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I Belong

Look Who’s Going to BEA: Alma Katsu

Can you introduce yourself to my readers?

I’m Alma Katsu, author of The TAKER. My novel has been compared to “Interview With the Vampire” and “The Historian” although there are no vampires in it. I think these comparisons are made because The TAKER has similar qualities to those books: it’s big and sweeping, goes back in time and has dark, magnetic characters caught up in tragic circumstances. The publisher, Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, has made The TAKER a “Big Book” for BEA and a lead fiction title for the fall – I’m very lucky that my publisher has so much confidence in this book.

Can you introduce us to the world that you have created?

The TAKER is the story of a young woman, Lanny, going up in an isolated pocket of the Maine territory in the early 1800s who falls in love with her childhood friend, Jonathan, the eldest son of the richest family in town. Jonathan doesn’t love her in the same way. When Lanny is exiled to Boston, she falls in with Adair, a mysterious man with otherworldly powers. He offers Lanny the ability to bind Jonathan to her forever – but it comes at a price. Once the deal is made, Lanny finds out what a terrible price it is, and she must figure out how to save her beloved, and herself, from an eternity of suffering.

While most of the book is set in the early 1800s, it opens with Lanny in the same town she grew up in, but in the present day, and she’s just been taken into custody for killing Jonathan. So right away, you see that this woman has been alive for over two hundred years and she’s just taken the life of the man she loves more than anything, the man she sacrificed everything to possess. Why?

What should readers know before stepping into your world?

If you’re looking for a rich story that will captivate you from the first pages, I think you won’t be disappointed. It is adult fiction, however, and can be very dark. It looks at some difficult aspects of love, longing and human need. While there are aspects of the story that will appeal to YAs, The TAKER is intended for adult readers.

Are there any special events, panels or galleys you are looking forward to?

I intend to be all over the place at BEA! I’m hoping to squeeze in to listen to the editors’ buzz panel but I haven’t had time to thoroughly study the schedule yet. I’m also dropping in on the Backspace Writers conference, which is going on at the end of the week, and then to Balticon, the sci-fi/fantasy convention in Baltimore right after BEA, so it’s been a busy time for me.

Will this be your first time attending BEA or are you a veteran?  Any advice for those who are going for the first time?

I’ve been to two BEAs, once helping to man a booth for a friend with an indie press here in DC, and last year through Book Blogger Con, but snooping around as a newly-signed author. So I have no real expertise to offer, except to wear comfortable shoes and pay to ship those ARCs home.

Will you be doing an autograph signing at the expo? Any other fun stuff on your agenda?

I’m signing on 24 May at 11:00 in the autographing area (table lucky number 13!) and I hope everyone comes to get a copy of the ARC. I have some lovely swag to give away, too. My publisher is lining up a few other things like meetings with the press but I haven’t seen my schedule yet. I am really, really looking forward to Book Blogger Con on Friday!! I went last year to the first event and was completely blown away. A room full of people who just want to talk books and are so passion and down to earth – my idea of heaven. Through BBC last year I made some great friends and book blogs I read religiously, and I look forward to meeting more new friends this year.

What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?

The second book in the trilogy, The RECKONING, is about to go through revisions. I don’t think we have a US release date yet but it comes out in the UK in January 2012. I’ve started on the third book, The DESCENT. There are some short stories in the works, too. Aside from writing, I’m excited about receiving some custom jewelry I commissioned from Janet Cadsawan, the woman who has made jewelry for the Vampire Diaries, the Morganville Vampires and True Blood. There’s a piece of jewelry that plays an important part in The TAKER and Janet has recreated it for me to give as a special gift to my editors. I pick it up at BEA – can’t wait to see it!!

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