Find Kriswebsite – http://kriskennedy.net/twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/KrisKennedy
Author Interview: Kris Kennedy *Defiant*
Let’s see, my ‘road to publication’ didn’t start as some direct-hit, consuming desire to be published. What happened was, I rediscovered my old love of writing and storyelling, and I spent a bunch of years honing in on craft. I just loved the actual writing, the feeling of inspiration, the hot flush of a great idea, and the overall excitement of creating, and getting better at it.
Part of the way I tried to improve my craft that was by entering writing contests. I took a lot of advice (I needed a lot of advice
At that point, I asked my critique partner at the time if perhaps I should start querying agents. She reached through the internet and slapped me. “Of course!” she said. “Dummy.” What are friends for?
So I did.
At that point, a bunch of things fell into place quickly. I accepted representation from Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Agency, and a little later found out the two historical manuscripts I’d entered in RWA’s ® Golden Heart Contest had both finaled. A little later, we got a 2-book offer from Kensington. One of the manuscripts went on the win the Golden Heart for best Unpublished Historical Manuscript that year (Wanting Finian, which was renamed the Irish Warrior) and released from Kensington in June 2009.
I started right in on another story after I finished The Irish Warrior, and Abby Zidle of Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster) offered a 2-book contract for that and another medieval. DEFIANT, the first of the two, comes out…well, right now! 🙂
How did you come up with the idea for Defiant and what was your writing process like?
My ‘ideal’ writing process is to write hot, for hours and hours straight, for days on end, then when the fever passes, I have loads of pages to revise and rework, until the fever comes again. 🙂 But after having children, things changed. So, I write whenever I can grab the time, and I hope to cram in some muse-y moment into the spare corners of time I create.
In DEFIANT, the heroine Eva was originally a quite different character. But as I was rewriting the opening one day, lines of dialogue started coming out that made me sit back and look at the computer screen, thinking, “Um, I’ve never met this woman before.” She surely wasn’t the same woman I’d been writing about for the months and months.
And after that, she never stopped being fully-formed. She showed up for every scene, 100% Eva, and all I had to do was hurry to get her best lines down. 🙂
That’s not say this was a smooth process or some divine intervention showed up and it was easy-easy, hey, aren’t I cool? No, there were a thousand struggles with this story, things that sometimes made me cry, but Eva was never one of them. Reworking the story to make sure her character (and Jamie’s character) was being served; that was the hard part. 🙂
Did you do any unique research for this particular book?
Some of the story-specific research included: King’s John’s household knights; slave trade in 12th and 13th century; travel distances in 13th c England; river ferry travel; perceptions of disease and contagion; manuscript coverings/bindings; children’s games; treatment of Jews in King John’s time; goldsmithing and jewelry-making; wolves and their extinction in medieval England.
Was there any scene or part in Defiant that was difficult to write? And if so how did you get through writing it?
As mentioned, character came to me pretty clearly, but threading the story together in a storyteller’s way, that was tons of hard work.
There is one scene, a ferry travel scene, where the hero and heroine encounter an army on the march. There are very personal reasons for each character this is the worst thing that could happen./
I must have written 15 versions of that scene, and moved it to 4 different spots in the story (which of course, took days and days of rewriting, because the order in which a scene appears changes everything that comes after—one would hope! )
Then I’d realize, nope, that’s not right, and I’d be off on it again. This happened over and over again. It was, well, let’s just call it ‘frustrating.” 🙂 And that’s how I got through it—gritting my teeth sometimes, banging my head, wearing mismatched socks for days on end because I couldn’t be bothered to find a matching par, I just wrote whenever I had a spare moment, and manhandled it into submission. 🙂
Who was the easiest & hardest character for you to create?
In fact, every single character was very easy to access. They were very real, fleshy characters, with distinct personalities. It was developing a plot frame, and making it all hang together properly, that were my biggest struggles with this story.
Since finishing Defiant what are you working on next?
Thank-you so much for having me by!! I’d love to have people stop by the website (http://kriskennedy.net) and read some excepts, sgn up for the newsletter, and drop me a line!