Monday, April 2, 2012

{ Darby Karchut interview and giveaway!! }

I am so very happy to have Darby Karchut join me today. Before we start, here is a little background...

All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.
Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.
Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.
Griffin Rising is her first novel. She is currently working on the next books in the series, Griffin's Fire (April 2012) and Griffin's Storm (both from Twilight Times Books). Her middle grade novel, Finn Finnegan, will be released March 2013 from Spencer Hill Press.

Welcome, Darby. Thank you so much for agreeing to join me here at TracysHappyBookShelf.

Hi Tracy! It is so fun to be here visiting with you and your followers. I’m all set for your
questions, so fire away.

As a kid, did you have an adult in your life that encouraged
and helped to create a love of reading in you?

Not a single adult, but rather a family that ate books. We always had books in our house, we received books as Christmas and birthday presents, and we were always going to the library. Oddly enough, I never wanted to be a writer. In fact, I had never written a thing in my life until I wrote Griffin Rising. I guess the old expression about the relationship between reading and writing is true: you read and read and read, gorging yourself on the written word, and then one day, you throw up a book. That’s what happened to me.

What was your all-time favorite book growing up?

Gosh, that would be a tie between The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. At one time, I wanted to be a bard!

What is your current favorite book of 2012?

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Her lyrical voice is unmatched. And her use of the water horse mythology is brilliant. Plus, I adore Sean and Corr. (I grew up riding and showing Arabian horses). The middle school where I teach has a weekly book club during lunch (over 35 members strong; mix of boys and girls) and the club read The Scorpio Races just last month.

What made you decide to become an author and why YA/Middle

Like I mentioned earlier, I never, ever thought about writing a book. It seemed like too much
work! I would much rather read. But one day, the idea of an apprentice angel and his stalwart mentor slammed into my head and I just couldn’t get it out. So I started writing and editing (and editing and editing) Griffin Rising. Then eleven months later, I landed my first publishing contract.

Why YA/Middle Grade?
My brain is hardwired to write this way. I couldn’t write an “adult” book to
save my life. Plus, I enjoy exploring the great questions of life through YA/MG

What has been the most difficult scene/character to write in
the Griffin series thus far?

Fight scenes are the most difficult. I really struggle with keeping the pacing tight and the
physical actions realistic. As far as characters, female characters are harder for me to write than males. I have no idea why, since I am a female. I guess I just identify with boys more.

Of all the characters in the Griffin series, which character do
you identify with the most and why?

It depends. As a middle school teacher, I find myself identifying with Basil quite often and his
struggles to raise a “good” teen. But I also see a lot of myself in Griffin: The insecurities, the need for a strong father figure, and the search for self-identity.

What has been the best ‘author’ moment for you thus far on your
journey with Griffin?

The moment during study hall last year when a student finished his homework and pulled a book out of his pack back. It was Griffin Rising. I could have wept.

Let’s add a few little fun questions too...

* Coffee or tea? Coffee and more coffee!

* Early bird or Night Owl? Early bird. If I am not up by 5:30, I consider the day half gone.

* Cats or Dogs? Yes, please. Plus horses, too.

* Favorite singer/band/musician? John Denver and Plain White T’s

* Favorite vacation destination? Anywhere with mountains. But I also love the high deserts of New Mexico, where I grew up.

* Favorite food? Key lime pie.

Thanks again, Tracy, for letting me visit and talk about my books. I loved every minute of it!

Thank you Darby! I have said right from the beginning, that there is nothing I love more than to share my love of reading and books with anyone and everyone who will listen. Being able to promote the books I love and to help spread the word about a book/author brings me great joy. Even though the blog is small, I still like to do what I can. I have read some amazing books over my past year of blogging and have had the opportunity to meet some great people. One of which is Darby Karchut. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being an added smile in my life. :0)

Okay...onto some more good stuff! Darby has graciously offered up a Signed copy of Griffin Rising and a Signed copy of Griffin's Fire! So yes, two winners and I also have a couple of signed postcards to add to those books as well.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite YA/Middle Grade read is thus far for 2012. Also, be sure to leave your email address, so that we can get in contact with you. That's it. Pretty easy, right? I would also, love it if you could spread the word. No, there will be no extra entries, but the more people we can introduce to Darby and to Griffin the better!!

This giveaway will be running until Griffin's Fire release date of April 15th. All entries must be received by 11:59 April 15th MST.
Thanks to Darby and all of you for stopping by today.


  1. Tracy, I had such a great time! Thank you again! Best of luck to everyone and do not hesitate to ask me any other questions. I love chatting with other book lovers!

  2. my favorite read so far is The probability of Miracles and my email is yarereviews(at)yahoo(dot)com
    thanks for the chance :)

  3. Nice giveaway! My favourite YA book so far this year is John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. I probably won't be the only one to mention it, because it is a very insightful and moving book!
    Thanks x

  4. There are so many great reads out there. My TBR stack just keeps growing!