Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi. Thanks for having me today, Fiona. My name is Karen McFarland. I write under the pen name K. M. McFarland. As for my age, let’s just say I’m young enough to appreciate Bruno Mars and old enough to remember the Beatles.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised on the Florida beaches. I’ve been living in New Orleans and dodging hurricanes since I was in middle school, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Fiona: A little about yourself
I live in the New Orleans area close enough to the French Quarter to be there in a few minutes, but far enough away to enjoy some peace and quiet. I enjoy roaming the French Quarter’s bars, music clubs, Voodoo shops, and art galleries researching my next book and spending time with my kids, grandkids, family and friends. I also love photography, art, music, swimming, and yoga.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m currently working on several projects including the next installment in the Bloodline Trilogy.
I’m also working on a spinoff of Vampyr that will feature Quinn’s psychic daughter, Amber. Amber and her husband become owners of a haunted hotel in the French Quarter. Quinn will lease the hotel bar and make appearances from time to time. Amber’s husband, a chef, will run the restaurant, and Amber will spend her time chasing ghosts solving their stories.
There’s also a standalone novel revolving around reincarnation. Here’s a hint: a young woman has returned to this world for a purpose; to find her lost lover and to solve her own murder. This one’s been in the works for a while, but it keeps getting pushed on the back burner for the vampires.
I’m setting my goals for 2018, and that includes doing more signings to meet more readers, so hopefully, I’ll get to meet some of you in the new year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I probably got started around middle school writing fan-fiction about my favorite musicians and went on to write mostly articles for small publications. I attempted a novel years ago but discovered writing a book and working full time didn’t exactly go hand in hand. A few years ago, I found myself with much needed time, so I decided to make another attempt at a novel. That resulted in Song of the Vampire.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I published my first book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to write a book about vampires that didn’t include every other element of the supernatural. So I wrote a book about vampires with elements of Voodoo, witches, and ghosts. There are no shifters or wolves, so I only strayed a little from the original plan.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Song of the Vampire was my first novel. Quinn, my lead character was the frontman for a successful hard rock band the night he met the mysterious vampire that changed his direction. Quinn loved his music, his wife, and his daughter but was forced to give up everything he loved. He turned away from his music and became a recluse. The story begins years later when Quinn is reunited with his daughter (now grown up) the night her band plays at his Bourbon Street music club, Vampyr. Like Quinn, Nadia has her demons, and they help each other battle them. Nadia shows Quinn he can still enjoy his music just as much as he did with his band, and she encourages him to sing again. Quinn is a vampire and a singer, so Song of the Vampire seemed like a good title.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Some events in the Vampyr Trilogy revolve around New Orleans’ history, and I’ve had to do a lot of research on that along with Voodoo, ghosts, and hauntings. It can be challenging gathering information and presenting it in an accurate way.
We tend to view Voodoo as evil, spells, and black magic but that’s not exactly factual. Giselle, one of my essential characters, practices Voodoo as a religion. Thanks to Hollywood, most people don’t know that Voodoo is an ancient religion very similar to Catholicism that originated in Africa. It wasn’t until Voodoo practitioners entered the Western World that the darker spirits emerged. I go into this in detail in my books Song of the Vampire and Under a Bourbon Street Moon.
I think the most challenging part is having to get inside of Quinn’s head and write from a man’s point of view and make it real. I love it; it’s fun, but it is a bit challenging.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s a fantasy. I don’t know any vampires, so there’s nothing based in reality. My characters have their own personality. Some of their personality traits are a mixture of myself and people I know, but none are based on any particular person. I draw emotions from events and experiences in my own life, but my characters experiences are fiction.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
My books are set in New Orleans where I live, but there are parts that are set in Nashville, Destin, Los Angeles, New York; places I’ve lived or visited.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Julie Nicholls created all of my covers. You can view more of her work on her website, http://julienicholls.com/ .
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Tolerance for others who are different or who may have a different lifestyle. I think people tend to condemn what they don’t understand. In my books, vampires do live on blood, preferably human, but they don’t kill people, and there are alternative methods for acquiring human blood. Vampires are not the monsters society portrays them to be, but, because of humanity’s perception of them, they are forced to live in secret.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I remember passing a brick and mortar bookstore back in 1986 or 87 and being seduced by the numerous copies of The Vampire Lestat on display by some author I had never heard of named Anne Rice. I purchased a copy that day and started reading, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I fell in love with her perception of the modern day vampire, and she has been an inspiration to me in my writing.
I’ve been reading more indie books and enjoying them. One of the new authors I have enjoyed immensely is Alys Arden (The Casquette Girls and The Romeo Catchers). The books are about vampires in New Orleans. Imagine me liking that!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. I would have to say, as a new and unknown author, the people who have taken a chance on me by purchasing, reading, reviewing, liking, sharing, promoting, etc.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do although I’m thankful I’m not depending on it for a living. I’ve made a lot more money in my life doing things I didn’t have nearly the amount of passion for, so I’m happy to be in a place where I can spend my time doing what I enjoy.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Sex, Blood, Rock’N’Roll, and Vampyr (Book 1 of the Bloodline Trilogy) is my latest. I’m good with that one, but I did go back and make some editorial revisions and rewrites to my earlier books in The Vampyr Trilogy, especially the first book, to the point where there is a second copyright listed on the copyright page.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learn something new every day, so I guess the answer is yes. As an indie, I have to do my own promoting, advertising and selling. As indie authors, we are a small business, and we have to treat it as such. I’ve been trying to set marketing goals and playing with different types of advertising and promoting to see what works and what doesn’t. Marketing is the never ending story.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Quinn would be a difficult character to cast. He is an ageless vampire who was turned at only twenty-three. At that time, he was married with a baby daughter. Unable to face his wife as a vampire, he abandons his family but continues to provide for them. The story begins eighteen years later when he and his daughter reunite, and his daughter is now nineteen. He has a little bit of a problem convincing her he’s her father because Quinn hasn’t physically aged. As she gets to know him, she sees that even though he appears to be twenty-five, his mind has matured, he has the demeanor of an older man and behaves like a father. A younger actor would have to be able to pull that off. After watching Jamie Campbell Bower in the television series, Camelot, and in the role of Christopher Marlowe in Will, I believe he could pull it off. He has the right look, and he would look great with long blond curls, so he would be my pick.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write the book you want to read because you will be passionate about it. Ignore negativity. Every book isn’t for everyone. Don’t be discouraged by a negative review or negative comments. Sometimes the thing one person hates about it will be what another person loves about it. My books have a lot of twists and turns. I’ve had people say there are too many twists and others say they love the twists and turns in the story. You can’t please everyone.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Yes. Thank you for your support. Thank you for reading. Your kind reviews and words make it all worthwhile. I write to entertain, so when someone reads my work and feels entertained, it makes me happy. Thank you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished Unworthy by Cassia Brightmore. I’m getting ready to start Catch and Release by A. L. Vincent.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first novel I remember reading was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and it’s still one of my favorites.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Something funny or something sad.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
That’s a good question. I haven’t thought about it, but it has been my experience that every time I admire someone, meeting them is a disappointment. My image of them is larger than life, but they always turn out to be no different from anybody else, so I like to just admire my image of them on the screen or in a book and leave it at that.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’ve been into photography since I was a teenager and still enjoy it.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like Sleepy Hollow, Lucifer, Midnight Texas, and Will to name a few. Some of my favorite movies I can think of are The Godfather, Gangs of New York, Angel Heart, Monster’s Ball, Dallas Buyers Club, and Interview With the Vampire.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite foods are Italian and Mexican. I love purple. My taste in music is eclectic. I like everything. For more on that, visit my YouTube channel (link below in links).
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I can’t imagine why I would quit writing unless it’s to travel the world, but then I would still want to write about it.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t know. Maybe something like – Home Sweet Home – because that’s what it’s going to have to be.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Visit my website, www.kmmcfarland.com for the latest.
Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/883253511794680/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/K.-M.-McFarland/e/B00DR0KLC2/