Author Kirsten Miller joins SciFiChick.com today to discuss maps and her latest release The Darkness Dwellers. And keep reading for a chance to win a copy for yourself!

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HERE BE THE MONSTERS
- Kirsten Miller

Of the seven books that I’ve written, the novels in the Kiki Strike trilogy (along with my new book,
How to Lead a Life of Crime) are by far my favorites. However, if you were to ask me what I love most about the Kiki series, I’d have to point to something I had no hand in creating—the map/diagram at the beginning of Kiki #1. It shows the Shadow City, the secret world beneath New York in which much of the trilogy takes place. I could literally stare at it for hours.


(Above: The Shadow City from the Kiki Strike books. Art by the incomparable Eleanor Davis.)

There’s nothing I adore more than a really great map. (Though if I could only own one, this would be it.) Often, what interests me most are a map’s empty spots—the uncharted areas that have yet to reveal their secrets. Back when the world was a darker (and more imaginative) place, these unexplored territories were often marked with the phrase, “Here Be Dragons.”

Believe it or not, even in the 21st century, there are still plenty empty spots on our maps—and who knows what monsters may call them home. The pristine forests of the Pacific Northwest are said to be Bigfoot’s stomping grounds. The ocean’s deepest trench could easily hold colonies of kraken. And the forgotten tunnels beneath New York City may very well be infested with mutant, man-eating rats. (As Kiki and her friends discovered in book #1.)

I love maps because they pique one’s curiosity and inspire exploration. They dare you to go places you’ve never gone before. Perhaps that’s why most of the books I’ve written either contain—or were inspired by—a map of some sort.

If you’ve read Kiki #1, you might be surprised to know that the NYCE map does exist. Kiki #2, The Empress’s Tomb, was meant to include a map of the haunted mansion at the center of the story. Kiki #3, The Darkness Dwellers (available 1/13) takes place in the catacombs beneath Paris—and was inspired in part by this phenomenal map. (Smaller version here.) And How to Lead a Life of Crime (available 2/13), which is set in a school for young criminals, will include two maps as well.

I’m taking a break from writing, which means I’ll soon be looking for new ways to spend my free time. I just stumbled across this episode of This American Life, and I’m thinking of making a few maps of my own. If I find any monsters, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Kirsten

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Courtesy of Bloomsbury Books, I have a copy of The Darkness Dwellers by Kirsten Miller for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends February 1. I’ll draw a name on February 2, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!