Monday, May 4, 2009

Kris Kennedy Visits the Lair

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Please join us in the celestial heights of the Lair, where all the debut authors go to celebrate their first releases, because after all, seeing your first book on the shelf is a bit like walking on air...
Okay, so it's really just the loft in the armory, and not all that far off the ground (coz our guest has a thing about heights).

Please welcome my friend and Golden Network buddy, Kris Kennedy who is celebrating the release of her debut novel TOMORROW!

AC: Please tell us about your debut release The Conqueror.

Now, seriously, Loucinda, that is a demonic question. How am I supposed to answer it?? It's like you're an agent or an editor, expecting me to be able to just SAY what it's about . . . :biting fingernails because can't say what it's about:

Okay, he
re's my best attempt at a blurb for my debut book, due out May 5....

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 the ‘adventure' piece I love so well. Abductions, midnight rescues, sword fights. Hidden agendas. Betrayal. Revenge. Imprisonment. Buried treasure. Enemies on the prowl. And rocking hot sex. Oh, it's fun! :-)

Hmm... I'm certain I just veered wildly off the ‘blurb' path.

ho cares? It all sounds very intriguing and that cover is YUM! Now lets move on the the harder questions... (Aunty rubs her hands together with glee) What inspired you to write in this time period?

Oh, wow. I can't imagine anything more intrinsically romantic than the middle ages. Such intense living. Even reading dry academic texts, I end up letting the book drift onto my lap. A single page can contain stories of raids and battles, kings being deposed and queens getting abducted, castles being razed and rivers being crossed.

I love learning about everything, from the nobility to the lives of burgesses and peasants, every aspect. Food preparation to marriage contracts, privy chutes to wheat rotation methods. Generally, the hard part is deciding what to leave out.

Then again, maybe not. For instance, the privy chutes are pretty much a sure-fire ‘leave-it-out.' :-)

AC: How did traveling in Europe influence your writing?

I have traveled to Ireland, England, and Germany.

I think what those travels have done for my writing is the same as they've done for my life in general: made me realize I'm a very small part of the world, and not necessarily the best part. LOL Humility and appreciation, I suppose, sum it up.

Oh, and things became real in a very, well, real way. :-) Climbing the curving tower of a castle is quite different than imagining it. The idea of holding a sword and swinging it, and the bloody results, dead bodies jamming up the stairwell, well, you can imagine it all much better when you're actually standing on the stairwell. And then the ‘romanticized' nature dims somewhat. Even so, it's intense and exciting, and built for the romance genre. :-)

Know what else I've realized? I'm going to write a medieval with a character who's scared of heights (like me) because I tell you, those towers are HIGH. Yes, there were walls where there is now only air, but even so . . . .

And the stairs? Yes, tight. Yes, spiraling. But also, the steps themselves are really narrow. Maybe part of that is the wear of time, but still, when I write about someone ‘hurrying' down the stairs, it's SO relative. I could cook lasagna by the time it would take me to go from the 4th to the 1st floor of a castle. And carrying something, like an armful of linens or a basket of candle nubs? Please. I'd be fir
ed on day one.

Okay, enough about stairs, do ya think?

(Aunty nods vigorously, trying not to remember all the stairs in the Duomo in Florence and how much her feet hurt afterward.)

AC: Plotter or Pantser? Can you share a little of your writing process with us?

Ack! Let's call me a work-in-progress. :-) I'm learning my process, because it's new. The post-published process. It's like that, isn't it? You have one process pre-published, but most of us need another one after having contracts in hand. Especially with a young child also in hand. Or, rather, as close to my hand as I can keep him, but he's quick. :-)

I can no longer write by the seat of my pants, because the revisions required are insane. So, I'm developing a new process: PlotFlow. I plot and then I flow.

But if I don't plot it out first, the story sprawls like a teenager on a couch, and I haven't the luxury for such things anymore.

AC: We love Call Stories in the Lair, please share yours.

Oh, well, it's very glamorous, so put your sunglasses on . . .

I was tending my 3 y.o.'s pink eye. I was forcibly-I mean, lovingly-holding a warm compress to his very pink eye, when my agent called with the news that I had been offered a 2 book contract by John Scognamiglio at Kensington Publishing. (Com'on. It's not THAT hard to say. KEN-sing-ton.) ;-)

I was excited, of course. I was also wondering if I was spreading pink eye germs onto the phone.

I was, of course.

(Aunty nods sagely, remembering the time she had to step in and make a presentation in Anaheim because the nurse consultant caught pink eye from her three year old.)

So, while my agent talked, and I ooh-ed and okay-ed, I also wiped lavender-based cleaner all over the phone receiver with one hand, while holding the warm, loving compress to my 3 y.o.'s eye with the other, phone nestled-lovingly, of course-between my cramping shoulder and cheek.

You know the pose. You've done it a thousand times. You're a woman. And a writer. We write, we love our kids. Sometimes, you have to do them both at the same time.

AC: What's next on the writing horizon for you?

I'm doing my own final revisions on WANTING FINIAN right now. That's the one that won the 2008 Golden Heart for Best Unpubbed Historical. It'll be out next Spring, only I have no idea what its title will be. I somehow doubt my editor is going to keep mine. LOL There's an excerpt on my website. (

And I am working on another book which could follow THE CONQUEROR, but still work as a stand-alone book. It's another 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.

AC: Believe me, I understand. My current working title is: The New Irish Tale. Any advice you received before you were published? Or just any advice that you'd like to pass on to the As Yet Unpubbed writers here in the Lair?

Well, I must say, I never like the almost crusade-like cries to just ‘stay with it,' so someone who stops feels like a total quitter when maybe it simply wasn't right for them. Maybe the ‘fire' wasn't in the belly. Maybe the pain of rejection truly was too much. How do I know? Who am I to say that sticking with it is the best thing for any particular person? Maybe it's not.

That being said, let me totally contradict myself....

If you feel ‘It,' then stay with it. ‘It' being the fire. The feeling in your fingers, aching to type. The love of perfecting pace and nailing down GMCs. The restless awakening mid-night with a new plot twist and the undeniable need to tiptoe downstairs to write it. The chills that occur when you suddenly realize, "OMG! Her mother left her when she was a child!" and you run to the computer, because everything is clear now. The people you were just talking to stare after. They may not see you again for days.

If you've got those things, then I have only one thing to say: Persistence, ladies. Always, attentive persistence.

Attentive, in that your paying attention, getting better, treating this like the craft it is. We're apprentices and journeymen. The craft of storytelling is ages old. It takes time to get it right.

And persistence. Persistence ALWAYS pays off. If you're standing at the corner, you'll be there when the bus comes by.

Now, my question for YOU, Bandita readers!

What lights your writing fire? Your reading fire? (Because that's a fire too, isn't it?) What makes you go still with excitement? Genre/ era? Writing moment? What makes for a peak reading experience? I love romance fires-what's lights yours??

And please, stop by, check out the excerpts (, sign up for the newsletter, or just write an say Hi!

Kris is generously giving away an autographed copy of The Conqueror to one lucky commenter, and a 'chapter one' booklet to another.

THANX A BUNCH for joining us, Kris!


limecello said...


PinkPeony said...

Hi AC & Kris. Congrats, Limecello!

Hmm...I feel the need to be "conquered"! Another book heads to the TBR pile! What a fantastic cover...the guy is very hot too.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Kris and AC! Thanks for the terrific interview! Congrats on your persistence paying off! And yay on your call--just another "mom" moment, in a string of many! :) But a life-transforming one, I'm sure!

What lights my reading fire? A lot of different things, but I love that feeling when I find a new-to-me author that I sense that "click" with--where I'm reading along, loving the characters and eagerly turning the pages but just as deeply dreading the end. I read all kinds of genres and eras now (I've come a long way from when I was a contemps-only kind of girl!) I've got to check your new story out! Sounds like a winner!

Congrats on the GR, Limecello!

Llehn said...

What lights my reading fire? A book that unfolds organically, has consistent characters, tightly woven plot and characters that I love!

Virginia said...

Hi Kris, I love the interview and the call story.

What lights my fire when I am reading is hard to say. I love to read new authors books to find out if I love their books. I love the debut books. When I pick up a book and get into it right off the bat it lights my fire. If I get hooked on the first two chapters of a book and I want to stay up all night reading, that lights my fire. The ones I just can't put down or don't want to end. I read a little of everything but historicals, romantic suspense and mysteries are my favorite.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Kris, welcome to the Lair. I love the sound of your debut book, but when I went to read an excerpt, the site went all wonky on me. I'll try again later.

I'm glad to see that another medieval romance book is coming out. That's such a rich historical period and so flavored with romance.

What lights my writing fire is a good, exploratory discussion with one of my critique partners or just someone who loves the kinds of books I do.

Kris Kennedy said...

Hey PinkPeony~ (what an beautiful & vivid image I get with your tag)
Yes! Just what I want to induce in people,the desire to be conquered. :-) And the cover guy, yea, I agree. Hot. Sorta. I mean, a little. ;-)

Hi flchen1!
Those 'mom' moments are endless, aren't they? :-) I know just what you mean, about eagerly turning pages, but dreading the end. When it's a great book, it's as though there's this constant inner awareness that the right hand is gripping fewer pages than the left. Eeek! No!

Kris Kennedy said...

Yes! 'Unfolds organically.' Great way to put it. It's beautiful when you have no sense someone is writing the story, just that a story is being told.

Anna Campbell said...

Lime, AGAIN???!!!

Kris, huge congratulations on the release of your debut book. Did you have the experience I had? It wasn't real until you knew it was actually for sale somewhere? I kept expecting Avon to ring up and say they meant to give the contract to the OTHER Anna Campbell! The book sounds fantastic and SOOOO romantic. And what a hot cover!

AC and Kris, great interview!

Kris Kennedy said...

I love when an opening grabs me, too! I mean, of course we love when the whole book grabs us, :-), but a fabulous opening is SO exciting. It gives you a little shiver of excitement, doesn't it?

Kris Kennedy said...

Hi Jo!
Oh no, my site is wonky! That means just about everything in my life is wonky right now. :-) I'll rope my web guy into de-wonkifying if needed.

And you are so right about the excitement that comes from a great discussion with cps. I was just with a cp today, brainstorming HER story, and it shot me through with renewed excitement for stories in general, and the craftsmanship of it.

I get a buzz off of changing POV sometimes. It's possible that's diagnosable.

You are all coming up with such great 'fire starters!' I love it. Keep 'em coming!

I'll have to head to bed soon, but I'll be back in my morning.

seton said...

Congrats on the release of your debut book!

AC & KK,
Thanks for a great interview.

limecello said...

Great interview, Kris and Aunty Cindy! Congratulations on your debut novel, Kris! That's so wonderful, and very exciting!
As for reading... I have to admit I've had a hankering for straight contemporaries recently. And... a good historical novel as well. I've been in something of a reading funk - but hopefully now that I have more time (or think I have more time) I'll get back in the groove :D. I love romances - and hopefully I'll get to catch up on some movies too.

Kris Kennedy said...

LOL. Real? You mean it starts to feel real?

Seeing the book listed on Amazon helped. Author copies arriving the other day helped, too.

But mostly, I feel like my agent was on drugs the day she signed me, my editor was doing someone a favor when he bought me (I have no idea who would benefit from such a favor) and the reading public will soon uncover me for the fraud I am.

Well, actually, I guess that's real-feeling.

btw, I'm glad Avon picked you as the Anna Campbell to give the contract to. And anyhow, I heard the OTHER Anna Campbell was a diva with an attitude, and no roosters in sight, so they're much better off with you.


Kris Kennedy said...

Sending thanks right back at you! :-)

Hopefully there'll be a renaissance of the straight contemp, huh? And continuation of good, meaty historicals, both h/ fiction and h/ romance.

For me, these can be like meat and potatoes after a lot of sugar.

What movies are you wanting to watch? I have been wanting the 'meat-and-potato' classics in my movies recently, too. Nutritive movies. LOL

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Kris!

Glad you could pop in tonight. I told you we were a bunch of night owls here in the Lair!

Actually between the night owls and the early risers, this place is ALWAYS hopping. :-)

Congrats on the GR AGAIN, Limecello. Are the finals FINALLY over?!?!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Pink Peony,
I know what you mean... wouldn't mind being 'conquered' by a hunk who looked like that! ;-)

Fedora, so glad the Banditas have helped you branch out a bit from contemps-only. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but historicals, and paranormals, and romantic suspense can be that extra added spice!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Llehn!

Tightly woven plot, organically unfolding with consistent, lovable characters? Sounds like you've got all the ingredients of a keeper listed!

thanx for dropping by,

Anna Campbell said...

Kris, laughing at the other Anna Campbell being hell on wheels to deal with. I'm sure that's it! Although the rooster isn't actually that fussy!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


As a recent debut author, it does Aunty's rusty ole ticker good to hear a reader say she loves debut books!

I hope the Banditas and our guests can continue to light your reading fires for a long time to come!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL, Jo-Mama, I happen to know that at least one of your CPs enjoys those 'exploratory discussions' too! ;-)

And never fear, Fo! The chook may be fickle in his affections, but 'the other' Anna Campbell would never make it as a Bandita!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You're welcome Seton!

Kris and I had lots of fun trying to squeeze the interview in and around her recent trip to Germany. Glad you enjoyed it!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Don't worry, Lime, now that your finals are over, we'll get you out of that writing funk! The Banditas and our fabulous guests have some wonderful books just released or about to be released soon.

Have fun with the GR today, he's been on a major partying spree lately.


Jeannie Ruesch said...

Hi Kris!! I can't wait to get my hands on that hot man...err, cover...err, BOOK of yours. BOOK, yes, books. (Okay, yeah, that guy on your cover is pretty darn hot.)

It's been a long time since I've read a great medieval romance and I'm excited to see this.

As a reader, I love when I'm pulled into the story without realizing it. I recently started a book where I just picked it up to glance at the first page (not really having the time to read just then) and before I knew it, I was ten pages in. It was fabulous. I LOVE that kind of book.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Kris!
You must tell me which "nutritive movies" you've seen lately. Tonight, I watched "Hotel for Dogs" and somehow, I don't think that qualifies. :-P

As for when does it become real? I still have moments when I still can't quite believe it. But I think the first time I really FELT that it was real was at RWA National last year. I FINALLY got to hold a copy of my ARC, which was very exciting. Then, at the Literacy signing, I was standing in front of our lovelies Tawny Weber and Christine Wells when someone asked, "Are you Loucinda McGary?" WHOA! I really was--The Author!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Jeannie, my SVR sister!

Yes, I LURVE a book that pulls you right in and keeps you reading even when you don't mean to. Now that's a GREAT read!

Thanx for popping by,

Louisa Cornell said...

He needed another day with you to recover from the Anniversary Bash! Keep him busy, Lime !

Hey, Kris, my Pixie Chick sister!! So glad you got back from Germany in time for your DEBUT !!!! I am so thrilled about this book I just can't tell you! And I'm so proud of you!

I love medievals and with a knight like the one on your cover, once a knight is NOT going to be enough.

You are SO right about those castles, especially those steps and towers. Those suckers are very high and the steps are for people with little bitty feet or mountain goats - on or the other.

What lights my reading fire is a first chapter that grabs you and / or a character that just makes you want to know more about them. Those books that make you turn the page because you have connected with a character and you want to know what happens to them next are just the best!

Of course when someone I know and trust calls me and says "OMG you have GOT to read this book! I am on chapter seven and I just started it this morning and I LOVE IT !!" then yes, that lights a fire under me to snatch that book off the stack and start it immediately. (Remember that, Anna C ? It was Tempt the Devil she was talking about!)

As a writer, it is a bit different. I walk around with a pocket full of index cards and my coworkers are very used to me snatching one out and scribbling away on it. When people who don't know look at me funny, the others simple say "She's a writer. She does that." It actually gives me a kind of thrill when they say that. Makes me think, Hey, I really AM a writer. Which helps when I have those "What the heck made me ever think I could do this?" moments.

I just love the idea of telling a story as it unfolds in my head. I've been hearing stories in my head since I was a kid and being able to write them down is just magical to me. There is nothing like it, especially when it is working right.

Great characters inspire me. Twists on an old story inspire me. Anything that makes me want to sit my butt in the chair and get it on paper inspires me.

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Limcello.

Hi Kris,
Congrats on your debut release. I love medievals and can't wait to read "The Conqueror." My favorite genre right now is romantic suspense. I've been busy reading the current releases of Karen Rose and Allison Brennan. I love historicals, doesn't matter if they're regency or medieval. I am quite partial to medievals where the hero is Norman and the heroine is Saxon or vice versa.

Helen said...

Good work limcello enjoy your day with him

Ladies what a great interview and I gotta say this book sounds just perfect for me I love medieval stories and WOW on the blurb you had me sold then and there. It sounds exciting and very adventurous just what I love.

What lights your reading fire?

A great romance book full of adventure travels a bit of suspense amd of course love a book that makes me feel part of the story from start to finish and of course a great HEA.

Kris congrats on the release and I love the call story this is a book I will be ordering with my next order can't wait to read it. Aunty Cindy thank you for inviting Kris and opening my eyes to another author.

Have Fun

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome to the Lair, Kris - grab a hunk and a drink and make yourself at home! Congrats on your first sale! Thanks for enticing Kris, Aunty C.

I loved that line about the 3am revelation - that's me. Always around Chapter 9, always at around 3am - which means having to write it down then and there. Then having to go back and revise the previous 8 chapters LOL.

I love the sound of your story - being a Brit, I always hesitate before reading English historicals (I find American historicals much more interesting *g* - less like school) - though obviously our Banditas and many of our fab guests have done a lot to dispel that bias *g*.

Somehow though, medievals are different. I don't know if that's because we don't study that period so much, so there is more mystique about it. Or it's the whole Robin Hood thing (pause to drool over mental images of Errol Flynn).

As to what lights my fire, there is nothing better than reading a great book and stopping because there is a truly brilliant plot twist or fabuously written piece of dialogue or delicious description. Luckily, my hubby is an avid reader, so he doesn't mind me interrupting him with my "Listen to this ..."

Buffie said...

Kris, congrats on your debut release. I'm sure you are just too darn excited for words. Will you be out at all the stores tomorrow looking for your book on the shelves? Take pictures!

You just don't know how excited I am to learn about another medieval author!!!! Medievals are what got me started reading romance (Julie Garwood) and they have held a very, very special place in my heart since then. Seriously! There's nothing like a strong alpha hero with a sword to get my fire going! And the women of that time had to be extremely strong to handle the day to day living and provide a nice soft spot for the guys to land. :)

Best of luck to you, and I can't wait to read this book!!

Kris Kennedy said...

Hi you!! Thanks for stopping by.

You mentioned a fabulous 'fire starter": the unexpected book. You start reading a new book, maybe half-heartedly, and get totally wow-ed.

I agree--that's a really exciting moment. Makes you feel hopeful. *Anything* could be out there.

All those books, so little time. :-)

magolla said...

I love a book that sucks me in from page one. I've been lucky to find many authors that still have that ability to cloud my writing mind!
Please pick me! I LOVE historicals! Couldn't write one if my life depended on it, but I love reaing them!

Kris Kennedy said...

Ummm....let's see....Does 'Shrek' count as 'nutitive?' How about Berenstain Bears?

Okay, FINE, I *haven't* been watching nutritive movies. I've been listening to shows I put on for my 4 y.o. son while I try to get some writing done.

But I *desire* the nutritive. Casablanca. Indiana Jones.

LOL They're in the same category, right?


Kris Kennedy said...

Oh, wow, I forgot to mention the most important part--someone came up at Nationals and asked if you were you? Knew your name? How incredible!

Yes, that would make things feel real, in a . . . well, surreal way. :-)

I know things got real 2 days ago when I got my first fan email. She picked The Conqueror up on her way through a supermarket check-out line. Squeak!

It was all I could do not to virtually accost her and demand "What supermarket!? Where? Who's the manager? Who buys their books? Can I get a phone number?"


Kris Kennedy said...

So glad to hear you love medievals! I hope this one satisfies, if you pick it up. Do let me know.

I like a good R/S too. I just picked up Roxie St/ Claire's first in the Bullet Catcher--does that count as RS? I can get confused by the sub-genre headings.

Thanks so much for feeling this book is perfect for you! (Can you actually 'thank' a person for such things?)

I love the same sorts of things as what you mentioned: 'big' plots, adventure-feel, great characters. Definitely let me know what you thought.

Jeez, I feel a bit giddy. Yay!

Kris Kennedy said...

Forgot to add: you may SHARE the cover guy. Share. You can't just HAVE him. ;-)

Hey there Chickie.

Yep, when you get an opening that just grabs you, that moment is *so* exciting. Virginia mentioned this too.

There's something special about an opening. Not sure what. Maybe the hope it promises?

Kris Kennedy said...

I love stories like that, when we find these patterns in how our psyche works!

So, for you, it's always around Chapter 9 that something rises up and grabs you, & you have to run off and write madly (yes, usually requiring mad revisions). I wonder why it happens around the Chapter 9 point? So interesting.

I'm sure if I'd written in anything resembling a linear fashion up until now, I'd find the same thing. Here's my chance, as my writing process is being forcibly changed. :-)

I hope The Conqueror, should you choose to pick it up, feels like an adventure, not a lesson. :-) (Did that sound a bit Mission Impossible-y?)

I agree 100% about the mystique of the middle ages in fiction. Some sort of veil gets lifted--or maybe lowered--and it's so easy to lose yourself.


Kris Kennedy said...

Yay! I can't tell you how excited I am to know The Conqueror sounds like it will fit the bill for you. I'm all a bit dizzy. :-) I mean, how could a hot guy, half naked, with a sword, not light someone's fire??? :-)

I gave an author copy to my neighbor, and he called yesterday to let me know when his 4 y.o. son walked in the house, he pointed at the book & exclaimed, "That book is COOL, b/c it has guy with a sword on it, and he's naked."

I said, somewhat indignantly, "He is HALF naked."

Then I thought...well, how do I know that? :-)

In which case, Jeannie, no sharing. He's all mine.

Hope The Conqueror does what you want a medieval to do, Buffie. Please let me know!

Kris Kennedy said...

Yep, love the story that won't let you go. Gotta be one of the most exciting things--and tiring, if it keeps happens at 11pm. :-)

What does that for you in a story?

I know I get 'held' to a book where things are changing, fortunes are reversing--the whole 'tension on every page' thing.

But I also really appreciate humor in a character, and require a deep sense of connection--affection, respect, desire--between the characters.

Tracey O'Hara said...

Kris - My fellow Pixie Chick. I can say I already have my copy and have started reading it. I am only a few pages in - but so far I am loving that dark handsome knight. Ohh-laa-laa.

Well done - we are so proud of you over at pixie central. Big kiss from downunder.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Hey, Kris! (waving) Good to have you here in the Lair. The books sound wonderful; will have to look for The Conqueror when I'm out later today.

There's nothing like a new idea to get me inspired. All those endless possibilities.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Kris! Welcome to the Lair and much congratulations on the debut novel.

I love historical romances from all different genres. Where did you do research for it? Any good places to learn about daily life in castles and among the people in meideval times?

Cecile said...

Hey Cindy & Kris!
First Congrats on the book!! Second thanks for having her over Ms. Cindy!
I love the book! Persistence is worth every tear, sweat and blood shed for something you love!

As to what lights my fire... ALPHA's!!!! It's all about the fantasy... having some strong/hot/sexy/*drooling* man (with his weakness being known of course and possibly exploited) plow through to save me at the end of the day!!! And hot sex scenes are not bad either!!! LOL!!! The chemsirty between the character.. making it believable; no matter what genre it is. I love almost any genre: paranormal books, but romance, historical; bascially anything to read!
Loved the interview!!! Hope you ladies have a great day!

RachieG said...

:) Reluctant alpha? Medieval? Sign me up!

Congratulations on your newest book and fabulous cover. :)

Looks delicious!

Kris Kennedy said...

Oh, I'm such a dork when it comes to research. I'm the one with the glasses in the after-school special, lugging an armful of dense books around, talking in a snuffly voice about 'Well, back in the age of the Normans . . . ."

But yes, there are lots of places to get solid, basic castle & daily life info.

When I'm new to an era or a setting, I get the books form juvenile literature, and read them.

Oh, and Frances & Joseph Giles have a great set of 'daily life' books for medieval era. Love theirs.

~Drew said...

Great interview!

I love Historicals, and nothing gets the blood boiling than a medieval hero wielding a very large sword(!)
I have to agree the guy on the cover
Sometimes I miss the 'painted romance covers' but when you have a hunk like this, a photo is just as nice!
So I guess it is kind of obvious what lights my fire, LOL!
However, what gets the fire stoked is an utterly appealing hero who grabs my attention within the first couple of chapters. Also being immersed in the time period, I love the detail of an era!

Kris, congrats on being published, and I will look for your book ASAP!

Kris Kennedy said...

Oh, yes--a great idea is a total fire-starter. And so often that comes from what Jo was saying, discussing writing or brainstorming with friends.

Is that an awesome feeling, that excitement? Great addition to the fire-starter list, Trish.

Best on Her Very Own Family's upcoming release too! :-)

Kris Kennedy said...

I LOVE your enthusiasm! Yes for alphas! And hot sex. And "plow[ing] through to save me at the end of the day!!!" You go, girl! I feel like reading a book just like you described.

Susan Gee Heino said...

Hey, Pixie sis! I'm so excited for you on your big day tomorrow. But don't float too high off the ground. I'm sure your son will find some way to make it all about him. Kids have a natural talent for doing that, don't they?

Love the blog and your oh so glam call story. LOL

What fires my jets in romance is when things aren't quite as they seem and when both characters have so very much to lose but they finally can't deny how they feel. Sounds like your book provides that in spades!

Can't wait, big hugs and Pixie Dust to you, and gianormous congrats!

Susan Gee Heino

Christie Kelley said...

Welcome to the lair, Kris! I always love to see another deb here. I loved your call story. And after two kids, I hope I never see pink eye in my home again.

Your book sounds fabulous and I can't wait to pick it up!

What light's my fire with reading? Picking up a book and getting mad when life gets in my way of reading it. I love to find a book I can't put down.

Nancy said...

Limecello, congrats on taking home the rooster!

Kris, congrats on your debut, and welcome to the lair! Great interview, AC.

I love medievals. Given the choice, I'll take swordplay over gunplay. The former is more exciting and more personal, at least to me, though that doesn't stop me from loving books with more modern settings.

Seventeen years of civil war? Do I sense Stephen and Matilda on the horizon, or are we talking something different?? I love that period and am currently tinkering with it myself. Periods of upheaval have great conflict potential and set up Romeo/Juliet dynamics without necessarily involving a family feud.

As I reader, I respond to tension, danger, and high stakes. As a writer, I keep going when I have one or the other, and preferably a combination.

Your book sounds great, Kris!

Cecile said...

Hey Ms. Kris... figured if I will invest my time in reading... then he better be saving me (or having his way with me) at the end of the day!!! LOL!!! I love books that get the creative mind thinking and the blood flowing... that means that it is one hellva book! Isn't that what reading fiction is all about!! LOL!

Blodeuedd said...

Just found the place :)
Nice interview. And your book looks great, it looks like a must read for me

If the contest is open worldwide then I am in :)

Anything seems to light my fire, it depends, but a hot alpha sure helps

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Kris! Popping out of Cavedom to say hi, and WELCOME to the Lair!

:> Congrats on your debut!

Kris Kennedy said...

Rachel G~
Woot! Another fan of a reluctant alpha medieval hero. We should form a club. LOL

Thanks for saying Hi!

Kris Kennedy said...

LOL. I actually agree--I have a really hard time with covers that I'm embarrassed to have sitting out at home. Or show to my mother-in- law. And yet . . . when they're like this . . .

Getting immersed in a time period is a total romance fire starter, I agree. Coming back to the 'real world' can be hard.

I do hope you enjoy The Conqueror. Be sure to let me know! :-)

Kris Kennedy said...

Susan Gee~
Ohh, I love that too! When things aren't what they seem, the excitement keeps you turning pages.

I like it both ways, too. I like to be as surprised as the character, and get to have the, 'Wow! I had no idea. Cool!" response.

But I also love to know more than the character, and wait anxiously for the scenes of revelation.


Kris Kennedy said...

Hey fellow Deb author! :-) I think this is such a fabulous program, Kensy has. Congrats on your successes. People really love your books. :-)

Kris Kennedy said...

Yes, you're right on target: it's Mathilda and King Stephen era. Forget that the back cover copy says Henry II is king in 1152. One of those things that never got corrected.

Ah well, they published the book, and it's a meaty one (i.e. lots of expensive pages), LOL, so I forgive them just about everything. :-)

I agree: these kind of periods in history are ripe for romantic conflict, because the entire setting is conflict-ridden.

We sound a lot alike in our preferences. I really hope The Conqueror conveys all the historical ambiance you crave!

Kris Kennedy said...

LOL! Yes, he needs to Save The Day or Have His Way.
I think that's my new motto. I'll get shirts made asap . . .

Kris Kennedy said...

Glad you found your way over to the Banditas's lair! Come back regularly, b/c they always have great interviews and fun stuff. I'm usually quiet, but reading and smiling. :-)

I'm so glad The Conqueror sounds like an must-buy! It makes my day to hear that. Thank-you, and if you do get it, I'd love to hear how you liked it.

Kris Kennedy said...

Thanks for the welcome & congrats, from another Deb author. :-) And sending great vibes for your upcoming release, next month, right?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Y'all!
Glad to see the party is HOPPING! Cabana boys! Get those trays of margaritas circulating!

I'm just breezing through on my way to a doctor appointment but will check back in later.

HAVE FUN and leave a hunk or two for Aunty,

Rachel Grant said...

Hi Kris my Pixie Pal! Great blog and I'm so excited for the big day tomorrow!!

What lights my reading fire? Discovering a new author I can't put down. Getting lost in a world so wonderful, so interesting I want it to be real. A story so well-written it feels real. Well-researched stories that teach me something new. Heros and heroines with so much chemistry they sizzle. And books that aren't comedies but have dialogue that makes me laugh out loud. Bonus points if I laugh so hard my husband wants to know what's so funny.

Minna said...

Hi from Finland!
What lights my reading fire? That's hard to say, but I guess it's usally the first chapter that does it.

Aikakone - Keltainen

Nena - 99 Luftballons

Beth said...

Great interview, ladies! Welcome to the lair, Kris. Congrats on the release of The Conqueror. Sounds fantastic *g*

What lights my writing fire is reading a really awesome book And since we have so many fabulous guests in the lair, I never have a problem finding a great story :-)

p226 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
p226 said...

A good writer lights my reading fire. Period. Genre doesn't matter. Hell, I read a lot of non-fiction. Subjects that bore most folks to tears. And there are writers that will do exactly that with the dry subject material. Then there are writers that speak to me.

So often, it's not so much the message that captivates. But the delivery. It's as true in public speaking as it is in writing. Delivery delivery delivery. I think you writer types call it voice, no? Voice is everything in my opinion.

And I've come to a conclusion on voice. It's not the way you write so much, as the way you think. It's the mental rewind button. I was reading the other day that we can process information somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty to thirty times faster than we can speak it. And that must mean we think a hundred times faster than we write.

Here is my suspicion. And keep in mind that I've never been to a writer's conference in my life. But nonetheless, here is my uneducated theory. Writers with great voices have excellent mental rewind buttons. By the time this sentence is typed, my mind is already six steps ahead of the point it conveys. For my next sentence, I have to rewind my thoughts to where they were at the completion of the first. Then fast forward to the next supporting idea or point.

That is what happens in my head when I write. It is a constant, light speed rewind-fast-forward process centered around the blinking cursor. I think writers with awesome voices have excellent fast-forward-rewind machines in their heads.

I do it when reading as well. By the time my eyes migrate from the period at the end of once sentence to the capital letter at the start of the next one, my mind has already completely processed not only that sentence, but any ramifications, ideas, or visuals it represents. Reading for me is this process of jumping around in temporal space. And it happens faster than in writing. Good writers make this temporal management easier for me. And if they do that well, I can read anything they write. Whether it's a technical article about the data loss potential associated with misaligned seeker heads in hard drives, or a fiery tale of dwarven kings under the mountain.

It's the voice that lights the fire.

jcp said...

Time to get lost in the story and nothing else pressing to do with no interuptions.

Cecile said...

Kris... when you get those shirts... I want one!!!
I love it!!!
Thanks for coming over and chatting with us (and me)!!

Keira Soleore said...

Kris, welcome to the Lair. I have been hearing raves and recommendations for your debut CONQUEROR for weeks now, especially since I started to my quest to finding out more new-to-me medieval authors. I'm very thrilled that you're visiting here. Off to read your interveiw, and then back with more questions.

beverley said...

Congrats on the release of The Conqueror Kris!! Lovely interview. I already have mine on order so I'm don't need to be entered in the contest.


Keira Soleore said...

OK I'm back. Excellent interview, Kris & AC.

Kris wrote, "I can't imagine anything more intrinsically romantic than the middle ages."Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. Life was short and intense. All the living and loving had to be crammed into far fewer years, but politically the landscape was constantly shifting, too. Exciting times all around.

Since you "like" learning about privy chutes, do your characters use the garderobe? As in, is toileting mentioned? Some critics of historical romance point out that writers often gloss over the odiferous parts. (Not that I want to read about every time the hero or heroine has to use the necessary.)

And those curving, steep, narrow stairs with low-low doorways. I wondered how ladies with their huge panniers ever managed to navigate those stairs without tumbling down to their deaths. After seeing those low doorways I realized that men who'd died from hitting their foreheads hard on the lintel wasn't a silly made-up joke. It's all too plausible.

I'm eagerly waiting to read your book.

Jeannie Ruesch said...

SHARE him, Kris? Really? That's all the love I get? *hmpfh*

Well, he looks like he's got more than enough to go around. And if I have to share with someone, at least it's fabulous you.

But no one else. I call dibs. *grin*

Jeannie Ruesch said...

Hello AC, My SVR sis! Our chapter is fabulous -- so is this blog! :)

Kris Kennedy said...

Hey Rachel!
Oh, yes, getting you to laugh out loud is a total feat! (I don't mean getting YOU in particular to laugh. You're pretty easy.) But getting 'one' to laugh, that's hard work in fiction.

Anyone come to mind?

Last I laughed out loud while reading . . . hmm, thinking . . . well, it was a blog, actually, F*ck You Penguin. But a book . . . Jennifer Cruise? Um . . I used to laugh at the Stephanie Plum early ones . . . will keep thinking . . .

You're so right, though. Make me laugh and you've SO got me. Laughing is magic.

Kris Kennedy said...

Yep. So many of us feel that way, don't we? A fantastic opening is just something special. You get transported on this hopeful high. It's so much fun.

Ahhh, yes. Great one. Just *having* the time to get lost in a story is exciting. And relaxing, all at the same time.
Great fire starter idea!

Kris Kennedy said...

Hi Bev~
Thanks for coming by! Yay for Bev, who already has The Conqueror on order!! :-)

Jill James said...

Kris, congratulations on The Conqueror, can't wait to read it.

I love when I'm in the writing zone, the one where the fingers skip across the keys, the words flow across the pages, and almost magically a story appears.

Kris Kennedy said...

Great to see you!

Funny you ask about privy chutes . . . :-)

I actually DO have a scene where my poor, exhausted hero is simply trying to take care of his . . . business . . . before bed, and is being buffeted by winds in the outdoor privy.

Poor guy. Ah, it can really be fun to torture them.


catslady said...

Well for starters - a bare chest and a sword roflmao - fantastic cover!

Kris Kennedy said...

Interesting thoughts about Voice, and what actually creates 'voice.'

We should secure funding for a study where we can do MRI scans of authors while they're writing. Bestselling authors to the one-time release. And while we're at it, the brains of readers, too. See if we can determine what's happening where in the brain. What associated neural networks are getting tapped, and to what degree.

I could talk to you all day about this, as it's my little pet hobby, brain science. We're learning so much more each day. Fascinating stuff.

You're totally right about 'it's all in the delivery.' It's so true.

From writers to comedians to actors to supervisors at work, so much is not what they say, but how (and when) they say it.

Kris Kennedy said...

You are SO getting a shirt if I get them done up. In fact, in small print, it should say, 'Cecile's idea.'

Kris Kennedy said...

LOL. I agree, there seems to be enough to go around. As long as he puts that sword down . . . Someone's gonna get hurt!

Kris Kennedy said...

Oh, yes. That magical feeling. I haven't been writing much over the past couple weeks, with a trip to Germany and the promo for the release, but I did have a weekend morning one day in Germany, while hubby took my son out, and I could write. And it all just flowed.

Definite fire, there. Great addition to the list.

Has it happened for you recently? Are you in flow right now?

Julie Robinson said...

Saw you were here on your newsletter.

I love the concept of Plot-Flow. You may have just invented a new term!! Your words of advice to me from your Musetraks interview on March 19 have been up on my MySpace since. Here's the link if you want to see.
or RomanceRebel/MySpace

Congratulations on your debut release day tomorrow. I'm going to town either tomorrow or Friday, so I know where one of my stops will be! The cover is indeed yummy and the premise is awesome. I almost pursued a PhD in the Middle Ages I love it so much. But that was 18 years ago. My son turned 18 Saturday. However, I still love the Middle Ages. I used to read aloud to him from Morris Bishop's The Middle Ages when he was an infant. (He loves the Middle Ages too. Hmmmm)

Wanting Finian sounds promising. And so does The Jamie Story. Wowza!


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi again, Kris! Yes, we're both fellow Debut authors! Whooohoo! Our own Christie Kelley is one too. Grins.

Thanks for the plug about Dark and Deadly, and yep, it's out next month. :>

Can't wait to get to the Barney NObles and add your book to the leaning tower of TBR!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

P226, that's one of the coolest theories I've ever heard about Voice. :>

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, P226, that's absolutely brilliant. I LOVE that theory - it's one of most interesting I've heard about voice ever. People often ask me and I flounder but you've got me thinking about a real definition! I tend to say voice comes down to everything you are and everything you've done or thought. But I really think that's the case. If you're in tune with that, it all comes out in how you express your story.

Treethyme said...

LOVE the Finian excerpt! Be sure to let us know when it's coming out!

Kris Kennedy said...

LOL. Yea, I agree. Inner fires tend to get lit by a bare chested man with a sword and a castle and piercing eyes looking right at you.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Again!
Aunty is BAAAACK! Thanx a bunch everyone for holding down the fort. I'm afraid those medical types turned yer olde Aunty every way but loose. :-(

WOW! What a great party! And some really thought provoking answers. YES, Catslady! A bare chested guy with a sword... Does it get ANY BETTER?!?!

Pass me an INDUSTRIAL SIZED margarita. I'm afraid I need it after the afternoon I've had!


Kris Kennedy said...

So good to see you here. And . . . *have* you had your head down, becoming a craftswoman? :-)

re: PlowFlow--LOL. Yes, it's probably what most of us do anyhow, do you think?

18 years--your studies getting derailed at the same time you had a son. Hmmm. Are they connected? (Don't be scared by the brilliant insights--I have a degree and I'll wield it as necessary)

I hope you get to re-explore all your interests, Julie. :-)

Let me know what you think of The Conqueror.

Kris Kennedy said...

LOL--the Leaning Tower. You should do what I do-make smaller piles, all over the bedroom floor. My husband LOVES that. Makes him all snuggly-feeling.

Kris Kennedy said...

Will do! :-) Tell the Banditas to invite me back when Wanting Finian is coming out.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I'm ROFLOL about your comments on the privy chutes and other "necessaries." The first one I ever saw was in Warwick castle and I about croaked over the thought of actually using it! Talk about cold and drafty! ARGH!!!

No thank you, don't want quite that much realism in my romance.


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kris, my DH can't complain about the leaning tower OR smaller piles. He's a file by pile guy himself. :>

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx again everyone for dropping by and joining the party!

Nice to see some new Pixie Chicks here. You all ROCK!

Kris, thanx for being a SUPER GUEST! We definitely want to have you back so be sure to let me know when Wanting Finian is due for release. :-)

Sorry I had to be incognito for a large part of the day, but you all had a GREAT time without me... Should I be worried?!?!


Kris Kennedy said...

I missed you horribly, and every post I did was but a feeble defense against the pain of your abandonm-- absence.


Thanks so much for having me here! I had a BLAST.

Thanks to the Bandits for welcoming me so well, and a heartfelt wave of appreciation to everyone who came and so kindly said Hi, and helped me feel excited and enthusiastic about my debut release tomorrow, rather than nauseous.

You all are fab. Love to come back.

P.S. And with this, I am comment 100. Woot! :-)

Cecile said...

You just let me know about the shirt and I will wear it proudly!!!! I will laugh my a$$ while wearing it too!!!! You have been a trip and I love reading all the other comments!!! Thanks for coming over!!!!

Mari said...

congrats on your novel! I love historicals, I wish that authors would branch out more to different time periods and different countries! The medieval period is often overlooked.

p226 said...

Hmm... well.. cool theory... total BS, who knows, right? I'm far from educated on the art of writing. I just made an honest attempt to document the mental processes that occur when I read and write, and identify what in that process makes it enjoyable. The description above is as close as I can get.

Nancy said...

Kris wrote: Ah well, they published the book, and it's a meaty one (i.e. lots of expensive pages), LOL, so I forgive them just about everything.

Thanks for the warning on Henry II. I promise not to write you about it :-) And I see your point. The book's in print, and that's the main thing.

I'm a castles freak, too, so I suspect we do share a lot of interests. I hope the book does well!

Kris Kennedy said...

Cool theories are always BS until they're proven true.

Kris Kennedy said...

:-) You can email me about any and all errors. I'm totally open. In the end, it's my name on there, so they're all mine. I want to know.

And yes, I suspect we have a lot of interests in common. :-)

You're right--there haven't been too many medieval-set books in recent publishing. Off the top of my head, I know Carrie Lofty (another Zebra Debut author) had one come out earlier this year. I sure hope we see more!

Joan said...


Welcome to the Lair! Sorry to be running late but the 12 hour day job AND having to watch the rest of know.

Congratulations on your debut! The Conquerer sounds fantastic and HOORAY on "new" time periods!

I remember your win last year at the GH. You looked glorious, like an Irish princess. If I remember correctly, you MADE your own gown?

The only castles I've been in, are in Ireland. Those winding stairs were AWFULLY narrow but I had to admire the "dual" use of their privies.....the ahem, ammonia from said privy wafted up to "dry clean" the clothes they'd hang above them...


Julie Robinson said...

Funny, Kris :-)
Once my son graduates in the next few weeks, I plan to focus on writing and maybe pursue a few other interests that have lain smoldering.

Anna Campbell said...

Kris, you've been a gem of a guest. I hope you'll come back and see us again - you really have fitted into the lair like tequila into a margarita. And best of luck with the book. Sounds like a doozy!

Caffey said...

Hi Kris!! Congrats on your book! I have loved the debut line from Zebra and have found so many new to me authors this way! Love it! When seeing this cover, I can see the castle and thinking a Medieval set book, one of many historicals I love reading! What inspired you to write Medieval? What interested you the most when you did research for this book?

Kris Kennedy said...

Wow. I don't recall paying you to add in the 'Irish princess' line, but it's worth every penny.


It was actually another Pixie who made her own dress, and I forget who (bad Kris!) but I've checked in to find out.

Weren't those medieval folk creative? Privy fumes as a cleaning agent. I never heard of it, but wow. So innovative. And to think, we're descended from them! Hurray!

Thanks so much for coming by with all your sweetness to say Hi after a 12 hours day! :-)

Kris Kennedy said...

Thanks for saying that! What's better a better fit than tequila in a margarita? I'm touched. :-)

I'd be honored to join you ladies again when my next book comes out. Thanks for having me!

Kris Kennedy said...

I know, isn't Kensy's Debut line such a great idea? I think more publishers should do it, to find/encourage new authors while giving readers a great buy.

Inspiration for medieval? Hmmm ... it came out pretty naturally, once triggered. But I know *exactly* how it got triggered: Marsha Canham.


I loved her Through Dark Mist/Shadow Midnight/Last Arrow trilogy. Totally lit my fire. Quite fitting, as that's what we're talking about today. :-)

And, goofy as it sounds, as far as research . . . *everything* interests me.

When I do research, I read the *whole* book. Book after book. I love peasants wheeling their carts to market, to grain harvest records from some remote Midlands manor in 1234. Doesn't matter, I love it all.

Thanks for saying Hi, Caffey. :-) If you pick up the book, I hope you like it!

Kris Kennedy said...

Oh, and Joan, my sources got back to me...

The Pixie dress-maker was the hysterical and sweet Susan Gee Heino, whose Regency-winning GH ms comes out in December from Berkley.

She can write and sew and make me laugh. All at the same time. Amazing.