Please welcome my friend and author, Kris Kennedy!
First of all, congratulations on your debut novel, The Conqueror! And can I just say: Wow! What a cover! Tell us about The Conqueror.
Ack! I stink at blurbs, but here goes . . .
THE CONQUEROR is a hot, sweeping medieval romance with a reluctant alpha hero, a desperate heroine, and a love that can unite a kingdom or bring it crashing to the ground.
After seventeen years of a civil war, a midnight rescue results in a night of unforgettable--and forbidden-passion. Their explosive reunion, a year later, follows betrayal and a bloody invasion. Someone has to win, after all. And the other person is very, very angry.
And it's full of an ‘adventure' piece, if you like that kind of thing. J Abductions, midnight rescues, sword fights. Hidden agendas. Betrayal. Revenge. Imprisonment. Buried treasure. Enemies on the prowl. And hot sex. Oh, it's fun! :-)
Uh, you did a pretty darn good job with that blurb...Michelle Buonfiglio over at Romance: B(u)y the Book (myLifetime.com) says she's "pretty damn wildly excited about it" and that it's the medieval she's "been waiting for"! Have you always written medievals?
I was really excited to have Michelle love the book! Since then, it’s started receiving other reviews that have been pretty positive.
Dear Author named it a Recommended Read for May, and two other ‘tough’ review sites also seemed to like it: All About Romance gave it a B+ and Wendy the SuperLibrarian give it a solid B, and said “It's easy to see why this book finaled for RWA's Golden Heart award. It's really a very accomplished debut novel, and fans of medievals should just beat the Christmas rush and start rejoicing now.”
So, of course, I still go back and re-read that. LOL
As far as “have I always written medievals” . . .
My very first story was actually a very bad post-Revolutionary War era story. Let us hope it stays hidden in the vaults, because it is one scary piece of writing. ;-)
After that, I started writing stories based in Ireland, following an Irish awakening, which took the form of obsessive, unstoppable research into Ireland. J I was increasingly intrigued by the medieval era as a result, but when I read Marsha Canham’s Through a Dark Mist and In the Shadow of Midnight, that was the match that totally ignited my love of the middle ages. :-)
If (when?) I get a review like that, you can bet I'll have it committed to memory! :0) How is writing a medieval romance different than writing historicals from other eras?
I have to say, I don’t really know! LOL You have to do a ton of research, of course, but it’s so far in the past, and so much of the research is stitched together. Sometimes you’re writing between the lines of what’s known as historical fact and what’s simply believed to be true.
It was a wild time, with lots of approbations on behavior, but still so much leeway. There were fewer people, living further apart, and it was pretty easy to get away with outlawry. There were also lots of small battles and conflicts, legal and martial, and this just lends itself to drama and fiction. Even some of the things that came to be so accepted in Western culture were still being formalized in this time. For instance, in the era THE CONQUEROR takes place in, primogeniture—or the right of the eldest son to inherit the father’s titles and lands—was not solidly in place. Sometimes the eldest son inherited, but it was still debatable, and was most often settled by who was still standing at the end of the day; i.e. who won the fight? And legal disputes were still being settled by battle and torture.
So, all of these things lend themselves to writing a rich tapestry of fiction, with a variety of different outcomes that can be woven into the real history of the times, which I LOVE doing.
Sounds crazy! Tell us a little about how you research.
I read. Incessantly. :-) I’m the dork lugging around the big heavy research books. LOLI’ve also been fortunate enough to travel to Ireland, England, and Germany, so I’ve crawled all over the castles as much as possible, trying to imagine how it would have felt to be alive back then.
Some of my best friends are dorks lugging around heavy research books. :0) What's up next for you?
I recently turned in WANTING FINIAN to my editor, which is the story that won the 2008 Golden Heart Award for Best Historical Romance last summer. Here’s an excerpt: http://www.kriskennedy.net/books/wanting-finian) I did extensive revisions to it following the Golden Heart awards, and, barring additional revision suggestions from my editor, it’s essentially done. Hurray!
Of course, I don’t yet know what it will be titled. I doubt my editor will keep my title, so be sure to stay tuned for news on that. :0)
Otherwise, I’m back to working on another book which could follow THE CONQUEROR, but certainly works as a stand-alone book. It’s a medieval with a wronged & angry heroine, a very, very dangerous hero, and both of them with something precious to protect. My working title is simply: The Jamie Story.
Mmm, sounds intriguing. You have a page on your website called "My Girls". What's that all about?
Those are the other writers I know and think readers might enjoy. I actually have to update that page—thanks for mentioning it! LOL.
That’s the great thing about the world of fiction—there’s room for all of us. The whole genre improves when another great author comes along. :0)
I love that - "there's room for all of us"! I frequently comment on how wonderful it is that there are so many different books out there - something for everyone! :0) What have you found most surprising about being a published author?
How long it takes to do revisions when you realize (hopefully) thousands of people will be reading your book. Call it obsession or stark fear, whatever. :0) It makes me work very hard to do a fabulous job, making the revisions very time-consuming. :0)
I didn’t quite ‘get’ this with the first book. Before you sell a book, it’s all about the selling. Afterwards, it’s all about ‘OMG, how did I ever sell this thing??” ;-)
Now that THE CONQUEROR is out in stores, though, I realize what I really care about is the readers. I’ve received the nicest, most exciting letters form people who picked the book up in a grocery store, for instance, and just loved it. I can’t put into words what that means to me.
That's truly what it's all about, after all. What advice did your mother (or another close female, mom-like person) give you that you've found indispensable?
Hmm…I love the question, but I don’t have an answer. LOL I don’t think I categorize things in my mind like that: I don’t have a file drawer named ‘advice,’ that I can open and look at. Too bad, because I like the idea of it.
I do know I really like the idea of ‘guiding principles,’ and I use them to help me make decisions at hard times.
I think if I had to give advice to a younger female (totally not what you asked
), I’d suggest she work on discovering what she values, what & who she has respect for, then come up with some basic, ‘guiding principles’ that invoke those behaviors. Ex: “When in doubt, be compassionate in how you interpret someone else’s behavior.” Then, when she’s having her own ‘dark nights of the soul,’ J, she can fall back on these as a guide.
And finally, besides your new book :0) and loved ones, what's your most prized possession?
Holy cow, you ask the best questions that I have no answers for! LOL Possessions . . . Prized . .
I could say my computer, b/c of all of the info on it, but if the info were put somewhere else, I wouldn’t care about the computer at all.
Pictures. Pictures of my past, my family and friends.
Oooh, I love pictures (just take a look at my blog recently)! Thank you so much for being here with us today, Kris!
Thanks so much for having me, Tiffany! I’d love to ask your readers a question. Since I am apparently so deficient in recalling advice given to me, I’d love to hear some of your readers’ advice, about dreams.
If you have/had some advice--guiding principle—about dreams, what would they be? What would you tell a young girl about her dreams?
Look at you turning the tables! Great question. I can't wait to hear all of our armchair heroines' answers! And one of you will receive a copy of Kris's book. So let us know your thoughts on dreams and guiding principles.
Congratulations Lyoness2009! You are the lucky winner of The Conqueror. Email me your snail mail address at Tiffany@TiffanyJames.net and I'll get your book headed your way!
Thanks to everyone who joined us for Kris's feature!
Watch the upcoming events for happenings here at AH. See you next Wednesday. :0)