Fire and Ice is thrilled to have urban fantasy author Karen Mahoney with us today in this exclusive interview where she shares a deleted scene from the Iron Witch!
Where did the inspiration for the Iron Witch and your interest in alchemy come from? So the inspiration for The Iron Witch came from a variety of things:
– The desire to write a sort of modern version of The Handless Maiden folklore (those tales, also called ‘The Armless Maiden,’ aren’t so well known, but there are a ton of different narratives around the world). I actually wrote an essay about this in the back of the book called, “The Girl With Silver Hands,” so I’ll let people read that if they get hold of the book, to find out more. 🙂
– There were also a couple of dreams (I know it’s a bit of a cliche!). One of a girl being chased by screaming monsters, and the other of a wingless boy.
– And yes, then there’s the alchemy. I’ve been interested in alchemy for about 6 years, since I discovered some books about it an occult bookstore I used to work in. If you want to know more, I wrote a guest post about it here: http://vampirebookclub.net/karen-mahoney-guest-post-giveaway-alchemy-in-the-iron-witch/
Tell us more about the armless maiden.
I am going to cheat and send you to this post I wrote for author John Scalzi’s blog, ‘Whatever’: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/02/10/the-big-idea-karen-mahoney/ 🙂 This sums up a lot of my thoughts, which you can see more of in the essay I wrote for the back of The Iron Witch, but I’d also like to say that I wish there were MORE retellings of The Armless Maiden in contemporary/paranormal literature. Especially YA, as it’s such a feminist story at heart – I think it carries a cool message for girls and young women, in terms of regaining their power and fighting their own battles.
What sources did you draw from for your myth and faerie lore?
Honestly? Although I’ve read a LOT about faeries and that kind of lore (inc. classics, like books written by Katharine Briggs), my particular fey creatures in The Iron Witch came from some particularly dark corners of my imagination. 😉 I really enjoyed creating the wood elves, but they’re not really based on one piece of folklore or mythology. There’s a little bit of Norse mythology in there, I suppose – I did read up on Norse elves, but mine are very different.
Favorite all-time books?
Goodness… what a hard question! Okay, I’ll try: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), in fact, anything by the Brontes, I love all of their books and used to be pretty obsessed with them; The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell); Tithe (Holly Black); Ink Exchange (Melissa Marr); Sleeping in Flame (Jonathan Carroll); the Hunter Kiss series by Marjorie M. Liu; The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant (Sarah Rees Brennan); The Sandman comics/graphic novels by Neil Gaiman; Bleeding Violet (Dia Reeves); etc. etc. I could go on!
This is a good one… Okay, I’ll give you a deleted scene from The Iron Witch. This is a small snippet from a VERY early draft (so please excuse it being rough and unedited) when I was playing around with the idea of having some scenes from Navin’s POV. In the end, we decided to go just go with Donna’s, but this is from after Nav’s been taken by the dark elves and he’s thinking back to how they captured him:
Navin allowed the rhythm of his breathing to comfort him, as he thought back to those confused moments on the footpath.
He had been cycling full-out along the alleyway’s uneven pavement, enjoying the bumpy ride and the cold wind tickling his hair around his face, tucking himself down low over the handlebars of his bike. The next thing he knew he was slammed from the right—sort of from above him—and he and his bike practically flew into the brick wall on the other side of the alley. He tried to twist his body away from the impact, managing to save his shoulder and head, but his legs got tangled up with the bike meaning that his left leg was crushed between metal and wall.
Do you have a playlist for the books? I’m afraid I tend to write without music, but I will say that The Wood Queen (book 2) was an exception and large parts of it were written to The Pierces. I love The Pierces! 🙂
Thank you very much for the great questions. It was a pleasure to answer them!