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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

VBT & #GIVEAWAY - Daughter of the Drackan by Kathrin Hutson

GENRE

Fantasy

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BLURB:

Keelin is the only human fledgling, weaned by the drackans of the High Hills and given their instincts, ferocious strength, and fierce hatred for humankind. But even the drackans closest to her cannot explain why she has violent blackouts from which she wakens covered in blood.

A desperate, reckless search for the source of this secret brings her face to face with the human world and memories from a locked-away past, long forgotten. Keelin becomes a terrifying legend among human assassins while she hunts for answers, and the human realm’s High King is murdered.

While a sickly steward hides within crumbling walls, commanding her every move with a magic he should not possess, Keelin’s journey to track him down threatens her loyalty to the drackans who raised her. The rogue who crosses her path hides familiar secrets, echoing her own terrifying bloodlust and forcing her to consider that there may be something human about her, after all.


Excerpt:

Igetheyr stood unmoving, and E’Kahlyn gently unfurled her red-brown wings. The child sat atop the drackan’s scaly back, legs huddled up to her chest. She too stared at Igetheyr, eyes glowing from beneath the shock of tangled hair.

The others snorted and growled at the human, their hatred and bloodlust already thick in the air. The drackans’ centuries-old feud with the scale-less race ran deep within their blood. Seeing one now in their home stirred timeless memories of the war, so long ago, that had started their hatred in the first place, and memories of the last human fledgling who had turned astray.

Igetheyr shifted his eyes toward the child, expressionless until he chose to speak. E’Kahlyn shot her mind-voice in a direct, shielded stream to the child, hoping to reach it before Igetheyr did. ‘Have you heard our discussion?’

A light, purple-gray blotch found its way slowly to her mind with the feeble words, ‘I did.’

‘Then go to him, young one.’

The child slid to the ground, gazing at the drackan with pleading eyes. E’Kahlyn nudged her forward with her snout. The child stumbled toward Igetheyr’s great figure and placed her hands behind her back. Her narrow chest stuck out vulnerably, head held high, and she met eyes with the black drackan. Fear did not exist in the child, as if it never had. She was part of the new world around her now and still so disconnected. 

Igetheyr snorted, seemingly entrapped by her boldness. E’Kahlyn opened her mind to just the two of them, eagerly awaiting the important exchange, the final word.

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US



Personal

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am Kat, of course. Hello! That’s what I call myself, though my full name is Kathrin (and has anyone ever seen my name spelled this way anywhere else?). I am a huge fan of the awkward moment (except for when I truly feel awkward, but that’s rare). I practically shaved my head in seventh grade—consequently the same year I got braces…poor girl—and have always wanted to grow dreads (but somehow haven’t managed to muster enough dedication to really spend time on them for those first months before I can give them the same amount of attention I currently give to my hair. That is, just about none at all).

I slept with books instead of stuffed animals when I was a toddler and have always loved them (that’s a given). Met the man of my dreams almost four years ago after almost giving up on the human race, fell in love with him after a week, he moved in with me a week later, and three and a half months after that we moved across the country together. Now we’re married (and proved wrong everyone who thought we were psycho in the beginning…they’re more than supportive and loving now). I have since found out the human race is pretty okay. And we moved across the country again (now in California).

Anything ugly, creepy, antique, and super clashy makes me warm and fuzzy inside. I mix patterns, colors, and textures (furniture, rugs, tapestries, and of course my own clothes), and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a tree.

Do you have a day job as well?
I do have a day job as well, but it does not require me to leave the comfort of my own office…nor of my pajamas, frequently. By day, I am every author’s worst fear…the editor! I must not be very scary, because all my clients love me. Just before we moved from South Carolina to California, I started my own editing company, KLH CreateWorks. I offer copy and content editing for manuscripts of all lengths in any genre, and I do a smidgeon of consulting for Indie Authors on the publication/self-promotion process.

I also work as Chief Editor with Collaborative Writing Challenge. We bring international authors together to create full-length novels in varying genres, week by week, over the course of eight months. That’s a phenomenal experimentation in adventure, creativity, collaboration, and complete lack of control (a Story Coordinator chooses the week’s winning chapter and makes sure the story continues to flow in a way that makes sense. Everything else is left up to chance, though admittedly there’s a lot more to it).

And the final addition to my work day is as Editing Director for Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc. (RRPI). We’re a fairly new traditional publishing company, but we’ve signed some excellent authors and just basically have a ball with them through the entire creation and publication process. We’ve got a great creator community, and we spend a lot of time hanging out with the writing community at large. I also run a training program for editors through RRPI, so I get to sow the seeds of my knowledge into my dear little editing minions. Quite fun, really.

Needless to say, my life revolves around completely geeking out over words. And I love it. Somehow, amidst the chaos, I find the time to keep to my writing schedule (mostly) and give myself time to create on my own. I think it’s the fact that I don’t have time to think about it which propels me to actually get everything done. Those of you who thrive under deliciously torturous pressure will understand.

What was your favourite book as a child?
Going back as far as I can remember…my favorite book as a kid was ‘The Forgotten Beasts of Eld’ by Patricia A. McKillip. I was probably seven or eight when I read it, and while I only remember snippets now, I repeatedly checked it out of the library whenever my grandma walked me there while I stayed with her.

By the time I was ten, my interests had somewhat…diversified. The books at the top of my list that year were Robinson Crusoe (a birthday present from my dad), Stephen King’s ‘It’ (and I would never give that to a ten-year-old myself, but I’d also found that in the library), and the first ‘Harry Potter’ book. Obviously, I was all over the place.

When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
I love this question, because it’s so full of wonderful memories when I look back at it. That moment was the day I wrote ‘The End’ on the very first rough, rough, cracked, raw first draft of ‘Daughter of the Drackan’. 11:52 pm on New Year’s Eve, 2007. I will never forget that. Once I’d experienced what it felt like to finish a whole whopping novel, I was hooked. And I knew it would be a part of my life to strive for publishing it. Granted, that first draft was…not quite what the finished, published version is. I’m so thankful for the fact that I had the patience to hold onto it, whittle it down, patiently scrape away at the dust and the debris (and lop off a few limbs) before deciding to publish.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
They are my favorites, of course! Fantasy (specifically with darker elements) and Sci-Fi. Fantasy came first in my reading career, so I have a much longer, much more structurally bound-by-the-hip relationship with it. William Gibson’s ‘Pattern Recognition’ turned me on to Sci-Fi, and then after reading Phillip K. Dick, I was hooked.

Fantasy, admittedly, is a lot easier for me to write. My stories require absolutely no research whatsoever, and I like to create everything new out of thin air, bringing the darker elements I so love into it and exploring that instead of the classic good vs. evil Fantasy tropes.

Sci-Fi requires a lot more fact-checking and research, or at least an appreciation for and understanding of basic scientific and technological elements. The adult Dystopian Sci-Fi I’m writing now proved to need way more research than I’d anticipated when I first slithered around in the concept. But it’s going to be so worth it.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Most of it is completely imagination and the movie in my head. In real life, I got Igetheyr’s character from a dream (he’s a fabulously powerful supporting character, and his role in this book and its sequel stand somewhere in the middle of major and hardly seen. I have been throwing the idea around of making him the protagonist in a sequel to ‘Daughter of the Drackan’, set centuries in the past, but it hasn’t stuck anywhere yet).

I think I also pulled all my negative emotions, aggression, disdain, and everything I wished I could do if it weren’t for societal mandates—and, you know, having friends—wadded it up into a mucky ball, and threw it into Keelin. She took it like a champ. I think Keelin is the way I get to channel my own inner, wild darkness without it ever having to see the light of day. Thank goodness.

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Ooh! I’ve got a little sneaky excerpt here for you, then. I love writing fight scenes – high tension, fast-paced, and yes, violent and gory. They are so much fun to write, and I loved this scene in particular because I kept thinking, ‘okay, what could she possibly do next?’ and the answer was ‘absolutely anything I wanted her to do!’ Because she’s that good. I think I enjoy writing these because they release a lot of tension, both for me and (mostly) for my characters. And it always adds to the excitement. (Disclaimer: serious violence ahead).

All at once, his seven men pounced from their tables and stood to face her. [Keelin] sprang after Tamh as he headed for the door, but one of his men in black blocked her, holding out a hand as though the gesture would stop her. She whisked her cloak out of the way and kicked him, the heavy heel of her boot cracking him under the jaw and throwing him backwards. He fell into Tamh, knocking the both of them down into a table, and the men sitting there jumped up to escape the brawl. Tamh struggled beneath the mass of his unconscious bodyguard. He must have weighed three times Tamh’s own weight; it would take him a while to escape. She had enough time.
Keelin spun around as the others ran toward her. She pulled the throwing disk from her cloak and hurled it at the closest. It cut him across the face just under the eyes, jamming into his nose and sticking there. His hands immediately went up to the slice, blood falling through his fingers like water. Keelin grabbed him and threw him against the wall, ramming the disk further into his head. He dropped dead on the spot. 
A man grabbed her and threw her into the others. In one hand she produced a sickle knife, in the other a second dagger. She sliced the first man across the throat, blood splattering her face. Another swiped a long knife at her and she ducked, kicking his legs out from under him. She knelt to his body and stabbed him in the chest, then rose again to face the others. She plunged the dagger into another’s belly, cut one’s hand off and hit him alongside the head with the hilt, relishing in the crack of his skull. She whirled around and around, a vision of slicing metal and bared teeth. One, two, three, four, five, the men fell around her. She stopped, crouched low inside a circle of bodies, her chest heaving and threatening to explode. She blew a stray line of hair from her eyes, and only then did she realize that the hood had fallen from her face. 

How did you come up with the title?
Actually, I pulled it from the very last line of Book Two, ‘Mother of the Drackan’, which I’d finished writing before publishing ‘Daughter of the Drackan’. I’m currently in the final revision stage of the sequel, and I have yet to decide whether or not to keep that last line in there.

Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?
For me, it’s the racy and/or romantic scenes. Not every story needs them, but admittedly they exist in this series (small doses in ‘Daughter of the Drackan’). There’s always the risk of making it too hokey, too cliché, or too unbelievable. And I’m referring to those risks for the character. Too often have I read scenes like this where I’ve thought, “Wow, that would never happen with this character. Why’d they do that? Why was that a good decision?” Also, I’ve read a fair-sized collection of scenes like this in all my years of consuming fiction, and most of them embarrassed me (for the book). I think I’m so afraid of making someone else feel like that, and that’s what makes it more difficult than other scenes.

Want another little peek? Okay, okay. Here you go. This is Keelin’s first sexual encounter ever—she was raised by beasts. (Disclaimer: this might be considered racy…but appropriate).

Tawin closed the distance between them once more and reached his arms around her, slipping his hands down her waist and over the curve of her backside. Swallowing, she stared at him as his mouth covered hers again, and when he squeezed her backside she jumped to remove his grasp. He must have anticipated the attempt, for he caught one of her wrists in his hand, holding it firmly at her side, and forced her mouth to his with renewed vigor. His other hand cradled the back of her head, pressing her to him so tightly that it almost hurt. But his lips moved softly on hers, his tongue prompting her to respond, and though she had the strength to disentangle herself, she did not. The sensation of his touch shuddered through her, and while it was nothing like the thrall of ecstasy that overtook her after a kill, the pleasure still existed. In that moment, she did not care to question it.   
When Tawin noted her compliance, he released her wrist and returned his hand to her waist. They half-stumbled through the door of what she assumed to be his quarters, blindly stepping until he laid her on the straw mattress, covering her body with his own and her neck with his lips. She looked up at the ceiling, her body moving at his touch in ways over which she had no control. He lifted the tunic over her head, pressing his hot flesh to hers, and her hips arched upward of their own accord as he slid the breeches from her waist. Staring down at her with that blazing intent, he took only slightly more time to remove his own clothing, and the picture of Aloran and the woman suddenly wormed its way into her mind.
“Oh,” she said, startled. The sudden awareness of his objective did not ease the physical yearning she felt now for the first time in her life. Who had there been to give her knowledge of human bodies? She laughed, a slow, deep, open-mouthed sound. 
Tawin stopped and looked at her. “Oh?” he asked, a careless smile breaking through his heavy breathing. Keelin threw her head back upon the bed and laughed again. Tawin pressed his lips again to her neck, the hollows of her collarbone, and spread her thighs apart with a warm hand.

How important are the names in your book?
Pretty important. I mean, I would never be open to changing them. They don’t mean anything, per say, but I never struggled with finding names for any of my characters or locations. I used to have a whole list of them when they’d pop into my head, and I could pick and choose according to character at my own whim.

Did you choose
them based on how they sounded or looked, or was it completely random?
I tend to have a fondness for adding ‘h’ and ‘y’ to names in my fantasy. Igetheyr. E’Kahlyn. Baghr. Kaghanh. Thought they’re not in every single name, nor every single piece.

The drackan’s names were not random—at least, once I had the first few down. Igetheyr, of course, came to me in a dream (with the spelling of his name). But I named their fledglings according to a sort of ‘system of lineage’. Keelin is E’Kahlyn’s human fledgling (kidnapped and weaned to become drackan on the inside, not hatched as one). The names of E’Kahlyn’s fledglings follow the structure of her own. Keelin with a ‘K’ (first letter after the apostrophe in E’Kahlyn). And the oldest fledgling of a new clutch starts with the actual first letter of their parent’s name. Keelin witnesses the naming ceremony for E’Kahlyn’s last clutch of fledglings, and the oldest female’s name is E’vehr. These four new drackans were sired by one named T’lak, and the oldest male fledgling became T’mehl. Theoretically, one could follow a firstborn male or female’s lineage all the way back through a father’s or mother’s (respectively) bloodline just by the first letter of their name (before the apostrophe). Of course, if they weren’t firstborn, they become another drackan in the muddled mess of names. Keelin drew the short straw, too (in so many ways *evil laugh*). All sophisticated societies need a hierarchy, right? Even among “beasts”.

And I totally don’t blame you if you didn’t understand anything in that paragraph. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story itself in any way whatsoever. Just a super behind-the-scenes morsel for you to munch on.

What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
Formatting for paperback novels! I love every part of the writing process, so the publishing process gets picked on a little bit. Formatting for a paperback file is monotonous, time-consuming, and offers little in the way of mental challenge—at all. But it must be done.


I actually very much enjoy formatting for ebooks. Go figure. I spent a good deal of time reading, researching, and practicing so I could learn how to write CSS HTML code for ebooks specifically (but I can use it for other fun things, too). Again, if I’m confusing you, that just means that I design ebooks at the code level, which leaves me in complete control of every facet of the ebook’s presentation. No, I didn’t do anything fancy in ‘Daughter of the Drackan’s’ ebook (it’s just clean-cut, easy to navigate, and exactly the way I want it). But it’s a heck of a lot better than all the hassle and hullabaloo of trying to convert a word document to a .mobi or .epub file, and way less nerve-wracking than handing it over to a publishing platform and watching them completely fail in catching all the formatting errors and correcting them.

Kathrin Hutson will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here



Kathrin Hutson has been writing fiction for fifteen years, editing for five, and plunging in and out of reality since she first became aware of the concept. Kathrin specializes in Dark Fantasy and Sci-fi, and the second novel in this series, Mother of the Drackan, will be released this February.

Kathrin runs her own independent editing company, KLH CreateWorks, for Indie Authors of all genres. She also serves as Story Coordinator and Chief Editor for Collaborative Writing Challenge, and Editing Director for Rambunctious Rambling Publications, Inc. Needless to say, she doesn’t have time to do anything she doesn’t enjoy.

You can grab your copy of Daughter of the Drackan, in print or as an ebook, on Amazon here: mybook.to/daughterdrackan



Tour Organised By: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


18 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the interview and thanks for the chance to win :)

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    1. Hey, Lisa. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for being here and showing up at the stop today! :D

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  2. I enjoyed the post. The book sounds very intriguing.

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    1. I'm so happy you think so, Rita :D Thanks so much for hanging out with me today.

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  3. Thanks for hosting me today, Archaeolibrarian!

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    1. Our pleasure - good luck with the rest of your tour :)

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  4. The book sounds very interesting.

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    1. I'm so glad you think so, Sherry! I would love to hear what you think if you ever decide to pick up the book and read it. Thanks for much for stopping by!

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  5. enjoyed your favorite scenes. Very exciting.

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    1. Thanks, MomJane! I'd SAID there were some treats coming up this week :) Hopefully the scenes were enough to show a little bit of depth of Keelin's part...and she gets into a lot more trouble than that! Haha thanks so much for being here today!

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  6. I always enjoy reading author interviews, they're so much fun! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. I'm glad you thought it was fun, Victoria! I promise, the book is just a tad (insert sarcasm sarcasm) more exciting :D Thanks so much for stopping by again today. I'm so happy to have you with me this week, too.

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  7. I really enjoyed the interview, especially the scenes that were special to you. Very moving. Thank you.

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    1. The scenes were my favorite part, too, Ree Dee! And I always LOVE hearing they moved someone. I'm so glad you took the time to read the interview and scenes today and to comment here once again. Thank you!

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  8. I enjoyed your interview, Kathrin! I hated to miss some of the tour but I got seriously sidelined by the flu!

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    1. Oh, Betty, that sounds terrible! Don't worry, taking care of yourself is way more important than this :) I've struggled with that myself, even (somehow, I managed to perfectly time this tour with foot surgery and not even notice until the week before...). Thanks so much for coming back to join me :D That means so much! I hope you're feeling better.

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    2. Oh, Betty, that sounds terrible! Don't worry, taking care of yourself is way more important than this :) I've struggled with that myself, even (somehow, I managed to perfectly time this tour with foot surgery and not even notice until the week before...). Thanks so much for coming back to join me :D That means so much! I hope you're feeling better.

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