Author Interview: Karen Mahoney and giveaway!

Today, we are extremely happy to have Karen Mahoney with us on the blog, author of The Iron Witch, which was released in January.

Describe your book in 5 words.
Empowering. Dark. Hopeful. Exciting. Different.

Were any of the characters or their traits inspired by people you know?Yes, very much so. I know that authors often say “no” to this – or maybe that their characters are a vague composite of a few people they’ve known… But for me, Navin Sharma in The Iron Witch is totally inspired by my own best friend. My friend loves this, and is quite vocal about what he’d like to see happen to Nav in Book 2. 😉 They’re both Indian; they have similar humour and loyalty; and they both wear a fake leather motorcycle jacket. Heh.

What kind of research did you need to do for The Iron Witch?Lots of it! (Can I just get away with that as my answer?) Seriously, there’s too much to write about in depth here, but there IS an essay I wrote in the back of the completed book called “The Girl With Silver Hands,” which is the story behind The Iron Witch. You’ll learn all about the research I did on folklore (specifically The Armless Maiden tales) and alchemy.

Who would you like to see as the main cast if The Iron Witch got made into a movie/ tv adaptation?

Oooh… Nobody has asked me this, yet. I have to think about it. *thinks* Okay, I’m not sure because I don’t picture my characters with THAT amount of clarity. You know? I don’t cast them in my head. I have a general idea of what they look like, but they are more defined by their personalities and emotions as I write them. I do think that Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire would make a brilliant Navin, though. (He’s a bit too tall, but he’s got the boyishly cute looks down pretty well.)

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do
you have to do anything like this while you write?
I don’t listen to much music while I do the actual writing, though I do listen to it to ‘get in the mood’ and while I’m researching, etc. My main pre-writing routine involves coffee. 😉 I also write best in cafes, which I know is sort of a cliché, but it’s definitely true in my case. I like the hustle and bustle around me, and I can work fine with the generic jazzy sort of background music they tend to play. It acts as a buffer, in a way, and helps me to focus on the words and the characters.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?When I was 12 years old. One of my teachers asked around the class what we wanted to do for a living when we left school, and I said, “A writer.” She said, “You mean, like a journalist?” And I replied, “No, like writing books and stories.” Unfortunately, she laughed at me – which encouraged the whole class to laugh. To this day I don’t understand what was so funny about that, but it made me determined to go ahead and do it!

Are there any other YA authors that you admire?Oh goodness, so many! Too many. I’ll name a few and then leave people out and feel bad… But just a handful would be: Holly Black, Richelle Mead, Sarah Rees Brennan, Melissa Marr, Francesca Lia Block, Dia Reeves and Charles de Lint.

What is your favourite book of all time and why?Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Because it is filled with gothic creepiness, (barely) restrained passion, Important Issues for Women in Society, a strong heroine filled with fierce loyalty and integrity, and a hot brooding guy who is kind to children (even if he DOES lock his first wife in the attic).

Which YA (human) character would you love to be and why?

Mae, from Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon books. Because she is totally awesome: strong, passionate, independent; she gets to kiss all the hot guys (especially Nick); and she has pink hair. What’s not to like? 🙂

Which YA (non human) character would you love to be and why?

Hmm… Good question. I’m not sure! Is it totally egotistical of me to pick one of my own characters? 😉 I’d want to be a vampire – I know that much – and my favourite vampire is the one I created: Moth, from my two published short stories. She’s kick-ass, plain and simple.

Thanks so much for having me!

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney. Freak. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect. Published in the UK January 2011 by Random House 

As The Iron Witch was a book that we both loved, we decided to give away a signed copy! This giveaway is open to UK entrants only and you must be over the age of 13 to enter (get a parent/ guardian to enter for you if not though!). The winner will be chosen on 23rd March and will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to reply before another winner will be picked. Good Luck!