Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alma Katsu

Alma Katsu is the author of The Taker, a gothic tale of desire, obsession and the need within us all for redemption.

The Taker has been described as "an epic supernatural love story" and compared to The Historian," Interview with the Vampire, and Twilight even though it doesn't have one vampire in it.

From her Q & A with Jennifer Haupt at the Psychology Today's One True Thing blog:

JH: I love the central question of your book: What price are we willing to pay to completely possess another? Do you think it's human nature to want to become obsessed with someone or something we can't have?

AK: Absolutely. And I think this urge is strongest when we're young and every experience is new to us, e.g. how strongly we feel the first time we fall in love. Another form of obsession-maybe one that's more readily understood-is collecting, which is a recurring theme in the book. I think many people go through a phase when they become mad for something, whether it's shoes or antique toys or automobiles. On one hand, collecting can be one of life's simple pleasures. On the other hand, carried to extremes, it can be a way to try to fill a need in your life, whether in the hope of finding a replacement for the thing we want but can't have (as is the case of Lanny, the heroine in The Taker) or, when we feel powerless, to be able exercise control in one area of our lives. For instance, I knew a woman who, on a clerk's salary, collected designer purses that cost thousands of dollars. Her friends might've questioned the wisdom of going into debt for a somewhat transitory pleasure, but it filled a need for her. Learning when a personal choice goes from being harmless to harmful is part of the maturing process, which is why some of us-but not all-find it easier to resist temptation as we get older. And that's Lanny's journey in The Taker.

JH: The Taker is a unique story -- part historical romance, part suspense thriller. What books and which authors have been your inspiration?

AK: Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire might be the most predictable inspiration, but I think that's because it's a seminal book that influenced the way a lot of writers think about the human experience, inside and outside of the horror genre. The biggest influence-and a book I reread several times in the course of writing The Taker-was Casanova in Bolzano by Hungarian novelist Sandor Marai. That novel is an exploration of the complexities of love, the transcendent and the profane. I wanted Lanny's experience of love to run from the rather black-and-white way we think of it when we're young, to our understanding of love when we're older and we've learned that our actions have consequences. Marai's novel explores the meaning of love to its fullest, in the most entertaining and clever way.

The other great influence on The Taker is...[read on]
Writers Read: Alma Katsu.

The Page 69 Test: The Taker.

--Marshal Zeringue