Interview & Giveaway: Alma Katsu talks The Taker Trilogy & win THE RECKONING

January 22, 2013 Guests 27

Today we have an exciting interview and giveaway with Alma Katsu who talks about THE RECKONING, the second book in The Taker Trilogy available now from Gallery Books. There is also an exclusive excerpt from THE RECKONING along with the chance to win a signed copy!


The TakerWhat’s been the most rewarding part of writing THE TAKER books?

For me, the most fun has been the freedom to write a series that is not locked into an established mythos. I wanted to create the kind of book that I love to read: dark, twisty tales filled with characters you can’t forget and a story that haunts you for days after you’ve finished the last page. It has magic—because deep down, everyone wants to believe in magic—and danger, and men you want to fall in love with but who are tragically flawed. Unfortunately, the uniqueness of The Taker books has also been the biggest challenge: the fact that it’s doesn’t fit neatly into one genre or another sometimes makes it tough to convince readers to give it a try. I hope I don’t sound immodest if I repeat what countless readers have told me: “Why did I wait so long to read this book? It was amazing.”

With your background in intelligence and the spy business, how did you end up writing fantasy?

You’d think that with 30 years in the intelligence business, writing spy novels would be a no-brainer. Maybe that means I don’t have a brain . . . But really, the truth is that the last thing I wanted to do after a long day at work was come home and wrestle with an espionage caper. It was simultaneously both too much like work and crazily unlike work: what you see in a James Bond movie or in the pages of a spy thriller is not like real intelligence work, but you probably guessed that already. Whereas with fantasy, you have carte blanche to escape from reality, to mark everything larger-than-life in order to reveal truths about life. I felt constrained trying to write spy fiction, whereas I feel totally free writing fantasy.

What’s been the most surprising part of being published?

Connecting with readers and other writers. It is mind-blowing to see the range of books being written these days. There are books for every taste, and there are an amazing number of readers who read widely and can turn you on to a new author or new favorite book you might otherwise have never heard of. And without fail, the authors I’ve met have been friendly, open, and so supportive, ready to share their experience or even lend a shoulder for you to cry on. Everyone is in it for the love of story. It’s a pretty wonderful community to be part of.

Excerpt from THE RECKONING By Alma Katsu

Book Two in The Taker Trilogy

The Reckoning (The Taker, #2)By the summer of 1830, Jonathan and I had ended up in Fez, taking a suite at a hotel frequented by Europeans and Americans doing what was known at the time as the Grand Tour, the trip taken by young adults from moneyed families to give them some knowledge of the world. The hotel was fancy enough to please wealthy clients but practical enough to maintain a row of rooms and suites along the back of the property for another class of travelers. These rooms were meant for the lost and the drifters, and that was where we found ourselves after wandering for seven years, little wiser and much poorer, still ill prepared for what lay ahead for us.

It was here that I awoke in a double bed with sheets that hadn’t been changed in a week (we scrimped on maid service to save money) to find Jonathan’s note telling me he’d gone. Forgive me. This is for the best. Promise me you won’t come looking for me. If I change my mind, I will find you. Please honor my wish. Your dearest, J. I reread the note twenty, thirty times, the words making less sense with each reading, and remained in bed for another hour, uncomprehending. He’s mad at me for something, I told myself. He’s upset over something I said or did, something I don’t even remember, and has stormed out. He’ll be back. If I wait here patiently, he’ll be back.

When I finally got to my feet, I found that his clothing was gone, along with his suitcase and the journal he’d gotten into the habit of keeping. He hadn’t taken any of our money and could have no cash but whatever small amount he had on him. He’d also left behind the small pistol he carried, a sign that I was now responsible for my own protection.

He’ll be back after sunset—that was the next thing I told myself, mostly in an attempt to remain calm. I sat in the shaded rooms, smoking cigarette after cigarette, wondering what had caused him to leave. Things had deteriorated between us, certainly, but every couple went through bad times, periods when they argued more and found less pleasure in each other’s company. Arguments, sullen evenings . . . these things would pass. Jonathan had no choice but to return to me. In our peculiar situation, there was no one else he could trust. I started to wonder if there wasn’t an outsider to blame, if perhaps Jonathan had been persuaded by one of the adventurers who trekked through Morocco seemingly on weekly basis—a strong-willed woman, one with a fortune and an independent streak—to join her on the road. Maybe my worse fear had come to pass and he had finally fallen in love with someone else.

 Alma KatsuAlma Katsu lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. Her debut, The Taker, a Gothic novel of suspense, has been compared to the early work of Anne Rice and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. The novel was named a Top Ten Debut Novel of 2011 by the American Library Association and has developed an international following. The Reckoning, the second book in the trilogy, was published in June 2012. The Taker Trilogy is published by Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster.

Ms. Katsu is a graduate of the Master’s writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, where she studied with John Irving. She also attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.



Giveaway provided by Gallery Books
One paperback copy of THE RECKONING by Alma Katsu

The Reckoning


Available now from Gallery Books


The Taker opens on the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, where Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her . . . despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a settlement in the wilderness. Consumed as a child by her love for Jonathan, son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But when Jonathan fails her in her time of need and she’s exiled from town, Lanny is taken in by a man with mysterious, otherworldly powers named Adair. He uses his powers to give her eternal life, but Lanore learns too late that there is a price for this gift: to spend eternity with him. And though he is handsome and charming, behind Adair’s seductive facade is the stuff of nightmares. He is a monster in the flesh, and he wants Lanore to love him for all of time. And all she wants is Jonathan. She steals Adair’s magic to bind Jonathan to her so they can spend eternity together, learning too late that she’s doomed them both to a terrible fate for all eternity. It’s up to Lanny to figure out how to stop Adair and save them both—though she seems condemned to pay for her betrayal of Jonathan for the rest of her life.

In the second book in the trilogy, The Reckoning, Lanny believes she’s finally free of both Adair and her hopeless love for Jonathan. She’s trying to atone for her sins by giving away the treasures she’s collected over her many lifetimes in order, purging her past and clearing the way for a future with her new lover, Luke Findley. But, while viewing these items at an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Lanore suddenly is aware that the thing she’s been dreading for two hundred years has caught up to her: Adair has escaped from his prison. He’s free— and he will come looking for her. And she has no idea how she will save herself a second time from a man who is truly unstoppable.

With the stunningly imaginative storytelling and rich characterizations that fascinated readers worldwide and made The Taker a singular and memorable literary debut and an international sensation, Alma Katsu once again delivers “a powerful evocation of the dark side of romantic love” (Publishers Weekly) in her breathtaking new novel.

THE RECKONING is a nominee for RT Book Reviews 2012 Reviewers Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance and was a semifinalist in Goodreads 2012 Readers Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy.

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27 Responses to “Interview & Giveaway: Alma Katsu talks The Taker Trilogy & win THE RECKONING”

  1. Laura Kay

    I have a copy of The Taker and I’m waiting to get my hands on The Reckoning and when the last one comes out I’m going to sit and read all three of them at once. I think they look great and I don’t want to have to wait for the next book, lol.

  2. Brittany S

    I am so glad to see a giveaway for these books! I have been looking at them a lot lately. Fingers crossed for a win here!! Thanks for the chance to win!
    Brittany S

  3. Jacqueline Torres

    I Love the covers and I’m dying to read The Reckoning
    Thanks for the giveaway : )

  4. Viki S.

    Thank you so much. Can you imagine …. oh my this is going to be good :)!

  5. Kim

    Both books are absolutely amazing!!! Can’t wait for the 3rd book in the trilogy to come out. :o)

  6. Shelly Johnson

    My husband got me The Taker for Christmas (yes, he’s awesome 🙂 ) and I’m about 25 pages in and already in love with it, so I can not wait to get my hands on The Reckoning!!!

  7. Hollow May

    I just got The Taker and I can’t wait to get my hands on The Reckoning!! I just adore the covers of both books. Thank you for the giveaway =D

  8. Jennifer

    100% agree with this comment that Ms. Katsu made about this series: “Unfortunately, the uniqueness of The Taker books has also been the biggest challenge: the fact that it’s doesn’t fit neatly into one genre or another sometimes makes it tough to convince readers to give it a try. I hope I don’t sound immodest if I repeat what countless readers have told me: “Why did I wait so long to read this book? It was amazing.”

    After reading these two books I was left searching and searching for anything to come close to the entertainment value I got from her dark, twisted, not flowery or like pork filled books! These are a have to read!!!! Thanks Alma! Please hurry with the third and please make a fourth 🙂

  9. Jen B.

    I have seen so many great reviews for The Taker. I have the book on my wish list. Thanks for the giveaway. I agree about how great it is that there are so many different kinds of books available. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to try next! jepebATverizonDOTnet

  10. Kai W.

    What attract me to these books is the book cover. Both books look great. I also love the interview. Thanks for this awesome giveaway.

  11. Alma Katsu

    Gosh, thanks for the wonderfully kind words, everyone. I wish I had enough copies for everyone to win. Thanks so much Jennifer and Shelly (yes, your husband is awesome!)for letting folks know how much you enjoyed the books. I’m working away on the third book, but in the meantime we have some short stories coming out to tide readers over. Just put out The Witch Sisters, a prequel to the last book. If you like bad boys, Adair gets a bit of a comeuppance in. (Fair warning: it’s rated R.)

  12. Damaris

    I love the concept of the series. It’s different. Thanks for the giveaway.