"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Kathryne Kennedy is a multi-published author of magical romances. She currently has a new series with Dorchester Publishing called the RELICS OF MERLIN. The first book, ENCHANTING THE LADY, was released January 2008 to wonderful reviews. Subsequent books are DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT and ENCHANTING THE BEAST. She lives in Arizona with her husband, son, and two very tiny Chihuahuas.
An Interview with Kathryne Kennedy
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Kathryne K.: My mother is a writer. She published several romances before she retired, so she taught me that it was possible. I published my first short story in second grade in my school’s newspaper…about witches.:} So yes, I have always wanted to be a fantasy writer. When I got older I fell in thrall of romance books, so it was natural for me to combine together both of the genres. I started by writing short stories, primarily in the fantasy/sf genre (speculative fiction) and always with a romantic element. The editors were very supportive, often giving me detailed feedback, and so I learned a lot about writing by doing. When I sold to MZB’s Sword & Sorceress anthology, I felt my writing might then be professional enough to write a novel, and so I wrote BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Kathryne K.: I write as much as I can, as often as I can…but it still doesn’t seem like enough (I dream of living alone in a cabin in the woods, but I think I’d get peculiar after a while). I’ve discovered that I need a break between books, to brainstorm the next one and come down from the one I’ve just written. I have a tendency to become so wrapped up in the book I’m writing that I can’t think of anything else.
When I’m not writing I read, lots. And watch Jane Austen & SFF/F & historical movies. I enjoy being with my family and snuggling with my two Chihuahuas.
PNR: Who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing? Who has been your biggest support?
Kathryne K.: I think I already mentioned my mom.:} As far as influences, of course other writers. When I read a great book, I just get excited about the author’s vision and it inspires me to share my own.
I can think of so many people that have supported me! I think the biggest would be my husband and sons, and my editor.
PNR: What are the greatest challenges to you as an author?
Kathryne K.: Sitting in front of a blank page. Making the words right. Turning off that internal critic so that my heart leads my writing.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Kathryne K.: Writers are jugglers! There are so many elements they have to weave in their stories. Characterization, dialogue, exposition, pacing, sentence structure, word choice, senses, feelings, action, humor….
So I’ll answer this as a reader. When I pick up a book and start reading, if I can get swept up into the story, it has all the essential elements for me.
PNR: You made your publishing debut in December 2003 with BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS, a futuristic fantasy from Five Star. You received a great deal of reader admiration for your writing. How does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
Kathryne K.: Extraordinarily grateful.
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the January 2008 release of ENCHANTING THE LADY from Love Spell; this is the first in your new Relics of Merlin series. Could you tell us what inspired this new magical fantasy series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Kathryne K.: After I wrote MOONS, I wanted to try writing a historical romance, since I’ve always loved them. But the entire time I was writing it, I kept saying “What if?” (I just couldn’t turn off the fantasy lover in me). It always seemed unfair that males inherited the titles and land, so wouldn’t it be wonderful if women had power? Not in strength of arms, but with magic. So, regardless of sex, the child who had inherited the magical power would be heir. And of course, those with more magical abilities would hold the highest title…so the world of Merlin’s Relics was born.
PNR: ENCHANTING THE LADY is set in an alternate Victorian London where magic exists, and readers are captivated by the fantasy world you have created. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a historical setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? How much research is involved?
Kathryne K.: I do a lot of research. Even though it’s a fantasy, I still want the flavor of the era, and it also helps to inspire my characters. Although magic would change the world, the basic moral values of the time are integral to the characters. And I had to create a chart of the titles and a hierarchy of magic. It would have probably been a lot easier to just make up my own world. Then I wouldn’t have to be concerned with studying maps of London—and types of furniture, clothing, carriages and homes for the time period. But on the other hand, I love anything Victorian! And I wouldn’t have had as much fun paralleling the time period with the fantasy elements.
PNR: Could you give us some insight into the mythology of the Relics of Merlin that will be the thread to connect the series?
Kathryne K.: Although the books are stand-alones, they are all connected by Merlin’s thirteen relics—jewels that the sorcerer Merlin crafted, each holding a different spell of power. Most of the jewels have disappeared and they allow the owner a magic that surpasses that of a Royals’, and no one is sure what spell each relic contains. Each book is about a different jewel, different characters, and different time periods in Victorian England.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Kathryne K.: For me, it’s character, plot and world. I combine all of these factors when writing and creating a story. I start with the world, then create the characters, which leads me through the plot. I have a general idea of the plot when I’m creating the characters. They help lead the way. And then sometimes I do it all backwards. It depends on what I’m working on.
PNR: Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Kathryne K.: I develop characters through their strengths and weaknesses. What they want, what they’re most afraid of, why they act the way they do. This always involves their past experiences. Then I work on their physical appearance, including habits and quirks.
When I’m working on a book, the characters in the story are my favorite…until I start a new book. I always wish that I could crawl beneath the pages and meet them for real. I want to cuddle a dragonette, and have a drink with Bentley, and visit Manda’s shop. I want to dance a waltz with Terence, and have a girl-to-girl chat with Felicity (there are so many things I could set her straight on). I’d love for Mahri to give me a ride on her boat through Sea Forest (although the girl would probably terrify me) while Ja-Ja sits on my shoulder and Korl describes how crystal coral grows. I want to take a moonlit ride through the gardens of Hyde Park on the back of a were-stallion and smell the azzina’s blooming. I want to have tea with Jasmina and Aunt Ettie.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
Kathryne K.: I would say that my books are highly sensual in a romanticized way. I find that the sex scenes are the easiest part of the book for me to write. I approach them from the viewpoint of my characters, letting their personalities lead the way.
PNR: Tales of djinn, sorcerers and other wielders of magic have been with us since the oral tradition of storytelling. Why do you feel that magic is such a popular theme in storytelling? In the paranormal romance genre?
Kathryne K.: There are probably many more reasons, but a few I can think of off the top of my head would be:
They provide the ultimate good vs. evil type of story.
They are the ultimate escape from the real world.
Fairytales usually have some type of moral.
As adults, we’re reminded of the fairytales we read as children, and maybe we recapture some of our childhood again.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Kathryne K.: I think the paranormal genre gives you that sense of wonder. That excitement of discovering something new and magical.
As far as new genres go, I’m really not sure. It’s wherever my imagination takes me.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Kathryne K.: The next book in the RELICS OF MERLIN series, DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT, is Jasmina and Sterling’s story. Jasmina is an earl’s daughter who cast a simple illusion of herself, unaware that the jewel in her possession was one of Merlin’s relics…and the spell took on a life of its own. Sterling is a were-stallion who meets Jasmina’s illusion and marries her. When he finds out the truth and meets the real Lady Jasmina life starts to get very complicated for both of them. DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT is scheduled for release this September 2008.
I’m currently brainstorming the third book, tentatively titled ENCHANTING THE BEAST. It’s scheduled for release in 2009.
PNR: Thank you, Kathryne, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Kathryne K.: They can contact me through my website: http://www.KathryneKennedy.com. Check out my new contest, sign up for my newsletter or email me!
Thank you so much for having me here at PNR, Dee.
January 1, 2008
Sir Terence Blackwell knew the enchanting woman before him wasn't entirely without magic. Not only could she completely disarm him with her gorgeous lavender eyes and frank candor, but his were-lion senses could smell a dark power on her-the same kind of relic-magic that had killed his brother. Was she using it herself, or was it being used against her?
One needed a husband, and the other needed answers. But only together could they find the strongest magic of all: true love.
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