Ever wonder what trolls look like? Read Bog to find out.
You can read about how my new novel Bog was a labour of love as well as what made me decide to write about trolls, how I imagined my trolls, what I was like as a young teen, and more. Thanks, Lena, for the great questions. Read the full interview here.
My new fantasy novel for middle-grade readers, Bog, is officially available on May 1! In it, a cave troll with a grudge against humans embarks on a quest into human territory after his father is turned into stone. To celebrate the book, I’m launching my video book trailer and hosting a Goodreads giveaway for one of ten copies of the book. Good luck!
The early reviews of Bog are wonderful. Here’s what readers had to say:
“Bog is an irresistible character—grouchy but sweet, deeply flawed but deeply noble. I didn’t want his quest to end. Funny, inventive, and full of heart, this is undoubtedly Krossing’s best book yet.”
Lena Coakley, author of Witchlanders
“Karen Krossing’s latest novel is a commentary on difference and otherness, and a hopeful tale about the bridges that empathy can build over these impasses. Seen through Bog’s eyes, humans are the monsters, trolls are the good guys, and the epitome of beauty is strength, a bumpy nose, coarse skin and wild, dark hair … If you can read this novel and not wish you were a troll boy frolicking in the woods, you’re a better human than me.”
Cultural Eclipse, Emily Pohl-Weary, author of Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl
You can also listen to an excerpt from the novel here. Enjoy the trailer!
In a first draft, it can be hard to visualize my characters. They’re fledgling beings who morph as my story develops, becoming more solid and definable as I revise.
In my writing workshops, I suggest people draw their characters, if they can, in order to better connect with them. I’m not capable of sketching much more than stick figures, so it’s not a technique that works for me. I also suggest that writers pick up physical details from people they know or people they meet. Surfing Google Images can help to define what a character looks like. I also develop a character’s physical traits from people I see on the subway or in coffee shops. Maybe I’ll incorporate the dye job I see on a teen girl or her outfit that day. Concrete description is one way to ground your reader in your story and help them experience sensory details.
With my troll characters in my upcoming fantasy novel Bog, it was particularly hard to see them – strangely I didn’t come upon any trolls in the subway or my usual haunts. I needed to imagine my characters to make them come to life in words. That’s why I was eager and nervous when I was first about to see these troll characters illustrated on the cover of Bog. Would Quebec artist Félix Girard “get” my characters? Would his image of them match mine?
I had no need to worry. I fell in love with Felix’s cover art as soon as I saw it. In fact, I loved it so much that I purchased it, and it now hangs in my home. People tell me that it’s inviting, that they want to join the characters on their journey. Felix perfectly captured the Northern Canada setting of the novel, and truly made the characters come to life in art.
In case you’re curious about Felix’s technique, he tells me that he uses acrylic paint on watercolor paper. “I start with a detailed drawing over which I put several layers of paint, using a lot of water,” he says. “It’s quite similar to watercolour painting actually.”
I’m pleased to announce that my latest YA novel, Punch Like a Girl, will be published by Orca Book Publishers in Spring 2015. I’m thrilled to be working once again with editorial director Sarah Harvey, who is terrifically insightful and collaborative. In fact, I adore the whole Orca team.
What is Punch Like a Girl about?
Tori seems to have it all. She’s smart, athletic, attractive – and she used to date a great guy. Then one day, she shaves her head, alienates her friends, and starts acting out – violently. To try and turn things around, Tori’s parents force her to volunteer at a shelter for abused women and children. While she connects with the young kids, she continues to spiral downwards.
Punch Like a Girl is a taut, emotional look at one girl’s attempt to overcome bullying and violence in dating and domestic relationships.
Where did the idea come from?
I wanted to write about a girl with a hero complex who tries to save those around her rather than admitting she feels vulnerable. It’s an exploration of what it means to be a hero and a victim.
Most of us know someone who has been bullied or abused. This novel explores the themes of helplessness and heroism in confronting violence in dating and domestic relationships.