Cruxim (Paranormal Fallen Angel/Vampire Series)

I've got Karin Cox here today talking about writing and her latest release Cruxim... 

Can’t afford therapy? No problem, become a writer! 

I think most people would agree that writers are a weird bunch. No one knows that more than me, because, heck, I am a writer. But I’m also an editor, so I have to work with other writers, too, and that makes me fully qualified to tell you that writers are wonderful, hilarious, talented, imaginative, clever, sensitive, and quite insane people. Most of us really should be stretched out on a couch at least once a day, and I don’t mean for a nap in-between tapping out a few thousand words. I mean for a lobotomy, or at least a little psychoanalysis. However, I really think that the constant pecking thoughts in a writer’s brain and the swirl of emotions in a writer’s breast are critical to being an author. 
Authors see things differently to most people. They plumb the depths of human interaction and emotion. I don’t know many writers who have never wallowed in the snake pit of a broken heart or felt the paranoid bite of the black dog from time to time. I think perhaps the very desire to explore the world and its people, and to truly feel what others feel, makes writers a little more susceptible to maudlin, profound thought, which, in turn, makes them more than a little bit bonkers. 
Now, before you all start jumping up and down and saying, “This editor said writers are all mental. Stone her! One-star her books! Burn down her plantation! (which is probably made-up anyway),” I should clarify. “Writing mental” is a fabulous, hilarious, super-productive kind of jetpack-powered insanity that, while it can drop one into a seething pit of despair, also consists of moments of deluded grander and ridiculous “Cruxim is so amazing that I’m sure I’m going to be the next JK Rowling/Stephenie Meyer/Colleen Hoover/[insert name of next big superstar here]!” style optimism. The psychological afflictions that plague writers are rarely the kind of “I’ll hunt you down and boil your bunnies in molten batshit” mental—and thank goodness for that, although I knew there was a reason I don’t keep rabbits. “Writing mental” is the little voice on your shoulder that sometimes blows trumpets in your ear (or smoke up your bum, whichever you prefer) for your wondrous work and at other times berates you for being clichéd, or boring, or for being a genre writer of paranormal romance and therefore simply not as good as that Man-Booker-Prize-winning author ... Now, what was his name again...? Oh, it doesn’t matter; no one reads literary fiction anyway (she says, tongue in cheek). 
Writing insanity is a way to take all of your own personal little neuroses and peccadilloes and plot bunnies and vampire-eating angels and cobwebbed skeletons in haunted corners of your tatty little writer’s soul and put them on the page for others to gasp at, laugh at, cry over, or identify with. 
We’re nuts, but we’re working through it in our own cathartic manner by putting it all down on paper. We’re making little effigies of our nutty selves—or our friends and relatives (whom we haven’t seen for months because we’ve been writing), or our exes (because good things always happen to them in novels), or the man at the pizza shop, or the lady with the alligator purse at the mall—and we’re plunking them into times, worlds, relationships, and situations we’ve most likely never been in ourselves ... and then we’re hurting them. Slowly. And deliberately. 
Yes, we’re hurting them! Because all good writers know that conflict is king. Pain and need and trouble drive stories. Basically, we create people we love (and we hope you love them too), or people that we love to hate in the case of exes, and then we make life increasingly horrible for them. Then—just when you, us, and certainly they, can’t take any more—we sometimes deign to let them be happy. We let them find love, fulfil their quest, or attain their wildest dreams. And we feel good for a little while. We feel good because we’ve finally finished that damn novel and now those insistent voices in our head have vanished for a little while. Then we go back to our lonely little desks and we sit down, and we feel content. Then we wash down two Vicodin with vodka and we start again. Okay, I’m kidding ... I prefer wine.

What is Cruxim?
Amedeo is Cruxim, a mysterious, immortal fallen angel. Destined to seek redemption as a vampire hunter, he quenches his insatiable hunger on vampire blood. But when the object of his passion, the novice nun Joslyn, is turned into a vampire and enters a vampire coven, Amedeo's worlds collide. Shattered by the loss of his beloved, he vows to rid the world of vampires once and for all, even if it means destroying Josyln in the process.

A Paranormal Game of Cat and Mouse
Joining Amedeo on his quest to rid the world of the undead is Sabine. Half-woman, half-lioness, she is a Sphinx, a Guardian who has protected humans from vampires since the dawn of time. Yet Sabine comes to this fight pursued by her own enemies. An evil scientist, Dr. Claus Gandler, knows the secret of Sabine's mythological past, vowing to torment her for eternity or destroy her forever.

Immortal Ever After
Captured by the evil doctor, Amedeo and Sabine are paraded as sideshow freaks in the Circus of Curiosities. Only vampire Joslyn has the power to intercede. Will she prove Amedeo's redemption, or his destruction?

What attracted you to writing in the first place?
I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of writing is winning a poetry contest when I was in about fourth grade, so I was probably about eight or nine. With my (enormous) earnings, I bought a kite and I thought, Now this is a gig I could get used to. I still make about the same amount of money per annum.  
English was always my favorite subject at school, but when I applied for university, I listened to all the naysayers who said, “You’ll never get a job if you do an Arts degree.” So I enrolled in a Science degree in the hope of becoming a zoologist. Big mistake. 

Within a year, I’d transferred to a Bachelor of Arts to study English Literature, Communication Studies and Myth and Ancient Literature, which led to my career in editing and to my job as an inhouse author for an Australian publisher, rather ironically writing books about ... zoology and natural history! Writing has always been a natural state for me. I’m one of those people who jolts awake in the wee hours to scribble ideas in a notepad by my bed or to put them in “notes” on my iPhone. It’s cathartic, a necessary process of working through my own tumultuous thoughts and emotions. 
What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I haven’t yet settled into one genre, and I’m not sure that I will. Currently, I have literary fiction, paranormal romance, young adult dystopian, young adult fantasy, romance, a thriller novel, children’s fiction, and a heap of poetry all sitting in various stages of completion on my hard-drive. I also write non-fiction across many genres: social history, natural history, travel and children’s non-fiction. New Holland Publishers in Australia are just releasing two of my social history books for kids—Gold Rush and Settlement—this month, and another two will follow in April and two more in 2014. So it is anyone’s guess whether I will eventually pick one genre or whether I’ll keep sticking my fingers in a lot of pies (and potentially getting burned by some). 

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
My dad was always a writer, and my sister, too, so I think it is fair to say that writing runs in my family. They have always supported me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. I think that is the best gift parents can offer a child: belief in their dreams

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
Mostly, they just come to me. Usually at two in the morning when I’m trying to sleep—I am an insomniac. But I think every author weaves some of their own experiences or interests into their novels. Cruxim was such pure fantasy that it doesn’t have a great deal of the real “me” in there. I’ve never been a vampire, or in a freakshow (thank goodness), but I have been in a situation where I’ve felt like I was in love with two people before (and neither of them even knew about it), so I can relate to the feelings Amedeo experiences. 

Do you have any writing rituals or listen to “mood music” when you write? Where is your favorite place to write?
I get very absorbed in my world, so I prefer to write late at night, from 9 pm to 2 am. I like the silence then, when my kid and my partner are asleep and my imagination can run away with itself. The biggest writing ritual I have at present is a program called Write or Die. I’ve spent so many years editing that it can be hard for me to let go and just hammer out a first draft. Very hard. And I am a terrible procrastinator, so if I have to fact-check, I’ll spend an hour googling a place or an object for historical reference, even if it only appears for one line in the novel! I set Write or Die to kamikaze, which means it will start eating my words if I linger for too long, and I force myself to do 1000 words in an hour. Then, I later edit, research, fact-check and rewrite the heck out of it. It works for me. 
I write in a recliner in my living room, or on my deck overlooking the pool. 

What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
My bed. Good stuff happens there ... like sleep, and dreams. It smells and feels like home.  

Fame or fortune, which would you prefer? 
Fortune, hands down. I’m not remotely interested in fame. It seems like fame would come with too many downsides, particularly the kind of life-changing attention authors like Stephanie Meyer or JK Rowling have found. With fortune, I can spend my days writing, reading and learning, and I can use that money to help others. I don’t believe in being filthy mega rich. I think we would all like to be comfortable, but by world standards, I already feel very lucky. I live in Australia, I have food in my belly, I have a wonderful family, a roof over my head, a job. I am already blessed. If my writing could make me enough that my partner didn’t have to do the daily grind of working in construction and I could pay our mortgage and put food on the table with my words alone, that would make me a very happy girl indeed.
What was your favorite part of this book to write? Which part was the hardest?
My favorite parts to write were the love scenes, or what I see to be love scenes: when Joslyn’s love for Amedeo first becomes clear with the passionfruit scene; Amedeo and Danette, and what happens to her; and the scene where he tries to save Sabine from the burning tent. 
The hardest part was definitely writing the ending. I worried that some readers would be annoyed about what happened to some of the characters. But much more is explained in the sequel, which I am currently writing and which explains why things turned out that way. Amedeo might just discover that his upbringing isn’t as typical for a Cruxim as he thought it was.  

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I wanted to be the woman in the pink spangled tutu who did handstands on the back of horses in the circus. Despite some time devoted to practicing this on the back of my childhood Shetland pony, Mr. Ed, it appears I never quite got good enough. But there’s still time. 

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Probably still an editor. I’ve worked as an editor for fifteen years, and I still love it; however, I really want to focus on writing my own books for a little while now. 

If you could live inside the world of a book would you choose?
It would be Mary Renault’s The Bull from the Sea and The King Must Die. Ancient Greece. Cretan Bull Ring. Amazon women. But I’d also be pretty happy in Rivendell or Hobbiton.

Give your fans three fun facts that they may not already know about you.
I have two elbow creases on each arm, which sounds weirder than it looks (thankfully). 
I can ride a horse like a maniac when I get the chance, and I pretty much grew up on horseback. 
I adore cats. They can be cruel and selfish and self-absorbed, but they’re so darn cute and funny and deeply self-conscious at times. I can’t help it

Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?
Vanilla. I like the versatility. Add peaches. Add Milo. Add macadamia nuts. Add whatever topping you like. What’s not to like?

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Jimi Hendrix, Mary Renault, Dorothy Parker, CS Lewis, Lord Byron. 

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
My Kindle (loaded with books). My family. Water (It is a desert island, right? If it’s just a deserted island and it has a spring, replace water with wine)
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because it will make you think, and hurt, and understand that we all make mistakes and that things are often not how they first appear. 

So what’s next for you as an author? Any last words?
Next is the sequel to Cruxim, which I know many of my early readers are eagerly anticipating. I’m hoping to have it out by Easter, and it is tentatively titled Creche. It provides a lot more background into Amedeo’s past—background that even he was unaware of, and also into Sphinxes and the mythology surrounding them. So it explains a few incidents in the first book and why they panned out the way they did.
I’m also working on several other projects, some non-fiction, some fiction and some for children, and running my website for indie authors to find reviews, Indie Review Tracker. I’m always busy. If I only had a few more hours in each day (about twelve more a day would be great!) I could get a few more books out this year too. My book of short stories, Cage Life, is doing really well at present too, so I’d like to take some more time to do a few more shorts in 2013 as well. As for sleep, well ...

Cruxim is available from  You can find out more about Karin and her books at her website, Facebook, or Twitter


Thanks for sharing, Karin. And I totally hear you about the wine! 

Happy Reading!
Peace and Love   Black heart (cards) 
Sibel XX