It comes as no surprise that HIGH VOLTAGE was one of our most anticipated reads of 2018! Karen Marie Moning is by far one of the best authors and a top favorite here at Under the Covers. Every book she releases just reaffirms that and she delivers on very high expectations. We had the chance to chat with her about her latest release, HIGH VOLTAGE, which came out March 6, 2018 and here’s what she had to share.
UTC: Welcome to Under the Covers, Karen! We are so excited to be able to talk to you about HIGH VOLTAGE! Now this book will have a greater focus on Dani. As one of my favorite characters, what would you say is the key to writing a standout heroine such as Dani?
Karen: Perhaps the most difficult thing was letting Dani be what exactly she was at the moment, throughout the entire series. I mean, who writes an adult, edgy progressive urban fantasy series of five books then suddenly switches the focus to a fourteen-year-old girl with an ego the size of Dublin, a predilection for Snickers, Chuck Taylors and the word “feck?” I couldn’t resist because I always knew Dani’s ultimate endgame and saw the beauty and inherent value in her development.
Writing her ‘voice’ accurately for the age and emotional maturity she was at the time demanded that I be absolutely true to her point of view and it wasn’t always accurate. I’ve written her at fourteen, when she was balls-to-the-wall, hell-bent on a death wish, her language and attitude were over the top, and she saw everything larger than life and super-villain menacing. I’ve channeled her as the icy, emotionless Jada determined to never be hurt again. I wrote the delicate, fragile, merging of the two as she began to thaw, and finally, in HIGH VOLTAGE, I write the balanced woman she becomes, a woman finally ready to own up to her own desires, frustrations, and sense of isolation. A woman who sees every nook and cranny of her city and protects it. A woman who saves everyone—because no one saved her. Each of these incarnations of Dani have their own unique voice, perspective, narrative reliability and emotional truth. I think the key to succeeding in getting readers to care about your characters is to care about them deeply yourself. I loved Dani from the moment she appeared on the page.
UTC: What was your biggest struggle with writing HIGH VOLTAGE?
Accepting that it was different. This installment in the Fever world is very much a love story and I don’t usually write that. Let’s be honest, love stories don’t get a lot of credibility in the literary world, which I find so ironic because our own love story is something we all long for. Yet that kind of story is often denigrated, deemed to be somehow lesser. HIGH VOLTAGE is more character-evolution-driven than plot-driven (you see just the tip of the iceberg plot in HV) and the switch in gears was a joy to embrace yet scary as a writer. Still, trust in my muse always overrides the fear. It helps that I love what I’ve created thus far, and makes it easier for me to take that leap into accepting how each individual installment in the series demands to be told. I’ve said from the beginning this series is about the adaptability and evolution of my female protagonists. Mac had all the love in the world–her story was about finding strength. Dani overcame hell with her grit and strength—her story was about finding and accepting love.
As an aside, I like to write opposites: Mac was all love, no strength, Dani all strength, no love. Barrons is Alpha, man of action, few words, loner who prefers his beast form to the man, whereas Ryodan is brilliant, incisive, man of words, who likes his family around him and fights to keep them and enjoys the man form more than the beast.
I could envision a day Mac and Barrons might vanish by themselves into the great unknown on an extended adventure, but Dani and Ryodan will always be drawn back time and again to fight for and protect their city (or in the past, many times, Ryodan’s kingdom.) I think Mac, like her sister, Alina always secretly hungered for the primal, wildness and abandon Barrons offers whereas, like Dani, Ryodan enjoys being connected to the world. The two couples fit each other. Dani with Barrons would be as much of a disaster as Mac with Ryodan. They couldn’t meet each other’s desires and emotional needs.
UTC: Do you have a favorite scene or quote that wouldn’t be too spoilery to share?
Karen: I think the one I enjoy the most is when Dani flips off the fourth wall and says: “if I was a character in a fiction novel, I’d snipe the bitch that wrote me this way.”
But perhaps more telling to the nature of the story that unfolds is: “When someone has done everything in their power to mangle your wings beyond all recognition, to slice them to shreds so that they can never be used, there is only one way to win. Fly.”
Writing is my holy place, my joy. The reason I do it is that it connects us all within the human experience. The struggle, the triumph. I relish that connection. When readers tell me a particular character or passage helped them through a trying time in their lives, it’s my greatest reward.
UTC: How would you say the Fever series has grown and changed from the first book in the series?
Karen: The first five books were an unfolding of mystery and discovery with a slow burn, dark love affair, whereas the second five books delve deeper into an already known world, fleshing out the relationships and the world around them as they meet new challenges and dangers. The story arcs brought my two protagonists, Mac and Dani, to a place of strength and power, ready to tackle whatever comes next. And I wrapped HIGH VOLTAGE with a lot of “next” in mind.
UTC: Ryodan continues to be a point of intrigue in this series. What’s your favorite thing about him?
Karen: That he can be equally ruthless and tender. Not many men can fill both those roles. Not many men are up to the task of walking beside the Mega as an equal.
While I’ve mentioned it was a challenge writing Dani exactly as she was at any particular moment, Ryodan was no easier. He keeps his secrets and guards his heart. With him, you get logic, linchpin theory and careful chess-like precision (Dani O’Malley is the one thing he’s never been able to predict) yet behind that calculating, aloof ruthlessness is a man who cares deeply and intensely about those he chooses for his own. He’s always watching the world around him, evaluating everyone, nudging here and there when he sees potential, (as he did with Mac and Kat and those nudges are not always gentle but match the needs of the person. Mac needed a bit of pushing, Kat needed her time with Kasteo, the chance to experience the bliss of a perfect empathic vacuum. In HIGH VOLTAGE, you’ll get a significant part of Ryodan’s backstory that sheds light on his motivations and past and present actions.
UTC: What does a typical writing day look like for you? Do you have any writing rituals? Feel free to share a pic of your writing space.
Karen: 4 am, coffee, silence and darkness, in a closet with an inspiration board hanging above my desk and all kinds of notes scribbled on the walls and for that very reason, I can’t share a photo because there are spoilers on my walls. 😉
Music also plays a major role in my writing. Sometimes I need the white-noise of soothing music in the background as I write. But I often need to hit “save” on my computer (I’ve got Bose noise cancelling headphones that rock!) and thumb up a song that reflects the moment I’m writing. Music is endlessly inspiring to me, a door to my own emotions, electrifying and amplifying them.
UTC: If you could bring only one of your characters to life, who would it be and why?
Karen: Shazam! I think there’s a spoiler in the why….
UTC: Tell us 3 things we normally wouldn’t know about you.
Karen: I hate bacon. Go ahead, crucify me. I seem to be the only person in the world who hates bacon. I have, however, made it to expert level at baking chocolate chip (gluten-free!) pumpkin bread. It’s healthy-ISH and makes my kitchen smell heavenly.
I love physics and wish I could have been an astronaut. I saw a poem once that’s stayed with me as I write:
“The universe is
in your bones,
The stars in your Soul; it’s never
(Love and Space Dust)
I’ve never watched Game of Thrones. I plan to glom it one day when it won’t make me feel hopelessly inadequate as a writer . For now, ‘you know nothing, Karen Marie Moning.’
That’s more than three things. Sorry. I’ve never been good at coloring in the lines.
UTC: What’s next for Karen Marie Moning?
Karen: I’m not yet at liberty to say. Normally, I announce what’s next when the latest book is released but I’m playing with a few projects and will talk about it when I’ve made a decision. I tend to follow my passion and, the older I get, the more I feel the urgency of so doing. Whatever I write next, I’ll do it as I always have, dumping heart and soul into it and hoping it resonates with my incredible fan base. Speaking of, can I give a shout-out to the most amazing, intelligent, generous fans a writer could have? Each time I do a con, I get nothing but praise from the hotels we stay at about how incredible my fans are. I know they are and am deeply grateful.
UTC: Thank you so much for sharing with us today!
Karen: Thanks for having me!
by Karen Marie Moning
Released: March 6 2018
Series: Fever #10
Immortal Faerie and ancient feuds, secrets and sacrifices—a thrilling new chapter in the bestselling Fever series begins, featuring Dani, Ryodan, and other beloved characters, as they battle to save Dublin from the rising of a terrifying evil determined to enslave the human race.
There is no action without consequence.
Dani O’Malley was nine years old when the delusional, sadistic Rowena transformed her into a ruthless killer. Years later, Dani is tough and hardened, yet achingly vulnerable and fiercely compassionate, living alone by her own exacting code. Despite the scars on her body, and driven by deeper ones carved into her soul, no one is more committed to protecting Dublin. By day she ensures the safety of those she rescues, by night she hunts evil, dispensing justice swiftly and without mercy, determined to give to those she cares for the peace she has never known.
There is no power without price.
When the Faerie Queen used the dangerously powerful Song of Making to heal the world from the damage done by the Hoar Frost King, catastrophic magic seeped deep into the earth, giving rise to horrifying, unforeseen consequences—and now deadly enemies plot in the darkness, preparing to enslave the human race and unleash an ancient reign of Hell on Earth.
There is no future without sacrifice.
With the lethal, immortal Ryodan at her side, armed with the epic Sword of Light, Dani once again battles to save the world, but her past comes back to haunt her with a vengeance, demanding an unspeakable price for the power she needs to save the human race. And no one—not even Ryodan, who would move the very stars for her—can save her this time.
Karen Marie Moning is graciously giving away
Two (2) SIGNED and personalized
copies of HIGH VOLTAGE
♡ Don’t want to miss any of our posts? ♡