Q: Welcome, Kris! Thank you for being our special guest today! Please tell us about your latest release.
A: I’m so excited about THE KING’S OUTLAW, and the whole anthology, CAPTURED BY A CELTIC WARRIOR. It has four, entirely new, complete historical romances by me and fab historical romance authors Jennifer Haymore, Eliza Knight, and Ms. Vonda Sinclair herself!
We each wrote a sexy story with a captured theme, an Irish or Scottish hero, and an abduction. We also each wove the story around a legendary dagger that has, or will, affect the lives of all the heroes and heroines.
Q: I enjoyed writing a novella to fit into this anthology so much! What inspired your story?
A: Ummm….Celtic warriors! J A captured heroine. Outlaws. The Crusades. A hard, desperate man with a questionable mission, and the innocent, fiery woman who stops him in his tracks.
THE KING’S OUTLAW took its time in coming to me. Over the past year, in pursuit of this Captured story, I wrote 5 other stories, 100 pages and more of each, all intended for the anthology, but none were right. I kept writing and knowing I wasn’t writing the Captured story.
Partly, that was because there’s a jeweled dagger that’s central to all the stories, and since my story was appearing first, I knew I wanted to set up a compelling, exciting ‘story’ for it. But I also had to keep the storyline relatively tight—no sprawling 400 pg epics here! And of course, it had to be über-sexy. All within a ‘captured’ theme.
I wrote and wrote, but kept writing around the story, until I wrote what is now the opening scene with Tadhg, the Irish hero of THE KING’S OUTLAW. He’s on the docks in a grubby little French seaport, trying to get out of town before he’s captured by the villain, and, boom, the story took off.
I guess I was waiting for hero to show up and kick someone’s arse. And then save someone’s arse. The heroine’s, more specifically. J
I really loved the challenge of this story, and when it came together, it came together fast and tight. Really fun!
Q: I love the story you ended up with! How do you choose names for your characters?
A: Names are vital for a lot of writers, myself included! Get the right name, the story can come together. But if you get wrong one, the character can sort of…hang back. It’s like they’re standing in the wings, but they didn’t hear their name called, so they never step forward onto the story ‘stage’.
Oh, Creativity, you crazy thing, you.
That’s as true for villains as for heroes and heroines. The wrong villain name can make the bad guy go all wishy-washy. Not what you want in a bad guy!
In the process of writing one of my other books, DEFIANT, the story languished for a long time, lying flat on the page, and the heroine was so ‘meh’ it hurt, until the hero suddenly called her ‘Eva’ in one scene—out of the blue!—and suddenly (another boom) there it was, the story. Everything changed after that. I rewrote everything but the word ‘the.’ ;) All because my heroine showed up via her name. (Many thanks to Jamie Lost, the hero in DEFIANT, for seeing her so much more clearly than I.)
In my Captured story, THE KING’S OUTLAW, the hero’s name came to me at once when he was on the docks (see above :) ). In fact, I typed his name a few times before I realized I’d actually named him! Still, I toyed with renaming him, because I worried ‘Tadhg’ might be too clunky, hard to mentally pronounce, and thereby pull readers out of the story.
But every time I tried to change his name, he disappeared. Stepped off the stage. So, he won. Tadhg he remained. (fyi: it’s pronounced /Tay-g/ J )
Q: That is fascinating. I also find the character, when I'm writing, must have the right name. Did you choose the title of your book and if so how did you do it?
A: My buddy, author Erin Quinn, suggested it! I was toying with The Outlaw or The King’s Man, and she suggested a middle ground: THE KING’S OUTLAW.
Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?
A: Writing when it’s flowing. :) Seriously, writing feels like a physical space to inhabit, a creative well, or a cave?, or…I’m not sure of the proper metaphor, but it’s definitely a ‘place’ I can enter when I’m deep in the story, and it’s flowing.
Q: Which element of story creation is your favorite?
A: They’re layers, and while I’m doing any one of them, I love it the most. J
Characters are vital—they’re the life-blood of a romance—but characters only show up in the midst of a ‘story world,’ by responding to the events & challenges of that world, so plot is essential too. Or maybe I should say, stakes are important. Whatever is happening to the character, (i.e. the plot) has to matter A LOT…to them.
Sitting in front of a TV eating nachos is not going to build a compelling heroine, not unless she’s been trying to get off nachos. (Which can be hard to do….)
You need someone to break down the door and kidnap her (or the nachos) to get ‘compelling.’ Or you need the phone to ring and someone tell her news that wrecks—or hints at the coming wreckage—of her life as she knows it. Something must launch her into situations she’s unable to avoid, situations that require actions & thoughts she’s never thought herself capable of before.
And for that, you’ve got to have the right tests. Situations that push her past her existing limits, that bring out the best—and the worst—in her. That’s plot.
So, short story long…I love all the elements!
Q: Which element of this story was the hardest for you?
A: Once I found the hero Tadhg in THE KING’S OUTLAW, it all came together. Up until then…I’d say figuring out how I was going to get the backstory in was a big struggle. It was a momentous backstory, and for a long time, I couldn’t figure out how to present it, and still keep the story moving forward, inside a tight timeline.
Q: What is your writing process or method?
A: Oh…talking about my writing process would be a bad idea. And by ‘bad,’ I mean ‘horribly embarrassing.’
It’s possible I’ve been an experiment for the Powers That Be: “Hey guys, I have a fun idea. Let’s design the most inefficient creative being that’s ever existed, k? Winner gets a beer!”
All I can say is, I hope it was a good beer.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: A new series, CONQUERORS AND OUTLAWS! Eee!! They’ll all be scorching hot historical romances with dangerous, determined heroes and the women they can’t avoid, upend, or, in the end, resist.
THE KING’S OUTLAW is the first.
Next (and available for pre-order now!) is CLAIMING HER, a scorching hot Elizabethan-set story that takes place beyond the Pale in Ireland. Aodh Mac Con is a tattooed, conquering hero bent on seduction, and all his attention is bent on Katarina, the heroine who everyone has seriously underestimated.
And I’m also at work on a re-release of another one of my earlier books, DEFIANT. I’m editing and honing it, and it should be available in a few weeks!
My newsletter will ensure you get all the latest news and deals, so sign up now: http://eepurl.com/krTUb
I also plan to get back to writing some of my contemporary romances, after I release the next few historicals. Yes, I write contemps too!
The first contemp romance I wrote, SPIN, was intended solely as an experiment, a straight-up sexy story, minimal plot, just sexy fun times, with a slightly damaged, albeit upbeat, heroine. I got what I wanted.
The second, OUTSIDE THE LINES, definitely has more meat on its plot bones. Sort-of a mystery, sort-of a thriller, still lots of sexytimes with a seriously alpha businessman hero.
I plan to write more of the second type, because it was a lot of fun! And I’ll “meat-up” the mystery/thriller angles in future stories. Those books are under the Bella Love pseudonym (http://bellalovebooks.com/)
Q: Would you like to ask readers a question?
A: Oh, yes! Here’s a ‘what if…’ I’ll give you an excerpt from THE KING’S OUTLAW, and you tell me what YOU would do next!
Magdalena has just confronted a corrupt town official and been saved from his wrath by a mysterious stranger. Things seem to have taken a turn for the better, but Magdalena is about to discover the true consequences of joining up with outlaws: they might do anything. Anything at all.
Northern France, January, 1193
…Voices broke out from the other end of the quay. They turned. The reeve’s assistant and a few other men were coming up the quay, one looking even more officious than he. Following them were a few armed men.
“Mother Mary,” she whispered. “What more can go awry?”
Tadhg shared the query.
There was nothing for it; he made his decision in a heartbeat.
Sliding his hands up her arms, he spun her and almost flung her up against the side of the nearest building, then reached up and tore off her headdress.
“Good God,” she cried. Her hands flew up to capture the silky veil, but he already had it off and was tugging off her distinctive cloak next.
“Mon Dieu,” she gasped next, grappling for the cloak, but he’d already fisted it and the silky veil together in his hand, down by his hip. He stretched out an arm and planted his palm on the wall, blocking her face from the visitors now hurrying down the quay.
“Kiss me,” he said.
Her shocked face stared up at him. “I b-beg your pardon?”
“Kiss me, then run.”
“If you kiss me, you’re a whore. If you stand there staring, you’re a merchant with a pouch of stolen seals in her hand.”
A second’s pause, then she pushed up on her toes and pressed her lips to his.
Dizziness and heat swooped in like hunting birds for Magdalena, dispelling sense and reason and anything else that might have been of use to her at the moment. She had barely touched her lips to his when he descended without mercy, his mouth hard and slanting. There was no prelude, no warning, no kindness or care, no quarter given. She was a whore and he was having her.
He played the ruse exceptionally well.
He plowed her open with teeth and tongue, explored the depths of her wet mouth with sinful abandon. She could do nothing but cling to him, her hands around his neck, her head forced back, her spine cupped, her body…thrilling.
Madness. Madness, all.
The hand not holding her cloak and wimple closed around her hip and began to tug up her skirts. She made a feeble attempt to stop him, but his grip grew fierce, and he yanked the gown up, dragged it up the side of her leg until she felt cool air on her shin and calf.
Her head spun as if she’d been twirled like a top. Picked up by a bird and sent flying.
Her knees grew weak, but she did not break that kiss. She could not. He’d become a field of energy, the way metal filings pulled toward iron, or one drop of water clings to another. She was affixed to his kiss, to his chest, which she’d somehow pressed up against, to his shoulders, which she’d somehow wrapped her arms around, to his tongue, which was tangled with hers, his hot male breath, his cunning male hand, his hard male knee now making all manner of incursions between her thighs, and she, she, reveling in it.
So, Reader, tell me…what do you do next?One commenter will win either a copy of DEFIANT OR CLAIMING HER. (Winner's choice.) EVERYONE WHO ENTERS, PLEASE LEAVE SOME FORM OF YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO WE CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOU WIN. THANKS!
Please visit Kris at: http://kriskennedy.net
CAPTURED BY A CELTIC WARRIOR is coming out in a week, and you can preorder now, at a special preorder price of 99 cents! It is available at these online book retailers!