Author Karen Azinger writes epic fantasy inspired by the style of George Martin’s Game of Thrones, but with more women. Please welcome her here on No Wasted Ink.
My name is Karen Azinger. I guess the best description of myself is a renaissance woman, someone with wide-ranging interests and skills for both work and play. On the play side, I love the beauty of nature, from hiking in the Columbia River gorge, to walking on a beach, to snorkeling and scuba diving in warm clear oceans. My favorite hobby is art, from photography, to fused glass, to acrylic painting. Our house is full of art. And of course, I love to read, especially fantasy. In terms of work, I’ve worn many hats, from a chemical engineer, to a business strategist, to a vice-president. I’ve worked around the globe in the resource sector. And now I’m wearing one of my favorite hats, a published author of epic fantasy!
When and why did you begin writing?
About 12 years ago, I finished reading George Martin’s Storm of Swords and I desperately wanted more. But of course, George takes a long time between books. I scavenged bookstores but could not find anything to satisfy my craving for epic fantasy with deep plots and complex characters. Disappointed, I went on a hike in the Columbia River gorge and imagined what I would do if I wrote an epic fantasy. By the time I finished the hike, I had so many original ideas, that I decided to write my own saga. I sat down at the computer, started writing, and never stopped!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished the first manuscript of The Steel Queen and was willing to give it to strangers to read.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
For the last twelve years, I’ve been working on The Silk & Steel Saga, an epic medieval fantasy with swords and knights, castles and monasteries, sorcery and seduction. The first six books are published, and the final book, The Battle Immortal, will be published in October 2015. In many ways, I’ve felt the most pressure writing this last book, because I know how critically important it is to have a great ending. As an author, I want each book to be better than the last. But the last book carries an extra challenge because it has to be written so the reader never forgets.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I write in the style of George Martin’s Game of Thrones, where each chapter is from a different POV character. I love this style of writing because it lets both the reader and the author get deep into the hearts and minds of the different characters.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
Epic fantasies are often referred to by their acronym, LOTR for Lord of the Rings, GoT for Game of Thrones. The acronym for The Silk & Steel Saga is SASS, for all the sassy women!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
On the surface, this saga is swords and sorcery, but on a deeper level, the saga explores how women gain, keep and wield power in a medieval world. Filled with strong female characters from a sword-wielding princess, to a brilliant queen who uses beauty to beguile, spies to predict, and gold to control, to a silver-haired grandmother who wields knitting needles and knives, to a priestess who plies poison and seduction in a bid for immortality, this sage will never let you underestimate the ‘weaker’ sex again.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
I’m most influenced by the three I most love to read, Tolkien, George Martin, and Frank Herbert (might as well learn from the best!). From Tolkien, I take lessons in how to create an amazing and believable world brimming with wonder. From reading George Martin’s Game of Thrones I grew fascinated with the idea of writing deep in the POV of complex characters ensnared in tangled plots. From Frank Herbert’s Dune, I look lessons in how to thread multiple themes through my saga to give my story depth and meaning. To me, theme is the secret weapon of authors. Theme is what elevates a good read to a great read, making us think about the story long after the last page is turned.
Who designed the cover of your book?
Greg Bridges designed my front covers, an award winning artist from Australia.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write some more, and then get as many people as you can to read your work. And never stop reading. All writers start as readers.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, I love hearing from my readers! The best way is on Facebook or Twitter. The Silk & Steel Saga has the best fans all around the world! Thank you!
The Battle Immortal
Cover Artist: Greg Bridges
Publisher: Kiralynn Epics