Guest Post: Karen Duvall!

Hi folks! Today we’ve got a special guest, Karen Duvall. Karen and I are agency sisters, we’re both with McIntosh and Otis. Karen was also very kind to me when I was on submission with Tempest Rising, and asking all sorts of silly questions in Absolute Write’s Purgatory. So it’s with great happiness that I host her here, as she debuts her latest urban fantasy novel, Knight’s Curse. Stay tuned for a contest opportunity at the end of this post.

The Versatility of Urban Fantasy

Do you remember the first urban fantasy you ever read? It may not have been labeled urban fantasy at the time, but I bet you liked it. A lot. I know I did. And I wanted to read as much of it as I could get my hands on.

What’s so great about this subgenre of fantasy is that it’s versatile. You get your fairies and elves or your vampires and witches, and you can have your urban setting with all its contemporary trappings, too. Talk about imagination. Wow, there are so many combinations of the weird and wonderful that the possibilities are endless.

This is what drew me to writing the genre. My head is filled with strangeness most of the time anyway, and to pour it into a story within a world of my own making is like paradise for me. Combining real emotions and familiar situations with the fantastic couldn’t be more satisfying.

That’s how Chalice was born.

Chalice is the heroine of KNIGHT’S CURSE, the first book in my urban fantasy trilogy being published by Harlequin Luna. She’s not so magical as she is powerful by virtue of super human senses that enable her to be an awesome thief. Chalice doesn’t even like magic, at least not at first. She’s kidnapped by a sorcerer and forced to steal cursed and charmed artifacts. She’s a different kind of urban fantasy heroine with an unusual sort of problem. She’s bonded to a homicidal gargoyle as a way for her kidnapper to keep her in line. She can be a slave, or she can die. Her choice. And there are times when death seems the better option.

It’s her ancestry that intrigued me when I began writing the first book. The story sprang from Chalice’s heritage and the mythology I created to go with it. She’s descended from an order of female knights who fought in the Crusade Wars of the eleventh century. All the knights had special talents because they were the progeny of angels, and that gave them an edge over the enemy. They kept the knighthood strong over the centuries by mating with their guardian angels to procreate new knights for the order.

Chalice is adverse to magic because she blames it for everything bad that’s happened in her life, yet she’s forced to confront it every day. Magic is all around her, in nearly everything she touches, even in the man she falls in love with.

I had great fun putting Chalice in harm’s way every chance I got because I knew she would learn from the experience and use it to her advantage. Which she does. The second book explores her knighthood of sisters and the danger that comes close to exterminating them all. The third and final book takes Chalice on a perilous journey that seals a circle of trust, family and love. From the beginning, magic is the constant glue that holds everything together.

If you could create an urban fantasy, or have one custom made just for your reading pleasure, what would make it different from other books on store shelves? How would you make it special?

Thanks Karen! What a great post. And now I’d like to do a contest for Karen. The prize will be any two mass market paperbacks of your choice that are available on Amazon (totaling about $15, or the equivalent in your country’s money). You can enter by answering Karen’s question. You can also earn extra points by reviewing Karen’s debut on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, etc (one point for each entry); adding Karen on FB and Twitter (one point each);  and/or by adding me on FB or Twitter (one point each). Just be sure to add up your entries for me, as i’m no good at math. ;-)

The Contest Can will pick a wiener in two weeks, on October 14th, to give you reviewers a chance to read and write. Buen suerte!

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11 Responses to “Guest Post: Karen Duvall!”


  • Urban Fantasy offers so many possibilities that it is hard to pin down just one wish.

    I want to see more magic, complete with dire consequences for over use and mis-use.

    I want to see the hero and heroine pushed beyond what they thought possible, yet they triumph in the end.

    Make them work for their Happy Ever After, which may well be just a Happy End of the Novel.

    I hope for settings that will make we wish I could live in them, even if only to be closer to the action.

    Special? Give me characters who will draw me in and make me care so much that I miss them whenever I am forced to put down the book. Characters who draw me back, again and again, book after book, to escape from the realities of life for a few hours every time I meet them.

  • Hey, Laurel, that sounds like the perfect recipe for a successful UF novel! Or for any novel, actually. Thanks for commenting. :)

  • Actually, I was just thinking I was in the mood for an UF heroine that wasn't particularly magical… off to pick up Knight's Curse tomorrow :) I think I'd like to see more UF that builds on non-european/american mythologies, if I were to write one I think I'd like to aim for that.

  • Woot! That's awesome, Yveva. I hope you enjoy the book. :)

  • This book sounds great!

    …I'd really just love to read an Urban Fantasy novel that involves a girl in a magical fantasy-based world but she's there without that magical aspect. A book where it feels like it could really be you in there, a "normal human" stuck inside a total fantasy.

  • Jennifer, I like that. I've always enjoyed the fish-out-of-water type stories. The character is in trouble at the get-go and has to rely on her smarts to get herself out of it. Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Well speaking as an aspiring writer, I'm trying to make my UF world seem normal yet be filled with the supernatural. The general public doesn't know they exist and think it's all a joke if someone says he's a vampire! What with UF being so popular these days it would sort of tease itself at times.

    My (first) heroine is someone I hope is relatable to readers. She's the average gal of sorts yet has a connection with the supernatural. She's full of snark and attitude, trying to survive the situations she's thrown into!

  • Sounds like a great concept for a UF, Jessica. I wish you the best of luck! :)

  • I'd want my ideal UF world to involve people who are not stereotypical heroes and villains. Not all of the good guys and gals would/should be gorgeous and in amazing physical condition. And not all of the bad guys and gals should be so very bad that we cannot feel some sort of empathy for them.

  • Not sure if I'm too late to enter the contest, but I thought I'd chime in if only because it's a great question.

    For me, the best thing about the UF genre is the way characters struggle with the moral implications of their magical powers. With vampires, werewolves, magicians, etc., you've already got a fascinating internal conflict right from the get go, on top of kick-ass plots and world-building that characterize the UF genre.

    I could do without the impossible beauty and perfect bodies of some heroines. I'm not saying they need to be described as ugly, it would just be nice if plots didn't hinge on people treating the heroine well **only** because she's beautiful. A little more variety across the genre wouldn't hurt.

    I especially love UF where the heroine/hero is discovering a new world for the first time, and the excitement of finding out mundane things are secretly magical. But then again, there's nothing like being knee deep into a series with fantastic world building. Best escapism ever.

    So, uh, yeah, I guess I'm a bit UF fan girl. Squee?

    Sadly, I don't blog or review anywhere, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading Knight's Curse!

  • I love the UF where all of the magic is blended into society. You have all the extra complications of how do you make vamps & weres into everyday life – what are the rules? Plus – I'd love to see more gay heroines. There definitely seems to be a lack of them out there, and it would be nice to see everyone represented.

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