Thursday, August 6, 2015

Get Lost with Immortal Celtic Warriors and Darby Kaye

Get Lost in a Story Readers: Have I got a treat for you. If you love legends, irresistible heroes, strong heroines and action and conflict to boot, let me introduce you to my friend, Darby Karchut (writing as Darby Kaye), the author of The STAG LORD. I was wowed by this book, and I know you will be, too. Let's learn more, shall we?

 About The Stag Lord:

On the run across America from a vengeful shape-shifter, Bannerman “Bann” Boru has only one thing on his mind: keeping himself and his young son, Cor, alive.

At any cost.
Until he meets Shay Doyle, healer and member of a secret group of immortal Celtic warriors, the Tuatha De Danaan, living in modern-day Colorado. When Cor is injured, Bannerman is forced to accept her help. He quickly realizes that the golden-haired Healer is shield-maiden tough and can hold her own on the field of battle with the big boys. And Shay soon discovers that there is more to Bann than meets the eye.

Now, with the shape-shifter Cernunnos teaming up with the local pack of Fir Bolgs (Goth wannabes with a nasty taste for children), Bannerman, Shay, her wolf-dog, Max, and the rest of the Doyle clan must figure out how to battle one insane god.
Here's what people are saying about The Stag Lord  (including ... ahem . . . me!):

 "The combination of setting, love of family and creating outstanding three-dimensional characters kept me invested in this book...I'm gathering my breath for December when I'll dive into UNHOLY BLUE."  -- Donnell Ann Bell, best-selling author of Buried Agendas and Deadly Recall

 "Darby sets a vivid scene as backdrop to a passionate story with a strong romance, and even stronger family unit. She had me at Bann’s Irish brogue, Cor’s young bravery, and Shay’s sheer strength of will, then slayed me with the Doyle family. Darby Kaye’s Tuatha Dé Danann shouldn’t be missed." -- M.D. Waters, author of Archetype and Prototype

"...a delightful tale filled with action, mystery, and romance...a fine kick-off to the BANNERMAN BORU series."  -- Rabid Reads

And now. . . Let's meet Darby Kaye:

DONNELL:  Hello, Darby: Thanks for being our guest today. Now, you taught school for years and years, and recently retired, correct? So what's a nice retired teacher doing writing about urban legends, sexy heroes and heroines and insane evil gods?

DARBY: First of all, I want to thank you and your readers for having me today. Folks, did you notice that great blurb from Donnell? Well, my publisher and publicist liked it so much, they put it on the cover of the sequel, UNHOLY BLUE. I know! How lucky am I!

And Darby's  Bannerman “Bann” Boru
Okay, to answer your first question: Yes, I retired last year to write full time after teaching middle school social studies for fourteen years. I adored that age group so much. In fact, I write a middle grade fantasy series, under Darby Karchut, for younger teens. It was that middle grade series which led me to the dark side. My editor love the way I wrote adult male characters, and suggested I might try my hand at an adult urban fantasy. So I did. Talk about a whole new sandbox! I could explore issues and emotions in a way I never could with middle grade. As a writer, it really refreshed me to try a new genre. Plus, I wanted to write about a man who was warrior, lover, and father. A perfect trifecta.

DONNELL:  The setting for this book is near and dear to both of us, and yet you make it your own. Talk about that. I believe the story takes place in Colorado Springs, and yet you give our city an alter ego. Why did you do that instead of making up a completely fictitious location?

DARBY: Yes, all my books are set in High Springs, Colorado, which is based very closely on our home city of Colorado Springs. I have to admit, I can’t remember why I changed the name in the first place. But since all my series (I have three) are interwoven to some degree, I had to keep the name. High Springs refers to the city’s 6,000 foot high altitude, not to the other kind of high Colorado Springs has become famous for. Sheesh.

High Springs (aka Colorado Springs) is a great place to set an urban fantasy. I can use the city’s extreme weather and easy access to wilderness areas to ramp up the tension and give my characters all kinds of challenges. Nothing like battling a blizzard in a national forest while hunting monsters, eh?

DONNELL:  Perfect setting, I agree.  A sign of a good book to me is when you think about it for weeks on end and remember passages and the storyline indefinitely. That is my take on THE STAG LORD. Have you always been a writer? You published when you were still teaching; correct. Did you tell your students?

DARBY: Actually, I never wrote a thing until about six years ago. I never once thought about writing a book, but I read all the time. There’s an old saying: you read and you read, gorging yourself on the written word, until one day, you throw up your own book. I think that’s what happened to me. The idea of a story popped into my head one day: a story about an apprentice guardian angel and his stern, but kindly master living and working in High Springs, Colorado. Thus, GRIFFIN RISING, my debut YA novel, was born. That series was picked up by a small press about eleven months after I started it. Things snowballed from there. If I’m allowed to brag a bit here?  GRIFFIN RISING was just recently optioned for film by actor, Geoff Stults.

My students knew about my books, since I mostly write for that age group. It was a kick to share my writing journey with them. A few even tried their own hand at writing, which made my teacher heart so happy. But, the best thing ever about writing books for the age group I taught was spotting my books in students’ hands during silent reading or study hall. Surreal for me, when a student would stop me in the hall and talk about my characters’ latest adventures. For just a few moments, I would feel like a rock star. Then, it was off to lunch duty and picking up smashed milk cartons off the cafeteria floor. Good times, good times.

DONNELL:  Congratulations on the film option. Good luck! If you're not at the keyboard, where will we find you?

DARBY:  Mostly in mountains—running, hiking, or biking in the summer, or skiing in the winter. I love the Colorado lifestyle, though I am a New Mexico native. Go Lobos!

DONNELL:   Why did I not know you were from New Mexico and a UNM alumni? What's in your refrigerator right now?

DARBY: Not much. Just the basics. Although I always have some dark chocolate in the house.

DONNELLWhat is the most unusual thing you have in your closet?

DARBY: Umm…  *gets up and looks in all the closets*  *scratches head*  Yeah, I got nothing.

DONNELL:  What comes next for Darby Kaye?

DARBY: The sequel to THE STAG LORD, entitled UNHOLY BLUE, will release this coming December. I am also working on a new middle grade series based on the Latino legend of El Cuco, and I’m waiting to hear back from an editor on a contemporary cowboy romance.

Darby, thanks for being our guest today.

Thanks, Donnell, for having me. I had a blast answering your questions.

And, now, DARBY HAS A QUESTION FOR HER FELLOW READERS:  how many of you re-read favorite books? Why or why not?

And I would love to give away a signed copy of THE STAG LORD (adult fantasy) and a signed copy of FINN FINNEGAN (middle grade). Two books. Two lucky winners. (U.S.A. only, please)

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  1. This interview was a hoot, Donnell. Thank you for hosting me. And readers, please leave a comment (anything will do) and a way for me to contact you, and I'll do the drawings on Friday, August 14th. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

  2. Welcome Darby ! Thanks for being here.

    1. Thank you for having me, Angi. This is loads of fun!

  3. Hi, Darby! and welcome to Get Lost in a Story. Your covers...Wow. Love COS, too!!!

    1. Thanks, Vicki! I love those covers, too! And COS rocks! And I use way too many examination points. Sheesh.

  4. Congrats on the film option! Your covers are gorgeous! i don't often read urban fantasy, but your blurb intrigued me. Wishing you increased success!

  5. Awww, thanks, Ashantay! Bann and Shay were fun to write. :-)

  6. sometimes re-read if the book's good

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. And there are so many good ones, bn100. Thanks for commenting.