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Katherine Wood - Kari True Chronicles

31 July 15 words: Liam Mills
"I was inspired in a strange way by reading Fifty Shades of Grey and thinking, if rubbish like this gets published then I’m definitely in with a chance"
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Photo: Emily Peach

Tell us a bit about the Kari True Chronicles?
It’s a trilogy about the eponymous Kari True, a corporal with a sharp temper and even sharper claws, and her investigations in the city watch. She is partnered with an unlikely colleague, a stuck-up elf mage, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her less than desirable heritage, her demon ancestry. Together they must investigate disappearances that lead them both on a path to an unlikely alliance, secrets from Kari’s past and a disagreement with a dragon.

Who would you describe as your main influences in writing?
My main influence would be the late and great Sir Terry Pratchett. His mix of humour, action and satirical social commentary was my constant companion through my teenage years. I have also been greatly inspired by J K Rowling, reading about how many times Harry Potter got turned down by different publishers taught me to never give up. Lastly, I would say I was inspired in a strange way by reading E L James’s Fifty Shades of Grey and thinking, if rubbish like this gets published then I’m definitely in with a chance.

Blood in the Air gives off a real air of procedural crime drama mixed with high-fantasy fiction. What inspired you to merge these two genres together?
I have always been a fan of procedural crime drama and have probably watched every popular series of this type of programme. I find crime, especially a grisly and interesting murder, and the reasons behind it fascinating. As a teenager I used to receive strange looks when I read a compendium of serial killers on the bus to and from school. I also have a great love for fantasy in both literature and on the screen so when the idea popped into my head to merge the two together it was a no brainer. My publisher and I have coined the phrase Frime for it.

I understand you’ve had the idea for the Kari True Chronicles stored away for quite some time. What made you think now was the right time to get the series published?
I started writing my first Kari True book a few years ago as a way of escaping from the day-to-day life of a teacher, battling marking and paperwork. After it was finished, roughly a year and a half later, I sent it to a few publishers to test the water and was incredibly surprised and elated when Steve Rudd (The King’s England Press) was not only interested but very keen to help me see in print. It was a happy coincidence that just as I was finishing my novel, the buzz about Game of Thrones was really getting into full swing and becoming a global sensation. I think now that fantasy and sci-fi has become more mainstream over the past few years, with Twilight, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, it has certainly become easier for people to access and appreciate fantasy and sci-fi, to the point where they are now looking for a new spin on the genre and my book happily fits into that category.

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Kari True is an interesting kind of protagonist for this sort of story setting. What do you think makes her so engaging to your readers?
Kari is very open and honest. She says things to people we may think, but keep to ourselves - everyone wishes they could get away with that sometimes. I think people relate to her because she isn’t perfect, she is short and has insecurities about her appearance like most women do. She also has a bad temper but can and does forgive people. The fact that she is always hiding a part of herself, in her case the demon part of her can resonate with people too. She has to appear to be something she is not and that can be an allegory for many people facing problems in their life, having to put on a brave face to the world while hiding their true feelings.

The Kari True Chronicles are set in a rich fantasy world, but the first novel is predominately set in one main city. Is there any chance we’ll be seeing more of this world in future novels?
In the next two novels Kari does see a bit more of the lands around the city, but it does stay quite central to the story. Kari is more of a city girl, so don’t expect to see her retire to a sleepy village any time soon. However, there might be a visit back to her birthplace in store in the future, although I can’t say too much about that at the moment.

Are you working on any other projects outside of the Kari True Chronicles?
I am working on a historical romance set in the Regency era, mostly as a project for my mum to enjoy as she could probably insulate a three bedroom detached house with the amount of historical romances she has bought over the years. I do have some other ideas for more high fantasy stories but I really want to finish Kari’s initial trilogy first.

Towers of Blood, the next Kari True story will be released soon and available to purchase direct from the publisher.

Kari True Chronicles Facebook page
The King’s England Press website

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