It’s my pleasure to interview Kat Flannery in Edmonton, Alta., on Moving Target today. Kat’s second novel, Lakota Honor, has just been released by Imajin Books. It’s a historical paranormal romance, the story of Nora Rushton, a young woman who has to hide her powers of healing so as not to be branded as a witch. And of Otakatay, a Lakota native who has been hired to kill witches.
Kat has already proven herself as a writer of historical romance. Her first novel, Chasing Clovers, became an Amazon bestseller in historical and western romance, and she’s currently at work on a third.
Yes, it did. Whenever you write historical fiction there is always a great deal of research involved. For Lakota Honor, I not only wanted to be historically correct, but my setting also required me to find out how a coal mine was operated in the 1800s. And I needed to know something about the Lakota language and how it was spoken.
Who is your favorite character in Lakota Honor and why?
Otakatay, a Lakota native who has been hired to kill witkowin, women who are believed to be witches. He’s a troubled soul, and I felt it was my duty to help out. He is a hired killer, a bounty hunter and he hunts innocent women.
What was the most difficult scene to write and why?
There were many difficult scenes in this book, but I have to say writing a flashback of how Otakatay’s mother died was the most difficult to write.
What other book on the market is similar to Lakota Honor?
I’ve done some research and there are none similar to my storyline, however there are plenty historical paranormal novels out there.
Tell us the story behind your book cover.
Ryan Doan created this cover and I love it. All I asked was that a hawk and a butterfly be on the cover to symbolize the book’s main characters.
Tell us something about your writing schedule.
I write every day when I’m into a novel. I have to, otherwise the book will never get finished. With my three sons and my freelance work, this can sometimes be difficult, so the hours of writing vary anywhere from early morning to late at night.
Definitely American actor Jason Momoa. He has the look of a warrior, and he’s easy on the eyes.
If you had to pick a theme song for Lakota Honor, what would it be?
Hmmm, that’s tough but I’d have to choose the song I listened to the most while writing Otakatay’s gritty scenes. Bad Company by Five Finger Death Punch.
Will there be a sequel to Lakota Honor?
I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it yet, but I never rule out anything.
As a writer, what scares you most?
Not being able to write. To be a published author is great and a lifelong dream of mine, but if I was never published again and could still write I’d be okay. Writing is a part of who I am. It is in my soul—a gift from God. Without it I guess I’d have to sing…and I suck at that.
As an author, what is your greatest reward?
Fan mail. I love to hear from readers.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve received?
Never give up. Rejections are a part of the process of being a writer. They are our scars, and I love mine. I am not ashamed of being rejected; it has made me a better writer.
What is your next writing project?
I am currently finishing a novella set during the American Civil War. It is a compilation of two stories—one that I wrote and another written by author Alison Bruce.
That’s great advice Kat gives on never giving up. Rejections, she says, are our scars. I love it!
And here’s an excerpt from Lakota Honor:
Colorado Mountains, 1880
The blade slicing his throat made no sound, but the dead body hitting the ground did. With no time to stop, he hurried through the dark tunnel until he reached the ladder leading out of the shaft.
He’d been two hundred feet below ground for ten days, with no food and little water. Weak and woozy, he stared up the ladder. He’d have to climb it and it wasn’t going to be easy. He wiped the bloody blade on his torn pants and placed it between his teeth. Scraped knuckles and unwashed hands gripped the wooden rung.
The earth swayed. He closed his eyes and forced the spinning in his head to cease. One thin bronzed leg lifted and came down wobbly. He waited until his leg stopped shaking before he climbed another rung. Each step caused pain, but was paired with determination. He made it to the top faster than he’d thought he would. The sky was black and the air was cool, but fresh. Thank goodness it was fresh.
He took two long breaths before he emerged from the hole. The smell from below ground still lingered in his nostrils; unwashed bodies, feces and mangy rats. His stomach pitched. He tugged at the rope around his hands. There had been no time to chew the thick bands around his wrists when he’d planned his escape. It was better to run than crawl, and he chewed through the strips that bound his feet instead. There would be time to free his wrists later.
He pressed his body against the mountain and inched toward the shack. He frowned. A guard stood at the entrance to where they were. The blade from the knife pinched his lip, cutting the thin skin and he tasted blood. He needed to get in there. He needed to say goodbye. He needed to make a promise.
The tower bell rang mercilessly. There was no time left. He pushed away from the rocky wall, dropped the knife from his mouth into his bound hands, aimed and threw it. The dagger dug into the man’s chest. He ran over, pulled the blade from the guard and quickly slid it across his throat. The guard bled out in seconds.
He tapped the barred window on the north side of the dilapidated shack. The time seemed to stretch. He glanced at the large house not fifty yards from where he stood. He would come back, and he would kill the bastard inside.
He tapped again, harder this time, and heard the weak steps of those like him shuffling from inside. The window slid open, and a small hand slipped out.
“Toksha ake—I shall see you again,” he whispered in Lakota.
The hand squeezed his once, twice and on the third time held tight before it let go and disappeared inside the room.
A tear slipped from his dark eyes, and his hand, still on the window sill, balled into a fist. He swallowed past the sob and felt the burn in his throat. His chest ached for what he was leaving behind. He would survive, and he would return.
Men shouted to his right, and he crouched down low. He took one last look around and fled into the cover of the forest.
* * *
You can purchase Lakota Honor here.
Visit Kat on her website here.
Visit Kat on her blog here.