Katharine Wibell’s lifelong interest in mythology includes epic poetry like the Odyssey, Ramayana, Beowulf, and the Nibelungenlied. In addition, she is interested in all things animal whether training dogs, apprenticing at a children’s zoo, or caring for injured animals as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
After receiving degrees from Mercer University in both art and psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior, Wibell now lives in Roswell, Georgia with her dog, Alli, as a full-time author and artist. Many of her literary works blend her knowledge of the animal world with the world of high fantasy.
Share a little bit about The Guardian’s Speaker: Volume Five, which releases today, Feb. 25, 2022.
The Guardian’s Speaker: Volume Five is the next installment of my adult, Viking fantasy series. These novellas are based solely on Nordic myth. Readers will enjoy traveling through the nine realms of Yggdrasil, the world tree.
Líf was born with the ability to see each person’s fylgja, the animal shaped guardian spirit that Nordic peoples believed were connected to and associated with a person from birth. As a result, she is often viewed as mad and shunned, for she is the only one with such an ability. At least until she meets Brasir, a man who claims all humanity is at risk of dying and only he is able to prevent this calamity. The problem is that he is a slave. And he is not hers to free.
In this novella, readers accompany the Viking band as they travel further from Midgard, the world of mankind, and into Svartálfheim, the lands of the black elves. Life has never been easy, especially for those who dare leave the safety of their homelands.
You have multiple series listed on Amazon. Which ones are complete and which ones still have book coming?
At the moment, The Incarn Saga is a complete series in four volumes. These are new adult shifter fantasies. Set in the Kingdom of Elysia, two races—the ruling humans and the native Theriomorphs, a shifter species—live begrudgingly side-by-side. Neither group likes or trusts the other. Yet, when a battle-thirsty third party begins attacking Elysia’s shores, both races must push aside their differences and fight as one. My main character is seventeen-year-old Lluava Kargen, a shifter that has been drafted for the impending war.
The Djed Chronicles is my young adult adventure fantasy. The first two books, The Twelve Tasks and The Vargarian Sire, have been released, and the third will be released late 2022. This multiverse contains twelve magical planets that host all manner of fantastical beasts and beings. If the balance that effects the universe is destroyed, then all life will be lost. Only the Djed, the prophesied hero, can prevent this from happening, and the Djed is predicted to be a child of Earth.
You plan to release a novel or novella every other month this year. What made you decide on that goal? How are you able to be that productive?
I do not believe in rushed writing. However, authors who release a high volume of books or have a large backlist have a greater chance of making a living off their work.
When Covid hit in 2020, I was forced to pivot away from my art and focus more on my writing. In addition to a full-length book, I began writing the Viking novella series and produced a body of work. Last year was the first in my three-year plan to release a new work every other month. This year, I am also planning to publish more box sets, my first audiobook, and hard back editions. Writing is a vocation that I take seriously.
Do you prefer to write novels or novellas? Why?
I love long stories! Unfortunately, they are time consuming to write and cost more to produce. This is why I challenged myself to create a series of novellas. Eventually, I might mellow out and write books of a moderate length, but who knows?
What are some of your normal writing habits? (food, time of day, location, music, etc.)
As I am a morning person, I check on any ads that I am running as I sip my coffee. Then I will spend the rest of the morning trying to reach my page count in my home office. After lunch, I switch my focus to whatever task is most important that day. This could be maintaining my social media presence, conducting interviews, editing, formatting, working on advertising, researching, or even painting. And I always try to read a little bit upon awakening and before going to sleep.
I wish I could listen to music when I work, but I need total silence to focus on new material. I do have several playlists that I use to get into the writing mood or as background when I am working on marketing.
You’re an artist as well as an author. Are you as passionate about art as you are writing?
Yes, though I have recently focused most of my attention on my writing career. Still, I am always available to accept a pet portrait commission. I love painting dogs, cats, and the like. It serves as a great break from my afternoon work. I am also thrilled that my paintings were simultaneously accepted in three different juried shows this year.
Do your art and writing influence each other?
Not really. My art predominantly features animals whether pets or wildlife. My writing focuses on epic/high fantasy. What is common between them is my passion for animals. In fantasy, this has taken the form of the race of humanoid beasts known as Ntr or the Theriomorphs, my shifters.
What are the best tips you’ve received that helped improve your writing?
Using some form of an outline! My own might look crazy to the outside viewer with its colorful sticky notes and diagrams tacked to the wall in front of my desk. They pair up with my ten plus pages of plot drafts, dialogue segments for future scenes, and links to my favorite research sites. Determining what works best for me has allowed me to write more rapidly while keeping track of every character, dimension, and world that I have already developed.
Animals are a big part of your life. Are they a big part of your stories?
YES! As I mentioned a little earlier, my love of animals, both real and fictional, continuously crops up in my stories. The Incarn Saga features shifters, and the main character can transform into a white tigress. In The Djed Chronicles, the Ntr is a race of humanoid beasts inspired by Egyptian deities. The Guardian’s Speaker has an abundance of animal undertones for the fylgjur are animal-shaped guardian spirits that protect mankind. These examples barely scrape the surface when compared to the many mythological creatures that have their moments of stardom in my books.
What does success look like for you as an author?
There are two ways that I could judge success. Financial success would enable me to support myself and my family. But another form of success, perhaps even more desirable, is if my stories would continue to be read and loved long after I have passed on.
Anything additional you want to share with readers?
I love connecting with fans and followers not only about my books but also “nerding out” on others or mythology in general. If you want to keep in touch, find me through the following platforms:
Signed and personalized copies of a selection of my books can also be found on my Etsy shop along with my art.
This excerpt is the Prologue of The Twelve Tasks: Book One of The Djed Chronicles
He could taste blood.
Adrenaline coursed through his body, preventing him from feeling the pain of biting his tongue. Stumbling along the dimly lit corridor, he tripped over his own feet and collided with the stony floor. Scraped knees were of little importance now. People needed to be warned. The signal must be sent.
There was no pleasure in being the first to know, in interpreting the signs. A target was now on his back. He had not a chance for survival.
His frantic footfalls were the only echoing encouragement for this, his last, great mission. Their reverberating sounds masked his panting and his rapid heartbeat. He should have lit more sconces. He should have prepared more Wards. He should have done a lot of things. Would this last act of his be enough to redeem his soul?
The end was coming. For everything. If the Djed was not discovered and proven true, the scales would tip too far, the balance would be shattered, equilibrium lost. And along with it, all life.
A sudden catch in his side caused him to stumble once again. He must make it—yet he knew he was being hunted, and he knew he was slowing down.
The Darkness had awakened. And she was hungry.
Looking ahead, he could see his goal. The circular device was before him now, in his line of sight. Ancient as it was, it would work for him. It had to.
One at a time, he forced the concentric stone rings to spin. The runes and timeworn symbols on each ring must align in the correct pattern, or the result would be disastrous.
With each grinding click as specific sections locked in place, the room dimmed oppressively. Almost there. Almost there. Almost…
The room went black, sucking all light and the last hope of sight into its depths, leaving only two eyes that glinted like the golden coins used as offerings for Charon, the boatman of the underworld. No scream was heard as the dial turned for the final time.
The Darkness had claimed her first victim.