The Hardest Part: Karissa Laurel on Midnight Burning

Triangle author Karissa Laurel rides motorcycles and reads slush for Strange Horizons; clearly, she is not risk-averse. However, there’s a difference between, on the one hand, putting body and mind on the line either on a quiet road or in the privacy of one’s own office, and on the other hand, in her work as a the debut author of Midnight Burning from Garner-based Red Adept Publishing, putting her words forward for all to see, along with the other marketing and publicity that the “public persona” side of the modern author’s duties require. (Such as, oh, I don’t know, appearing on Carolina Book Beat this July for a radio interview, about which she wrote that “I would much rather hide in my writing cave.”) Writing can be a solitary act, but publication isn’t. The characters, stories, and words you’ve painstakingly wrought from mind through body and fingers to keyboard and onto the page now exist, unchanging, on the printed page. Absolutely anyone could be reading it: your friend, your sister, your parents, your future grandkids, a stranger in Alaska with detailed geographic knowledge and many nits to pick, an expert on Norse mythology with several shelves of translations and plenty of time to cross-reference where you’ve fudged things up, a book blogger who was looking for something else from your book. As it turns out, even if writing the book is a joy, and you find your publisher through a chance meeting at a local convention, and! your relationship with your editor is great, too! there’s still the final hard part of letting go.

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By Karissa Laurel:

In thinking about the hardest part of writing Midnight Burning, I couldn’t pick out one specific anecdote. And it wasn’t because of an overabundance of choices. In truth, it was the opposite.

Creating Midnight Burning took a lot of work, and it was tedious at times, but I loved every step. From dreaming up the idea (Why are all the stories about Odin and Thor? Weren’t they supposed to have died in some apocalyptic battle eons ago? Why not create a story about the gods who survived that battle? What would they be like in the modern world?) to the research, the daily grind of putting words on the page, the submission process, and the final editing and finishing stages— I had a blast.

I’m pretty sure the hardest part is the phase I’m entering now, which is putting my first book, my brain-child, out on a public platform and inviting everyone to love it, leave it, or take a pot shot at it. I’ve taken something that has primarily lived in my head for the past three or four years, a story I’ve incubated and fed and petted and groomed, and shoved it out the door and made it stand on its own in the real world. That was a lot harder to do than I thought it would be. If this is anything similar to how I’ll feel when it comes time for my son to leave home for college, I might lock him up and never let him go.

But maybe not. My manuscripts don’t steal all my Thin Mints, choose complicated science fair projects (hovercraft, anyone?), and leave wet towels balled up on the floor until they smell like soured milk.

The hardest part wasn’t taking the seeds of a little idea – reviving a pantheon of gods from somewhat obscure Norse legends (how many people know who Sol and Mani are, anyway?) – and giving life to them. The hardest part was believing those ideas were good enough and well written enough to share with others. Believing it’s possible that others could enjoy this world and these characters as much as I do. And most of all, believing that if they don’t, it will be okay. The world won’t stop spinning, and I can keep on writing, regardless.

And I’ve got to keep writing. Midnight Burning is the first in a four book series, which means there are plenty more hard parts to come. But I’m looking forward to each of them.



Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between.

Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes.

Karissa also crafts, paints, draws, and harbors a grand delusion that she might create a graphic novel someday.


Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in the foothills of North Carolina.But a nightmare of a vicious wolf devouring her twin brother changes everything. When Solina learns her dream was real, she journeys to her brother’s home in the Land of the Midnight Sun to search for answers.

Solina soon suspects her brother’s friends are more than they seem, and they know more than they’re willing to admit. As she delves into the secrets surrounding her brother’s death, she learns her own fate is tied to his friends, his murder, and a dark history of forgotten myths and legends.

Solina also discovers a powerful new ability. She must learn to control it she’s to keep everyone safe. If she fails, a long-lost dominion will rise, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

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One Response to The Hardest Part: Karissa Laurel on Midnight Burning

  1. Pingback: October newsletter: Alexandra Duncan, Leigh Bardugo, Brian Selznick, Julia Elliott, A.G. Riddle, and HonorCon | Bull Spec

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