Darby Karchut is one of my favorite authors and people. She’s written two series, one about an angel named Griffin and one about a goblin-fighting warrior named Finn. While both are obviously paranormal, they also have a contemporary feel. Everything feels incredibly plausible and Griffin’s world, especially, is one I wish I lived in.
Finn Finnegan is her newest book.
“My protagonist is based loosely on the Irish legend of Finn McCool or Fionn mac Cumhail. This story cycle, called The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn mac Cumhail, follows the adventures of Finn as he grows from boy to legendary warrior. Okay, I have to admit: I took that from my Author Notes in the back of the book. But it’s really true – I borrowed a lot from Bronze Age Celts mythology,” Darby said.
So far, Griffin has three books and Finn has one. But now that she’s written four novels (and one nonfiction book with her husband), things are getting easier.
“After four books, I have more tools in my writing toolbox. But writing still continues to be a struggle for me, especially the first draft. Gaaahhh – I HATE writing the first draft! But once that’s done, I get to go back and do my favorite part of writing: revising. Oh, how I love to tweak and polish. I would still be revising my very first book if my editor has allowed it,” she said.
Darby’s background helped a lot with the background of Finn Finnegan (and, I’m guessing, with Griffin’s books as well).
“Since my undergraduate degree is in cultural anthropology, I had a background in world cultures and their legends already. My research consisted mainly of double-checking details about Celtic mythology and well as learning to spell and pronounce Gaelic words. “
Those of you who read Darby’s books (and if you don’t, change that. Seriously. She’s wonderful) may notice a recurring theme. Both Griffin and Finn have strong relationships and familial ties with their mentors. That’s not a coincidence.
“Totally on purpose. For me, the relationship between master/apprentice or father/son has rich soil for story telling. It gives me a chance to explore the Big Questions all boys face as they take their first steps into manhood: How do I compare/compete with other boys? How do I become a man? Does evil always win? In an age where there are few positive adult male figures, I feel it is important to give boys heroes they can emulate.”
Currently, there are three books coming soon (or soon-ish) from Darby.
“I’m thinking about the outline of the fourth Griffin book. And I am finishing the draft of the third Finn book (The Hunting), and getting ready for edits to come back on book two (Gideon’s Spear).”
Right now, she’s reading The Wednesday Wars (contemporary YA) by Gary D. Schmidt and The Wreckers (middle grade historical fiction) by Iain Lawrence.
And what book should everyone read?
“Any book. Just read. Just turn off the television, the cell phone, the video game, and read.”