We all have our favorite artists. Musicians, actors, directors, animators, authors, etc. Not all of us, however, have the opportunity to actually get to know the artists they admire, as I have with Karen Marie Moning.
While I won't go nearly so far as to say that I am intimately acquainted with Karen Marie Moning, one of my favorite authors, I have been given the incredible gift of interacting with her personally many times. Between Facebook Messenger, meeting her at her launches and even being invited into her spectacularly beautiful home prior to the last book launch for FEVERBORN, I have been honored to connect with this brilliant woman outside of the typical fan/creator relationship.
On Karen's birthday, I would like to take a moment to try and express why it is her loyal fans love her so dearly. The Moning Maniacs are the only fandom that I have allowed myself to be a part of. And, while I am not fully enmeshed, as I find myself naturally wary of the idea of fan groups as a whole based on past experiences, I have never known these fans to be anything other than gracious, welcoming and warm.
Why is that?
Karen genuinely cares about her fans and nurtures an environment of respect.
Artists don't have to be magnanimous, and, in fact, many of them aren't. But Karen seems to truly enjoy interacting with her fans via both social media and her extraordinary book launches. She is incredibly engaging on Facebook, starting in depth conversations on her page on myriad topics, ranging from fluff to fierce and everything in between. She expresses interest in her fans' opinions and lives, and, when you have the opportunity to meet her face-to-face, you never feel rushed or overlooked -- she hones those alarming green eyes in on you and gives you her full attention.
Ever since her staff was shaken up several months ago, Karen curates all of her own social media posts. While it can be quiet for long stretches due to her getting lost in her intense writing process, being able to interact with her directly and not via a personal assistant is worth the occasional silence.
Her utter brilliance is enough to take my breath away.
If you've ever read any of Karen Marie Moning's books, especially the beautifully complex FEVER series, you'll know what I mean by this one. Not only is she a gorgeous writer, she is also smart as hell.
Karen can seamlessly jump from talking about Faeries to black holes and quantum physics and the fabric of the universe without missing a beat. Unlike some authors who dive into more complex themes than the average reader may understand, Karen does it in such a way that makes sense and fits perfectly into the shape of the story. I've read some Michael Crichton and found myself working really hard to keep up with what he was saying, but, with Karen's books, I feel like a goddamn physicist.
The fantastical world she has created is my absolute favorite to visit over and over again.
I am a notorious re-reader. Books to me are like comfort food for the soul. When life gets to be too much or I find reality abhorrently stressful, the only way to really ease my tortured psyche is by diving into one of my favorite books. Karen Marie Moning's feverish world is always my first choice.
At this point, I'm fairly certain I've read the series all the way through at least a dozen times. It is dark, sexy, hopeful, bleak, magical, funny, endearing and will have you running the entire emotional gambit from start-to-finish. You will scream, you will cry, you will cheer, you will laugh. It grabs the fantastical, drops it smack-dab into the middle of reality and takes us on the adventure of a lifetime. I could not possibly love the stories or characters more if I had created them myself.
She knows how to write the best sex scenes.
Some of you may think this is trivial in the grand scheme of things, and some you would be completely wrong. Any romance worth its salt includes sex. And, while I am super reluctant to actually classify the FEVER series as romance (it's SO much more than that), it's underlying sexual themes are what make it so very captivating. Sex is a part of life (or, at least, it should be), and capturing that natural, beautiful act in a realistic and desirable way eludes many artists.
Not Karen Marie Moning, though. She builds on the delicious tension until everyone is about to snap like a string pulled too tight. Once we feel as though we can't possibly stand the pressure, she deflates it and gives us what we need: Jericho Barrons and MacKayla Lane finally giving in to their natural, animalistic instincts and letting desire replace logic.
Just read a small excerpt from this flipped point of view she gave us as a gift a few years ago. The original scene in Darkfever showed us what happened from Mac's point of view, but Karen tells us that what we thought we knew was a lie, and Barrons held the real story. This flipped viewpoint would actually become canon later in the series as the prologue for FEVERBORN. You can read the full passage here.
I close my hands on her ribs. She fights. She’ll be bruised in the morning. I dredge up a few hated memories. My blood goes cold. I get harder. I begin to move, lose track of time. Four hours feel like four minutes. For something so soft, she takes her fucking hard, with a twist. I taste her. I could eat her alive. She closes her mouth on my dick. I close my hands on her head. I might not let her go. Slick with sweat, I defile her with reverence. Or revere her with defilement. Every. Inch. Of. Her. Motherfuckingfinebody. She likes it. No holds barred with this woman. I wouldn’t have believed it of her. And she does scream...
I'll give you a moment to compose yourself, or, you know, take care of yourself ... whichever...
She is kind.
Every single interaction I've had with Karen has been a pleasant one. She is sincere and gracious and welcomes me every time I see and speak to her with warmth and kindness. She is a person who I genuinely enjoy being around. Other than her innate goodness, she is brilliant and interesting and someone you naturally want to listen to.
I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to know her.
Happy birthday, Karen. Thank you for inviting us to share this fantastical world you've created. Our lives would be a whole lot duller without Mac, Barrons, Dani and the whole gang to visit with on our darkest days.
You can read more about Karen Marie Moning here at PopWrapped!