Thursday, August 2, 2012

Alma Katsu

Alma Katsu is the author of The Reckoning and The Taker (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster), the first two books in a centuries-spanning trilogy of love, loss and redemption. The novels have been described as a mix of supernatural-powered fantasy, historical and dark romance, and frequently compared to the early works of Anne Rice and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. The Taker was selected by Booklist as a top ten debut novel of 2011.

Recently I asked the author what she was reading. Her reply:
Strangely enough, the more I write, the less time I seem to have for reading, which is a major disappointment. Knowing that I have even less time than when I worked full-time in addition to writing, I’ve become really protective of my reading hours and am reluctant to pick up a book unless I’m fairly sure I am not just going to like it but that I’m going to love it.

So right now I’m on a no-brainer, Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, which I’m listening to on audiobook. I’m loving it so much that I’m portioning it out like water on a desert island. I adored Wolf Hall and am gobsmacked that she could write this sequel so quickly. I’m a fan of historical novels but not so much the Cromwellian era but it really doesn’t matter; Mantel’s writing is so superb that I’d read the proverbial cereal box if she’d written it.

I’m also finishing up Tim Powers’ latest novel, Hide Me Among The Graves. It appeared to have many of my kind favorite things: vampires and creepy things, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Romantic poets. I wasn’t familiar with Powers’ work but given his reputation, was hoping for something really different, more fantasy than horror. And it is, but alas, I’m a little disappointed with it. Not enough to stop reading, though I did put it aside for a few long spells.

My TBR pile is out of control as I’m just getting to the stage where people send me books to look at and ask for a shout-out if I like it. I’m waiting to get to Deborah Coates’ debut novel, Wide Open. It’s described as “Twin Peaks meets Dean Koontz” and what’s not to like about that? I also just received Into The Darkest Corner, a debut thriller by Elizabeth Haynes about a woman who survives a violent relationship only to be drawn unwittingly into another one, years later.

And if all that doesn’t sound dark enough, I’m looking forward to finally reading As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. It’s described as “a darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession, As Meat Loves Salt is a gripping portrait of Cromwellian England beset by war. It’s also a moving portrait of a man on the brink of madness.” So—darkness and Cromwell’s England. It seems my reading pile has come full circle.
Visit Alma Katsu's website and blog.

Writers Read: Alma Katsu (October 2011).

The Page 69 Test: The Taker.

--Marshal Zeringue