Leah: Kris, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview with me. I am a huge fan of your writing. Here are a few things I’ve said in reviews for your stories:
“Kris Kennedy had my heart full to bursting with the emotions these two have and even breaking a time or two.” and
“Through Kennedy’s descriptions, I had only to close my eyes and be there in the moment. I love when an author can transport me to where my soul yearns to be. This was a wonderful story that kept me intensely involved from start to finish.”
I know when I pick up one of your books that I will be transported and will enjoy the ride.
Kris Kennedy: Leah, thank-you, thank-you!!
I think I’m like most writers, in that I write for two reasons: first, because the story is inside, but second, and just as important, is because once it’s out, it touches readers the way it touched me. That means there’s a deep connection there, with the story at the core–writer to story, reader to story. A storyweb. Which means YOU matter to the story too!
L: Can you tell us a little something about yourself?
KK: I’ve done a lot of jobs in my life, including running a private practice psychotherapy and consultant business, developing and supervising treatment programs for high-risk individuals, but I left all that glamour behind to write and be a mom.
I have offshoot business interests that take a good bit of time, but at the core, I write and mom and wife.
L: What work/s in progress are you currently working on?
KK: In the historical realm, I’m working on an ‘almost-erotic’ romance set in Elizabethan Ireland. It’s got a tattooed Irish hero and a very determined, very untattooed English heroine. It’s called Claiming Her, and the cover’s ready to go!
I’m also at work on another medieval that makes me all squee-y whenever I think about it. The hero’s Scottish and his name is Taggart Eòghann Gillivray MacIver, more easily and less dangerously known as the Hunter. He hunts people down. For a fee.
I’m so excited to write this story! I have about 100 pages done and can’t wait to get back to it. All I need is a few more hours in the day. Maybe 6. Or 7. Okay, definitely 8 more hours a day should do the job.
L: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?
KK: For me, stories start with a scene, a single moment in time, and 99% of the time, it’s some charged interaction between hero & heroine. It has no connection to any plot or character already existing in my head; it’s a little island of imagination.
Then I just kind of…keep going, writing blind, into the rest of the story. This includes coming up with a plot. :)
These ‘inciting’ scenes aren’t sacred. Often as not, they get cut in some murderous rampage of my creative mind. They’re simply fuel, a portal I can use to climb into the story. The details aren’t actually important; it’s the emotional energy of and between the hero & heroine that I have to capture & hone.
In THE CONQUEROR, the ‘inciting’ scene had the heroine at her castle, her father still alive, and occurred months before the current opening timeline. I cut the whole thing, slashed it like a horror movie.
But in THE IRISH WARRIOR, the bones of that ‘inciting’ scene remain intact: the heroine meets the bad guy in his great hall, realizes she’s been ‘had’ and in a moment of anger, does something she really ought not to have done. And the Irish hero, held in chains on the floor, is watching the whole thing.
DEFIANT’s inciting scene is lost in the annals of my dusty mind, because I rewrote the damn thing so many times I can hardly remember anymore. I do know it’s nothing like the in-print version, thank Goodness. ;)
DECEPTION…let us draw a veil over DECEPTION’s head-banging process, except to say the characters were there, solid and ready for action, precisely themselves. Okay, maybe Kier got a little more ruthless over time. All to the good.
Speaking of characters and the one’s who’ve “whispered to me,” which was, I believe, your question. . . in every story, one character has shown up in a big, flashy way. Simply flung him or herself across the page, bold and scene-stealing. My job is simply to get it all down on the page.
In THE IRISH WARRIOR, it was Finian. He showed on on page one and kept on showing up, every scene, being 100% himself, pushing Senna’s buttons and making me happy.
Eva, from DEFIANT, was the same, although she took her own sweet time coming. In fact, I’d been writing the story for about 6 months, slogging through it, knowing it wasn’t working, but as I had no idea how to fix it, I kept plugging away, knowing (hoping, praying, making voodoo dolls) the ‘real’ story would come.
Then, one day, I circled back to rewrite what I thought was a done-deal opening scene–because an opening line occurred to me, of all things. An opening line, out of the blue, nine words: “At first, it appeared they wanted the same cock’—and BAM, Eva showed up.
One might wonder at the sort of heroine who would show up after a line like that.
Sometimes you just have to poke around in there a bit :)
Turns out, Eva did more than “whisper in my ear.” She was like a force of nature. She came fully formed with a French accent and hunting someone down (!! I was shocked to discover this. She hadn’t been doing anything like that in previous versions.) I had no idea what was happening, but I knew enough to put my head down & keep writing, fast as I could.
The story unfolded from there, with some messy moments for plot, but none for the characters. Hard-hearted, ruthless Jamie Lost was smitten from the second he met her. In every way, Eva was the fulcrum, the necessary ingredient, for this story to take off.
Senna from THE IRISH WARRIOR definitely found herself along the way, got stronger on rewrites, and as she did, so did the story.Initially, the plot revolved around marriage. Meh.
Then Senna ‘whispered in my ear’ that um, Kris, a story about marriage was simply not worthy of her. She was right. It became about a businesswoman duped, and pissed off about it, and determined not to let anyonedictate her life. The story took off after that. In fact, if I could rewrite it now, Senna would become even stronger yet.
How’s that for a long-winded answer??
L: I smiled the entire time I read that.
I have a deep love for the time between William the Conqueror and the Plantagenets. The women they loved interest me greatly also. What I would give to be able to skip through time and sit down with them to pick their brains. What is your favorite time in history and who would you love to be able to chat with if time travel were possible?
KK: I’m not sure if it would actually be a good time to actually live in, what with the lack of running water and periodic famines and endemic warfare, but I love the high medieval period. 12th-early 16th century.
Within that period, and focusing on England (and by necessity France), I’d like to ask Thomas Becket what the heck he was thinking, pissing off a king like that, and see if he’s developed any humility over the past 900 years.
I agree with you about the Plantagenents! I’d want to meet them all, and their lady loves and wives. I’d love to meet Henry I and Eleanor of Aquitaine and experience their charisma in person. Would it hold up in the 21st century? I think it would.
I want to meet all the medieval Edwards, from the Hammer of the Scots Edward I to his son Edward II, & try to see through all the muddled history about him and Piers Gaveston. I want to meet Edward II’s wife Isabella and her consort Mortimer, and see if they were as awful as you’re forced to believe, but somehow, don’t quite in the end. I’d want to meet Edward III when he was young and glittering, and when he was old, lingering on, denying his son a kingdom. I’ve always felt for the Black Prince.
I want to meet Richard I (I doubt I’d have liked him) and Richard II (I think I would have.) I’d love to meet St. Francis of Assisi and I want to poke the Dominican friars in the eye, every one, to mirror their inner blindness.
I want to wander through a crusader army encampment (invisibly, with the ability to avert my eyes and cover my nose). I want to see Jerusalem before ten additional centuries of hatred and greed and fear wore it down. I want to meet Saladin (I think I’d have liked him very much) and Chaucer—fairly sure we’d have been drinking buddies.
I want to walk through the stables of a castle crowded with guests and touch a destrier and see tents spread across a grassy field when a tournament is in flow. I want to talk to a village reeve about how much he hates his job, and be at Michaelmas celebrations with a good harvest in. I want to go to a renegade Beltaine festival. (Yes, I very much want to do that.) I want to meet a falconer and talk to a medieval architect about the development of rounded battlements.
Umm, okay, I’ll stop. I think you get the point. LOL I want to meet everyone!
L: I just got cold chills. It was like you spoke from my own heart there.
My first historical romance was The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I regret not letting her know how her words changed my life forever. It brought me a love for reading that I never had before and I also started down a path of learning everything I could about the medieval era. What was the first historical romance or historical fiction that you read and are there any authors who have inspired you?
KK: My first historical romance was THE GROUND SHE WALKS UPON. I’d seen it in the library for years, always avoiding ‘those romance novels.’ (Yes, I was one of those people.) Finally one day I scooped it up and brought it home and I was a goner. A die-hard romance fan ever since. :)
Marsha Canham totally lit my medieval fire.
L: I will have to look for that book and read it. Marsha Canham….love her Robin Hood series and her Highland series runs a very close second.
When you get time to read, what genre do you enjoy reading?
KK: I love historical romances of course! But I’ll read anything exciting and/or well-written, and, depending, I actually don’t require both. :)
I’ll read character-thin/plot-heavy thrillers and character-dense/plot-thin romances. I love Ellis Peter’s Father Cadfael mysteries and Jenny Cruise’s sexy contemporaries. I love Julie Anne Long’s hot, beautiful Regencies and Rachel Grant’s romantic suspense thrillers. I love erotic romance and nonfiction like The Illustrated Chronicles of Matthew of Paris and Maphead. I tend to like my stories both action-packed & with strong sensual energy, with lots of bad things happening, but don’t always require all elements in the same book—I have moods. Great writing grabs me every time. And humor totally sucks me in.
L: I’ve always wanted to go to England, rent a car, start at Hastings and just make my way north plumb through Scotland. No time frame, just go where my soul leads me. What’s on your bucket list?
KK: Yes. That. 100% We’ll go together. :)
Something tells me that would be one hell of an adventure!
I’d love to live for at least a year in Ireland, in a castle, preferably one that’s been restored not to a state of grandeur, but to a state of running water and insulation. Also, Eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea area. I would tread carefully.
L: Kilt or armor?
KK: Depends what we’re doing!
L: Mountains or beach?
L: Coffee or tea?
L: Cat or dog?
L: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?
KK: Porch for sure. In fact, that’s just what I do, go outside to watch.
Me too….love the wild weather!
L: Sports car or SUV?
KK: Hmmm…if there’s camping involved, I’m going to need the truck or SUV. But I like to go fast sometimes, and a sports car would be helpful there. Can I have a mood-based time-share on the whole lot? :)
L: Kris, thank you for giving us some insight into your world. It means a lot to me that you agreed to help me spread my wings in the reviewing world. I was tickled to death when Mel asked me if I wanted to come aboard and I never thought I’d be interviewing some pretty awesome authors too.
KK: I’m so touched by how much you love the stories Leah, and how generous you are with your joy about them. The honor of chatting is all mine. :)
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