KateMarie Collins’ quest to become a fantasy novelist began with an unfortunate ending.
Her participation in the make-believe, role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, ended badly, with the demise of Collins’ character, Arwenna. But the Auburn woman would resurrect her as the main character on the pages of a different game, becoming the inspiration for her debut novel.
“There wasn’t any way to describe what happened in the game itself, so I wrote a short story about it and sent it off to my friends,” Collins said of launching her writing career. “Everyone, including me, started wondering about what happened next. Two and a half months later, the first draft was finished.”
The draft would soon grow into a deep, dark, bold and entertaining fantasy novel, “Daughter of Hauk”, recently released in ebook and paperback by Solstice Publishing.
The book presents a “Medieval-like” world of wizards and witches, elves and devils, where anything is likely to happen to anyone at any moment.
For Collins, the project spanned 3 1/2 years – from script to a contract with the publisher. She is thrilled about the finished work. A sequel already is in the works.
Online reviews have been favorable.
“I found a strength I didn’t know I had,” Collins said of her love for the craft of writing. “It’s my chance to be able to go, ‘You know, I can do this. I am talented enough. I did this totally on my own. … Nobody can take this away from me.’ “
Collins, encouraged by her husband and two daughters, began to submit her work to publishers. Despite rejections that are customary for first-time novelists-to-be, Collins persevered and struck a chord with readers gripped by an emerging, growing genre of dark fantasy storytelling, replete with adult themes.
“I always had (the imagination),” Collins said, “but didn’t do anything with it.”
In “Daughter of Hauk”, Collins’ imagination runs wild.
As Collins summarized:
For the orphaned elf, Arwenna, life had treated her kindly. Her human foster parents raised her well, preparing her for life as a cleric of the god, Silas. The illusion shattered when she was convicted of treason by the Paladins of Silas and executed.
Death wasn’t the paradise she expected. Tortured by demons, the layers of lies that had clouded her mind began to peel away. She’d been tricked into betraying Senyan, a man she thought she loved. Her skills had been used to bind the Demon Lord, Corse, to him. She was never intended to serve Silas. Arwenna bore the mark of a Daughter of Hauk.
Would Hauk give her the chance to stop Corse from fully manifesting in the world? And would she be able to save Senyan from the abyss she helped send him to?
In essence, “Daughter of Hauk” is about redemption, accountability and forgiveness. Collins’ storytelling magic flows behind the life of Arwenna, her death and rebirth.
Arwenna has been set up to help a demon lord gain a foothold in her world, Collins said. Only she doesn’t know it until she’s executed and memories that had been hidden from her for most of her life come through. She’s able to return and tries to stop the very thing she helped let loose onto the world, Collins explained.
“It’s a sense of accountability,” Collins said of the book. “To me, there seems to be, in society in general, this problem of ‘well, I did it, but it really wasn’t my fault. I don’t have to fix it.’ But everybody in (the book) is ‘no, we screwed up. We admit it. We fix it.’ “
Collins brings a believable, fun and conversational tone to her writing.
She decided to step out and give it a try. She fulfilled a quest, becoming a published novelist.
“I realized it was worth trying,” she said.
Book: “Daughter of Hauk”, Book 1, The Raven Chronicles, by KateMarie Collins (Solstice Publishing).
Order: Paperback ($13.99) on demand or ebook ($3.99) through amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and other venues.
Book signing: 2 and 4 p.m., Saturday, Fantasium Comics and Games, 1500 S. 336th St., Suite 12A, Federal Way. 253-874-3084