Karina Fabian has long been a favorite of mine. Her zombie-slaying heroine’s name is Neeta Lyffe. Need I say more? I love Vern the Faerie dragon and his Faerie Nun sidekick, Sister Grace, and a host of characters that rival those found in the Artemis Fowl books. The aforementioned Neeta Lyffe books are laugh-out-loud as Ms. Fabian parodies such things as reality television, with contestants facing off with zombies. (The contestants don’t always win.) Ms. Fabian is especially adept at building crazy, completely believable worlds. Part fantasy, part sci-fi, part satire, and all funny as heck.
Let’s meet Karina.
We writers love all our characters. Sometimes the most troublesome child can be a secret favorite. Is there one character you find especially troublesome, and are they your favorite? What makes you love them? Or do you wish they had never wriggled into your book?
I’m having a hard time coming up with a troublesome character. I mean, if they make trouble in the story, then that’s all to the good for the story, and it’s no skin off my nose if the other characters find them problematic.
One time, however, I had trouble with a character that refused to accept the role I had planned for her – spunky, tech-savvy sidekick. It stalled the novel for weeks! Finally, I gave up and let her do what she wanted to do, which was wear a silver evening gown and impossible shoes, get kidnapped by the bad guy and handcuffed to a bedpost until her fiancé came to her rescue. So, the complete opposite of what I wanted, necessitating a complete revisioning of the entire novel… No big deal.
But it was the best thing ever! She was the perfect damsel in distress. Her fiancé was awesome as the knight in shining armor, and the comedy was more organic. Plus, once she had her scene, she turned around later in the novel and saved his butt in a completely logical way.
I learned a valuable lesson: NEVER force a character to do something they don’t want to do.
Can you give us an example of a piece of research for a book that you especially enjoyed doing? Why was it so much fun?
A big part of my real-world job – you know, the one that pays the bills because not enough people buy my books? – involves calling people for research, so I don’t mind doing that for my fiction, too. My favorite phone calls involve research for Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, because it takes place in an alternate future. I once had a great conversation about how to get my exterminator’s license in LA, then asked, “and if I were to apply this to zombies, what regulations would you add?” For I Left My Brains in San Francisco, I spoke to my brother-in-law as well as the safety advisor at the Salt Lake Chevron refinery for ideas for a zombie outbreak at the Crappy Crude Refinery.
The fun part is learning new things combined with that pause on the end of the line when I ask, “Now, in the case of a zombie outbreak…”
What is one trait or habit your character has that would drive you crazy in real life?
To be honest, most of my characters would drive me crazy in real life. They are usually too abrupt and strong willed. In real life, I’d be swallowed up in their presence.
Everyone loves to laugh. Can you share your favorite joke?
You’re asking a humorist to share her *favorite* joke? And…the brain locks up with indecision.
My favorite humor is the spontaneous kind. Nothing delights me more than finding a pun or funny situation out of an ordinary daily circumstance. There are times when the joke only makes sense to me or perhaps me and my husband, who gets my twisted sense of thinking.
Many books, especially cozies, have recipes. I, myself, have bought mysteries for the recipes! Do you have a favorite recipe that you can share with readers? Especially one that character would love to make or eat. Extra points if it’s under five ingredients.
My favorite cooking machine is the sous vide device, which I was introduced to when we tested them for an article at Top Ten Reviews. You toss some meat in a ziplock baggie with spices and a little sauce, squeeze the air out, and put it in the pot to let it run all day while I work. Better than a crock pot and so easy!
What piece of advice would you give your character when everything seems hopeless? Advice you would give your best friend.
Hahaha! As an author, it’s not my job to give advice to my characters. It’s my job to make their life as crazy as possible for the entertainment of the readers, and let the characters’ friends give them to advice – good or bad. I will say, however, that no matter how awful the situation, it’s never hopeless.
If you could hang out with one of your characters, which would you choose, and what would you do?
I hang out with my characters all the time. They tell me their stories while I go about my day. If I could join any in their world, however, I’d want to be on the HMB Impulsive. I’d have to be some kind of honored guest being ferried somewhere, though, because I’d be useless on a starship.
What is your favorite word or phrase that serves as a substitute for swearing?
Unlike a lot of writers, especially those with Christian/Catholic readers in mind, I enjoy working with profanity, but I often deviate from the usual English.
In Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, Neeta holds to the philosophy that there are not enough swear words in the English language for her job, which is taking out the undead with the same professionalism she takes out termites. So she often learns profanity form other languages. They’re always fun to look up.
In Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, we have humans in the 25th century and aliens, so some of my swear words are misspellings of current profanity, curse words from science fiction, and made-up stuff from alien cultures I get to translate. Sometimes, I let the Universal Translator refuse to translate and just as, “but it was very bad, indeed,” and let the imaginative reader come up with their own joke. Sometimes, I let the crew use alien swear words without really understanding what they mean. This is especially true with Globbal, the language of the gelatinous life form on the ship. No one really understands the nuances of “blook,” which has to do with betraying their genetic promise by being a really rotten person, but they are glad to use it when referring to Gel’s procreative partner. Of course, what’s really fun is when a reader corrects me on my spelling of a swear word I’ve purposely changed. I put a caveat in each book now explaining that spelling evolves.
Vern, my dragon detective, swears in dragon terms: “Fewmets” (dragon poop – a real word), “Damsels and Knights,” “Spam in a Can.”
Personally, I avoid swearing as much as possible. The first time I ever dropped the F-Bomb was when a friend who was an EMT in the military was cutting out an infected hangnail for me. We were at his house. We were at his house, so no anesthetic. I was chatting along to distract myself when all of a sudden, he cut in and I screamed, “F&*K!” My best friend was with me and about fell out of her chair laughing. I was 52.
Out of the books you have written, which is your favorite, and why?
The one I just finished followed by the one I’m working on.
Thank you, Karina. And here is the latest. Note that it’s a four-part series and it’s best to read it in order, which is lucky for you, because SPACE TRAIPSE: HOLD MY BEER SEASON 1 is on sale right now for $.99 at Amazon.
And when you’re finished here, stop by Karina’s blog to chat with me. 🙂
If you love Star Trek and parodies. If the Orville and Galaxy Quest give you as much joy as Wrath of Khan. If you believe (as Tumblr says) that humans will rule the galaxy because we are the only species crazy enough to tie two warp cores together, reverse the polarity and toss them into a star just to see what will happen, then this is the book for you. Space Traipse: HMB Season 1 offers the first four episodes (plus a never-before-seen bonus) in editorially remastered binge-able format.
These are the voyages of the HMB Impulsive. You know the mission. Let’s meet the crew:
•Capt Jeb Tiberius: A good ol’ boy from Texas whose religion requires firm buttocks.
•First Officer Commander Phineas Smythe: His uncanny ability to win Rock-Paper-Scissors-Redshirt-Alien means he can pick his away missions.
•Chief Engineer Commander Angus Deary: The first person to reverse the polarity by 90 degrees.
•Xenologist and Ship’s Sexy, Loreli: A plant-based life form with a perfect figure, she keeps up ship morale – and ratings.
•Chief of Security, Enigo Guillermo Ricardo Montoya Guiterrez LaFuentes: Raised on the UGS The Hood, where gang war is a cultural right, he’s not afraid to shoot a fellow crewman. That’s what stun is for!
•Ops Officer Ensign Ellie Doall: Fresh from the HMB Mary Sue, she can so just about anything all on her own – and often does.
•Transporter Chief, Dolfrick Dour: By the manipulations of technology, he reduces people to their most basic elements and rematerializes them elsewhere. Is it any wonder he’s 23rd Century Goth?
Join the author as she reverses the polarity on clichés, breaks the fourth wall and has a rip-roaring time. But it’s not all slapstick. The stories just might touch your heart as well as tickle your funny bone. Don’t believe her? Get the book, pop open a cold one and read!
Following in a long tradition of Star Trek spoofs, Karina Fabian takes us on a Space Traipse with a crew determined to uphold humanity’s reputation as the toughest, most daring, and (let’s be honest) most reckless species in the galaxy. The crew of the HMB Impulsive is just that, and make their way playfully, sometimes painfully, and often pun-fully through their adventures. Combining a noir feel with the delightfully twisted kind of intellect it takes to make snappy, effective puns, Fabian’s stories don’t just acknowledge their parody status: they proudly embrace it, and dare you not to laugh either at them or with them. Don’t think so? Hold her beer, and let her show you.
– Gray Rinehart, science fiction author and singer-songwriter