Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Spark of Inspiration

The Spark of Inspiration
by Karissa Laurel, author of Midnight Burning

Although I can’t say I thought a lot about it at the time I started writing, it seems natural, now, that Midnight Burning should be an Urban Fantasy. Urban Fantasy is fantasy set in the real world, usually in the modern era. I particularly like the genre’s contrast of magic or paranormal versus technology and modern weaponry, and magical or ancient beings versus modern people. At its foundation, Midnight Burning tries to answer those questions of contrasts: What would ancient beings from Norse mythology be like in the modern world, today?

Let me back up a little, because that’s not really where Midnight Burning started. I guess it really started years ago when I was researching for another book (a book that will never come out of the trunk I’ve locked it in). On a fluke that research lead me to Norse mythology and the legendary event called Ragnarok: an apocalyptic battle that killed off most of the Norse pantheon, including Odin and Thor, who are arguably the most famous Norse gods.

Fast forward a few years and Thor started getting popular again as the Marvel movies took off. I remember watching Thor’s movie (I pretty much love all Marvel movies) and thinking: Hey! Thor’s supposed to be dead. Why do people keep bringing him back to life as if Ragnarok never happened? I’m sure that only proves what a humongous dork I am. As if anyone else in the theater was the least bit concerned about the movie’s historical/mythological accuracy in the face of Chris Hemsworth’s incredible, um… talent.

But that was the birth of the idea, really. If Ragnarok did happen, then were there survivors (yes), and what would they be doing now (keeping a low profile, obviously)? The great part about the survivors of Ragnarok was that they were lesser known and not as clearly defined in the legends, which left me a lot of flexibility to mold them into who I wanted them to be. After that, I struggled with how I could bring more female characters into the project. Unfortunately, Ragnarok also cancelled out most of the goddesses and female deities other than Hel, or Hela, ruler of the underworld. According to legend, she survived the annihilation, for which I’m forever grateful, because she makes an excellent antagonist.

From the start I wanted a strong female protagonist. And I liked the idea of including a solid sibling element (call it the wish fulfillment of an only child author). So, when I investigated the myths looking for sibling lore, I found Sol and Mani and their tragic story, and I knew I had the last piece of my puzzle. Throw in a dash of reincarnation, and a writer’s power to create (and destroy) as she pleases, and Midnight Burning was born.


Solina  Mundy  lives  a  quiet  life,  running  the  family  bakery  in  her  small  North  Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Drivento learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.



Karissa Laurel always dabbled in writing, but she also wanted to be a chef when she grew up. So she did. After years of working nights, weekends, and holidays, she burnt out and said, “Now what do I do?” She tried a bunch of other things, the most steady of those being a paralegal for state government, but nothing makes her as happy as writing. She has published several short stories and reads “slush” for a couple of short-story markets.

Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for speculative fiction. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes.

Karissa also paints and draws and harbors a grand delusion that she might finish a graphic novel someday.

Follow Karissa Online:

Twitter: @karissalaurel

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