What's the first sentence of The Reckoning?
“We were nearly at the Victoria and Albert Museum when we saw the crowds spilling out of the entrance and across Cromwell Street, forcing our taxi to stop in the middle of the road.”
The “we” in this case is the heroine, immortal Lanore “Lanny” McIlvrae and her lover, Luke Findley. They’ve come to (secretly) see an exhibit of treasures Lanny collected over her lifetimes, now donated to the V&A as in an attempt to put her past to rest and start a new life.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer from when I was twelve. I was a voracious reader as a kid. I grew up in a small town, in a crazy family and books were my escape. Since books were my world, it only made sense to try to create a niche of my own, right? I took it all very, very seriously, writing short stories in high school for my friends to read, and stringing for local newspapers. Everything changed when I graduate from college and ended up going to work in intelligence—yup, CIA and the National Security Agency. I came back to writing fiction later in life, and was lucky, lucky, lucky to sell The Taker and two more books to Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. Just goes to show that you should never give up on your dreams.
If you had to pick a character who really spoke to you in The Reckoning who would it be?
That’s hard! I tried to bring in as many new characters (if in minor roles) as characters returning from The Taker… Obviously, I got to be very close to Adair and ended up feeling pretty sorry for him—he goes through such an incredible transformation! It’s probably pretty evident that The Reckoning is based on Beauty and the Beast and Adair gets to be the poor confused Beast, tormented in his own right, a monster helpless in the face of love.
How did you feel when you finished The Reckoning?
Relieved! They say the second book is the hardest to write, what with expectations (mostly in the writer’s head) and fears. Plus, you don’t really know how to write novels—you know how you wrote one novel, your first one. Luckily, I have an excellent editor and she kept my nose to the grindstone and made sure The Reckoning is every bit as magical and twisty as The Taker.
What do you have in the works right now?
I’m finishing the third book in the trilogy, The Descent, right now. I’ve been anticipating bringing the story to its conclusion and have to say it’s been tremendously satisfying writing this book! Then there’s something I’ve been calling a spin-off book: it’s not part of The Taker story but picks up a thread in the Reckoning about a group of heretical monks who stumble across a piece of real magic—and how it corrupts them. Lastly, I hope to finish up a YA novel I started recently. I got the idea to try YA from Melissa Marr. She is so incredible brilliant you’d be a fool not to take her advice!
Thanks Alma for taking the time to join us for an interview today!
Alma Katsu's website
About The Reckoning
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hardcover, 352 pages
SECOND IN ALMA KATSU’S GRIPPING SUPERNATURAL TRILOGY THAT BEGAN WITH THE TAKER
Lanore McIlvrae is the kind of woman who will do anything for love. Including imprisoning the man who loves her behind a wall of brick and stone.
She had no choice but to entomb Adair, her nemesis, to save Jonathan, the boy she grew up with in a remote Maine town in the early 1800s and the man she thought she would be with forever. But Adair had other plans for her. He used his mysterious, otherworldly powers to give her eternal life, but Lanore learned too late that there was a price for this gift: to spend eternity with him. And though he is handsome and charming, behind Adair’s seductive façade is the stuff of nightmares. He is a monster in the flesh, and he wants Lanore to love him for all of time.
Now, two hundred years after imprisoning Adair, Lanore is trying to atone for her sins. She has given away the treasures she’s collected over her many lifetimes in order to purge her past and clear the way for a future with her new lover, Luke Findley. But, while viewing these items at an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Lanore suddenly is aware that the thing she’s been dreading for two hundred years has caught up to her: Adair has escaped from his prison. He’s free— and he will come looking for her. And she has no idea how she will save herself.
With the stunningly imaginative storytelling and rich characterizations that fascinated readers worldwide and made The Taker a singular and memorable literary debut and an international sensation, Alma Katsu once again delivers “a powerful evocation of the dark side of romantic love” (Publishers Weekly) in her breathtaking new novel.