Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kathyrn Dennis is in the lair

Author Kathrynn Dennis will give away three signed cover flats of DARK RIDER. Names will be drawn from those who post comments.

Welcome to debut historical author, Kathrynn Dennis and congrats! Your first book, DARK RIDER (Kensington, ISBN 1420100475) is available now and is getting great reviews. I've heard your stories referred to as “horsetoricals.” Tell us more, please!

Thank you, Donna, for inviting me on Romance Bandits. I can’t take credit for the “horsetorical” term, but I wish I could. I met a fellow attendee at the National RWA conference in Reno, 2006 and we struck up a conversation. She asked me what I wrote and I told her “medieval historicals---romance with dashing heroes, determined heroines, and destriers!” She laughed and said “Oh, you write horsetoricals.” We talked for awhile, but never introduced ourselves, so I can’t write her and say thank you. Hoping we will meet again someday. ;-)

Perhaps she'll post a comment! Wouldn't that be fun. I know you are a horse veterinarian and horses play a big role in DARK RIDER. What kind of research did you need to do to give the story a period-feel?

Well, I took common horse aliments we see today and weaved them into a romance set in 13th century England. Three things have always plagued the equine species: bad guts, bad feet, and bad attitudes. In the 13th century, the common diagnosis for most any horse aliment or behavioral disorder was “he’s been elf-shot.” Elves with arrows were evidently a big problem for livestock in medieval England. ;-)

I understand the heroine in Dark Rider is a horsewitch. Care to elaborate?

A horsewitch is half horse-whisperer and half horse-healer. She’s a telepath (she can commune with horses) and she has a good clinical intuition when it comes to healing. You can see why that would get woman of ye olde days into trouble---and boy does she get into trouble. What she needs, of course, is a good hero-horseman to get her out of it, so I gave her one. But let’s just say it wasn’t love at first sight for the horseman or the horsewitch. He has issues---with horsewitches and with his own unbridled ambition---but the man can ride!

Tell use about your writing process. Are you a pantser or a plotter and how long does it take you to finish a book?

I wing the first 15 pages, then I stop to plot. I finish a book in about a month and spend the next year revising and rehashing. The trouble with this approach is that invariably, I get distracted by a niggling of an idea for another story and over the following 10 months it can be tough to keep focused on the revisions of the work-in-progress. At some point, as a writer, you just have to put it down and say “I’ve given all I can to this book. Time to move on.” Then you get all excited again and start to write the next one!

You write a book in a month!!! I'm so jealous! What’s next?

Next up is SHADOW RIDER (Kensington, Oct 2008). This one was especially fun to write. The opening starts with the heroine who is a medieval theriogenologist (a fancy word for livestock obstetrician) who delivers a foal that’s affected with a real-life condition that makes him bark, sit like a dog, and stare at the stars. This would have caused a stir in medieval times, so accusations fly---he’s possessed, she’s a witch---things look pretty grim for both of them. Enter the SHADOW RIDER, the tortured, hero knight who believes the little horse is the mystical beast born who can offer him redemption. The hero has plans for the horse and for the heroine. You can bet she’s is not gonna like them!

Sounds like another great read. Thank you, Kathrynn, for blogging with the Romance Bandits!

Thank you, Donna, for inviting me. Tomorrow I’ll be blogging over on the History Hoydens ( about the trials and tribulations of making a historical novel video trailer. Anyone who wants to stop by (more drawings for prizes) is most welcome!

Book Trailers are all the buzz at the moment. I'll have to stop by. Just a reminder that Kathryn can be found on the web at


Christine Wells said...

Hi Kathryn, welcome to the bandit lair and congratulations on your debut! It's so refreshing to see more historicals being published outside the Regency period.

I love the premises of your Rider books. I was horsey when I was a little girl, or as horsey as you can be when your father won't let you ride!

Thanks again for blogging with us, Kathryn. Good luck with those Hoydens, though I hear they're not half as fun as we banditas!

Andrea said...

Hi Kathrynn and welcome!

Okay, I'm convinced! I'm picking this one up on my next trip to the store! Sounds fab! Like Christine, I'm glad to see more historicals set outside the Regency (though I do love my Regencies).

Off to check out your site....

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn! A big Bandita welcome, and thanks for blogging with us!

I'm like Christine, a wanna-be horsey girl. I had more than one dream that someday a horse would show up in the driveway of my very urban house, and I'd ride it all over the streets of Buffalo, NY. :-)

I also had a fantasy of becoming a vet, which I maintained all the way until I took chemistry in college, when I realized I would never. ever. get through Org. Chem. Law school, no problem. Organic chemistry? (shudder) So my hat is off to you for surviving years of sciences!

I will be looking forward to your books!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Kathryn -

Thanks for joining us today. I thought I'd remind the banditas that you might remember Kathyrn from Atlanta. Hilary Sares bought Kathryn's work after she judged her entry in the Golden Pen contest. Kathryn was at the Golden Network's reception to pick up her honors. She looked at my FH finalist ribbon and said she was jealous she'd never have a chance at the GH. I looked at her First Sale ribbon and said I'd much rather have a sale.


Joan said...

Welcome Kathryn! Thanks for joining us in the lair!

I echo Chritine's commendation on publishing a historical outside the traditional time periods.

On my first trip to Ireland, I was determined to experience it all. When I saw a sign advertising pony trekking I thought "That's it! How could you not ride a horse along these lush, green, rolling hills?"
So off we went.

The pony trekking was run by a delightful man named Willie Daley. He went into his barn and kept leading out these humongo equines. He gave one to my goddaughter, another to another visitor and finally one to me.

I just stared at it and asked "Ummm..where's the PONY?"

Needless to say, it was an adventure just getting me up on it (although my riding helmet DID match my taupe sweater LOL) and off we went.

Willie had to lead the poor thing because I don't think he trusted me. And after 30 min. into a 60 min. ride we had to return because MY horse was tired.


Christie Kelley said...

Hi Kathryn,

Welcome to the Bandits and thanks for blogging with us. Your story sounds great and I can't wait to read it.

Trish Milburn said...

I like the concepts for these stories. That that is so wild that there's a condition that makes horses bark like a dog. Good luck with your debut. That's a fabulous cover.

Beth Andrews said...

Thanks for joining us, Kathryn! Your books sound great and the cover is wonderful!

Best of luck with your debut :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Christine...there is something about girls and horses that make them attract each other...I've seen whole PhD disserations on the subjet!...unfortunately, I still can't find a good neurobiological explanation for the bond between women and horses!

Thank you for the welcome, Andreaw. I'm with you. I love my Regencies, too, but the earthy, mystical life of the 13th century seems to fit stories about heroes, heroines and horses especially well.

Anonymous said...

Hah, Kristen! I suffered, oh, how I suffered through organic chemistry. It was NOT fun...but vet school was fun, and in the end the hell-years of science were worth it.

A helmut that matched your lovely taupe sweater? LOL, Joan! Riding in Ireland, just racing across fields at a dead gallop...a fantasy of mine. Someday...;-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Christie, for the warm welcome.

And thanks to Trish, too. RE my cover---well, it's different. I gotta say, it doesn't scream medeival, but then again, maybe that's okay. I wanted a strong horse with his ears pricked up...but the response one reader wrote was "what horse"...go figure. ;-)

Caren Crane said...

Kathryn, we're so glad to have you here! I adore medievals and am *so glad* they are publishing some that are not paranormal. I am tired of a paranormal element in every book I want to read. Of course, your horse healer may have a touch of olde magick, but that's fine by me. As long as she isn't a woman by day and a werewolf roaming the moors by night, I'm there! *g*

I remember you from Donna's tale of First Sale vs. GH ribbon. I think we all agree that First Sale trumps! I hope the books fly off the shelves. One will be flying into my hands very soon!

Keira Soleore said...

Kathryn--hi from a wanna-be-bandita and a wanna-be-hoyden.
Love the description "horsetorical" for your book. What a fabulous way to make them instantly memorable.

I agree with Andrea: Horses seem to be an accessory in Regencies, but in medievals, they're an integral part of character, and sometimes a full-fledged character. So where on that spectrum does your story lie?

Of course being a hoyden, you must've incorporated plenty actual history into your story. So, does your book recvolve around one pivotal battle/monarchical change ??

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thanks, Karen! I must confess there is a little woo-woo in DARK RIDER...but the book is not what I'd call a paranormal (no otherworld)...mysticism, yes (how medeival) but no werewolves ;-)


Kathrynn Dennis said...

Hi Keira,

Nice to "see" you here!

DARK RIDER doesn't revolve around a particular politcal event, but the horses are integral characters and "period-correct" events happen to them that make them pivitol to the story...and to the romance of course. ;-)

Afterall, what else does a good but conflicted horsewitch need but a master horseman who knows her game as well as she does. ;-)


Anna Campbell said...

Kathryn, your books sound fantastic. I'll have to check out Dark Rider (great title). Actually, I must say I thought HOUSE-storicals when I read your descriptions of the stories! You know, brilliant doctor comes up with diagnosis nobody else would have and saves the day! I'm delighted to see another medieval around. I started writing medievals way back when I started (it was contemporary history then!). And I've always had a huge fondness for the adventure and high stakes that those stories seem to beg for from a writer.

Is there anything you've learnt as a newly published writer that you wished you'd known before?

Helen said...

Hi Kathryn love the post I love historicals medievals regency's so I will be looking for your book sounds great I love animals and I love them in the stories I read. I really enjoy trying new authors and love it when I can hear about the book from the author. Thanks Guys for another fantastic post.
Have Fun

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post today and love the cover! I can't believe you can write a book a month!

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Hey Anna, HOUSE-storicals! What aery cool marketing tool for the MD types writing historical medical romance.;-)

And what have I learned as a new writer I didn't know before---gotta say I had no idea how hard it is to keep the momentum going, to write one book, then another, and another and realize that your agent expects this. "How you build your career through backlists."

Talk about pressure. ;-)

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thanks, Helen. I hope you enjoy DARK RIDER...

And for a book in a month...I do, but it ain't pretty when it's done. My CPs say "there's some good stuff in there" but I know that's code for "go back and revise huge chunks."

I love 'em.

Anna Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Campbell said...

Kathrynn (sorry, I left off your second 'n' last time I posted!). You can call me Ana if you like! Good point - and you're right, that's tough. There's a luxury to being unpublished and being able to stew on every comma and wait for the next big idea to strike you. And what I sold wasn't like anything else I'd written so I didn't have a drawer to go to for the next submission! I think one of the things I've learnt is how much promotion is involved in being a writer. It's fun and it's rewarding but it certainly chews up the hours.

Actually, a nice surprise was that people write to you and tell you that they love your book! That's a way cool part of being a writer.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Kathrynn, welcome to the lair! Sorry to show up so late but I'm glad I finally made it. Your stories sound so intriguing and different, and you really make a great case for writing what you know! Horsetoricals, LOL. I can't wait to read them!

And I agree with the reader who said "what horse?" about your cover. All I see is that sexy rider!

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thanks, Anna, and as for dropping the "n" on Kathrynn, no worries...I let the domaine name expire for about two minutes and someone bought it out from under me! Really! The second "n" is an one up. ;-)

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Can you tell, Kate, my 13th century cover knight is sorta preppy?

A small voice inside me sighed and said..."Welome to the world of romance covers" when I first saw, now I make it a talking point---. ;-)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Well, late to the party as usual, but Kathryn your stories sound very intriguing. I can't wait to get my hands on Dark Rider.

Thanks for joining us!

Maureen said...

Your book sounds very interesting with such a unique story.

Caren Crane said...

Kathrynn, I'll admit your cover boy looked preppy to me, too. Bet it won't stop anyone from picking up the book, though! *g* Thanks for hanging out with us!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Kathyrn, welcome to our Lair. I'm so sorry to come late to the party, but wanted to say, I KNOW YOU!! I feel honored.

I'm the lady with whom you had an early dinner in Dalla (no, not she of the inspired horsetoricals LOL). You were alone, I was alone, neither of us minded dining alone, but decided to throw our lots together for a very pleasant dinner conversation. I live not far from Davis so we have some friends in common.

Great post. Thanks for sharing such an unusual genre with us. I can't wait to read your book. jo

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Thanks, Suzanne and Caren! I enjoyed being here.

Kathrynn Dennis said...

Jo? Is that you? Of the night of funny JDRF auction stories? ;-)

What a hoot! I so enjoyed eating dinner with you in Dallas.

Thanks for being open to sitting down with a complete stranger, but a fellow writer, and for sharing great stories...that's kinda how I met Donna MacMeans, too.

Amazing stuff, this writer thing.

All the best,