August 31, 2013

Authors Are Rockstars: Introducing Karsten Knight

About Karsten

Karsten Knight has been writing since the age of six, when he completed his first masterpiece: a picture book series about an adventurous worm. In the two decades that have followed, Karsten has worked as a proofreader, a bookseller, and a college admissions counselor before he finally decided that his true calling was to be a volcano goddess biographer. He lives in Boston, and for more information or to watch his video blog, visit

☆ How to find Karsten ☆

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About his books!

Wildefire #1
Click on the pic to see my review!

Publisher’s Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She's struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve's violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California's redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn't go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she's one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she's got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there's guaranteed to be a storm.

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Wildefire #2
Click on the pic to see my review!

Publisher’s summary: Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love—because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess—and she doesn’t get burned.

This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.

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Wildefire #3

Coming Soon
Release date:
November 12, 2013

The action thrills and the passion burns in this red-hot conclusion to the Wildefire trilogy.

Teenage volcano goddess Ashline Wilde discovers that her former love, Colt Halliday, has an evil plan to kill the Cloak, the benevolent beings that oversee the gods. And that’s not all—he also wants to merge Ash and her two sisters back into a single, too-powerful goddess, Pele. Ash must stop her trickster-god ex-boyfriend once and for all…and to do it, she’s going to have to feed a few flames.

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Mindy: Hey Karsten! Welcome to Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!!! I’m a super-fan of your Wildefire series, and I totally think your protagonist, Ash, is kick ass! And the villains in your series are amazingly well-developed and, in my opinion, they are the very definition of The Perfect Villain!

My most remembered moment while reading your books was when I was reading the last few pages of Wildefire. I remember thinking that the plot for that book was completely over and that you were just tying up loose ends to close up shop. And THEN you threw in this crazy twist on the very last page and I’m pretty sure I jumped up and shouted out loud, in complete shock! It was so completely brilliant how you pulled off that crazy twist…and I think you are a rockstar because of it!

Now for your Q&A!

Mindy: Your big-time fans know you well for you hilarious videos/vlogs! Why haven’t you done one in a while? And when do you think you’ll do another one? Soon?

Karsten: I really loved vlogging when I started several years ago. I had performed improv and standup comedy throughout high school and college, so filming those videos allowed me to fill that void while also connecting with fans. It was time-consuming (editing takes forever) yet doable while I was in my MFA program, but I ultimately decided to focus my limited free time on what I really enjoy: the writing part. But you never know when vlogging inspiration will strike.

Mindy: What has been the most awkward or bizarre thing that a fan has said to you?

Karsten: You know, I’m far more awkward than my fans—probably because I’m perpetually dumbfounded that I actually have fans. So when people recognize me at a signing or book festival, I get incredibly tongue-tied. It’s sort of like walking around, thinking you’re wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, but then getting really confused when some people can see through it.

Mindy: You seem to have a pretty quirky sense of humor. Do you have any embarrassing moments in your writing history that you are not too embarrassed to share?

Karsten: When I was writing full-time at home, all my roommates had jobs with typical day hours, so I spent a lot of time alone…which eventually made me way too comfortable with talking to myself. This can present some awkward situations, especially when you’re pacing around the house, rehearsing conversations between your characters out loud—and you realize all too late that your roommate has taken the day off from work. Then you have to be like, “Chris, I swear I don’t hear voices! …Often.”

Mindy: After the way you ended Wildefire and, especially, after you informed me of the setting where you originally intended to end Embers and Echoes (Talk about cliffhanger, literally! But, luckily, you added a few pages to the end), I’ve been wondering . . . “Do you start writing your books with the intent to torture your readers?”

Karsten: …Yes.

I’ve seen some reviewers take this enraged stance, “Authors end books on cliffhangers just so you’ll buy the next one!” Please, we’re not that smart. Or financially Machiavellian. I just have a twisted part of me that enjoys finishing books feeling a little unsettled, so I choose to inflict that on my readers, too, whether they like it or not.

Mindy: With that in mind, do you also like torturing your characters?

Karsten: I had this self-epiphany recently where I realized that, in just about everything I’ve ever written, there is inevitably a scene where someone gets chained to something—a rock in the ocean, the ceiling of a humidor, a stone altar—and threatened with a less-than-desirable end. Interpret that knowledge however you like.

True story: My favorite review I’ve ever read was Kirkus’s review of Embers & Echoes. This might seem strange at first, since the review was, overall, less than flattering…but they said that I write “creatively gruesome deaths,” which is the highest praise I could ever ask for.

I have problems.

Mindy: And, will we Wildefire fans be tortured by the end of Afterglow, or do you think we’ll be happy with the ending?

Karsten: All I will say is that I hope the last page will make you feel a sense of…dark vindication.

Mindy: Was it a challenge to write in the POV of a female character?

Karsten: To be honest…no. I just focused on writing Ashline Wilde as a human being, and let the other details fall into place around the character that had developed in my mind.

If you try too hard to write “the female POV” or “the male perspective,” I think you run the risk of conforming to polarized gender norms, and you also potentially strip your character of her ability to make choices that might surprise the reader. Readers will say things like, “A woman would never say that,” or, “The girls I grew up with never used such crass words,” or, “I would haven’t made that choice.” Great—but this story isn’t about you. It’s about Ashline Wilde. If characters always made the exact choices that we would make, or acted or spoke the same way as the people we grew up around, what would be the fun—or the surprise—in that?

Personally, I get really bored when I read a book where the character never makes some poor decisions. I solemnly swear my characters are up to no good.

Mindy: There is a pretty shocking twist when it comes to the three sisters in Embers and Echoes. Did you already have this twist in mind when you first started writing Wildefire? Or, did this twist come to you later, after you started writing?

Karsten: That idea came to me partway through writing Wildefire, as I was doing more research on Pele (the Polynesian volcano goddess). I was fortunate enough that my agent and editor had my same twisted sensibilities and let me run with that idea in Embers & Echoes.

Mindy: Now that you are done with the Wildefire series, are you working on any projects that you’re allowed to talk about?

Karsten: I have two ongoing projects. One plays with time and chronology, which is appropriate, because it feels like I’ve been revising it forever. The other is a modern-day noir set in Boston. When people ask me what it’s about, I usually just blurt out cryptic things like “Drugs! Gangsters! Cancer!” All of which are true, but confusing nonetheless.

Mindy: Can you tell us some totally random things about yourself?

Karsten: I used to be able to solve any Rubik’s cube in under two minutes, but I haven’t picked one up in years, so I’m worried that I’ve lost that skill…. It used to make a great party trick, though.

Mindy: Any final thoughts from your brilliantly quirky mind?

Karsten: Lobsters.

Mindy: Thank you so much Karsten for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!

Haven't seen Karsten's awesome videos?
Here's two of my fave!!!

Want to see more? Here's where to find them!
Karsten's Vlogs on YA RebelsKarsten's Youtube Channel

1 comment:

Lisa Mandina said...

I love Karsten Knight! I still need to read book 2 though!

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