Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Pay-Off : Karen Chance

I’m a firm believer in pay off. It stems from being a big fan of the X-Files once upon a time. My favorite part of the show was the mystery of it, the feeling that there was this amazing back story slowly unfolding as the series went on, and that, if I paid close attention, maybe I could figure it out ahead of time. I collected clues, added them up, looked at them from every which way. And slowly, little by little, I began to feel like a chump.

The truth might be out there, I realized, but it wasn’t on my TV screen. And I doubted it was going to be, since it didn’t seem possible to reconcile the many clues we’d been given into something like a coherent whole. It started to dawn on me that there hadn’t been some big, masterful story line behind things at all. The writers had simply been dropping random clues to ramp up the tension, with no real intention of ever paying off.

Russian Cover
First I was disappointed. Then I was steamed. And then I stopped watching. And years later, when I began writing, I remembered that experience and swore never to do something similar to my readers. Hunt the Moon, the most recent Cassandra Palmer novel, is me keeping that promise.

Mircea Basarab
For four books, readers have followed Cassie Palmer, a young clairvoyant brought up at a vampire’s court, as she transformed into the Pythia--the chief seer of the supernatural world. Along the way, she picked up a few friends, a huge number of enemies and trouble by the bucketful. And readers amassed a laundry list of questions.

Mircea Basarab
They wanted to know about Cassie--how she ended up with a vampire for a guardian, what happened to her parents and what made her the woman she is today. They wanted to know what was behind the small rebellion in the supernatural community that had somehow turned into a major war. They wanted to make sense of the mythology of the series, which had elements of most of the major European traditions. And, of course, they wanted to know about the men in her life.

John Pritkin

For someone who spends as much time dodging enemies as Cassie, romance would seem to be out of the question. Yet she’s managed to attract several very unusual suitors. The first is Mircea Basarab, a former prince and a current member of the ominous North American Vampire Senate. He placed a claim on Cassie, which in vampire terms essentially equals marriage. The only problem? He didn’t ask first.

John Pritkin

Cassie is fighting the strong attraction between them because she doesn’t want to end up as merely another vampire’s servant. But sometimes, Mircea makes that awfully hard. Readers wanted to know why Mircea is so controlling—is he simply a dominant master vampire used to getting his way or is there more to it? And what about his background, which he avoids talking about whenever possible? Cassie, and the reader, needed to feel that they knew Mircea better, and Hunt the Moon gives important insight into his character.

The other contender for Cassie’s affections is John Pritkin, a former member of the powerful Silver Circle of light mages and currently Cassie’s bodyguard. But things are even more complex there than with Mircea, for Pritkin has a lot of secrets, too, some of which could be deadly. Hunt the Moon gives more information on the irascible war mage than all the other books in the series combined, including the main reason he has remained so aloof from Cassie until now.

Hunt the Moon doesn’t answer every question—if it did, I wouldn’t need any more books! And it does open up a number of new possibilities with a slew of questions all their own. But nonetheless, in a very big way, it delivers. Readers are given the answers they have been waiting for and that they deserved. Mulder and Scully, that’s how it’s done.

Karen Chance


marybelle said...

TV shows & books that promise much, but don't deliver, are most annoying at best. It's wonderful that you understand this.

I'm looking forward to reading HUNT THE MOON.

Naseer Ahmad said...

I really like your this offer of amzon gift card, I decided to purchase some of them would you like give me with some discount price?
Plastic Cards
Scratch Card Printing

Michele L. said...

I lost interest in the X-files also because of the lack of answers of what was going on. It always left me with this comment, "Huh?..."

I love the cover of your book and it sounds great!