Guest Author: Kat Richardson

Today, I get to welcome the amazing author Kat Richardson to Literary Escapism. Kat is getting ready to celebrate the release of her fifth Greywalker novel, Labyrinth.

Harper Blaine was your average small-time P. I. until she died-for two minutes. Now she’s a Greywalker, walking the line between the living world and the paranormal realm. There are others who know about her new powers-others with powerful tools and evil intentions, and now that the man who “killed” her has been murdered, the police are also paying close attention. That means Harper has to watch her step while searching for the ghost of her “killer”-who could be a valuable clue in the puzzle of Harper’s past and her father’s death, as well as a key to figuring out who’s trying to manipulate her new powers and why. But with her growing powers pulling her into the Grey, Harper might not be able to come back out…

Make sure you stick around, we’re giving away a set of signed copies of Vanished and Labyrinth with a limited edition puzzle to a lucky reader.

Things In the Dark

Fantasy is the most basic form of fiction: isn’t all fiction, after all, the fantastic working of our own minds? At its best, fantasy allows us to explore that which is impossible physically, or to dive deeply into the non-physical. It’s the realm of imagination, of the forbidden, the strange, and the challenging.

I write fantasy that includes a lot of creatures that don’t fit the traditional, high-fantasy mold. The most recognizable fantasy mode is the Tolkienesque or heroic fantasy familiar from movies and games. It may feature a single race or a mix of races—elves, humans, dwarves, gnomes, goblins, orcs, trolls, and halflings who are often portrayed as various avatars of nature (human and otherwise)—engaged in a heroic quest, worldwide struggle, or sprawling epic adventure. But that’s not the only sort of fantasy story. A fantasy tale does not defined by fitting into the heroic mold; any story which is set in a world of magic and/or peopled with fantastical beings can be a fantasy. While the the heroic sort of fantasy has a comforting appeal straight from the Disney version of any given fairy tale, most of the creatures we think of as “fantastic” are as ambiguous or outright wicked in their original form as ghosts, demons, and vampires are in most horror stories: fairies aren’t kindly little women with wings and wands in their origin stories, nor are all demons evil or all gods good, it’s really just a matter of which side of the fairy tale you’re looking at….

Personally I write in the darker mode; I use a lot of ghosts, vampires, and undead things instead of elves, dwarves, trolls, or fairies. Many of these creatures have been considered the stuff of horror for a long time, but they’re just the darker branch of the fantastic family tree. For me, wherever there are creatures of light, there must also be creatures of darkness, for every angel, a demon, for every hero a villain. But beyond that, darker fantasy is more likely to play with the ambiguity of our own desires and impulses, our strengths and our failings reflected in the form and action of the characters in the story. Heroic fantasy may touch on weakness, but by its nature it inclines to morality tales because a hero must have a moral compass, while a protagonist, doesn’t have to be moral.

I like the flexibility of dark fantasy to reflect and provoke. But all fantasy allows a storyteller to play with allegory in ways that a story set in the real world may not: a monster may be a prince beneath his beastly skin… or he may just be a monster after all. I’ve always found the contradictory and ambiguous aspects of human nature and action to be fascinating and the grittier, less-illuminated corners of fantasy offer me a broader range of emotional color to work with. I’m not saying there’s no room for courageous princesses and beautiful knights, but I find them more interesting when they’ve got a secret or a flaw that threatens or challenges them from the inside. When fantasy is too morally polarized, it doesn’t leave much room for normal human flaws and struggle; it may encourage us, point us to a loftier path in life, show us our social and cultural errors, but it does not challenge us to examine ourselves and challenge our assumptions.


Want to purchase Kat’s Greywalker novels?

  1. Greywalker at Amazon or the Book Depository
  2. Poltergeist at Amazon or the Book Depository
  3. Underground at Amazon or the Book Depository
  4. Vanished at Amazon or the Book Depository
  5. Labyrinth at Amazon or the Book Depository
  6. Mean Streets at Amazon or the Book Depository (anthology featuring a Harper Blaine story)
  7. Wolfsbane and Mistletoe at Amazon or the Book Depository (anthology featuring a Harper Blaine story)


Thank you Kat for taking the time to visit Literary Escapism!

Contest Time! Kat has graciously offered to give away a set of signed copies of Vanished and Labyrinth with a limited edition puzzle to a lucky reader. All you have to do is answer this one question: What are some of your favorite Dark Fantasy stories? Or simply ask Kat a question. Please indicate which prize you would like to be entered for.

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase any of Kat’s novels (listed above) or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until September 3rd, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. Great post! That’s a hard question, because it depends on how one defines a dark fantasy. As the genre expands (uf, pnr, horror, dark fantasy) hopefully at least bookstores can get their stuff together so I find it all somewhat in the same place! Oh, but I have to say, I love Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books. That is dark fantasy to me.
    I think if I won I’d pick Vanished (because I’m only up to the second book in the series)
    follow LE on fb and twitter
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  2. I read Dweller by Jeff Strand. I think that would qualify. More of a horror story, but very disturbing commentary on human nature . Great post. I don’t like the normal fantasy stuff. They spend so much time describing the scene, clothes and what not. The story gets lost and it just takes to much work to read it . I love dark humor in my Urban Fantasy. I have Labyrinth sitting on the table. It is the next book I am picking up to read! :)

  3. I’m not really a dark fantasy fan. I’m the person who had to be taught how to ride a roller coaster. I started out on the “Scoobie Coaster” and progressed upwards. I never liked ghost stories – especially the ones told around the campfire. I couldn’t sleep after watching “Alien.” It’s just not my thing. However, I do like a touch of darkness and horror. Kat’s books were something I tried as an experiment and they introduced me to that touch. She uses it like Neil Gaiman does – as a spice, not the main course.Prior to reading Kat’s books, the darkest stories I ever really enjoyed were Faust and Dickens. I’m glad I ventured in. I also like the fresh view of vampires and dark creatures that Kat brings to her stories. They’re more human, more real, more three dimensional. I’m never going to be a vampire fan but I will keep reading Kat’s books.

  4. I really like Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. I’ve been looking forward to trying the Greywalker series. I caught the story in Mean Streets and thought it was fantastic. If I win, I’d love to snag the copy of Labyrinth.

  5. I love the Dark Days series by Jocelynn Drake, Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews and Dorina Basarab series by Karen Chance. I’ve read Greywalker and really liked it. I can’t wait to continue the series with Poltergeist! So it would be awesome to win the next one, Vanished!

    linaramz at yahoo dot com

  6. Favorites: October Daye, Harper Blaine, Charlie Madigan.

    I have LABYRINTH on the way from a friend who went to the Powell’s signing for me, so I would love to have VANISHED added to my keeper collection.

    LE is on my blog roll at all times.

    VWinship at aol dot com

  7. I don’t like “high” fantasy at all, but I love dark fantasy. The Kate Daniels series is currently my favorite, but I also love all Lilith Saint Crow’s Jill Kismet series and I’m in the middle of her Dante Valentine series. I’ve also been reading Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series, which is pretty dark, and the Fever series by Karen Moning. I read Greywalker, but haven’t gone any farther, so I’d love to win Vanished – that would encourage me to pick up books 2 and 3.

    I commented on the Dark and Disorderly review – another dark fantasy that is in my TBR but I haven’t gotten around to it yet LOL.

  8. Kat, what’s the scariest monsters you’ve read about?

    meredithfl at gmail dot com
    fan of LE on FB

  9. My brain’s not working too well right now because the only dark fantasy I can think of is the early Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake series. I guess I can argue for the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series as well though they can be somewhat lighter at times.

    I’m a FB fan Jennifer L.

  10. At the moment my favorite Dark Fantasy series is the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I say at the moment because I’m just reading Magic Bleeds and I LOVE it.

    follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook (Giada Mariani)
    follower of Literary Escapism on Twitter (@hatshepsut0011)

    Thank you for this chance!!!

    Giada M.

    fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. my picks would be both series by Lilith Saintcrow and the Kate Daniels’ Series.
    would love to read either one ;)

  12. My favourites are probably Vicki Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac series but I also love the Toby Daye, Kate Daniels, and Anita Blake books, and, of course, Harper Blaine!

  13. I have not yet read any of your books but I’m starting soon, I liked the interview:-)

    How old were you when you began to write stories?

    If I have to choose I would love the copy of Vanished.

    +1 comment
    +1 twitter:
    +1 myspace:
    +1 facebook:
    +1 follow LE on twitter and facebook (forceofstars) (Mette Jensen)

    I hope it’s ok I take part in the competition I can not see if this giveaway is international.

  14. Hi Kat,

    What’s your favorite scene(s) on this book ? and did you find it difficult to write ?

    +1 a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook (Mariska H) and Twitter (becunique)

  15. Thanks for sharing “Thing in the Dark” ! I have to say I’ve read books one and two with 3 in my tbr pile (the short pile ;) ) and really like Harper’s character.

    One of my favorite darker series is Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London novels.

    If had to choose would go with Labyrinth :).


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