I am thrilled to welcome Zebra author Kimberly Killion to Armchair Heroines today! I recently read her debut novel, Her One Desire, and loved it.
And now, please welcome Kimberly!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Kimberly. I absolutely loved your book! Tell us about Her One Desire.
HER ONE DESIRE is a Zebra debut that released in July 08. The story is set in 1483 England, a time when the nobles would do anything to gain King Edward’s crown. My blurb says it best:
Astride a stolen horse, encircled by the shackled arms of Broderick Maxwell, a Scottish spy escaping certain death in the Tower of London, Lizbeth Ives rides to the north, hidden by the merciful darkness. By stealth and by cunning, the daughter of the Lord High Executioner has undone her father’s cruel work, compelled to save the innocent man with her. There is no turning back—they are bound as one in his iron chains. Consumed by mortal fear, driven by passion, they disappear into the night…
A single raven follows them. Is it an omen? Or only the first of those who would capture them? They must ride on. If captured, they will face death together. But if they reach Scotland, he will claim her for his own…forever.
How did inspiration for this story and these characters strike?
I suppose I was contemplating my next story when I was watching a documentary of the lives of the executioners and how they lived. I was fascinated by their stories. I had been researching the life of Richard the Third, as he plays a role in HER ONE DESIRE, and discovered he, too, had been party to several executions. My little mind went to work and it hit me…what if I wrote a book about the executioner’s daughter? It took root from there.
Did you do a lot of research? How did you go about it?
My bible for this book was a Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall. The book is 600+ pages and I read it more than once. I discovered fascinating concepts that made me rethink my original ideas of creating a villain out of the executioner. Instead, I wanted to make the executioner a bit of a hero himself. As history buffs, we all know the mysteries that surround the princes in the Tower. I, too, have always wondered about their disappearance and decided to use that mystery as a twist in the storyline.
Were there any aspects of the book with which you struggled?
The timeframe in which I wrote it. I only had five chapters written on HER ONE DESIRE when I went to the national conference in Dallas in 2007 and pitched the story to Hilary Sares of Kensington. She was very interested in the premise of this particular story and asked to see everything I had written on it to date, in addition to HIGHLAND DRAGON, which will be out in the fall of ‘09. Ten days after National I got ‘THE CALL’. Hilary wanted to buy both books from me. The catch…she wanted HER ONE DESIRE to hit the shelves first. Of course, I was exhilarated, excited, but I only had five chapters written. Long story short…I had to write 80,000 words in three months. I set myself on a schedule of 1,000 words a day and 5,000 on the weekends in order to meet my deadline. I got up at 4:00 a.m. to write before work and then wrote at night until 10:00, 11:00, sometimes midnight. I locked myself in the closet with my laptop for privacy and when that didn’t work, I went to the ‘shed’. But, I DID IT! Whew!
How did you find yourself with writing as a career path?
Do you remember the teacher who made a difference in your life? I do. His name was Dr. Krantz. He was my mythology teacher. While attending college near Kansas City, I was working toward a Bachelor in Fine Arts when I discovered I had to take an elective. I pulled "Mythology" out of a hat, and it was there I found Dr. Krantz. The book wasn't Romeo and Juliet, as you might suspect, but Dante's Inferno-a Divine Comedy indeed. Talk about an intriguing read. Sure, I bought Cliffs Notes—I was eighteen. With a three-hour block of nude figure drawing and rocks to sculpt, who has time to read? Well, I read it. Cover to cover, after which, I read Oedipus, The Iliad, The Odyssey, and a few other Greek tragedies.I walked away with, not only an "A" in the class, but a love for all things tragic, passionate, and historic. I did receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with which I have enjoyed a rewarding career as a graphic designer for more than fifteen years. I moved on from the ancient authors of yesteryear and became engrossed in the writings of Julie Garwood, Teresa Medeiros, and Gaelen Foley — just to name a few.
What are you reading now or what's in your "to-be-read" pile?
Mostly research books:
The Big Book of Filth: 6500 Sex Slang Words and Phrases
Haud Yer Wheesht: Your Scottish Granny's Favorite Sayings
Awa' An' Bile Yer Heid! Scottish slang and insults
For pleasure, I'm currently reading a few HOT novellas: The Pleasure of His Bed by Melissa MacNeal, Donna Grant, and Annalise Russell
What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
Well…um…I’ve been sitting her for a really long time trying to answer this question and I’ve decided I have no answer. I really enjoy writing. I spend hours a day talking to my characters and thinking of ways to torture them. I enjoy spending time with my family, but in truth, I even brainstorm with my teenage daughter, so that’s writing related as well.
Since it's November: What are the three things for which you are most thankful?
The obvious ones; God, my family, my writing group, but I am really thankful for my vivid imagination. I would be terribly bored without it. J
Thank you, Kimberly!
Kimberly is offering a copy of Her One Desire to one lucky AH reader. Post your comments and questions for a chance to win.