readers.