Kathryne Kennedy’s newest novel, The Fire Lord’s Lover (Sourcebooks Casablanca), debuted 6 July. In this fantasy romance set in 1724, an alternative England is ruled by malevolent elves who treat their human subjects as playthings. The convent-raised heroine hides a dangerous secret from her new husband: The human Resistance has trained her as an assassin, and she plans to assassinate her husband’s father, an elf king. But her husband has secrets of his own.
Welcome, Kathryne, and congratulations on publication of your sixth novel, The Fire Lord’s Lover.
Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be here!
What writers have had the greatest influence on you?
My mom, who is also an author and taught me that publication is possible, and who gave me a love for storytelling. A multitude of other authors influenced my work, most of them in the SF/F field and the Historical Romance genre. From Andre Norton to Julie Garwood, I blended the stories that I loved to read in my own combination of historical fantasy romance.
Are there certain themes or topics you’re drawn to in your writing?
In general, I gravitate to fairy tales, and the themes of true love conquering all, the underdog triumphing against evil by discovering his/her true strength within, the ugly duckling blossoming into a beauty by discovering her natural gifts, how some people can bring out the best in you, and others, the worst. My characters truly define the theme of each of my books, and sometimes I feel as if I’m just tagging along for the ride.
Your book’s antagonist, Imperial Lord Mor’ded, is the scariest villain I’ve come across in some time. How did you round out such an evil character so that he wasn’t a stereotype?
I understand Mor'ded. I don’t have to like him, or agree with his motivations, but as long as I can understand why he does what he does, I can visualize him as a truly unique individual. Then my job is to convey that in my story, and I’m glad to hear that I have managed to do so with you.
So many books nowadays have protagonists whose moral compass is skewed or lacking altogether. One thing I enjoy about your novels is that the protagonists have consciences and struggle to choose the right actions. Is this a conscious choice on your part?
It’s not a conscious choice. I think this a reflection of my own morals that naturally comes through in my heroes and heroines. They are people that I would like to know, that I could root for, that I can sympathize with. When I finish a book, I feel as if the heroine is my best friend, and I always fall in love with my hero, and I’m sad to say goodbye to them. Until I start the next book.
Dominic, the hero of The Fire Lord’s Lover, is under the thumb of his father and abused by him throughout the book. Yet he comes off as that romance reader favorite, the alpha male hero. How did you accomplish that?
Dominic was born with a strong will, and the abuse he suffered could not break him. He adapted to his environment and became stronger for it. I think holding on to his sense of right and wrong was the most difficult for him, and it took a strong woman like Cass to help him uncover it again. It has been my good fortune to know strong men like that in my own life, and they often become the inspiration for my heroes.
What is your writing regimen? Would you recommend it to other authors?
I write 5-7 hours straight in the morning, because I have to lose myself in my world completely. Then I wake up back to the real world. I believe other authors should do what works for them. A novel is a long journey and one that each writer must discover their own path to.
Do you have any advice for my readers who are working on their first novels?
I say this a lot, but I believe it with all my heart. Learn the craft and the business, and then do what makes sense to you. No one else can write your story quite the way that you can, so always listen to your gut.
When will your next book in The Elven Lords series come out, and what will it be about?
My first published novel, Beneath the Thirteen Moons, is scheduled for release in mass market paperback in December of 2010, so the second book of The Elven Lords series, The Lady of The Storm, won’t be hitting bookstores until summer 2011. It is Cecily’s story, the little girl that Cass and Thomas rescued in The Fire Lord’s Lover. Cecily has been hiding from the world and herself, and only her love for Giles Beaumont makes her realize her destiny. Giles is a gorgeous half-elf cursed with an enchanted sword, who learns more about himself from Cecily than he ever wanted to know. A major discovery against the elven lords will be made, allowing the Rebellion true hope for the future.
You give Dominic and Cassandra an HEA ending but leave them in a perilous situation. Will they star in another book in the series?
They have discovered their true love for each other, so their personal love story is complete, but yes, they are still heavily involved in the Rebellion and appear in book two, and they will have an instrumental part in freeing England from the tyranny of the elven lords in book three.
I’m hoping for more books in your Relics of Merlin series. Am I hoping in vain?
I’m please to hear you would like another book in that series. I would like to continue it, but I can’t say when that might be. I’m following where my muse and career takes me at the moment…but no, you’re not hoping in vain. :)
Are you willing to share any of your secrets for growing your hair so long and lush?
LOL. This question took me by surprise. I think it’s a genetic thing, like my freckles, but I do avoid haircuts and just trim it myself.
Kathryne, many thanks for visiting my blog and for answering questions from my readers, and best wishes for your next book.
Thank you so much for the insightful questions, Shauna! I enjoyed sharing with you, and look forward to talking with you and your readers on your blog today.
Ask Kathryne a question or leave any other comment to this post, and you will be entered to win a copy of The Fire Lord's Lover. Two copies will be given away, courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca. Drawing will be held on 5 August from among comments left through 11:59 pm Pacific time, 4 August.
Also, last week's contest ends at 11:59 pm, 28 July. Go here to enter.
Kathryne Kennedy is a multipublished, award-winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the United States and currently lives in Arizona with her family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas. She welcomes readers to visit her Website at http://www.KathryneKennedy.com, where she has ongoing contests. She blogs at http://kathrynekennedy.blogspot.com/.
You can purchase The Fire Lord’s Lover from your favorite bookstore or get it online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders , BooksAMillion, Chapters/Indigo (Canada), and Kathryne’s Bookseller Directory.