Read what people are saying about THE DESCENT, the final book in the Taker Trilogy:
“This isn’t a vampire trilogy; it’s something entirely new. It’s smart, sophisticated, and utterly shocking; if you have delicate sensibilities, you may prefer not to pick up these books. But if you’re an adventurous reader and enjoy beautiful writing and characters you can’t even imagine, Katsu’s trilogy is an absolute must read.” –S. Krishna’s Books
"Blows me away with the beauty and creativity of the world building...a masterful conclusion to what may be one of the best trilogies I've ever read." —Fresh Fiction
"With a surprising twist that explains much of the mythology of the series, this thrilling conclusion is a can't-miss entry for fans who have followed Lanny's journey from 1800s New England to contemporary times. And it's utterly impossible to put down." —Booklist
Ms. Katsu's writing has been compared to that of early Anne Rice and Shirley Jackson. A former intelligence analyst, she is a graduate of the writing program at Johns Hopkins University.
Selected Q&A from a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA):
Q: What was your inspiration for The Taker novels?
A: The Taker was inspired by all kinds of things, I think. At a basic level, I'd say it was inspired by Interview With The Vampire which, in my view, was a pretty groundbreaking work. I didn't consciously set out thinking I was going to write a book like it, but the upshot is that it has some similar characteristics--the present day frame over a long historical backstory, the main character's fatal attraction to the dark, etc.
The other inspiration, however, was that I wanted to write a sort-of anti-romance. There is a dark side to love. It can bring out the worst in people. Let's face it, most of us have probably done one stupid, mean thing over love (usually in our youth). If we're smart, we learn from it and quietly decide never to make that mistake again. The Taker is the story of a young woman who gets punished for loving unwisely--but that punishment, and her lesson, is on a much grander scale. In the end, she comes to understand the grand thing that love truly is, is tested and prevails, and is rewarded with a love the likes of which few people will ever have. If you like love stories, I think you will find this really different and (hopefully) really rewarding, and if you don't, well...
Writing that first book was really a challenge I set for myself. I wanted to see if I could create great characters. Yup, that was it. Characters that you couldn't forget, and a story that would haunt you after you finished reading it. I love big fat daring fiction. I didn't think I'd do it, certainly not the first time out of the box. And I absolutely didn't think it would ever be publishable. But I just wanted to try. That's why it ended up being such an unconventional book, I think.
Q: Was this "mix" of genres something you always wanted to do, or did you explore other things before realizing this is what you wanted to do?
A: I was kind of naive with The Taker. First of all, as I've mentioned, I wrote it because it was what I wanted to write, and I didn't think it would ever sell. I didn't think of it as cross-genre as I was writing it. I thought of it as literary fiction. It's definitely character-driven, as opposed to plot driven. But because of the genre elements, and the fact that it's pretty dark, there has been a reluctance for it to be seen as literary fiction.
Q: How do you go about the creative process, as in, what steps do you take to take an idea, and make a novel out of it. And how long does it usually take for you?
A. That's a great question. One of the hardest things for me to figure out, still being kind of new to thinking about writing as a business, is which ideas are worth investing a year or two to write and which don't have the emotional or intellectual heft to be viable. Add to that the fact that projects change once they get beyond a certain stage: your editor and/or agent will make suggestions (it's like a renovation project; you start to remodel the kitchen and suddenly you think, let's move this weight-bearing wall! It'll open the whole space up! and before you know it, it's twice as expensive and difficult as you originally envisioned.)
My first book, The Taker, took ten years to write. I was seized with the idea and the characters, and despite putting it aside many times to work on other projects, I couldn't stop thinking about it and hence, couldn't stop working on it. In some ways, that kind of crazy commitment makes it easy. What I'm finding is after you sign the contracts, it becomes less about relying on emotional energy to carry out a project than it does determination and treating it like a job. There will always be emotional ups and downs but if you rely on that to get a book written, you're toast (I think).
Regarding time, it takes me much longer than I'd like it to, and that's because I am still learning how to tell a story. It seems to get both harder and easier with every book. (I love a paradox!) Harder, because my expectations have risen. Easier, because if I'm lucky I learned something from the last one. I was on a book-a-year schedule, for the most part, for the contract, which in practical terms means you must complete a full manuscript in six months, and I think that's a bit rushed for me.
Q: Who were your first favorite authors, and which books do you remember falling in love with first?
A: I was a funny reader as a kid. I read adult books--Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, Alexander Dumas. And fairy tales. One of my older sisters had a huge book of fairy tales. It had amazing full-page illustrations. There were some unusual fairy tales, too, not the usual ones. Both my sisters and I read that book so much that by the time we were adults, it was falling apart. We all loved the book, but the older sister kept it for herself. I didn't think I'd ever see it again until I found it in my in-laws' basement. My husband--who wasn't my husband yet--had never shown much interest in it when he was a boy, so it was in mint condition. I figured it was an omen that we were meant to be together. I joked that I married him to get my hands on that book.
Q: Do you intend to write in any other genres?
A: I would like to write a straight historical novel but we'll see... I also want to write a spy novel someday.