Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interview with Kathryne Kennedy

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kathryne Kennedy. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us 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 MY UNFAIR LADY. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

It’s about a Wild West heiress who goes to London to hire a sponsor to turn her into a lady. What she doesn’t expect is for the Duke of Monchester to take her up on her offer…and the last thing she expects is to find herself falling in love with him!

MY UNFAIR LADY is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The book was inspired by the movie version of Shaw’s PYGMALION; MY FAIR LADY, and since it was an opposite twist, MY UNFAIR LADY seemed just right for a title.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love the Victorian era! The balls, the gowns, the gentlemen of honor (well, sometimes;) and the sheer scope of the era.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

As I mentioned above, I was inspired by the movie MY FAIR LADY, and wanted to explore the element of changing oneself to suit other people’s expectations…or not. And the idea of loving yourself just the way you are. I’m always drawn to Cinderella type stories, where a woman comes out of her cocoon and turns into a butterfly. But there’s an element to them that has always bothered me, and it was a joy to watch my heroine struggle to find out that truth.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

My favorite book for this particular story was: To Marry an English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace. Filled with gorgeous photos, it presents factual information in a lively and entertaining manner.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

This is always a hard call. I loved my heroine, Summer, for her compassion and brashness. I loved my hero, Byron, for his depth and his naughty humor. I loved Maria for her unfailing belief in what defined her as a person. I loved Chi-chi, the ornery little Chihuahua, and India, the rescued monkey who is a ham at heart.

Nope, sorry. Can’t choose just one.

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?

I used to write up a full page about my character; where they went to school, their favorite color, etc. But that’s before I had deadlines. Now, I do an index card on each, with their appearance, general habits and traits, goals and motivations. As I write I build on those, developing their character as the story unfolds.

The era will define the character’s attitudes and general beliefs, however, that’s only a starting point for me, as they always break out of those predestined molds.

What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?

With my heroine, Summer Wine Lee, it was interesting to research common slang in the old west. Tarnation is her favorite word, and she calls animals critters. During this time period in London, it was the second bustle period, which was an interesting phenomenon. I don’t recall where I read it, but a child had sat his toy on the back of his mother’s bustle, and she walked down the aisle at church, with the toy perched on top, wholly unaware of it. And bless the manners of the time, no one called it to her attention. I was surprised to learn that toilets were more common that I’d thought, including a ‘dry’ version, with absorbent dirt at the bottom that could be cleaned out after each use. And they had enormous drying racks in the kitchen, which were lowered, the clean clothes spread out on them, and then raised up to the ceiling for the night to dry. Washing, cooking, cleaning, were all enormously difficult back then, and even not so well-to-do families had to hire help to carry out these tasks.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Many…and I’m discovering new ones every day. But I have to say that the most inspiring authors I know are at my writer’s meetings. Their drive and determination and sheer creative energy never fails to inspire me. Bless the ladies (and the few rare gents) of RWA Desert Rose chapter, and RWA Valley of the Sun chapter!

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

My website, as every other promotion I do directs the reader to it. Some tips to consider for an effective website: Your current release on the home page, with ISBN (this is so important for librarians, booksellers, etc.), summary, and easy links to BUY. A button to sign up for your newsletter (another must) on the home page and any other page you can put it on. A link to contact the author. Don’t overwhelm the reader with too much info on the home page, make it clear and concise, with easy ways to navigate. Provide links to more information, instead of trying to cram in all your new reviews, news, etc. on one page. If you keep a blog with updates, a prominent link to that is the best way for readers to catch up on your news.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m very, very excited about my new historical fantasy romance series, THE ELVEN LORDS. I have just finished the first book, THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, about an elven half-breed and his assassin bride. It’s scheduled for release in the Spring or Summer of 2010. It takes place in an alternate Georgian London, with the sweeping pageantry of the era in a magical new world. You can read the history of the series (or, how this world was created) on my website.

Thanks, Kathryne!

To celebrate her book release, Kathryne is offering a free book of MY UNFAIR LADY to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Kathryne Kennedy is the award-winning author of the Relics of Merlin series, and is acclaimed for her world building. She has also published nearly a dozen short stories in the SFF/Romance genre, receiving Honorable Mention twice in the "Writers of the Future" contest. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas. MY UNFAIR LADY received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and is a Library Journal’s Editors Pick. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at:


Anonymous said...

Good morning Kathryne. Thanks for joining us over the holidays. Your book sound delicious and I can't wait to dig into it now that Christmas is over. I love the history tidbit, but am so glad we live in this time with running water toilets, washers and dryers, and no bustles. What would be one convenience you could take with you if you went back to that time?

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Kim!
MY UNFAIR LADY is pure outrageous fun, with a serious message underlying it. I do hope you have as much fun reading it as I did in writing it!
Okay, one essential modern convenience...a good doctor! I think I could manage most everything else, but I'd want a doc who didn't believe that orgasms were some sort of brain fever and that the solution to a fever involved leeches or bloodletting. Eeek!
Thank you so much for the fun interview questions, Kim. Guest blogging at MCTT is like my birthday at home; being treated as a special guest in my own house.
Big hug!

Mason Canyon said...

The book sounds great. I love the west, but I can't image living without all the modern conveniences. Enjoyed the post.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Mason! So great to see you here! Thanks a million for stopping by to say hi. :}

Adelle Laudan said...

I love that your book is the flip side of My Fair Lady, a classic movie. I always enjoy an author who has a sense of humor as it shows in their writing.
Oh, I have to say, you sure have some beautiful hair going on there.
Best wishes and Happy New Year

'wavin to Kim. Great interview hun.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Adelle,
Thanks so much for your kind comments. I think Kim did a wonderful job on the interview as well! Wishing you a great New Year!

Anonymous said...

I so love reading Historical fiction like this! I always thought I should have lived in an earlier time period and who know perhaps I did and just don't realize it. Would love to read more!

Anonymous said...

Nice interview! I love that you put your characters and their info on index cards. Thats so me , too !
And it makes them be "physical" too. Love it! Have a happy new year!

peggy said...

Hi Kathryne,I enjoyed reading your interview,My UNFAIR LADY sounds like a fun book.Ilove the plot of an wildwest heiress going to london.Good Luck with the book.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

I know just how you feel, Baba. :}

Great to hear, LdyLopes2002. It's always fun to share the same habits!

Hi Peggy! Great to meet you, and so nice of you to stop by. :}

CrystalGB said...

Hi Kathryne. Great interview. My Unfair Lady sounds wonderful. I love your writing.

Joy said...

MY UNFAIR LADY looks like a fun read! Hope you have a happy and safe 2010! Great interview too.

kansassweet43 said...

Hi Kathryn,
This sounds like a great story. I love to read stories that have humor to them. I agree with everyone else about living in the modern era, running water, washing machines, furnaces, and fast food are just a few. I am a creature of comforts. LOL. I look forward to reading My Unfair Lady.

Lady Lauren said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Kathryne! Your story sounds like so much fun! I'm a huge fan of the Victorian period in America and England, so I can't wait to check this out! My husband makes fun of me because I've developed old world slang from reading historical romance novels, and "tarnation" is one of my faves! lol... I'm sure your characters are going to be so much fun meeting! Thanks again!

lauren.mcintyre at yahoo dot com

Shauna Roberts said...

Hi, Kathryne. I loved your Relics series, and My Unfair Lady sounds like a lot of fun.

I've been wanting to write to you for so long to ask you about your hair. Are you willing to share any secrets about how you grew it long and kept it in good shape? Thanks.

Eva S said...

Thanks for the great interview! I love your Relics of Merlin books and this one sounds wonderful too!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi ChrystalGB! Thanks so much, and great to hear from you again.

Wishing you a safe and happy new year as well, Joy!

Kansassweet43: I'm so glad to hear that! Gotta love my fast food, too!

That's Summer's favorite slang term, too, Lady Lauren. I bet you'll enjoy her. :}

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Shauna. Such a pleasure to meet you! Oh, gosh, I started growing out my hair years ago, when I had kids and couldn't afford the beauty salon too often. I'd just trim it myself, and it kept growing and growing... It's a bit of a bother sometimes. :} I use lots of conditioner on it, but rinse it good, and then use a light spray-in conditioner (Infusiam) to brush it out. Hope that answers your question, and you're sweet to ask.

Eva: Always so great to hear from a reader of the Relics series! Hope you enjoy My Unfair Lady, as well.

Mindy said...

Hi Kathryne :)
Happy Holidays!
My Unfair Lady sounds fantastic,Love the west but GOTTA have my convienences.

Mindy :)

Alexis Walker said...

I read this book last week and absolutely loved it! Nothing like a heroine I can relate to, though I admit, I don't use the word "tarnation." It reminded me of the last time I was in Scotland wearing my cowboy hats and boots. They weren't sure what to make of me either. This is a fun book that will completely melt you heart IMHO.

Auriette said...

I never liked history in school, but I fell in love with Regency era romances when I was in middle school (remember Barbara Cartland?) and now I'll read romance set in just about any period in history, in part because I enjoy the tidbits you authors teach me about history. You brought up a lot of interesting points in your interview, and I wonder if you go the library, if you've built up your own library of history books, or if you do most of your research online. Do you research the period in advance of writing the book or a little along as you need to know something? Just curious about your process in this area. I have a huge TBR pile right now (actually it's not so much a pile as a large totebag packed full) with two of your alternate-history fantasy romances right on top. I'm getting to them!

Estella said...

My Unfair lady sounds like a fun read!

marybelle said...

MY UNFAIR LADY looks fabulous. I can't wait to read it. The interview was very interesting. I love insight into authors & their works.

Tina LaVon said...

I loved this book! It deserved that awesome review in Publishers Weekly. It was a great story.

Right now I'm reading, Enchanting the Beast, which I affectionately call "The blue one." I know I'm going backwards. :) I love the ghost visions. You need more ghosts in the future. :)

I'm wishing you an awesome 2010 for you and your family! May all of your wishes come true.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Mindy! Thanks so much for commenting!

What a very kind thing to say, Alexis. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, and I absolutely adore your boots and hat!

Auriette: I actually do both. I research what I think I might need, but something always crops up while I'm writing, and I do a bit more. I mostly rely on books, and if I find a good one in the library, I add it to my growing collection. I do have a few fav on-line sites that I use, one I use most often, to look up words that sound too modern. I do hope you love the Relics books, and thanks a million for letting me know you're looking foward to reading them.

Thanks, Estella. :}

Marybelle: So great to hear!

Tina: So good to know you like the ghost visions. I esp loved writing Enchanting the Beast...and yes, I'm hoping my new series will include a book involving ghosts. ;}

Zina said...

Hey Kathryne,
Zina here, Laska says hello too. I loved My Unfair Lady but would love a signed copy. I just wanted to let you know we are hoping you still plan on finishing the Relics series. When you aren't working on your new series anyway. You know.. when you're supposed to be sleeping, LOL. Are you going to RT in April or RWA in Nashville?

Tamsyn said...

That was an interesting post. The title caught my attention and the blurb sounds like this is going to be a great book. Thanks for the chance to win.
Happy Holidays!

catslady said...

I've heard good things about this book and it really sounds good. Also enjoyed the interview. Thanks for a chance to win your book!

joder said...

Thanks for joining us! Since you have pets, will we ever see those included in your stories.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Zina! And say hello to Laska too! I want you to know how much I appreciate you following me on my blog tour. It meant a lot to me. I love that you loved the Relics series so much that you want another book. I hope to look at that series again after I finish my new Georgian Fantasy series. I'm in love with my new heroes in this series, and I have to get them out of my system. :} Big Hug.

Good luck, Tamsyn! And happy holidays to you as well.

Good luck, too, Catslady!

Hi Joder. My chihuahua is in MY UNFAIR LADY, along with a host of other critters. I hope you enjoy!

maria rose said...

hope you had a good holiday and will have a safe new year looking forward to both MY UNFAIR LADY and THE ELVEN LORDS series you got me hooked when i brought an extra copy when purchasing a gift for a friend who is into period stories i always enjoy a story where the heroine is strong minded but able to keep her man

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I love your writing, it flows so freely. It puts a tanatisling twist to that era in time. I'm still trying to get the other two books in the Relic of Merlin series. But I know that "My Unfair Lady" will be a great read.

Luv Jess

Caffey said...

Hi Kathryne! I so love the Victorian settings too! I always say that if I could time travel back, I'd go back to then or the Regency. I just love the feel of reading these historical romances with learning so much about the setting then, clothing, society rules and so much more! I'm so elated about your new book! I see you have lots planned but do you plan to go back to write any related books to this one (like any of the characters from this book) or future Victorian setting books? I so love the excerpts I read so far!

I've been watching alot of the Turner Classic Movie channel because I don't watch much Movies, but I love older ones but I discovered they had quite a few captioned. I shall be looking for MY FAIR LADY to watch! Its exciting to finally watch and understand what they saying!

Too, this may sound odd, but as I do love learning about the history, I do like too when more is added in about the parts alot tend to leave out. For example I remember reading a western historical romance and they were traveling long days and more and it was a gritty travel for them and the author left that letting the reader know of those dark times too without being turned off (I wasn't, while others were). I sometimes learn lots in the books and go on and check out more that interested me.

Sorry on the long post! So great to chat about this with you. I'd love to be in the contest. Thanks


Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi maria rose! You'll have to thank your friend for me. :} So great to have you as a reader!

Hi Jess! That's so great to hear...I hope you get to read them soon and have a grand time. :}

Hi Cathie! So great to see you here. I love your long post! I have planned THE ELVEN LORDS series to go from the Georgian, to Regency, to Victorian era...covering all the times I love! So stay with me, it's going to be a fun ride through history...tweaked with magic, of course. :}

Good luck, everyone!

susan said...

Wait for me..I want to be a part of the fun. I was away and just got here to catch up. I love the interview and the book sounds so good. I also want to say Happy New Year to everyone here. susan L.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

No worries, Susan! :} A winner won't be chosen until Monday morning. Glad to have you here, and a very happy new year to you as well!

Kimberley said...

What a great interview! I can't wait to read this book.:) I love that you couldn't choose one character as your favorite.

Please enter me in the contest, if I'm not to latte.

to everyone!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Kimberley! You're not too late...we've got you entered. Thx for stopping by.

laska leopoldo said...

hi just stopping by, happy new year to everyone!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Laska! Great to hear from you. Happy New Year!

Sue A. said...

I love the sound of this book. I'm a fan of historicals which help me escape the busy fast pace of modern living for a simpler slower time! Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! Love your books keep up the good work!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Happy New Year to you as well, Sue!

Hi Candy! Thanks a million!

Kim will be choosing a winner and posting it today. Thank you all so much for your support. It's greatly appreciated!