Meet Karissa Laurel
I’ve worked with Red Adept for a few years as an author through its publishing house, Red Adept Publishing, which is the home of my urban fantasy series: The Norse Chronicles. When I decided to self-publish my novella, there was never a question that I would work with Red Adept Editing because the editors there had earned my absolute trust. I knew, firsthand, how excellent the editing staff was and how high quality their work was. Also, Red Adept Editing was a great value, and the pricing was competitive and often lower than what I found at other editing houses.
You’ve worked with RAP editors. What did you enjoy most about the process?
Content editing is so immersive. Success requires an editor and author to work in a partnership of trust and respect. Suzanne Warr and I hit it off right away. She was a mentor, teaching me things I was surprised I didn’t know as a writer and showing me how to look at my work from a different perspective. In some ways, we haven’t made that many changes to my books, but in other ways, the changes we did make were so impactful. They made the difference between publishing good book versus publishing a great one.
Kelly Reed’s attention to detail was outstanding. If you were refurbishing an old car, content editing would be banging out the dents and putting on new fenders and doors. Line editing is grinding off the rust and polishing the chrome. Kelly left not a spec of rust anywhere in my books, and he was easy to work with and had a great sense of humor.
Copy editing is focused on grammatical consistency and catching things like repetitive words or words used incorrectly (such as affect vs effect). Kim Husband’s professionalism and skill were outstanding. Her attention to detail made my novella into something on which I could proudly put my name.
This answer changes constantly based on the latest book to make my heart go pitter-patter, but Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman have always been my gold standard. I don’t try to write like them, per se, bu their mastery inspires me. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, and their ability to write amazingly rich and full characters makes me jealous. I’m dying to do a new urban fantasy series that makes me feel, while writing them, like their books make me feel while reading them.
Besides books, where do you get ideas for your writing?
Short answer: Everywhere. Movies, music (very often a song lyric gives me an idea), and real-world people. Lately, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to social issues and politics, and I can feel myself gravitating towards writing things with more social meaning, although my primary goal as a writer is always to entertain and have fun.
There’s a rumor that you like coffee—a lot. Are you more like to drink a latte or drink it black?
I like it any way I can get it in my mouth, and in an emergency, I will drink it black. My preference is good old drip coffee (or an Americano, if you want to be fancy about it) with a touch of cream and sweetener. I have a Bunn coffeemaker at home that makes a whole pot almost as fast as you can pour water into it. Those Keurig one-cup-at-a-time pods are inadequate for my needs.
Do you see yourself writing in any other genres one day?
I doubt I will ever write anything that doesn’t have some speculative quality about it. I’m happy to read other genres, but my soul wants magic, even if that magic is spaceships that don’t yet exist. I have written (and am still working on) a YA fantasy series that is more traditional “epic” fantasy. I also adore steampunk and have written some short stories in that genre. This summer, I have a short story coming out in a science fiction anthology, but I suspect my primary love will always be urban fantasy.
You have some great covers. Who does your cover work?
I feel like I have won the book cover lottery on most of my projects. For my Norse Chronicles books, I had the pleasure of working with Streetlight Graphics [http://www.streetlightgraphics.com/]. They do amazing things with book covers. In fact, the cover of Midnight Burning won a best cover of the year award from InD’tale Magazine in 2016. For my novella, Moonlight Falling, I worked with Kat Mellon Writing and Design (aka KatMakesThings on Etsy) [https://www.etsy.com/shop/katmakesthings?ref=l2-shopheader-name], and she was very nice and professional. I would definitely work with her again.
I work full time for a small state agency in a legal field. I also have a teenage son who attends an on-line school from home, and that requires a lot of support and oversight from me. When I’m not doing those things, I’m reading, going to flea markets, and walking my dog (a big hairy husky named Bonnie). When I get the rare chance, I love to go skiing. I was a cook in a previous career, so you’ll often find me and my husband in the kitchen together. We have secret dreams of having a food truck. My son and I are huge geeks and love many fandoms, and we go to comic conventions together. He lets me make costumes for him. I’d love to devote more time to cosplay, but maybe when I retire.
What advice would you give to a new author?
Have patience, persistence, and a small stubborn streak. Seek mentorship and relationships with other writers and authors and find opportunities to grow and learn. Never stop challenging yourself to get better. Do whatever it takes to keep your fire going, but let it burn on low so you don’t burn out too fast. For most of us, the road to publishing is long and steep. Pace yourself and find friends who’ll climb that hill with you.
Where can readers find you?
Amazon profile page: amazon.com/author/karissalaurel