I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kathryne Kennedy. It’s a pleasure having an interview with one of our own members here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.
I understand you have a new release out called DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT is the second book in the RELICS OF MERLIN series (although since the relics connect them it easily stands alone). 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 a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
All the books in the RELICS OF MERLIN series have some form of ‘enchant’ in the title, and since Jasmina made a twin of herself….
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I have always loved fantasy and romance, and anything Victorian. I just combined all of my favorite things.
Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
I tried my hand at writing a Victorian historical romance, and 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.
What are your favorite historical research books and why?
The book that I turn to the most whenever I have a question is WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW by Daniel Pool. For DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT, I used INSIDE THE VICTORIAN HOME by Judith Flanders to develop the mind-set of not only Jasmina, but also her father and mother as well.
Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
Since my favorite characters are always in the book I’m currently writing, I would have to say Sir Nicodemus Wulfson and Lady Philomena Radcliff, my hero and heroine in ENCHANTING THE BEAST. I love Nico’s wolfish nature and Phil’s practicality. And since Phil is an older woman, I think I can identify with her very well.
Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?
Yes, I create character sheets, with inner and outer motivation, their goals and inner secrets, childhood experiences and how it may affect their personality, and of course, their physical descriptions. I haven’t done an interview yet, although I think it would be lots of fun. I do try to model my character’s opinions and views from the research I do in the time period. My shape-shifters are always influenced by their were-natures.
How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?
All of the above (although I’m a terrible artist). I created maps of my alternate Victorian London to keep track of changes to name places (Pall Mall became Pall Mage, Belgrave Square became Gargoyle Square, and I added the Hall of Mages next to Buckingham Palace, for example) because with the influence of magic, the city would develop differently. I also have a ‘map’ of a Victorian mansion, with the type of furniture for each room listed (In England, the first floor of a home is the ground floor, and the first floor is called the second, which is often confusing to my American mind :}). I also have a chart with hereditary titles, how each peer is addressed, and their level of magic. I keep a dictionary of my own words, because I often make them up; and a chart of the relics, when they were discovered, what type of jewel and spell (if known).
What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?
I already mentioned the difference in housing above. I was surprised to discover such early use of water closets, especially one that used dirt to absorb the refuse (called an earth closet). Since neither of them was widely used until later in the century, I usually refrain from mentioning them.
I’m currently compiling a list of Victorian slang that I hope to post here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy soon. I think the most surprising thing I discovered with that (although maybe I shouldn’t have been) was the sheer volume of slang that referred to a woman’s private parts. I should also mention that ‘bloody’ was really considered a very vulgar word in Victorian times, but it’s used so widely today as mild British slang that I use it in my books to capture the flavor of the country. Some of the slang terms I’ve discovered would just be too bizarre for today’s reader, and would just be confusing.
As far as dress modes go, in the time period for ENCHANTING THE BEAST, I discovered an alternate fashion from the corsets and enormous hoops popular in the time period. Since my heroine was a bit of a rebel, she adopted this ‘artistic’ style of dress.
Victorians were known for their prudery. And yet the bustle developed because men admired the sway of a woman’s backside. And isn’t it interesting that although women were clothed head to toe, their bosoms were usually on display, and they had slits in their drawers?
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
I would have to say that my biggest inspiration is my mom, who is a published romance novelist. She taught me that it was not an impossible dream; I just had to work hard.
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
I have many, but one that I don’t see utilized enough is Gather.com, a social networking site. You can learn more from my own profile: http://kathrynekennedy.gather.com/
But I tell you what, I’ll write a more in-depth article about what it is and how to use it for my next blog entry here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy.:}
What do we have to look forward to next?
I’m currently writing ENCHANTING THE BEAST, about a Victorian ghost-hunter who’s hired to solve the mystery of a were-wolf’s haunted castle. It’s scheduled for release in 2009.
To celebrate her book release, Kathryne is offering a free autographed copy of DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT to one lucky commenter on today's blog. Please make sure we have an e-mail address to contact you if you win. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...
Bio. 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.
Check out author’s website at http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/