AC: Our guest today is the lovely and talented paranormal romance author (and Aunty's good friend) Kendra Leigh Castle. Welcome back to the Lair, Kendra!
We’re thrilled to have you back with us to talk about your newest release. Please tell us all about it.
KLC: Thanks so much for having me back, Aunty Cindy! You know how I feel about Lairs. I plan to build one in my house someday. With several deadbolts and a steel door to keep out intruders (otherwise known as my family). And it’ll be fully stocked with chocolate, wine, and movies where Gerard Butler takes his shirt off. Wait, what were we talking about?
AC: Your book, Renegade Angel?
KLC: Oh…my book. Right. Well, it features hot men taking their shirts off too. So I’m sort of on topic. Here’s the blurb:
It's been thousands of years since Raum's angelic wings turned from white to black, and the Destroyer of Dignities and Robber of Kings never looked back. These days he's also on the outs with Hell and works with a motley crew of ex-demons on a new mission: snuffing out lesser demons and their half-human progeny. Raum's latest assignment brings him to a small Vermont town—and a sweet, funny half-demon, half-human he'll risk everything to save. Ember Riddick stirs him as no woman ever before—and she holds the key to what Lucifer will move Hell and Earth to prevent: his team's redemption. But Ember's secrets are as dark as Raum's midnight wings. And their fate may leave them entwined…but destroyed…
KLC: You can read an excerpt here:
AC: What inspired you to write paranormal romance in general and this story in particular?
I grew up as one of those kids who just liked spooky. I was reading Stephen King by 6th grade, and sneaking my mom’s romances besides…I think the two things just got all tangled together and became my reading preference! Which quickly became my writing preference.
I have fond, and slightly cringe-worthy, memories of my first attempt at a paranormal romance story when I was about, oh, eleven or so. It involved vampires. And a waterslide. That might work for bad porn, but that really wasn’t what I was going for. Count Dracula was one of my earlier crushes…and I had vampire Barbies who slept in shoeboxes…okay, I was just a weird kid. But hey, not everyone gets to be weird in a way that you can build into a career!
AC: Aunty would not presume to speak about weird childhoods, lest her own be mentioned. Besides, can't argue with whatever is responsible for your wonderful paranormal romances!
KLC: I absolutely love paranormal romance. There’s something about a man with that little something extra, the glowing eyes, the fangs, the fur, the wings, that just gets my motor running. There are endless possibilities in these dark faerie tales, and I love it!
Aunty nods in vigorous agreement.
KLC: With this story, I was moving from fur (with my MacInnes Werewolves trilogy) to wings, which provided me with kind of a creative boost. It’s good to shake things up sometimes. The idea of angels is something I’m very familiar with, having spent a lot of years in Catholic school. But as gorgeous as some of the artistic representations of angels are, you KNOW that these built men with wings are too goody-goody to spirit you away and, um…take you to their Lair.:-)
I have sort of a bad boy fixation anyway, so I found the idea of a fallen angel, albeit one who still had a heart that could be redeemed, incredibly fascinating. Then into my fevered little brain sauntered Raum, The Destroyer of Dignities and Robber of Kings, with his curly black hair and sea green eyes and black wings and ATTITUDE, and I was in love. And off we went!
AC: (wiping drool from her chin) Did you face some challenges in moving from writing about shape-shifters to fallen angels?
KLC: It was actually wonderful to be able to switch gears and start fresh, with new characters and a completely new world. I love my werewolves, I always will, and I’m already committed to writing more men with fur (though not related to that trilogy). But between a cross-country move and a bunch of other stuff, I was pretty drained after I finished up with the MacInneses.
I needed something to set fire to my imagination, and the story of Renegade Angel just hit me like a ton of bricks one day. It was one of those moments I love, where everything clicked and I had to write, RIGHT THEN. I whipped off ten pages of prologue like it was nothing, and then I happened across a song that totally matched up with what I was envisioning, and another book started to happen. Which was awesome, because every time I finish a book, I’m afraid there are no more in there. Hasn’t happened yet. Maybe I need that fear. Or maybe I’ll just wind up committed somewhere by the time I’m 40. I don’t think that the psych ward really qualifies as an acceptable Lair for me, though, so I hope not.
AC: Oh, Aunty seriously doubts you'll end up in the psych ward. I mean, look how long some of us Banditas have managed to avoid it... AHEM!
Speaking of furry hunks, Aunty heard you have a new little four-legged guy around your house. Care to tell us about him?
KLC: Chewie!! Yes, thank you for asking about my new baby. He’s Chewie the chocolate Newf, and he’s eleven weeks old today! He’s getting so big. Not nearly as big as he’s gonna get, though. I’ve never had a big dog before, but my husband and I had talked for a while about getting a Newfoundland eventually. “Eventually” meaning when one of our sweet little Pekingese was no longer with us, which unfortunately came to pass in July. My Fizgig was 13, and losing him was just awful. He was so beautiful…one of those dogs that’s just all heart. I still have a hard time looking at his picture, because I miss him.
But getting Chewie has been a wonderful balm to that wound, and the fact that he’s a completely different breed, and a very different dog in every way, has been great because there’s really no way to even make a comparison. Some people mistakenly believe that Newfies are dumb just because they’re sort of the big lugs of the dog world, but they’re very bright, very sensitive, and Chewie is no exception.
AC: O.M. GOSH! Is that not the most adorable fuzzy face EVER?!?!
KLC: He’s also obsessed with water. Sits in the water dish, sleeps in the water dish, has a baby pool he plays in…it’s really cool. Well, and messy. Our 11.5 year old Peke, Daisy, has adjusted well to him overall. Our seven-year-old Siberian cat Bruno is just disdainful. But he’s kind of like that about everything.
AC: What exciting new stories can we look forward to reading from Kendra Leigh Castle?
KLC: This summer has been a BIG one for me on the writing front! I’ve had another Nocturne accepted, this one about a big, sexy werewolf who finds himself responsible for a bitten woman who he’s forbidden to lay claim to (you can imagine how well that goes for him). We’re talking about spinning that into a series, which I think would be great fun!
And I’m just finishing up (translation: in the depths of Deadline Hell) with my first book for Grand Central which is slated to come out next summer. It’s the first in a series about the ancient dynasties of the vampire underworld, and in this particular story, a cat-shifting hero caught in between the dynasty he serves and the woman he loves. I am SO excited to have all of this going on…there are no words, seriously, and that’s saying something because I have a tendency to ramble. You’re, um, supposed to pretend you don’t notice that, though.
AC: Notice what?!?! And I'm seriously EXCITED to have more wonderful stories by Kendra Leigh Castle to look forward to reading.
KLC: Thanks so much to all of the Banditas, and especially the faaaaabulous Aunty Cindy, for letting me come back to celebrate my Nocturne debut! I hope everyone who decided to pick up a copy of Renegade Angel enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Raum and Ember’s story was just a lot of fun.
That said, I have a signed copy of the book to give away to one lucky commenter! I’ll be selecting someone at random, so be sure to check back to find out whether you’ve won…Aunty Cindy will post the winner here, with further instructions so I can get you your signed copy of Renegade Angel, which is also available for purchase in print or digital formats here (http://www.eharlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=22195). And please feel free to visit me at www.kendraleighcastle.com.All right everyone, it's YOUR TURN! Feel free to ask Kendra questions about any of her books and please tell us: How do you prefer your paranormal heroes? With wings? Fangs? Fur? Something else???