We have a Winner of the Wilds Side!

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Thanks to everyone who commented on the blog posts for Kat Kruger‘s final book in the Magdeburg Trilogy The Night is Found.

We have a winner and it is Rami Ungar! Congrats Sir, you will be receiving an email from the publishers very soon to arrange getting your e-copy of the trilogy. I hope you love it!

Q&A with Kat Kruger

TNIF-BLOGTOUR-V1This is your SECOND CHANCE to enter the contest to WIN an e-copy of Kat Kruger‘s Magdeburg Trilogy – ALL THREE BOOKS people – so comment below and get automagically entered!

Kat Kruger!
Kat Kruger!

This is my Q&A with the fabulous author:

Q: Coming out of The Night has Claws, there were a lot of open questions, and a lot of stunning revelations, how did you even approach book three in the Magdeburg Trilogy?

A: The Night Is Found was by far the biggest challenge to write of all the books in the series. I had to tie up all the loose ends and address any unanswered questions from the previous two books. As a pantser (as in fly by the seat of your pants) kind of writer, it was terrifying! That said, there were a few things that helped guide me. The first was a loose outline. I had the general plot points, new characters, and story arc going into this book. The rest was all about filling in the blanks. It also helped to have some trusted beta readers and an editor who pointed out areas that didn’t quite work in earlier drafts and asked some much needed questions.

Since it’s the last book in the series I felt all of it had to be bigger, better, faster. Everything in the first two books had been working toward this point. At the same time there had to be So. Much. Closure. I was an emotional wreck by the end of it.

The Night Is Found takes place about four months after The Night Has Claws. One of the missteps I made in an early draft was trying to pick up right where the previous book left off (which is what I was able to pull off with the sequel to The Night Has Teeth). It simply didn’t work in this case. It read like the print version of one of those movie montages where the hero is shown training in martial and weapons art, set to some upbeat music. Cue: “Eye of the Wolf” maybe? I cut all that and started right in the midst of a quest of sorts.

Q. Connor has had to confront a lot of emotional truths for a kid his age – how are you getting into his teenage mind (you’re doing it well!)?

A: Thank you! And also: damn it all(!) because this is a hard question to answer after so many years of writing in first person for Connor. I’m not going to be weird and say anything like “I no longer know where Connor starts and I begin.” It’s not that. At all. It’s just hard to pinpoint how his voice started. If I think back to it, part of it probably had a lot to do with being immersed in YA books. I also practically live online so that really helps, as does the ability to fall into the rabbit hole that is Tumblr. That’s all observational, I guess.

 From the real life experiential side of things, when I started writing the series I had a niece who was around Connor’s age who was going through the whole “trying to figure out who you are” thing. It brought back a lot of my own insecurities from when I was a teen and I sort of tapped into that. I suppose it’s a matter of taking that spark of memory and just coaxing it into a new voice.

Look at this GORGEOUS cover!
Look at this GORGEOUS cover!

I wouldn’t say it was an easy task, not at first. In all honesty it took me nine drafts of The Night Has Teeth (Book One) and several rounds of beta readers before I was comfortable enough to send it to an editor. Writing from his teen perspective got easier with each book though. I got down to maybe two or three drafts before sending the other books off for editing. I suppose all that hard work early on paid off in the end!

Q: I compare Connor’s growth from loner smart kid to confident leader to Aragorn’s growth from The Fellowship of the Ring to Return of the King in the LOTR series – how did you plan and execute that?

A: Be still my geek girl heart! I’m very happy you picked up on that. My lovely editor Allister Thompson — I suppose I have to say our lovely editor since we’re sharing — said of my second book that it was the Two Towers of my trilogy so I will totally take the Return of the King reference from you too.

I think the story of the hero who rises seemingly from nothing is one that fascinates a lot of people. We like to cheer for the underdog because they turn adversity into advantage. Connor was born an outsider, a lone wolf, and it’s not until he finds himself among his own kind that he’s given the opportunity to shine.

Part of the story arc in each book was absolutely supposed to show his growth from loner smart kid to confident leader. In book one he was pulled in many different directions which confused him quite a lot, and he was gullible at times because of his inexperience. Just making new friends was a big deal to him.

In book two he started asking more questions about the world he found himself in, and all the players in it. He stood up for Arden when nobody else would, and he stood up for himself against Daniel. Ultimately he makes an informed decision to join a pack.

When Connor found himself thrust into a leadership role in the final book my first thought was that he had to be made in the image of his own heroes — Luke Skywalker on his mission to Jabba’s Palace or Aragorn calling to arms the Dead Men of Dunharrow. In The Night Is Found Connor asserts himself, makes hard decisions, owns up to his mistakes and learns from them. At the same time, he’s still just a young man going on 18 so there are moments of lingering self-doubt.

By the time the epilogue comes along, I think he’s really found himself. Even Amara can’t disarm him anymore. It’s all part of the natural progression of the hero, I think.

4. The American werewolves were an awesome addition – any chance you’re considering a spin-off with Ben or Marrock?

First I have to thank my friend Ben Boudreau for letting me borrow his first name! I promised to use it with great care.

In answer to your question, I’ve always had it in mind to write a set of graphic novel prequels as companions to the series, expanding on the background of the secondary characters before Connor entered their lives. In Marrock’s case he was actually pulled from Arthurian lore (with a variant name spelling). Sir Thomas Mallory wrote this single line in Le Morte D’Arthur, “Sir Marrok, the good knight that was betrayed with his wife, for she made him seven year a werewolf.” I liked the idea of taking an ancient knight with this story of betrayal, and putting him in a modern scenario as an NYPD captain.

Beyond the graphic novel prequels, it was never my intention to carry on with the series though. That said, the American werewolves were just so much fun to write. With every draft I grew more and more fond of them. And then several months ago there was a bit of science that crossed my newsfeed that could have applications in this world of the Magdeburg werewolves…

Let’s just say I wouldn’t discount a spin-off at some point.

5. I love the epilogue and getting a bit of a view into Arden’s family, but what about Connor and Madison? Can you tell us where they ended up in your head?

A: That epilogue was in my head for a long time — well before I even started thinking about this final book. Even in this scene, I think it’s clear that I’m a firm believer in the idea that happiness is what you make it. You carve it out of your circumstances.

As for Connor and Madison, *SPOILER ALERT* I made a very conscious effort to leave their relationship open-ended. It always sounds really funny to me when I say this but the way I approached writing the series (yes, the one about werewolves) was from the perspective of a realist. As in “could this actually happen in real life?”

A lot of paranormal YA romances end with the two teens together forever. To me that doesn’t reflect the reality that people change, sometimes in ways that make them incompatible. I know, I know. How terribly un-romantic of me! Even Allister, our brilliant editor, wanted to know of their fate in one of the drafts. So I told him that I didn’t really believe that high school-aged sweethearts should always ride off into the sunset. He corrected me and said, “Teen wolves brought together by fate, you mean.”

After some thought I did rewrite the last scene between Connor and Madison to what it is now, and we believed that was a satisfactory middle ground. In the end I really want readers to envision where these two end up. Whatever version of happily-ever-after Connor and Madison have … that left my control once I stopped typing.

Review: The Night is Found

TNIF-BLOGTOUR-V1This is your FIRST CHANCE (of two) to enter the contest to WIN an e-copy of Kat Kruger‘s Magdeburg Trilogy – ALL THREE BOOKS people – so comment below and get automagically entered!

Backcover:

When they tried to kill a prince, they made a king

In the aftermath of his pack leader’s assassination Connor Lewis is ready to take control. Rodolfus de Aquila’s plan before he died was to unite the European werewolf packs against their common enemies: the Hounds of God who make the laws and enforce them ruthlessly with questionable motives, and the Luparii, an intergovernmental group of werewolf hunters now bent on the extermination of his kind. The uneasy alliance between these two factions has fallen apart, and now a battle wages leaving the pack werewolves scrambling to escape bio-chemical warfare on one side, and total domination on the other.

After hearing rumors of a union between the American packs Connor returns with Amara to his home city of New York to learn how to bring the Old World packs together. Werewolf society in the New World has taken a very different course from that of Europe, but when Connor meets the American leaders he begins to question if their ways are, in fact, the path forward.

A world away from Madison, Arden, and all those that he is trying to protect, Connor must discover the secret to uniting and leading the packs under one final charge, or else risk extinction for their entire species in the epic conclusion to The Magdeburg Trilogy.

I’m going to start this review by saying that the ending of The Night has Claws left me with two distinct feelings: the reader in me was desperate to get my hands on the final book in the trilogy ASAP – “You can’t leave me like this!”

The writer in me was worried on Kat Kruger’s behalf because it seemed like such a feat ahead of her to try and wrap up all the story lines in just ONE more book. Maybe the book would have to be like the last Potter and be triple the size of the first. <Spoiler alert – I asked this question of Kat for our Q&A and here is a bit of her answer >

“Since it’s the last book in the series I felt all of it had to be bigger, better, faster. Everything in the first two books had been working toward this point. At the same time there had to be So. Much. Closure. I was an emotional wreck by the end of it.” –  Kat Kruger

Andruil: the blade that was broken

Coming out of Book 2 (my review of it is here btw), Aquila has been killed by a Lupari bullet that was aimed at Connor, leaving our young  hero as the leader of the pack. Much like Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Connor has his crown thrust upon him and has to use this last book to grow into the man his pack needs him to be.

Book 3 picks up four months later with Connor reliving those last moments with Roul on-board the learjet his has inherited along with the responsibility to lead the packs.

Connor and Amara are on their way to America to learn what they can about the wolf packs there, hoping they can bring back that learning to extinguish the feud in Europe between the Hounds and the Luparii.

I have to say that if Kruger meant for me to really not like the Founders she did a great job of writing them as unlikeable. Esrin I am not supposed to like (and trust me, I do not) but even Marrock stayed on the unlikeable side of the scale to me. The American werewolves I LOVED though were the Wilds, especially Ben, who I think could make a cool central character for future books.

Meanwhile, Maddy forces her way onto Arden’s European road-trip, which allows for some much needed character development. For the longest time I felt like Maddy (and often Amara) were only in scenes where feelings and boyfriends were talked about, but in this last book, Maddy is all action, and I love it. We finally get to hear about Amara’s past, and it’s equally action-packed and awesome.

Look at this GORGEOUS cover!
Look at this GORGEOUS cover!

Connor continues to evolve emotionally and really grows into the leader who was hinted at all the way back in The Night has Teeth, and it happens so gradually, and with such skill of pen, that you don’t even really notice until he stands up and takes confident control of scene after scene. The ending wraps everything up in terms of the war that has been going on between the werewolves in Europe, but it is the Epilogue that I know true Madgdeburg fans are going to relish. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but getting that little look at the happily-ever-after of your favourite characters is the sweetest thing. Thanks very much to Kat Kruger for opening this world up to us all and restoring this girl’s faith in the werewolf genre.

TOMORROW I will be posting my Q&A with Kat Kruger – so stay tuned!!

You can pre-order The Night is Found here!

NB: I received an arc copy of The Night is Found from Fierce Ink Press.

We have a winner!

Karen of http://inasmallcompass.wordpress.com/ is the winner of the e-copy of Kat Kruger’s The Night Has Claws!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and don’t worry – this is not your only chance to get your paws on a book in the Magdeburg Trilogy.

The final book in the series – The Night is Found – comes out July 22nd, and I am lucky enough to be participating in that blog tour as well ! So stay tuned my friends – you will have a chance at other furry prizes in the near future!

Last day to enter to win a copy!

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rafflecopterIt’s your last chance to enter to win a copy of Kat Kruger’s The Night has Claws, and it couldn’t be easier: either comment below OR enter the Rafflecopter giveaway ———————>

(Yes the link takes you to Rafflecopter, but it’s a WordPress glitch – it still enters you as many times as you engage!)

And if you comment below you are ALSO entered to win by the way.

You can read my Review of The Night has Claws + my Q&A with the author here.

 

 

Things that go ‘bump’ in the night Blog Tour

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We have a special furry treat for the blog today – I’m the next stop on Kat Kruger’s blog tour for Book two in her Magdeburg Trilogy: The Night has Claws. The books are available on Kat’s website!

REVIEW:

Up until recently, my favourite werewolf stories were a very short list: Oz from Buffy, Michael J. Fox’s Teen Wolf and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

Kat Kruger
It’s Kat Kruger!    photo credit: Edmund Lewis

 

That was until I read Kat Kruger’s Magdeburg Trilogy.

Please scroll down to read the Q&A with the author AND enter the rafflecopter draw for an e-copy of The Night has Claws.

Where the first book in the series The Night has Teeth spent a lot of time introducing us to the main characters and setting up the concept of modern-day werewolves in Paris, this second book throws us into a scene of death and intrigue in the first few lines.

Everything you thought you knew and every person you thought you had identified as being on one side or the other of our awesome protagonist Connor has been thrown out the window. Relationships that were as solid as stone fracture apart and we, along with Connor, have no idea who we can trust.

There is a combination of science and theology fighting for our attention as readers and for the loyalty of the werewolves in the trilogy that reminds me a little of Robert Langdon’s adventures as written by Dan Brown. Blood is key and blood will drive this story all the way to the end I think.

I love the development of the characters we’ve been following since book one, especially that of Connor, Maddy and Arden. I find Arden’s struggle to adjust to being a normal human so well-written and his pain sizzles off the page like a raw nerve ending. Maddy, who I will admit, I didn’t like very much in book one, is growing on me as more of her history is drawn out and she too seems to mature over the course of the book. Then there is Connor who is so conflicted by these shifting loyalties but still managing to grow into the hero I anticipate he will need to be before this trilogy culminates. Actually, my only complaint is that I’d like to understand more of Josh’s motivations.

I don’t want to spoil anything (any more than I may have!) but the whole trial and courtroom scene is killer and sets us up for the third book that promises to be dramatic, bloody and I personally CANNOT WAIT.

Q & A

Kat was kind enough to answer my toothsome (read book one in the trilogy if you don’t get that witticism!) questions below:

AND be SURE to enter the RaffleCopter contest at the bottom of the page for your chance to win a copy of the book!

Question 1: Kat, you left off in book one of this series in such a crucial juncture. I have to ask, did you write an outline for your trilogy and then slice where you thought was appropriate for each book?
First, thanks for having me as a guest on you blog! Second, that would have been genius! Alas, no. I’m a “pantser” kind of writer (as in fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants) so things like strict outlines are a foreign concept to me. I work with a 1-2 page synopsis so I know generally what needs to happen but the “how” is a bit more organic. The second last chapter in The Night Has Teeth was actually the first piece I wrote in the series (in a much foggier sort of way). Without spoiling it, I’ll just say the original scene was of a black she-wolf standing over a grave. At the time I had no sweet clue who was in the grave and had to work toward that. Whereas the ending for The Night Has Claws didn’t come to me until I was about halfway through writing the first draft. It’s not *as* scatterbrained as it sounds. There are definite plot points laid out, goals if you will, that I have to meet in each book. And the major ideas are flagged ahead of time. I just don’t get there in a completely linear way. Each book has its own story arc with elements that need to be tied up, but they also represent a bigger story arc within the trilogy where some issues carry over into the other books.

Question 2: The werewolf mythology has been in dire need of a reboot since a certain terrible sparkly vampire movie, but you have taken the mythos in a whole new direction – can you share with us where your ideas come from?

I’ve long been a fan of the classic monsters. Give me Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula any day. To see werewolves relegated to the role of shirtless hunks is a bit … irksome. My goal was first and foremost to return lycanthropes to their more fearsome state. But I also wanted to add something new to the genre. My ideas are all steeped in scientific research. I watched a lot of TED Talks, read articles from The Leakey Foundation and National Geographic, listened to Radiolab. Sometimes ideas come from my Facebook feed from the science pages I follow. A friend recently sent me this great link where Neil Gaimen talks about the creative process. Essentially it boils down to the ability to see a confluence of ideas and ask questions like “What happens if a werewolf bites … a goldfish?” For the world of the Magdeburg werewolves I took science and mashed it up with existing mythology to create something based in reality rather than fantasy. I also blended in a bit of politics and history to give more of an illusion that this world could actually exist.

The Night has Teeth and The Night has Claws!
The Night has Teeth and The Night has Claws!
Question 3: Who are Connor and Madison based on? People in your life?

So, someone *cough*sister*cough* told me that Madison was me in my late-teens, early-twenties. Red-hair, tattoo, vanilla perfume, march-to-the-beat-of-your-own drum personality and fashion sense. I was in that phase of trying to figure out my identity as a grown-up and I was probably pretty obnoxious in testing out my limitations. I think it explains why I find writing her chapters so easy. That said, I think Connor is a bit of me and a bit of my husband. Fictional teen son maybe? I certainly identify with Connor the geeky gamer, the introvert who’s coming out of his shell in spite of being socially awkward at times. Of course, when I was writing the series at the start I didn’t really think I was drawing from people in my real life let alone from my own personality!

Question 4: What are your favourite werewolf stories?

Hands down when it comes to books my faves are Bitten by Kelley Armstrong and the Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater (Sinner is coming out this summer!!!). I also have to give a hat tip to the “Wolf of Magdeburg” story which inspired my own series. In terms of movies, you can’t really beat An American Werewolf in London, but I also loved Dog Soldiers. In writing this down I just realized that for books I lean toward werewolves who turn into wolves and for movies I prefer the half-beast, half-man monsters. Weird. Oh, but for TV the best has been Being Human (both BBC and SyFy).

rafflecopterQuestion 5: How did you do such an incredible job of transporting us (the readers) to Paris? I was amazed by the detail.

Aw, thanks for saying so. I adore Paris. When writing the trilogy there was no question that it would take place in that city. It’s kind of my love l
etter to Paris (if love letters can include lycanthropes). Part of the details came from personal experience. I took one “research” trip just to sit around at cafés and visit specific sites. The rest came from Google Maps street view and other virtual tours. For example, Père Lachaise Cemetery has a great website for exploring the grounds. For the scenes that took place underground or in restricted areas, I left that to the urban spelunkers who blog about their explorations. Because the series takes place in a real city I felt it was important to adequately research the locations in order to bring them to life for the reader.

Question 6: What can we expect from the final <sniff> book in the trilogy (or what can you tell us ; )   ?

As the trilogy has progressed, the stakes have kept getting higher so by the final book you’re going to see a fair bit more danger. Connor returns to New York to track down the American pack and seek out their help. Madison gets tangled up with the Hounds again. I’ve got snipers, a mo
torcycle chase, a robot inspired by Big Dog, wolf parkour, and guerilla warfare in an abandoned outskirt of Paris. There’s also a lot of closure. That gave me the sads, knowing that I’m saying goodbye to all these characters who have been with me for so many years. All in all, I hope it’s both an epic yet satisfying end to the series.

BONUS QUESTION: Who would play Connor in the movie version of this trilogy?
He’s a few years older than Connor now but my first pick would be Logan Lerman. I think Liam James would be a great choice also.

Thanks for the awesome questions!