Daughter of the Drackan
by Kathrin Hutson
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.
The breeze that blew across the water called for Keelin to come back. It swirled around her dark head, pulling it toward the lake, and her eyes fluttered open from the resting blackness. Crouching on her heels, she lifted her head and gazed at the Great Lake that mirrored the dazzle of the stars. The world remained dark to her, but no longer as the dead, helpless dark from which she awoke. A single tear slipped down her cheek, a tear of anger from the depths of her curse, the secret of her life.
Darkened by night, the lake had always been a silent, secret comfort. The wind died down as though it sensed she were herself again, and the world was calmer, sweeter now that she was no longer a weapon hidden from itself.
Keelin remembered nothing from her stolen hours. Every time, she woke at the Great Lake with the wind calling her back to life, the smell of blood always too real. She barely noticed now when she habitually dipped her hands into the icy water of the bank, rubbing them in mud until they were clean. The moon shone so brightly in its fullness; she gazed up at it with longing. In the light of the moon she could see everything. She was so tired of the dark.
Her hands were clean now, but that metallic smell still lingered. The strange deerskin tunic she’d been given still clung to her body and she clawed at it in frustration. Dark rings and damp streaks of blood splattered across it, every moment soaking further through to her skin.
Interview with the Author:
1. How long have you been writing?
When I was ten, I realized I could rewrite the end to any story (or movie) I previously didn’t enjoy, and change it to reflect what I always wanted to experience. Then I started making up my own stories, and liked that even more! I haven’t stopped writing since, and that was fifteen years ago. Fifteen years of working on my typing speed, and fifteen years’ worth of scribbled notes and hand-written fiction, packed away in boxes and stacked in the closet of my office.
2. How long have you been a published author?
I had my first short story published in an online literary magazine, Danse Macabre, in 2012. That was the first thing ever to make it out there. If we’re defining ‘published author’ as having my own novel out and available to the masses and lovers of Dark Fiction—I’ve been a published author for three months and counting. And I love every minute of it!
3. What titles do you have available?
Currently, my novel ‘Daughter of the Drackan: Book One of Gyenona’s Children’ is available in Ebook and paperback. I also have short stories published in each of CW Publishing House’s holiday anthologies: ‘And You Will Not Be Afraid’ in The Grim Keepers, released this last October for Halloween, and ‘The Holiday Box’ in Festive Frights, released in December just in time for Christmas last year.
4. What made you choose the subject of this book?
The subject of this book chose me, really. I’ve always been drawn to Dark Fiction, yearning for the gritty underbellies of unlikeable characters and their even less likeable deeds. Plus, I really wanted a character who started out as a tragic outcast and had to work her way through the ranks of a society she deplored in order to get what she wanted. Keelin was just that character…and more.
I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, with all its cliff faces and high peaks, and that more or less inspired the creation of the High Hills and Keelin’s home. Keelin herself has always been a part of me—the darker side I don’t ever let out other than through her. I find myself occasionally wishing I could just growl and snap at anybody who annoys me (which happens a lot less frequently nowadays), and I get to channel some of my annoyance and disdain for selfish people by writing Keelin’s story. I’d love to be able to say that there’s a lot of me in Keelin, that I molded her after myself, but I have to be honest. I’m a lover, not a fighter, and this woman is completely the opposite. She has almost no shame, zero propriety, and she doesn’t let anything get in her way (or just cuts it down with her knives).
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon?
‘Mother of the Drackan: Book Two of Gyenona’s Children’ will be out in the next few months. It’s almost ready!
I’m currently writing an adult Dystopian Sci-Fi, ‘Sleepwater Beat’, which is, dare I say it, a lot grittier even than ‘Daughter of the Drackan’. This novel takes place in the near future US, where a group of people have evolved with a new type of superpower—storytelling to elicit physical, emotional, and psychological responses in the listener. There’s a lot of chain-smoking, cussing, and punching people’s lights out in this one, plus government and pharmaceutical conspiracy, human experimentation, black market deals, guerilla warfare, and a rebel group on the run. My protagonists seem to carry common themes—Leo, in ‘Sleepwater Beat’, is another female character who has had to make some pretty tragic decisions in her past, and it doesn’t make her the most likeable person. Don’t worry…it’s good for her. I’m hoping to have ‘Sleepwater Beat’ published by April at the latest.
6. What is your favourite genre and why?
My favorite genre to write, so far, is Fantasy. Dark Fantasy, at that. While the classic tropes of good versus evil are entertaining and can be larger-than-life and flashy through the hero’s epic quest, I prefer looking into the evil side of good characters—the dark, roiling, hopeless internal struggles they face while trying to do something, anything on the outside to make it right.
My favorite genre to read, on the other hand, is a position currently enjoyed by Steampunk (for the time being). In all my years of avid reading, I can’t believe I never managed to find myself nose-deep in a Steampunk novel until just a few months ago. I’d never heard about any phenomenal must-read novels in the genre through word of mouth, and I hadn’t particularly sought it out. But one of my clients turned me on to a fantastic new release, ‘The Machine’ by E.C. Jarvis, and I’ve been devouring the genre lately. It’s still something I’m not sure I’d ever be able to write up to my own standards, but I love the gritty, otherworldly elements of the Steampunk genre. If anybody has any suggestions for their favorites, I’d love to hear them.
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
I’m totally a pantser—I sit down with an idea of a character or a scene, and let the words come out with zero outlining and zero planning beforehand. Usually, the “big moments” already captured in my head (and built up over time until they explode and I have to start actually writing the dang thing) are located in the general “beginning, middle, and end” sections of what becomes the whole novel. All the hard work comes into play when I have to play the evil scientist and see which creative concoctions will nurture the story and help it grow into something beautiful…and which ones are completely volatile.
So, the most exciting part of my writing process is when I’m all set up and halfway through a gripping scene. Somehow, while typing out the dialogue or narrative of what I’m currently writing, some auto-pilot part of my brain takes over. This keeps my fingers moving on the keyboard, and the imaginative side of my brain seems freed up to get to work and do its business. More often than not, I solve my own questions about where the heck the whole story is going and how I’m going to tie all these big scenes together when I’m in the process of writing something which seems completely unrelated. Which is why being a pantser is so much easier for me than outlining—I’ve tried to outline, but I inevitably get stuck. When I just write and let the freak run free on the keyboard, the next bullet point in what would have been on an outline just appears in my head, and it all makes sense before I ever even get there.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
Well, I currently am co-authoring, so I guess this is a pretty easy question. Plus, I feel even luckier to be able to say that I’m co-authoring three different novels right now, with a total of twelve other authors (some of whom cross over in all three projects).
I’ve worked fairly closely with most of these other authors for quite some time, and the experience of writing collaborative novels with them has been so much fun; it seems we can’t say no to any of the new projects arising. The first novel, ‘Bit’, is a different take on the classic Zombie story and has a little more Sci-Fi wackiness thrown in for good measure. That one’s just wrapping up now and will be released this Spring.
The second, ‘The Irregulars’, is a YA Paranormal Fantasy, kind of like ‘Oliver Twist’ meets ‘X-Men: First Class’. All the characters are seventeen and younger, and even though these kids have powers, man, do they have it rough! I’d say we’re somewhere between one third and the halfway mark, and the tension is just starting to build with this novel. It will be out in 2016 as well.
The third project I was graciously invited to by the wonderful minds at Starklight Press, who pretty much live in Sci-Fi heaven. We started this novel right after the new year, so it’s barely even crawling across the floor, yet, but I’m really excited for it. It feels almost like getting to work on one of the new Star Trek books in a series—and is so involved that I’d only confuse myself (and you) by trying to explain it here.
Why choose these amazing people to be my co-authors? Honestly, if anybody did the choosing, they chose me, and for that I’m continuously humbled and flattered. These authors come from all different backgrounds (not to mention countries), and specialize in fiction of all different genres: we’ve got Romance, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Steampunk, and Horror, to name most of them. Melding my creative mind with other writers is such an incredible experience, and it stretches the limits of my imagination further than I ever thought possible. I’m sure I’ll be stretched some more. In some ways, co-authoring is easier than writing alone—I don’t have to come up with every character or every scene, and a lot of information is just laid bare before me to do with as I wish. On the other hand, it can be a lot more difficult—I don’t have complete control over where the story’s headed, nor do I know the characters and plot as intimately as I do my own work. But once I started collaborating with other authors, I found that it’s just too much fun to stop.
9. Where can readers find you on the web?
Everywhere! (I wish that were true.)
I’m definitely on twitter: @KLHCreateWorks
KLH CreateWorks is the name of my Editing Company; I work with authors of all genres on manuscripts of all lengths, from flash fiction to the epic 100k+ novel. My company site is http://www.klhcreateworks.com, and facebook page http://www.facebook.com/klhcreateworks. I love to hear from anyone and everyone, so please bombard me in whichever manner best suits you!
And for extra fun, ‘Daughter of the Drackan’ is discounted at $0.99 in the Kindle Store for the duration of this blog tour. If you’d like to sign up for my reading list to be among the first to hear about my new releases, you can do that here: http://eepurl.com/bNadDX
Thank you so much, Independent Authors, for hosting me on your blog today! I couldn’t have done this without you.
Feel free to include your latest release/promo, and any additional info you might like included! Thanks so much for being my guest.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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
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: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2015/12/vbt-daughter-of-drackan-by-kathrin.html