Author Interview & Giveaway: Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish

Today, I'm excited to have author Kristi Charish stopping by Book Swoon to talk about her series THE ADVENTURES OF OWL and her newest book in the series, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS! I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. Thanks to Kristi's generosity, I have a great Giveaway at the end to offer!

Interview with Kristi Charish

Welcome, Kristi!

KC: Hello, Kimberly! :-D

For those not yet familiar, can you please tell us a little about your series THE ADVENTURES OF OWL as well as your newest book in the series OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS?

KC: The Owl and the Japanese Circus is an adventure/urban fantasy novel about an ex archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, named Alix Hiboux, who was thrown out of grad school quite spectacularly for accidentally stumbling into the supernatural. She’s put her education to use in the lucrative career or ‘misappropriating’ antiquities and when we first meet her she is on the run from a pack of vampires who want her dead. One of her clients, Mr Kurosawa, makes her an offer she can’t remove- if she retrieves an artifact for him he’ll get rid of the vampires. Only problem is, the job leads her deeper into supernatural messes, not away from.

Owl and the City of Angels sees Owl continuing her contract thieving for Mr Kurosawa, only this time around there is an imposter pretending to be Owl and they’ve stolen some incredibly dangerous artifacts. In order to clear her name and stop an army of dead from being raised, Owl has to not only find the thief but retrieve the artifacts.

…Oh yes. And there is Captain. I’m being told that I should mention Captain, Owl’s mau
cat ;-D

What inspired you to write an urban fantasy about a modern­day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly fights Supernaturals?

KC: Mostly my love of 80’s adventure movies when I was a kid. Some of my biggest influences are Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and Big Trouble in Little China, Goonies and the such. The frustration I had watching a lot of those movies was that there weren’t any female characters I identified with. I wanted to be the adventurer- not the female characters who were almost always designated to very specific ‘female appropriate’ roles. Like a lot of girls, I wondered why women never got to play the Indy and Han Solo roles. When I started writing, that was what I wanted to see- a female Indy.  

Owl is such a fascinating (kick­ass) heroine in this series. Can you tell us about what makes her different from other heroines?

KC: Hmmm- for me it kind of goes back to the whole Indy/Han Solo/Rick O’Connell prototype. They’re a riot to watch and they’re also a good rogue prototype- though they have their charming aspects, they’re essentially all kind of jerks. Even Indy, who people claim is altruistic really isn’t. He steals artifacts from indigenous populations (that was a major plot point in Temple of Doom) to sell to his University, all under the excuse that it’ll be safe in a museum. He’s far from a bad guy but he doesn’t always do the right thing. Owl really isn’t that different in her reasoning – she’s stealing from the International Archaeology Association because they threw her and countless other grad students under the bus- they owe her.

I think where Owl really differs is that she can be abrasive. Whereas male protagonists are given a lot of leeway to be abrasive, females are not. They’re often held to a ‘likeable’, ‘empathic’ standard- even by female readers partly because it is what we’ve come to expect. Owl completely balks that tradition. She isn’t always nice and she doesn’t always do the right thing though in the end she tries. I really think we’ll see writers bucking the ‘likeable’ female protagonist trend and creating unique characters.

Each of the books in the series features a wide variety of exciting archaeological sites, ones often populated by unique supernaturals taken from mythology. Do you have any fun or surprising research moments you can share with us?

KC: Hmmm- I think every time I research the history of a place I find something I didn’t expect. I’ll read something about the history a place- like Bali, or Syria, or Egypt- and a monster of some sort will usually come to mind that obviously would live there…I think finding out that the Pura Besakih ‘Mother’ temple in the shadow of Mount Agung was originally named the Basuki Temple, after Naga Basuki, a dragon that was thought to live in the mountain, especially after so many workers died during construction…eventually the name evolved to Besakih, or mother…talk about propaganda to make the mountain and temple seem friedlier.   

Owl is a gamer ­any inspiration from real life experience?

KC: Definitely…Not MMO’s but RPGs are my poison of choice. My current favorites are Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and The Witcher 3- OMG, I think I’ve sunk over 150 hours into The Witcher and I’m not even halfway…so many awesome side quests…

Can you tell us about Captain, Owl's feline sidekick?

KC: Captain, Owl’s cat, is a large mau (not purebred) who has quite the personality and can sniff out vampires. She found him lurking in a Turkish ruin when he alerted her to some lurking vampires. Captain is incredibly loyal and intelligent but also has a penchant for vampires. Maus were bred to sniff vampires out and their bites and claws are poisonous to vampires…Now if only Owl could stop him from chasing before thinking…

He has also become a lot of people’s favorite character- which is awesome!

If Owl could pull three characters from either books or movies to help out in a dangerous situation, who would she most likely choose?

KC: Narrowing it down is the hardest part- I’ll have to go with the classics- Rick O’Connell (he’s not afraid to shoot the mummies), Indiana Jones, and Lara Croft.

What can you tell us about upcoming books in THE ADVENTURES OF OWL series, or something new you're working on?

I can do both of those!

The next two books in the Owl series were just picked up (which I’m incredibly happy about!). The third book, Owl and the Electric Samurai follows Owl as she desperately tries to find the World Quest game designers before the IAA hired bounty hunters do and she also has to stop a supernatural war from boiling over into the streets of Tokyo. The fourth book, Owl and the Tiger Thieves I can’t give too much info about but it does involve the ancient silk road ☺.

And in May I have a new urban fantasy series coming out- The Voodoo Killings (The Kincaid Strange novels) which is about a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle with the ghost of deceased grunge rocker, Nathan Cade. A series of murders occur in the paranormal community and Kincaid ends up both suspect and target.

And Just for fun:

What books are on your must­read list at the moment?

KC: For Urban Fantasy the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter has kept me reading into the wee hours. It is fantastic UF.

Tell us three things someone would be surprised to know about you.

1. I almost flunked Math my first year of university and labeled my work book Magic Numbers 101.

2. If someone had told me in high school I’d end up a geneticist I would have laughed (again the whole numbers thing).

3. I experience terror every time I send my agent a new manuscript because I’m convinced someone is eventually going to figure out I’m not a writer ;-).  

If you could have a super/paranormal power what would it be?

KC: Oh! I’d totally be a sorcerous! Casting spells without having to memorize spells! Yeah fireball and magic missile!

Thank you, Kristi for stopping by and giving us an inside look at your newest book OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS!!

KC: Thank you for having me!

About the Book

Title: Owl and the City of Angels
Series: The Adventures of Owl #2
Author: Kristi Charish
Age Group: ADULT
Genre Type: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: October 5th 2015

The wild second adventure for unforgettable antiquities thief Owl—a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world—from the pen of rising urban fantasy star Kristi Charish. For fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, Jennifer Estep, Jenn Bennett, and the like.

Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.

There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.

Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels.

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One (1) lucky winner will receive a copy of both OWL & THE JAPANESE CIRCUS and OWL & THE CITY OF ANGELS, in either (winner's choice) paperback or digital form! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Open to North America addresses only. 

About Kristi Charish

Kristi is the author of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS, an urban fantasy about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment in the Owl series, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Oct 5th 2015, and the third and fourth installments, OWL AND THE ELECTRIC SAMURAI, and OWL AND THE TIGER THIEVES, will be released in 2016 and 2017. THE VOODOO KILLINGS, book 1 in her second urban fantasy series, KINCAID STRANGE (Random House Canada), about a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle, is out May 10th, 2016.

Kristi is also the Canadian co-hosting half of the Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing Podcast and has a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

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