Kristi Charish on publication paths, genre writing & her drink of choice…

Owl CoverWe are so excited to welcome Kristi Charish to the Ball this week! Her debut, OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS, hits shelves January 13th and is the first of an urban fantasy series about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. A modern Indiana Jane? Yes, please! Here’s the blurb: 

Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

Now, here’s a little more about Kristi and her book — in her own words — including advice for writers and what she has coming up next:

The road to publication is twisty at best–tell us about some of your twists.

Other authors are going to hate this but the twist and turn of my publication story was how shockingly smooth it went.

  1. Wrote and finished Owl and the Japanese Circus
  2. Decided I wanted to take a crack at querying agents. Wrote up a letter, got a list of agents who represented authors I liked, and emailed a batch of them.
  3. Heard back from Carolyn Forde (who represents Ian Hamilton, one of my favorites), and a manuscript request and phone call later I had representation.
  4. A few months later Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket US bought my manuscript and the sequel.

That was an unusual experience. That my second series sale went about as smoothly is also not what is supposed to happen. My path to publication is not an accurate representation of how getting published is supposed to go and as a result I’m sure I now have unrealistic expectations. What is the take away? The publishing world has a lot of patterns but next to no rules. Everyone’s path to publication is going to be different.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

The first piece of advice for aspiring writers is that your chances of getting published aren’t nearly so doom and gloom as people make it out to be. The good news is that every agent and editor out there is desperate to find their next favorite book. The trick is, you need to get to the point where you have a book to shop around.

There is only one way to do this. Write. Sit thee ass down at your desk and write. If you can’t work up the enthusiasm or self discipline to write whenever you have the time this might not be the career path for you. Once you get published it only gets harder (think promotion, articles, websites, deadlines…).

An author who’s workshops and advice letter I follow, David Farland, tells a story of a couple of workshop’s he’d give at the genre conventions. The first was on creating Million Dollar Outlines and the second was an actual workshop to help improve writing of participants…the million dollar outlines workshop was packed, and the actual writers workshops were empty. Aspiring writers were trying to figure out how to sell their work before they’d even written it. Writing doesn’t work like that. You need to write the book before you can sell it.

And when you get so tired of writing you can’t bring yourself to put another word on the page?

Read. Same rules need apply.

What’s your next big thing?

In the OWL series I’ve already finished and handed in the second book, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, so that is on the publishing horizon for next year but the heavy lifting is all done.

However, I just signed a second series deal with another publisher. It is also urban fantasy (it involves zombies and ghosts) and there are three books scheduled to start, and the first book is set to be released in May 2016!

If you were a drink (preferably alcoholic), what would you be and why?

I think I’m obligated by universal writerly laws to say a Corona with lime …and maybe add a shot of tequila in there for good measure. As to why? That has to do with the book — readers of OWL will get it pretty quick.

Have you ever tried writing in a different genre? How did that turn out?

There was an attempt–there may be more in the future. When I sat down to write OWL I actually had my heart set on NOT writing genre fiction. I’d just read Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee and loved it. I was determined to write a mystery about a NORMAL thief…

That lasted roughly 30 pages, when I realized I’d accidently written a dragon into the novel…at that point I just kind of said to hell with normal and went with urban fantasy. 🙂

Thank you, Kristi, for stopping by!

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by Noon (EST) on Friday, January 9th to enter to win a copy of OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (paperback or e-book). Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!

About Kristi:

Kristi FB HSKristi is the author of a forthcoming urban fantasy series OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (January 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release January 2016.

Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists. Follow Kristi on Twitter and Facebook.



Author: Karma Brown

Karma Brown is the author of COME AWAY WITH ME (MIRA/Harlequin, September 2015), an emotional story of one woman’s discovery that life is still worth living, even if it’s not the life you planned. Karma is also a National Magazine award-winning journalist, and lives outside Toronto, Canada, with her family and their mischievous labradoodle puppy, Fred.

4 Replies to “Kristi Charish on publication paths, genre writing & her drink of choice…”

  1. Congratulations on your debut! I’m not a Corona fan (I prefer Arrogant Bastard ale…but that’s probably a personality statement as much as anything else) but as a fellow author of books set in Japan/Asia, I’m delighted to see more Japanese-themed fiction hitting the shelves. Nice to meet you through the ball!

    1. Thanks Susan! Oooo, Arrogant Bastard Ale- will have to try that. Another secret favorite for me is Delirium (Belgium I believe). Nice to meet you too!

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