The Spawnstertown Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Karen Duvall
Date of Publication: 12/20/2014
ISBN: 13: 978-0692342633
Number of pages: 324
Word Count: 86,000
Cover Artist: Karen Duvall
In an alternate history New York City—one hundred and fifty years after an earthquake from hell nearly destroyed the planet—the twenty-first century clings to an industrial age. Steam engines rule, and demon-powered technology is the up and coming thing. Henry Paine, a half-demon taxi driver, is the go-to guy for just the right demon to possess your machine and automate any mechanical gizmo with or without an engine. The creatures are tame as pets. Or at least they have been… until now.
Wanda Snow is an exorcist who grudgingly admits to having a few drops of demon blood herself. She’s come to New York to rid the city of demonic vermin as well as any other demons that get in her way. Wanda and Henry are naturally at odds, but the two are forced to become partners in a mutual goal to round up the rogue demons biting the Big Apple and take down the sinister tyrant who started it all.
Available at Amazon
Can you tell us a bit about your current project?
Demon Fare, the first book in my Spawnstertown Chronicles, is an urban fantasy set in an alternate history New York City. A hundred and fifty years ago, a powerful earthquake trampled the entire planet, destroying almost everything in its wake. Millions died, cities crumbled, and progress came to a screeching halt. It’s now the twenty-first century and civilization still relies on steam-powered energy, but there’s help from a magical species unearthed by the quake. The people have named them demons because of where they came from, but these amorphous creatures of energy are gentle and want only to serve humans by possessing their machines to make them run.
Though global resurgence is slow, the new world has enjoyed a century and a half of peace. That is until one greedy man—part human and part demon—forces the city’s demons to turn against their human masters. The city is blessed with two unlikely saviors: A Hellspawn taxi driver and an exorcist. Can these two sparring partners work together to take down the menace biting the Big Apple before it spreads worldwide?
When did you decide to become a writer?
It wasn’t really a conscious choice, it just sort of happened. When I was little, I loved making up stories and would draw pictures to tell them before I learned how to write. So I guess I’ve been a writer all my life. I didn’t start writing novels until I was in my thirties.
Which of your books is your favorite?
I love all my books, but I have to say this latest one, Demon Fare, is my favorite. It’s a beloved genre mash-up that fuses alternate history and steampunk with urban fantasy.
Do you write everyday?
Do you have a favorite place or time of day you like to write?
I prefer morning to write, though I can write any time of day. I have a home office and that’s where I prefer to write.
Do you have another job?
I was a professional graphic designer before I started writing professionally, so I still design. I’ve been a freelance artist for more than 30 years and one of my specialties is cover design so I create a lot of original covers for self-published authors. My design website is http://www.duvalldesign.wordpress.com where I have samples of my work.
What’s one of the best lines you’ve written recently?
I’m in the process of polishing a fantasy romance with Alice in Wonderland overtones. The opening line to the book is: A mirror tells no tales. Its stories are all true; a past in pictures captured in glass.
What authors have influenced you most?
Alice Hoffman and Clive Barker.
Who is your favorite author?
Anything you wished you’d done differently in your writing career?
It’s hard to say. I’ve had so many ups and downs in my writing career and I don’t think I’d do anything differently. Things haven’t gone completely the way I’d hoped for them to, but that’s been out of my control. I wish I could be more prolific, though. The only thing I’d change is to write faster.
The Favorite List:
Song – Polaroids by Shawn Colvin
Artwork – Anything by Hieronymus Bosch
Book – Imajica by Clive Barker
Author – Alice Hoffman
Color – Rasberry
Time of day – Twilight
Drink – Chardonnay
Desert – Crème Brulee
Meal – anything Asian
Animal – cat
Wanda Snow fastened a row of buttons on her coat. Damn, it was colder than a banker’s heart out here. She studied the park across the street, watching leafless branches waggle their twiggy fingers in the fog. Drawing back a sleeve, she checked her watch, its large, visible gears a weight around her wrist. Four in the morning. Two hours until sun-up.
Leaning against a lamppost, she gazed up the street, her senses tuned in to the demon energy flowing through the city. She sensed a Bringer coming her way.
Unclasping the tin choker from around her neck, she opened it just wide enough to let the voices in. Eyes closed, she focused on the whispered thoughts of a hundred demons that confirmed the identity of the Hellspawn she waited for. He was the Bringer, and although he didn’t know it yet, he would help her stop the evil that conspired to take over New York City.
“How doin’?” A real voice came from the foggy dark, the words sounding burned as if by coal dust. She knew that sound. The raspy voices of coal-digging Spawnsters had filled the patch towns of her Kentucky home. She still heard them in her sleep. “Spare a dime for a man down on his luck?”
Wondering if she’d been followed, she turned to face him, her spine stiff and booted legs poised to kick what would hurt most. Wanda welcomed some trouble if it would warm her up. But the half-breed was a head shorter than her six feet, and his top hat had no top, his gloves had no fingers. The only threat he posed was the stink coming off him in waves strong enough to choke a skunk. Her gaze raked him up and down as she said, “I’m poor as you, mister. You won’t hear no coins clinkin’ in my pocket.”
“I be a pig’s uncle. You’s a woman, ain’t ya?”
“Last I looked.”
He chuckled. “You dressed too manly to be one of Hell’s Belles. What you doin’ out in Central Park all by your lonesome?”
“Waitin’ for someone. How ’bout you?”
His brown-toothed smile spread his mouth wider than normal for a human. He was a Spawnster, all right. And a drunk one at that. “Makin’ new friends.” He took a swig from a bottle wrapped in a paper bag and held it out for Wanda. “Wanna be my friend?”
She grimaced at the smell of rancid olive oil that was like a hundred proof grain alcohol to a Spawnster. Pushing the bottle away, she shook her head. “I’ll pass, thanks anyway.”
He frowned, his dark eyes starting to glow. Just her luck. A drunk Spawnster with a temper.
“I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all, but I ain’t interested. Share your oil with someone who can enjoy it, ’kay?” She turned toward the street.
“Fuckin’ human.” Venom deepened his voice. “You think you’re better ’an me?”
Strong fingers gripped her arm above the elbow and tried to spin her around, but she didn’t budge. The drunk yanked again and she took her time turning to face him. “You don’t wanna do this.”
He swung back a fist, aiming his scaly knuckles at her face, but she stopped the blow with one open palm.
Wanda slapped him hard in the face and he staggered backward, eyes wide. “Did no one ever teach you manners?” She slapped him again. “It ain’t nice to beat up on a lady.” A solid punch to his left temple dropped him face down in the gutter.
“Not that I’m a lady, you understand, but you still shouldn’t go ’round beatin’ up on people. It ain’t polite.” She smiled down at the unconscious Spawnster who was too dumb to be a spy. Even if he were, she’d left a clear message for whomever he worked for. His hat lay in the street about ten feet away. She picked it up, dusted it off with the sleeve of her coat, and set it on the ground beside him. He didn’t move. “Have a nice night.”
As she crossed over into the park, twin headlamps from an oncoming car forced her into the shadows.
About the Author:
Karen Duvall, who wrote Demon Fare as Cory Dale, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. Karen is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein of the McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency. Her Knight’s Curse series was published by Harlequin Luna in 2011 and 2012, and her post apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, appeared in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in 2013.
Karen is also a professional graphic designer who designs book covers and book interiors for self-published authors, and creates original 3D graphics for computer gaming. Demon Fare is the first book in her Spawnstertown Chronicles.
3 ebook copies Demon Fare
2 print copies Demon Fare